Professor Melody Smith

DipFT, BSR, PGradDipHSc, PhD


Aspirations for neighbourhoods where children can be independently mobile, where people can get around safely by walking and cycling, and where social and physical well-being is prioritised and facilitated are key drivers of my research. Most of this work involves the integration of objective measurement of behaviours and outcomes (e.g., accelerometry, inclinometry, GPS, GIS), as well as person-centred methods (participatory planning, online mapping).

I am fortunate to work with amazing researchers and students across a range of exciting and innovative projects that contribute to understanding the links between built and social environments and health and well-being in children and their families. 

Recent articles:

Research | Current

Kidshare: Perceptions of Neighbourhoods during lockdown:

Neighbourhoods for Active Kids:

Te Ara Mua - Future Streets for Auckland;

Kids in the City:

Enabling Participation for Disabled Children and Young People:

Postgraduate supervision



Tiffany Williams (primary): Beyond the Buzz: Understanding the Experiences of Participants, Practitioners and Researchers and the Process of Co-Design with Children

Michelle Adams (primary): Parenting Grandchildren: Challenges and Opportunities for Aging Well

Yijun Zhang (primary): Green space and its role for adolescent well-being

Tessa Pocock (primary): Positive ageing in Auckland communities: Exploring relationships between the built and social environments of older adults at risk of frailty and their perceptions of ageing in place

Jamie Hosking (secondary): Low-carbon routes to health equity: the impacts of transport policy on health equity,

population health and greenhouse gas emissions

Jennifer Woods (secondary): Improving Māori Success in Achieving Clinical, Academic and Management Roles within the Health Sector in New Zealand

Margaretha Situmorang (third): Food outlet availability, snacking behaviours, and school travel patterns in adolescents

Masters/honours theses

Ellie Davies (primary): Patient satisfaction with pain management after surgery - the role of preoperative education

Ashleigh Karreman (primary): Child and family health care assessment. Standardized and/or child health needs assessment models/frameworks



Doctoral theses

Fiona Yu, 2021 (primary): Exploring Resilience in Intensive Care Nurses in New Zealand

Tamara Bozovic (secondary): Quality of the walking environment and difficulties to access local destinations

Erika Ikeda, 2019 (primary): Associations between Environmental Attributes and Children’s Active Travel to School

Victoria Egli, 2019 (primary): Neighbourhoods for Healthy Kids: A child-centred investigation into the role of the built environment on child body size

Moushumi Chaudhury, PhD, 2017 (primary): Public Open Space Attributes in Relation to Children’s Independent Mobility Experience in Urban Auckland, New Zealand

Stephanie Schoeppe, 2014 (tertiary): Child independent mobility and active travel: Methods, measures, and associations with physical activity and sedentary behaviour

Lisa Mackay, 2013 (secondary): Physical activity profiling of New Zealand adults: a study of adults with and without young children

Nicholas Garrett 2013 (secondary): Local places for physical activity: how important are they?

Masters theses

Jo Thomson 2020 (primary): What is the experience of families and Healthcare Professionals of having an obesity diagnosis discussion in Kidz First Emergency Department?

Jency Jacob 2019 (primary): The Course of Postoperative Pain following Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty

Julia McPhee, 2015 (secondary): Exploring the acceptability of and adherence to a carbohydrate-restricted, high fat diet as an instrument for weight-loss in women aged 40-55 years

Victoria Barton, 2014 (primary): Controlled trial of strategies to increase fundamental movement skills in preschoolers

Losi Sa'u Lilo, 2013 (secondary): Health literacy among Pacific mothers in New Zealand: Exploring the associations of demographic and behavioural factors with health literacy of Pacific mothers in the context of Pacific health and well-being

Janine Shepherd, 2010 (secondary): The associations between cardiovascular disease risk factors, self reported and objectively measured physical activity, and happiness


Health Research Council of New Zealand Sir Charles Hercus Research Fellow 2017-2021

National Heart Foundation of New Zealand Postdoctoral Research Fellow 2008-2011

Tertiary Education Commission Bright Futures Scholar 2006-2008

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.
  • Ikeda, E., Mavoa, S., Cavadino, A., Carroll, P., Hinckson, E., Witten, K., & Smith, M. (2020). Keeping kids safe for active travel to school: A mixed method examination of T school policies and practices and children’s school travel behaviour. Travel Behaviour and Society, 21, 57-68. 10.1016/j.tbs.2020.05.008
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alana Cavadino
  • Smith, M., Hawley, G., Mackay, L., Hosking, J., Mackie, H., Ikeda, E., ... Witten, K. (2020). Impact of changing road infrastructure on children's active travel: A multi-methods study from Auckland, New Zealand. Journal of Transport and Health, 1810.1016/j.jth.2020.100868
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jamie Hosking
  • Macmillan, A., Smith, M., Witten, K., Woodward, A., Hosking, J., Wild, K., & Field, A. (2020). Suburb-level changes for active transport to meet the SDGs: Causal theory and a New Zealand case study. The Science of the total environment, 71410.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.136678
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Adrian Field, Alistair Woodward, Jamie Hosking, Kirsty Wild
  • Smith, M., Ikeda, E., Hawley, G., Mavoa, S., Hosking, J., Egli, V., ... Amann, R. (2020). An integrated conceptual model of environmental needs for New Zealand children’s active travel to school. Journal of Transport and Health, 1610.1016/j.jth.2019.100814
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jinfeng Zhao, Niamh Donnellan, Jamie Hosking
  • Sullivan, E., Egli, V., Donnellan, N., & Smith, M. (2020). Policies to enable children’s voice for healthy neighbourhoods and communities: a systematic mapping review and case study. Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, online first10.1080/1177083X.2020.1772325
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Niamh Donnellan
  • Jia, P., Yu, C., Remais, J. V., Stein, A., Liu, Y., Brownson, R. C., ... Smith, M. (2020). Spatial Lifecourse Epidemiology Reporting Standards (ISLE-ReSt) statement. Health and Place10.1016/j.healthplace.2019.102243
  • Mavoa, S., Lucassen, M., Denny, S., Utter, J., Clark, T., & Smith, M. (2019). Natural neighbourhood environments and the emotional health of urban New Zealand adolescents. Landscape and Urban Planning, 191.10.1016/j.landurbplan.2019.103638
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Terryann Clark, Mathijs Lucassen
  • Smith, M., Amann, R., Cavadino, A., Raphael, D., Kearns, R., Mackett, R., ... Mavoa, S. (2019). Children's Transport Built Environments: A Mixed Methods Study of Associations between Perceived and Objective Measures and Relationships with Parent Licence for Independent Mobility in Auckland, New Zealand. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16 (8).10.3390/ijerph16081361
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alana Cavadino, Deborah Raphael, Robin Kearns, Jinfeng Zhao


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 505 - Bldg 505
Level 2, Room 235A
New Zealand

Social links

Web links