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.
Results: Improved self-esteem in children, enhanced cultural identity, emerging youth leadership qualities, strengthening of family relationships, and positive changes to lifestyle behaviours.
Conclusions: Children can be very powerful agents of change in public health interventions; however, Māori health-promotion best practice demands that we be mindful of our responsibility to protect children and encourage healthy lifestyles in a way that empowers every member of the whānau (family). Collective effort, in conjunction with timely and appropriate stakeholder support, is necessary to reduce the burden of obesity on our population.