Associate Professor Phillipa Jean Malpas

BA, DipProfEthics, MA, PhD


My training is in philosophy, with a particular interest in medical ethics. My PhD focused on the ethical dimension of children in relation to predictive genetic testing for adult onset diseases. It was during my PhD that I became interested in thinking about the ethical issues arising within the area of assisted dying specifically that of physician assisted death (where the intention of both the patient and doctor is the patient’s death).

For the past six years my research has focused on decision-making at the end of life from the perspective of individuals and health professionals, and some of the implications this has for medical treatment and care at the end of life. Although I am particularly interested in medical practices that hasten death, I am also interested in many of the broader issues to do with end of life. This includes advance care planning and advance directives, what constitutes a good death (and conversely, a bad death)?, the ethics of terminal/palliative  sedation, what is compassionate care at the end of life?, and understanding the reasons and motivations individuals have for supporting or opposing assisted dying.

Teaching | Current

Since 2009 I have taught in, and coordinated MBChB 311: Medical Humanities.    


Awarded the Butland Award for Innovation in Teaching in 2015

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.
  • Malpas, P. J., Anderson, A., Jacobs, P., Jacobs, T., Luinstra, D., Paul, D., ... Wharemate, D. (2017). 'It's not all just about the dying'. Kaumātua Māori attitudes towards physician aid-in dying: A narrative enquiry. Palliative Medicine, 31 (6), 544-552. 10.1177/0269216316669921
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Anneka Anderson
  • Malpas, P. J., & Mitchell, K. (2017). "Doctors shouldn't underestimate the power that they have": NZ doctors on the care of the dying patient. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 34 (4), 301-307. 10.1177/1049909115619906
  • Jonas, M., Malpas, P., Kersey, K., Merry, A., & Bagg, W. (2017). Applying ethical and legal principles to new technology: The University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences’ policy ‘Taking and Sharing Images of Patients’. New Zealand Medical Journal, 130 (1449), 30-38.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Warwick Bagg, Monique Jonas, Alan Merry
  • Henning, M. A., Abaraogu, U. O., Ram, S., Malpas, P., & Hawken, S. J. (2016). Developing a cross-cultural academic integrity questionnaire for medical and health sciences students. Medical Science Educator, 26 (4), 581-586. 10.1007/s40670-016-0302-3
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Marcus Henning, Sanya Ram
  • Malpas, P. J., & Owens, R. G. (2016). Given that physician-assisted dying is ethical, should it be part of a doctor’s role?. Mortality, 21 (4), 295-304. 10.1080/13576275.2015.1137279
  • Malpas, P. J., Mitchell, K., & Koschwanez, H. (2015). End-of-life medical decision making in general practice in New Zealand--13 years on. New Zealand Medical Journal, 128 (1418), 27-39.
  • Bagg, W., Adams, J., Anderson, L., Malpas, P., Pidgeon, G., Thorn, M., ... Merry, A. (2015). Medical students and informed consent: A consensus statement prepared by the Faculties of Medical and Health Science of the Universities of Auckland and Otago, Chief Medical Officers of District Health Boards, New Zealand Medical Student Association and the Medical Council of New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal, 128 (1414), 27-35.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Warwick Bagg, Alan Merry
  • Rae, N., Johnson, M. H., & Malpas, P. J. (2015). New Zealanders’ attitudes towards physician-assisted dying. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 18 (3), 259-265. 10.1089/jpm.2014.0299

Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 507 - Bldg 507
Level 3, Room 3001
New Zealand