Health Communities

Leader:  Associate Professor Rachael Walker 

The ‘One Welfare’ project recognises that human wellbeing, animal welfare, and the environment are all interconnected.

Within this framework falls AP Rachel Forrest’s Healthy Communities research focus, including Patu Pets.

Patu Aotearoa, established initially in Hawke’s Bay by Levi Armstrong, an EIT graduate, runs gyms nationwide that combine group exercise and healthy lifestyle education with te reo me ōna tikanga Māori (Māori language and culture).

The philosophy around Patu Aoteraoa is whanaungatanga or connectedness. Rather than ‘members’, those attending are whānau and working together to support each other to achieve positive lifestyle changes, is the ethos and kaupapa.

Exploring ways to extend this holistic wellbeing, Rachel and the EIT team extended its research from the whānau – providing longitudinal data to help meet funder expectations – to the furry whānau.

EIT Centre of Veterinary Nursing staff and students carried out the pet checks. At the same sessions, EIT Bachelor of Recreation and Sport, and Bachelor of Nursing staff and students helped with the human weigh-in and data collection.

A national survey is being developed by the EIT research team to further explore attitudes towards animal welfare issues and factors influencing them.