Dr Karaponi Aitaua Matapule Okesene-Gafa



Born in Niue Island, went to Samoa age 1 year, brought up there by grandparents Dr Moananu and Mrs Matelina Okesene. Of 3 ethnicities, Niuean, Samoan and Manihiki (Cook Is). Education in Samoa up to college level, migrated to NZ to do 7th form following which was accepted to Otago University to do Medicine. After graduating as a doctor, started working a junior doctor in Auckland hospital, then transferred to National Womens hospital and started specialising in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Final 2 years of training was completed in Wellington Womens hospital, transferred back to Auckland National Womens hospital and then to Middlemore department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. After 2 years with CMDHB, was seconded to Niue Island from CMDHB to be the director of Health for the Niue Foou Hospital for 2 years. Returned to Middlemore Hospital and after a couple of years took up the diabetes in pregnancy clinician lead role, at the same time was involved with the National Gynaecological cancer foundation. After 2 years in these roles decided to make some changes and pursue part time postgraduate studies and research, be involved with student teaching as a senior lecturer, department of O&G University of Auckland, as well as continue involvement with TAHA on an advisory role. Continuing to juggle family life (husband and 3 children) and enjoying my part time university and clinical roles.

Research | Current

Knowledge and beliefs of pregnant CMDHB women to nutrition and exercise during pregnancy

Teaching | Current

5th Year medical students teaching and OSCE

Postgraduate supervision

Professor Lesley McCowan


University duties (0.5FTE UoA)

- Involved with 5th year Medical Students Teaching.

- Awaiting funding for a Research: "HUMBA - Healthy Mums and babies"

Clinical duties (0.5FTE CMDHB)

- Working in the Diabetes in pregnancy clinics

- Acute on call

Areas of expertise

Obstetrics (& gynaecology), diabetes in pregnancy.

Committees/Professional groups/Services




Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Krishnan, M., Murphy, R., Okesene-Gafa, K. A. M., Ji, M., Thompson, J. M. D., Taylor, R. S., ... McKinlay, C. J. D. (2020). The Pacific-specific CREBRF rs373863828 allele protects against gestational diabetes mellitus in Māori and Pacific women with obesity. Diabetologia, 63 (10), 2169-2176. 10.1007/s00125-020-05202-8
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Chris McKinlay, Rinki Murphy, John Thompson, Rennae Taylor, Lesley McCowan
  • de Seymour, J. V., Jones, M. B., Okesene-Gafa, K. A. M., McKinlay, C. J. D., Taylor, R. S., Wall, C. R., & McCowan, L. M. E. (2020). An analysis of omega-3 fatty acid status in a population of pregnant women with obesity, at higher risk of preterm birth. European journal of clinical nutrition, 74 (10), 1478-1482. 10.1038/s41430-020-0613-8
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Clare Wall, Chris McKinlay, Rennae Taylor, Lesley McCowan
  • Okesene-Gafa, K. A., Moore, A. E., Jordan, V., McCowan, L., & Crowther, C. A. (2020). Probiotic treatment for women with gestational diabetes to improve maternal and infant health and well-being. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 610.1002/14651858.cd012970.pub2
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Vanessa Jordan, Lesley McCowan, Caroline Crowther
  • Dawe, J. P., McCowan, L. M. E., Wilson, J., Okesene-Gafa, K. A. M., & Serlachius, A. S. (2020). Probiotics and Maternal Mental Health: A Randomised Controlled Trial among Pregnant Women with Obesity. Scientific reports, 10 (1)10.1038/s41598-020-58129-w
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Anna Serlachius, Lesley McCowan
  • Okesene-Gafa, K. A. M., Li, M., McKinlay, C. J. D., Taylor, R. S., Rush, E. C., Wall, C. R., ... Thompson, J. M. D. (2019). Effect of antenatal dietary interventions in maternal obesity on pregnancy weight-gain and birthweight: Healthy Mums and Babies (HUMBA) randomized trial. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 221 (2), 152.e1-152.e13. 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.03.003
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Minglan Li, Chris McKinlay, Rennae Taylor, Clare Wall, Rinki Murphy, Lesley McCowan, John Thompson, Caroline Crowther
  • Naiqiso, S. L. S., Christensen, P. M., Okesene-Gafa, K., & McCowan, L. M. (2019). Gestational weight gain in a multi-ethnic sample of pregnant women from Counties Manukau Health, Auckland, New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal, 132 (1497), 37-45. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lesley McCowan
  • Culliney, K., McCowan, L. M. E., Okesene-Gafa, K., Murphy, R., Rowan, J., Taylor, R. S., ... HUMBA Study Group (2018). Accuracy of point-of-care HbA1c testing in pregnant women. The Australian & New Zealand journal of obstetrics & gynaecology, 58 (6), 643-647. 10.1111/ajo.12786
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Chris McKinlay, Lesley McCowan, Rinki Murphy, Rennae Taylor
  • Okesene-Gafa, K., Li, M., Taylor, R. S., Thompson, J. M. D., Crowther, C. A., McKinlay, C. J. D., & McCowan, L. M. E. (2018). Correction to: A randomised controlled demonstration trial of multifaceted nutritional intervention and or probiotics: the healthy mums and babies (HUMBA) trial. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 18 (1)10.1186/s12884-018-1792-3
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Caroline Crowther, Rennae Taylor, John Thompson, Chris McKinlay, Lesley McCowan, Minglan Li

Contact details

Office hours

Wednesdays/Thursdays 8-5pm, Fridays 8-1pm

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 507 - Bldg 507
Level 1, Room 1032
New Zealand