The fitness gym is an avenue where people pursue their health and well-being aspirations. In Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori have similar rates of physical activity to non-Māori; however, it is unclear how many Māori access the fitness gym. At the time of undertaking the research reported in this article, the lead author was a health advisor at a fitness gym within a Māori health provider whilst completing his Master of Physical Education. He was interested in examining whether a Kaupapa Māori gym was possible.
This article explores and expands the discourse around the whare tapa whā which has been depicted in New Zealand curricula and in educational literature as a contemporary Māori model of health, as a Māori perspective of health, as a Māori philosophy of hauora and as a four-sided meeting house.
Type-2 diabetes and other illnesses associated with a sedentary lifestyle have a high prevalence among Māori. While the application of knowledge from exercise physiology, a specific discipline of the health sciences, could be used to enhance Māori health aspirations, Māori-led research in this field is relatively uncommon. Exercise physiology seeks to understand physical performance and the relationships between fitness, body composition, health and illness. Rarely have the key tenets of exercise physiology been applied to Māori populations.
Recruitment and retention of participants in longitudinal studies relies on systems that support the participants throughout the research, and ensures high quality data management and protection. In addition, working with indigenous communities and participants requires specific processes that are informed by indigenous knowledge and understandings of the constituent properties underlying “good” and ethical research practice.