Patu Aotearoa

Patu Aotearoa

Below is a case study from a New Zealand Social Enterprise. To learn more about Patu Aotearoa, visit their website.

Who are Patu Aotearoa?

Patu Aotearoa is a new initiative to engage with whanau and decrease inactivity rates in New Zealand in particular Maori and Pacific Islanders.

The programme is delivered by Maori, for Maori, using Te Ao Maori concepts.

What Problem Are They Trying to Solve?

In New Zealand, 1.2 million adults (almost one in three) are obese.  The statistics for Maori are even more concerning, with 48% of Maori adults being obese.  Maori are 2.1 times as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Maori.

The estimated cost of overweight New Zealanders over the next decade is $8 billion.  In 2006 the cost of obesity related health care amounted to $624 million, or 4.4 percent of New Zealand’s health care expenditure.  The cost of lost productivity through absenteeism, premature death, or recruitment and training of replacement staff was estimated to be up to $225 million.

How Does Their Model Work?

After working together as personal trainers at a local gym, founders Levi Armstrong and Jackson Waerea decided to establish a group exercise programme with a difference. Patu provides affordable group-based workouts incorporating Te atuatanga, Te reo, and Maori culture, supplemented by nutritional education.  The Patu programme is designed to make whanau feel united in their efforts to make healthier choices, feel cared for and have fun while working out.  By instilling this sense of community, whanau are more likely to create sustainable exercise habits. The Patu programme is delivered by Maori, for Maori, using Te Ao Maori concepts and offered to workplaces, schools, and marae via a team of mobile trainers.

Patu aims to maximise impact by providing these services in areas with the most need, rather than going to the most commercially viable areas. Patu keeps fees low to make sure their services are available to low socio-economic groups, which are the groups most in need. Patu hires from within local communities, helping whanau to gain qualifications in the health and fitness industry and creating employment.

Patu’s revenue comes from charging users for the goods and services it provides.  It also hopes to create partnerships with sponsors or enter into a contract for outcomes with government to keep costs down for whanau and so make the services as accessible as possible.

The average cost to the taxpayer for each obese person is $740 per year – for obesity related health costs alone.  The cost of each person with diabetes is $2800. It costs Patu $700 per whanau member per year to fight obesity and obesity related health problems, while creating multiple other benefits for Maori communities.

What's Their Scale and Impact?

Patu has started expanding into a number of areas where access to health and fitness services is limited (Hokianga, Wairoa, Napier).  Patu has also developed a free app, which incorporates the same Maori cultural elements, and takes whanau through a workout anywhere in New Zealand. The “Patu Crate” – an affordable crate containing basic gym equipment, can supplement the app.

Patu will also help whanau in other at risk communities to gain NZQA qualifications in health and fitness.  This may lead to employment as a Patu instructor and help to carry the Patu model around New Zealand to create maximum impact.

How Can You Get Involved?

Patu Aotearoa is hoping to be implemented nationally and share the Patu programme especially in urban environments to support Maori to achieve their maximum health and wellbeing.

Patu Accelerator Programme

The Patu Accelerator Programme is about getting the Maori Nation moving.  This is a new initiative to help Maori entrepreneurs set up a Patu site in their community. The teams have been selected and will be working in Gisborne, Whakatane, Tauranga, Kaikohe, Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Hamilton, Porirua, Waipukurau, Blenheim, and Christchurch.

This intensive accelerator gives teams the benefits of support, coaching and training from a dedicated team of professionals and social enterprise. The programme is designed to take ordinary whanau and turn them into tested, investment-ready social enterprises that will have a big impact on our nation.

The programme offers teams the opportunity to learn about the business skills needed to develop and run a successful Patu Site. They have access to start-up training, mentoring and leadership coaching and learn how to use business innovation processes to build a sustainable business model, covering Lean Startup, business modelling, strategy, finance, sales and marketing.

Teams will also benefit from a fitness training component where they will gain expert knowledge in running a physical activity programme for whanau, nutrition, health and safety, measuring impact and more. Teams can also achieve unit standards along the way if they do not have a qualification.

Want to find out more?

Check out Patu Aotearoa’s website.

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