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Kia tere: Kia kakama - Sharing action and innovation that accelerate performance and/or improvements in Māori health  Fighting for Māori Health: The PATU© initiative.

Levi Armstrong1, Rachel Forrest2, Ariana Stockdale-Frost2, Lee-Anne Taylor 2, Sue Chapman2

1PATU© Aotearoa; 2Eastern Institute of Technology, Hawke’s Bay


(1) Objectives

To fight the war against obesity and other Māori health issues by reducing inactivity and getting Māori moving through an innovative approach to group exercise; To create an identity that whanau can affiliate with by weaving Te Ao Māori through the programme and creating an urban marae which emphasises whānau ora ; To engage and connect to whānau utilising the tools of the “techno savvy” era; To evaluate the PATU© programme using culturally appropriate contemporary research tools and evaluate the potential for national implementation.


(2) Design:

The PATU© programme evolved in response to the need for a whānau approach to exercise. The underlining concept was to create an urban marae. The branding associated with the PATU© programme was important in creating a strong sense of identity and purpose. The PATU brand was appropriate as the patu is a weapon used by Māori warriors to attack and hit the enemy and to protect whanau, while the exercise programme was based on high intensity training (HIT).  

Evaluation of the programme has three phases. In phase one the PATU whānau was asked what and how they would like to be evaluated so that culturally appropriate, methodically sound, and contemporary research tools could be developed. Phase two will use these tools to evaluate the PATU© programme. The protocols employed for this will be dependent upon the format of the tools developed. In phase three feedback will be sought from the participants about the evaluation process.

(3) Population Studied: 

National health statistics identified the need for an innovate approach to Māori health. The PATU© programme is currently based locally in the Hawke’s Bay. Several representative groups from the PATU© whānau have been interviewed: rangatahi, wāhine toa, tama-tū-tama ora and a workplace group.


(4) Principal Findings

That Māori align themselves well with the PATU© branding. The PATU© programme provides its whānau a sense of belonging and identity which affirms self-belief and mana. Those attending connect with the concept of the warrior and protecting whānau. PATU© is perceived as a positive “gang” fighting a war against Māori health issues.


PATU© participants see tangible health results and the HIT approach was embraced by participants who liked that it was a fun, short, high intensity workout that they could fit into their schedule. The participants achieved “real” results in a relatively short amount of time.


PATU© trains up trainers and builds up leadership creating employment opportunities pin the local Māori community, while also ensuring the sustainability of the PATU© Programme.


(5) Conclusions

The PATU© programme is about re-defining the warrior and the enemy (health issues) and in doing so transforms individual lifestyles, families and communities. The whānau emphasis of tikanga Māori traditions provide an important ‘adherence’ dimension to the PATU© programme.


(6) Implications for Policy or Practice.

He Korowai Oranga (the Māori Health Strategy) acknowledges that Māori families need to be supported to achieve their maximum health and wellbeing. The PATU© Programme impacts local communities by challenging individuals to take responsibility for the health and well-being of whānau, hapū, Iwi. National implementation and sharing of the PATU© programme especially in urban environments would therefore support this strategy.