Toi Ako Webinar: Emerald Muriwai

Toi Ako Webinar: Emerald Muriwai

Exercising Hauora: Māori perspectives on maintaining wellbeing through physical activity 

Indigenous peoples have long been physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially strong and resilient peoples. In Aotearoa (New Zealand), a deficit narrative of physical health and emotional wellbeing has been associated with Māori in spite of our established connection with physical activity. 

Exercising Hauora is a Health Research of New Zealand doctoral funded study, investigating perspectives of Māori who have roles in the health sector and fitness industry. The study investigates the roles Māori play in uplifting wellbeing, specifically mental wellbeing, through exercise and physical activity. The study follows a Kaupapa Māori methodology, embedded in a “for us, by us” approach. The study takes a critical lens with a commitment to indigenous data sovereignty and decolonisation. 

I will discuss the diverse roles Māori occupy across the health sector and fitness industry and discuss our understanding of what constitutes a “health professional”. I will also discuss the challenging interface whānau face in accessing ways to uplift hauora due to limitations in accessibility and funding towards kaupapa which capture our physical, mental, social and spiritual needs. I will draw on data from my first study, an online survey investigating the successful contributions Māori make in their exercise-related work (N = 90).  I will also draw on data from my second study, which illuminates the voice of Māori health practitioners, athletes, coaches, trainers and community. Ultimately, the kaupapa is to bring forth kōrero from Māori who have otherwise been overlooked or excluded in research and recognise the many strengths we already have within to promote positive hauora.