Dr Ihirangi Heke

Dr. Ihi Heke (Waikato/Tainui) is currently a health & physical education consultant involved in a number of national and international projects. He has been working with Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) where he was funded by the Global Obesity Prevention Centre to conduct a study using traditional indigenous health approaches alongside Systems Dynamics. Dr Heke is also working with Washington University (St Louis) in the development of training programmes utilising Social Group Model building from indigenous and non-indigenous perspectives.

Dr Heke is also an honorary research fellow to the University of Auckland and previously held roles in Physical Education at the University of Otago and Prince Sultan University. He is an elite athlete performance consultant to New Zealand Sport and has worked in disciplines ranging from the traditional netball and rugby to the more contemporary interests of golf and motorsports.

Dr Heke recently wrote the Atua Matua Māori Health Framework that has been gaining recognition globally in Japan, Ireland, Canada and the US. Locally, international development of the Atua Matua approach has been used by the Ministry of Education as a review of the hauora curriculum, by the Ministry of Health – Healthy Families New Zealand, Auckland Regional Council, Toi Tangata, Te Papa Takaro o Te Arawa Te Kura Kaupapa o Kaikohe and Te Aitanga a Hauiti Hauora. Dr Heke is a strong supporter of mountain and river connections that can be converted into traditional physical activity and training opportunities suggesting that gains in health can be incidental outcomes that begin with connections to rivers and mountains.

PRESENTATION: Where Systems Dynamics meets Māori Knowledge: Pre-European and Contemporary Māori Nutrition and Physical Activity Place-Based Virtual Training Tours

This presentation showcases a number of pre-European, indigenous Māori, physical activity and nutrition-based Virtual Tours (VR) built using Google Earth, Google Tour Builder and 360-degree technology. The VR tours have been built to profile pre-European Māori environmental concepts of nutrition and physical activity as specific district related opportunities to increase contemporary physical activity and nutritional knowledge. Four models will be provided engaging with Taupo, Hauraki, Rotorua and Uawa as working examples of the potential of traditional knowledge to contribute to both mainstream and indigenous global health. In addition, the relatively recent but growing global interest in Systems Dynamics will be contrasted with traditional Maori practices to show that the fields have many surprising similarities.


  • Show the number of potential crossovers between mainstream science and traditional knowledge through Systems Dynamics and Mātauranga Māori
  • Obtain access to hitherto unknown traditional Maori practices that have been ‘missing’ for over a century
  • Exposure to leading edge innovation that can contribute to curriculum development, training programme design, place-based learning processes and initiatives to address global obesity trends.