16 Apr 2012

Marae activity may help ageing Maori - study

8:00 pm on 16 April 2012

Maori elders who spend much of their time running their marae appear to have better health and are happier in life than those who don't, say Auckland University researchers.

A study which began in 2010, Life and Living in Advanced Age, has been tracking the lives of more than 400 tangata whenua aged between 80 and 90 years old.

People from the Bay of Plenty region, living in places such as Tauranga, Rotorua Whakatane, Opotiki and Te Kaha, are being tracked for a minimum of five years.

A key researcher in the study, Professor Ngaire Kerse, says quality of life is measured in areas such as satisfaction of life and general health.

Engaging in traditional customs has already been shown to add value to life, compared to people in the same age who do not frequently go to a pa, says Professor Kerse.

Preliminary findings of the cohort study include the usefulness of food and company as predictors of successful ageing and detailed food records are being collected help understand health risks related to nutrition.