About the ON TRACK Network

The ON TRACK Network is a national clinical trials network (CTN).

Our Network aims to improve the health and wellbeing of New Zealand mothers and babies. We connect with people from across the country who are interested in clinical trials research including midwives, obstetricians, neonatologists, nurses, researchers, hospital managers, funding agencies, policymakers and consumers - all with a shared interest in achieving better health for mothers and babies.

Te Awhi Rito

Ki te whakaaro Māori, ko te harakeke he tohu nō te whānau. Ko te rito, te tamaiti. Ka karapotia te rito e ngā awhi rito (ngā mātua) hei whakamarumaru. Ko ngā rau o waho, ko ngā tūpuna

It was important our Network has a title that reflects its culture of being inclusive of all New Zealand whānau. Te Awhi Rito comes from the flax bush concept commonly used in maternity and child health as a metaphor for whānau. The harakeke (flax) plant represents the family with the centre shoot being the child. It is surrounded by the awhi rito (the parents) as protection. The outside leaves represent the grandparents and ancestors.

Our values

  • Excellence and innovationWhaia te iti kahurangi
  • Collaboration and cooperation "Naku te rourou, nau te rourou
  • RespectAwhi mai, awhi atu
  • New Zealand focusAronga Aotearoa
  • Inclusivity and supportHe waka eke noa
  • Sustainability and future investmentHutia te rito te harakeke
  • AccountabilityI runga te tika, te pono


The ON TRACK Network was established in 2016 following a nationwide multidisciplinary feasibility study. It is currently funded by a University of Auckland Strategic Research Initiatives Fund five-year grant and is overseen by a National Executive Committee. This committee is representative of the disciplines within maternal and perinatal health and the geographical areas of New Zealand and includes consumer representation. To date, 18 of 20 District Health Boards are committed to the Network with nominated Site Network Leaders. All of the Network's activities are underpinned by three strategic pillars as outlined in the Network's current strategic plan.

Strategic pillars

  • Identify priority research questions for New Zealanders in maternal and perinatal health.
  • Facilitate the establishment and effective integration of multicentre clinical trials in maternal and perinatal health at all New Zealand sites.
  • Facilitate the dissemination and timely implementation of research into clinical practice to raise the profile of evidence-based practice, increase the knowledge-base of local practitioners and enhance the quality of care received by women and babies nationwide.

Our activities

We perform the following core activities:

  • Connect people to facilitate the design and set up of clinical trials recruiting mothers and babies across New Zealand hospitals and birthing units.
  • Host annual Clinical Trial Development workshops to help transform trial ideas into clinical trial protocols suitable for funding applications.
  • Encourage and support hospitals and birthing units that have never been involved with research to come on board with New Zealand clinical trials recruiting mothers and babies.
  • Coordinate the Forum for Women & Whānau to help ensure that the activities and clinical trials supported by the ON TRACK Network remain highly relevant, focused and cohesive.
  • Publish monthly newsletters for healthcare professionals and researchers nation-wide covering clinical trials news, publications, opportunities, update your practice pieces and guideline developments.
  • Publish quarterly Forum for Women & Whānau newsletters to encourage consumer engagement with the Forum, Network activities and clinical trials research.
  • Provide educational site visits across New Zealand to facilitate continual learning, for energising clinical trials research and updating best clinical practice across all hospitals and birthing units.
  • Attend national and international conferences to promote New Zealand clinical trials research for better health of mothers and babies and to share learnings and enhance collaboration.

Our objectives

In addition to core activities, each year we identify specific objectives to ensure we are meeting key performance indicators set out in our Network’s strategic plan. Objectives are set in consultation with our National Executive Committee and are agreed with the Steering Group.