Dr. Justin Ihirangi Heke is currently a Maori health & physical activity consultant involved in a number of projects ranging from community based initiatives aimed at increasing physical activity to working in applied roles with elite athletes as both a sport psychologist and strength/conditioner.
Previously he has held lecturing roles in the School of Physical Education at the University of Otago, the University of Hawaii at Hilo and the Wananga o Raukawa. Dr Heke is also a consultant to the New Zealand Academy of Sport delivering to several national sporting bodies including; Motorsport New Zealand, Cycling New Zealand, Motorcycling New Zealand and New Zealand Swimming Federation.
Dr. Heke strongly believes it is time we reassessed health promotion strategies for indigenous communities. More specifically, the messages and strategies used to motivate indigenous communities are based in non-indigenous paradigms and hence are destined to fail due to a lack of social validity.
He also believes a continued focus on the deficits of indigenous health alone has not and will not be enough to improve health or increase physical activity.
The rationale will provide an alternative to the current national Maori health framework with a strength-based, culturally appropriate system using among other things; atuatanga (environmentally based information), Kaitiakitanga (indigenous role models) and Tipua (esoteric knowledge).