We examined the importance of understanding and incorporating cultural context within Aotearoa/New Zealand when engaging in clinical research and practice. This paper reports on the qualitative findings of a mixed methods study aimed at determining what effect a cardiac risk reduction exercise and lifestyle management programme, embedded within a kaupapa Māori methodological approach, had on Māori participants. This methodology saw participants able to redevelop a western model cardiac risk reduction programme by introducing a Māori worldview. Our study revealed how the kaupapa Māori approach empowered participants to examine and evaluate not only their own health and lifestyle choices, but those of family and the wider community. Combining biomedical and kaupapa Māori components into the programme was found to benefit participants’ mental, physical, spiritual and family well-being.

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