New Zealand obesity rates - particularly those amongst Maori and Pasifika - have surged in recent years. Patu Aotearoa is a group exercise programme designed specifically for Maori and Pasifika that aims to inspire whanau to lead more active, healthy and enriching lives while reducing inactivity rates and waistlines.
Led by a passionate team of health and fitness enthusiasts, Patu Aotearoa is delivered by Maori, for Maori, using Te Ao Maori concepts and incorporates Maori language and tikanga or customs. The programme is offered to workplaces, schools and marae via a team of mobile trainers. "Working out together as a group is so much more motivating than working out individually, particularly for Maori, as we are all here for the same kaupapa or reason."
By taking exercise to people, the programme's directors say Patu Aotearoa has been able to reach people who find it difficult to attend a gym, and offer programmes in places where they are more comfortable.
The team also have developed a mobile app for the wider Hastings region for people to download and use at their convenience and they aim to establish a nationwide franchise model of programmes allowing for a number of satellite regional gyms to be opened as a way to extend their reach and positive community impact.
With the assistance of Launchpad Patu Aotearoa aims build its franchise model and establish a number of NZQA accredited courses in health and fitness that will provide employment opportunities for community leaders.