Aim: This article presents results from an evaluation of a Māori obesity prevention initiative, Te Kahui Whai Ora—Healthy Lifestyles & Tamariki Programme, and questions whether the use of children as agents of change in health-promotion activity is best practice for Māori health promotion.
Methods: Health promotion programme evaluation collected information on the activities, characteristics, context and impact of the programme. We report on data from document reviews and from interviews with 24 programme participants.
There has been a growing trend in New Zealand/Aotearoa for health research involving Māori (the indigenous people) to be conducted in partnership with Māori communities, iwi (tribes), hapū (sub-tribes) and whānau (extended families). Achieving excellence in indigenous health research which meets the standards both of the indigenous communities who partner in the research and the standards set by the academy, is often a complex and demanding objective.
The major reforms in the New Zealand health sector during the 1990s resulted in a burgeoning in the numbers of Māori health providers, many of whom worked in the area of mental health. Occurring alongside these health reforms was an increased concern with public accountability and interest in measuring the performance of Crown (New Zealand Government) agencies. During 2001–2004, research was undertaken that sought to understand the mental health contracting experience from the point of view of Māori health providers.