Emma was a Deputy Director at Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga 2016 to 2018 and now leads a research project. She is also the Director of Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora Māori o Ngāi Tahu (Ngāi Tahu Māori Health Research Unit) and a Lecturer in Māori Health, both in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago.
Emma has a range of research interests within the field of hauora Māori. She currently holds a Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) Emerging Researcher First Grant (2014–2017) entitled Maori Disability Outcomes: Pathways and Experiences After Injury. She is a former HRC Eru Pōmare Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and a Co-Investigator (Māori Health) in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, a longitudinal study of 1,037 babies born in Dunedin during 1972–1973.