Dr Jonni Hazeline Koia

Research Fellow

Qualifications: PhD (UQ), BSc(Technology), MSc Waikato


About Jonni

Ko Tainui te waka. Ko Taupiri te maunga. Ko Waikato te awa. He piko, He taniwha. He piko, He taniwha. Ko Pootatau Te Wherowhero te tangata. Ko Ngaati whaawhakia te hapuu. Noo Raahui Pookeka aahau. Ko Jonni Hazeline Koia aahau. Waikato Taniwharau!

I was awarded my PhD in plant molecular biology at the University of Queensland (UQ).  The primary focus of my PhD research was to perform transcript profiling of a pineapple microarray to gain a better understanding of pineapple fruit development at the molecular level.  This was the first large gene expression study to identify numerous genes involved in pineapple ripening and other important biological processes, such as those involved in anti-oxidant and vitamin C production.  I also investigated the molecular function of a number of genes known to be highly up-regulated as pineapple fruit develops in both plant and fruit model systems.

I have recently been awarded a Health Research Council Māori Postdoctoral Fellowship, where my research interests have now turned to rongoā rākau (Māori medicinal plants) that are traditionally known to have anti-diabetic potential.  My project will involve identifying and validating anti-diabetic agents in rongoā rākau using both scientific molecular cell approaches and traditional Māori methodologies.  My project will also actively engage with relevant Maori community to aide in preserving and safeguarding mātauranga Māori of the rongoā rākau under investigation.

Research Interests

My current research interests are based on the old Māori proverb – ka ora te whenau, ka ora te tangata – if you heal the land, you heal the people.  I view health and wellbeing, as an intrinsic and intimate connection between the whenua land and People of the land.  If the land is healthy, the people will be healthy.  If the land is sick, the people will be sick.  As such, I not only seek to develop traditional kaupapa Māori biomedical research projects that addresses human metabolic disease using traditional rongoā Māori (Māori herbal medicine), but I also develop kaupapa Māori molecular bioheritage research that addresses native plant disease, and the potential role other rongoā taonga species may have on diseased plants. Further, my research interests also support the practice of traditional and contemporary rongoā Māori healing in response to metabolic syndrome within the Māori community.  Overall, my research interests involve kaupapa Māori biomedical and bioheritage research on taonga (treasured) flora and rongoā medicinal plants, and the practice of traditional and contemporary rongoā Māori healing


Biochemistry; Molecular Biology; Plants

Rongoā Rākau; Rongoā Māori; Preserving Mātauranga Māori; Māori Community Engagement

Recent Publications

  • Koia, J. H., & Shepherd, P. (2020). The Potential of Anti-Diabetic Rākau Rongoā (Māori Herbal Medicine) to Treat Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) Mate Huka: A Review. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 11. doi:10.3389/fphar.2020.00935

  • Montiel, J., Bifet, A., Losing, V., Read, J., & Abdessalem, T. (2019). Learning fast and slow: A unified batch/stream framework. In Proc 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data (Big Data 2018) (pp. 1065-1072). Seattle, WA, USA. doi:10.1109/BigData.2018.8622222

  • Montiel, J., Read, J., Bifet, A., & Abdessalem, T. (2018). Scalable model-based cascaded imputation of missing data. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) Vol. 10939 LNAI (pp. 64-76). doi:10.1007/978-3-319-93040-4_6

  • Montiel, J., Read, J., Bifet, A., & Abdessalem, T. (2018). Scikit-multiflow: A multi-output streaming framework. Journal of Machine Learning Research, 19, 5 pages. Retrieved from

View All research publications by Jonni Koia

Contact Details

Room: D.1.05A
Phone: +64 7 858 5138