Māori and Pasifika groups co-design healthy lifestyle app

Māori and Pasifika communities have co-designed a mobile health tool to help Kiwis become healthier and reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Screenshot of the [email protected] [email protected] app homepage

[email protected] [email protected] is a healthy lifestyle support tool that consists of a smartphone app and website. The idea is to set goals and invite whānau and friends to join users on their journey to achieve positive lifestyle improvements.

[email protected] [email protected] includes healthy eating and physical activity tools to support people with making behaviour changes and provides regular motivational messages and tips.

The project is funded by the Healthier Lives He Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge.


It has been developed using an innovative ‘co-design’ approach, meaning the communities it is designed to serve have been involved right through the design process.

The National Institute for Health Innovation facilitates the project, which is co-designed by Toi Tangata, the Fono Health & Social Services, South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services and staff at three New Zealand universities.

The project team held a series of focus groups, hui and fono to design the direction and content of the app and website.

Cultural relevance 

The Māori version of the app includes a ‘kai’ section, with a sub-section on ‘kai ā ngā atua’ (food of the gods). Clicking on this reveals stories of the atua with information around food broken down under each god.

Rongomataāne (atua of cultivated food) has information on building a maara kai (vegetable garden), seasonal food and affordable produce.

Tangaroa (atua of the sea) has information on seafood and the tikanga around water safety and collecting seafood (kaimoana), Haumietiketike (atua of wild foods) has the tikanga and information about local markets.

The app incorporates user-generated content, allowing the community to upload content like activities, healthy recipes and exercise groups.

In the Māori app, users can choose from a waka or whare for their welcome page. The Pasifika version features a vaka.

The trial

The effectiveness of [email protected] [email protected] is being evaluated using a cluster randomised trial design, involving 1000 Maori and 1000 Pasifika participants.

Clusters are randomly assigned to either the mHealth tool (intervention condition) or a simplified version of the tool which only collects data (control condition).

Participants in the intervention clusters use the tool for 12 weeks and participants in control clusters will be able to use the tool after the 12-week intervention period.

If successful, [email protected] [email protected] could be rolled out nationally from 2019.


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