Written by
John Gibb

Programme for elders celebrated

Published on Mar 01, 2021

Māori elders recently gathered at the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum to celebrate a new strength and balance exercise programme for people over 55.

Dunedin kaumātua (elders, from left) Anne Robertson, Ōtākou ūpoko (head) Edward Ellison, project leader Katrina Bryant, Eva Ruru and Mere Montgomery at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum recently. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON


The Taurite Tū programme was developed through a project team led by University of Otago physiotherapist Katrina Bryant over the past three years.

At Friday’s event, Māori kaumātua (elders) crossed the red carpet and were the first to see a three-minute promotional video — in which they all appeared — about the programme.

Ōtākou ūpoko (head) Edward Ellison suggested improving the falls risk about 10 years ago, and last week said Ms Bryant had done a "great job".

The programme had helped kaumātua improve both their physical and mental health, and they enjoyed taking part.

The project was launched at the Ōtākou Marae in early 2019, and participants received a health assessment, and a strength and balance-based programme was designed for their needs.

The joint initiative was driven by Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou, and funded by the Health Research Council.

Ms Bryant said the programme for ageing Māori had been developed with support from Otago University and its School of Physiotherapy, and the Steady as You Go programme.

About 50 kaumātua (elders) took part.

The exercises focused on leg strength, in particular, with the aim of helping people maintain good mobility and balance as they grew older.

Ms Bryant, a university professional practice fellow, and other researchers were excited about the "celebration of what we have achieved over the past three years".

The ACC had identified falls for Māori kaumātua as a health issue that had inequitable health outcomes for Maori, she said.

Reported by Otago Daily Times.