Māori and Pacific health app trial underway

Toi Tangata is proud to be working on a project to trial a Māori and Pacific health app. The app takes a holistic view of health and is aimed not only at individuals but also encourages whānau and communities to work together to improve health and reduce non-communicable disease.

A healthy lifestyle app developed for Māori and Pasifika people is being trialled and could be rolled out nationally next year.

Ol@-Or@ is a mobile app and website co-designed by Toi Tangata, the Fono Health & Social Services, South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services and staff at three New Zealand universities.

It aims to help individuals, whānau and communities to become healthier and reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

The National Institute for Health Innovation is facilitating the project. NIHI project manager Jacqui Grey says co-design of the Ol@-Or@ tool was hugely important and end users and communities were involved from the very start of the project.

Feedback revealed that it was important for the app to have a holistic view of health, including not just physical but mental, social, spiritual and family health.

Users can add friends and family, upload a profile photo, join exercise and community groups, set health goals and track life and health progress.

It also incorporates user-generated content, allowing the community to upload content like activities, healthy recipes and exercise groups.

Toi Tangata Co-design specialist for Ol@ Or@, Crystal Pekepo explains “this mHealth kaupapa allows you to not only set individual goals, but also set goals as a community or whānau. So for example rather than one person having a goal of 10,000 steps a day, you might be a whānau of five and have a goal of 50,000 steps a day collectively.”

Users can invite family members, whānau and friends to join them in achieving their goals. Larger goals sit alongside smaller “footsteps,” small achievable tasks aimed at getting users to their ultimate goals.

Toi Tangata CEO, Megan Tunks, believes this is “a tool with huge potential for Māori communities who want to connect and share their hauora journey with friends and whānau. There is a vast amount of research that has found that simply by tracking our health – using a fitness tracker, for example – we’re more likely to achieve health goals such as getting fitter or increasing physical activity time.”

“There is really good behavioural research to show that writing down or tracking health goals helps motivate people and encourages behaviour change, and that can lead to better results,” says Megan Tunks

The programme will be evaluated in a cluster randomised trial and, if successful, could be rolled out nationally from 2019. Grey says they are hoping to recruit 1000 Māori and 1000 Pasifika people.

Trial participants are still needed. If you are interested, email layla@toitangata.co.nz

Poster       Brochure