Dementia researchers hope work at the country's first Dementia Prevention Research Clinic will find a way to slow down the disease.
The Auckland clinic was officially opened this week and is the first of several throughout the country, as part of the almost $30 million Centre of Research Excellence.
Brain Research New Zealand co-director Richard Faull said dementia affected about 53,000 New Zealanders.
He said the clinic would study up to a thousand people in the early stages of the disease.
"Using experts from both doctors, the psychologists, as well as scientists in the lab who look at the bloods and examine it for markers, to see if we can really slow down the progression of the disease. It's quite a complex research project, but we are going to have a longitudinal study that will start, and then for on for years."
Professor Faull said the research will help identify the causes, treatment and prevention of dementia.