Ioranga - Health and Physical Education

Moriori, like all other Polynesian peoples are represented in the wrong side of health statistics in New Zealand. The diet and lifestyle of modern moriori, Māori and other polynesians are not what they are genetically used to. The ancestors toiled all day, most days in pursuit of securing food and shelter for their whanau. The food selections were sugar-less and contained only minimal carbs and were focused on proteins and fats, supplemented by fibres and vegetation. Today, the malls and diaries provide cheap high-carb, hig sugar foods at a fraction of the cost of protein based food sources. Even bottled water is dearer than the same quantity of fizzy, despite the aded sugars, flavours, colours and preservatives.

Our modern, globalised world is actively feeding a diabete epidemics, across the western world and into developing countries. Our planet is being deforested and our waters ways are being filled with pollutants or drained for large-scale farming practices. We are offending Papatuanku' in ways and on a scale that even the ancestors could not have predicted.

Hokongarongaro te tchakat' toitu te henu

As man disappears from sight, the land remains.

Whilst the irony of that whakatauki will not be lost on everyone, this expression reflects the importance of Papatuank' (earth mother) to Moriori. Intrinsic to the welfare of man is the health of the land. The ancestors knew that they had to look after Papatuanuk' or she would not look after them.

This shows an awareness of health issues as well as an understanding of the complex and dependent relationship man has with mother earth.

Moriori also knew that their warriors needed to be fit and strong, to be able to undertake the dangerous and challenging expeditions to offshore islands to collect birds and seals, and to be able to brave the elements and the seas when fishing or diving. Physical ability was paramount.



The ancestors ' world.

The ancestors knew that in order to survive in the harsher conditions the Rēkohu sometimes served up, the people needed to be strong, healthy and resilient.
Even Nunuku Whenua's covenant of peace had health benefits for the larger group, gave structure to their island society and kept everyone safe. Changing societal attitudes towards warfare and killing was an amazing feat but it also ensured that the most skilful and brave warriors would be available to help seek and secure sources of food, usually leading the most daring offshore expeditions, scaling cliffs and tackling seals.
Even the old people had practices that modern man replicates unknowlingly today. If someone has fever, isolate them. Some illnesses required medicines such as the roots of the toe toe. The lack of vegetable in the diet was solved by the process developed for preparing the otherwise poisonous kopi berry for eating, once agian showing a practical knowledge of health requirements.
Young men were taught and trained to be warriors, so that they could defend themselves and their families and also confidently secure food and resources for their people.

For the ancestors of today's Moriori, having an understanding of these things was essential for their very survival.

Why learn about health and physical education?

We need to be able to reflect on our own well-being at the individual and collective level before we can hope to improve the well-being of a society. Physical education (learning about why we need to do exercise, what it does for us and the benefits to society) is as important for us today as it was for the ancestors. for them it was a means of preparedness and survival. For society today, educating akoranga about the importance of exercise may be one of the few solutions to our device-dependent youths who as a generation seem destined to suffer the price of inactivity.

Health and Physical education programmes make us individually better off and our society safer and stronger and therefore more able to survive the challenges that come our way.

According to the New Zealand Curriculum document, Health and Physical Education is about:


How is the learning area structured?

In health and physical education, the focus is on the well-being of the students themselves, of other people, and of society through learning in health-related and movement contexts.

Four underlying and interdependent concepts are at the heart of this learning area:

    • Hauora* – a Māori philosophy of well-being that includes the dimensions taha wairua, taha hinengaro, taha tinana, and taha whānau, each one influencing and supporting the others.
    • Attitudes and values – a positive, responsible attitude on the part of students to their own well-being; respect, care, and concern for other people and the environment; and a sense of social justice.
    • The socio-ecological perspective – a way of viewing and understanding the interrelationships that exist between the individual, others, and society.
    • Health promotion – a process that helps to develop and maintain supportive physical and emotional environments and that involves students in personal and collective action.


The learning activities in health and physical education arise from the integration of the four concepts above, the following four strands and their achievement objectives, and seven key areas of learning.The four strands are:

  • Personal health and physical development, in which students develop the knowledge, understandings, skills, and attitudes that they need in order to maintain and enhance their personal well-being and physical development
  • Movement concepts and motor skills, in which students develop motor skills, knowledge and understandings about movement, and positive attitudes towards physical activity
  • Relationships with other people, in which students develop understandings, skills, and attitudes that enhance their interactions and relationships with others
  • Healthy communities and environments, in which students contribute to healthy communities and environments by taking responsible and critical action.


Key Learning Areas:

The seven key areas of learning are:

  • mental health
  • sexuality education
  • food and nutrition
  • body care and physical safety
  • physical activity
  • sport studies
  • outdoor education.


All seven areas are to be included in teaching and learning programmes at both primary and secondary levels.


Note that: 

- it is expected that schools will consult with their communities when developing health and sexuality education programmes

  • - it is expected that all students will have had opportunities to learn basic aquatics skills by the end of year 6 and practical cooking skills by the end of year 8
  • - outdoor education programmes must follow safe practice and meet legal requirements.


Health and physical education encompasses three different but related subjects: health education, physical education, and home economics. These subjects share a conceptual framework and achievement objectives.


Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6 Level 7 Level 8


In health and physical education, the use of the word hauora is based on Mason Durie’s Te Whare Tapa Whā model (Durie, 1994). Hauora and well-being, though not synonyms, share much common ground. Taha wairua relates to spiritual well-being; taha hinengaro to mental and emotional well-being; taha tinana to physical well-being; and taha whānau to social well-being.

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Free Moriori Education Resources, Informtion and Unit-plans

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  Check out the NEW Settlement Unit Here >>>>>
There are some interesting differences between the settlement of Rēkohu and the settlement of New Zealand. On Rēkohu, the Europeans arrived before the Māori, but after the Moriori. Have a look, its fascinating and students are genuinely intrigued by it. This is something completely new for them and gets them away from the 'same old stuff' that some teachers tend to teach for their Treaty topics. Don't forget; you can also download the fully workable MSWord or PDF version for each unit plan and unit-plan template, for FREE. That's right! No tricks and no gimmicks: absolutely 100% FREE.
Education-resources unit-plans

Education Resources unit-plans are formed around the Key Competencies and have a Moriori perspective embedded in each one