Research book – content writing for two National Science Challenges

In a nutshell – content that shares solutions to the housing crisis

When a planned Seniors Housing Forum event had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, researchers needed another way to share their important, evidence-based research on solutions to the housing challenges facing seniors. To tell the story, GoodSense worked with Affordable Housing for Generations programme co-leaders, Dr Kay Saville-Smith and Dr Fiona Cram (Ngāti Pāhauwera) to plan, undertake interviews, write, co-edit and project manage the production of a 48-page book, in print and digital formats, to make the issues and tools society has to navigate past them, clear.

What the programme needed – content writing

Researchers needed a pathway to impact for their important evidence-based research.  CRESA Research Director, and Affordable Housing for Generations Programme co-lead, Dr Kay Saville-Smith, had the idea for a book to summarise reflections from the sector’s key researchers.

Having worked with GoodSense before, through our mahi (work) on the Building Better Homes Towns and Cities National Science Challenge, Dr Saville-Smith commissioned our team to turn the idea into a publication.

The book’s purpose was to help central government decision makers and other stakeholders in senior housing understand what housing for seniors COULD look like and the policy levers that are currently available to make it happen.  With housing being a significant concern in Aotearoa, and a perfect storm of crises affecting our older people especially, it was an effective, alternative way of sharing the knowledge was found.

How GoodSense helped turn the book idea into published research reflections

GoodSense worked with the Affordable Housing for Generations programme co-leaders, Dr Kay Saville-Smith and Dr Fiona Cram (Ngāti Pāhauwera) to plan the approach.

The structure of the research book was to follow the structure of the cancelled Senior Housing Forum. Twelve researchers from the Affordable Housing for Generations programme and other collaborative research colleagues, expecting to speak at the Forum, instead shared their insights through interviews.

The Māori researchers were interviewed by Hinerangi Edwards at AATEA and Kylie Bailey at GoodSense, undertook the rest of the interviews.

The interviews were the first stage in what was a journalism project.  GoodSense had to tease out the most important findings from the research and about the researchers themselves.

Once all the interviews were complete, we again used journalism skills to write about the research in an accessible, conversational way.  This style of content was quite different from the research papers the researchers typically produce.

The book is shaped across ten chapters, bookended by a Welcome note and bios for the researchers.

GoodSense wrote and sub-edited the copy and highlight boxes. The last piece of writing was to craft the cover-notes and title.  We also project managed the design, the image selection, development of the graphics and production.  Design was undertaken by Shelley Darren and the kowhaiwhai design by Ariki Creative. The kowhaiwhai that flows through its pages, a Puhoro, reflects the whakapapa line of the elders and the life they have travelled through, and how this can be lessons and teachings for the next generation.

The publication’s design, printing and production was funded by the Aging Well National Science Challenge. Affordable Housing for Generations, a programme within the Building Better Homes Towns and Cities National Science Challenge co-ordinated and funded the book.

Within our GoodSense team, the interview and writing work was undertaken by experienced journalist and editor Kylie Bailey and the project management and co-editing by Allanah Robinson.

What this has meant

Reflections on Kaumātua, Pakeke and Seniors’ Housing: Building robust solutions with research was published in early 2022.

The result is a unique information resource to promote better housing for our ageing population. It presents Building Better Homes Towns and Cities and Ageing Well National Science Challenge research exploring why changes are needed to our housing system. It looks at some imaginative opportunities and shares the housing experiences and aspirations of kaumātua, pakeke (older people) and seniors. Aotearoa New Zealand has an ageing population, people are living for longer and in better health than ever before. In 40 years there will be one million kaumātua, pakeke and seniors who will be over the age of 65. Unless action is taken to support this large group to better access housing and employment, our seniors, especially those living in urban environments, will find it increasingly difficult.

The magazine-quality 48-page book was blessed and launched at an event in Kirikiriroa at the Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust village. Residents of Rauawaawa had contributed to research projects and feature within the book’s pages.

True to its purpose, the book has been used to help central government decision makers and other stakeholders in senior housing understand what the solutions to the elderly housing crisis are.



This has been a marvellous example of collaboration in communication as production, with GoodSense facilitating participation by researchers across challenges and working with Hinerangi Edwards and Shelley Darren as well as with the Ageing Well National Science Challenge. It has been a positive experience to be able to leverage journalist skills into something that celebrates seniors, housing and research.

 Kay Saville-Smith, Director, CRESA

Our gratitude to Affordable Housing for Generations programme co-leaders, Dr Kay Saville-Smith and Dr Fiona Cram for trusting GoodSense with this project, to all the researchers who let us tell the stories of their work and to the Kaumātua, Pakeke and Seniors who’s experiences are shared in its pages.  You can download a copy of the book here.

Citations: Bailey, K. (2022). Reflections on kaumātua, pakeke and seniors’ housing: Building robust solutions with research. Saville-Smith, K., Cram, F., James, B. & A. Robinson (Eds.). Dunedin: Ageing Well National Science Challenge & Affordable Housing For Generations (BBHTC).


To find out more about how we can help with your content writing, stakeholder interviews, project management or other marketing, call Kath Dewar on 09 973 0960 or please get in touch.