A north Waikato marae is using kapa haka as a way for its members to keep fit and prevent them from getting diabetes.
The Ngati Tamaoho Trust is using a $10,000 grant from the Medibank Community Fund to run weekly kapa haka sessions for members of its hapu that live between Mercer and Papakura.
Awamarahi Marae group co-ordinator Hero Potini said kapa haka provides a good physical workout for people of all ages and all fitness levels.
Mr Potini said marae descendants were concerned about members eating unhealthy food which contributed to some getting diabetes.
He said his hapu was seeing too many of its people from the young to kaumatua die because they were not looking after themselves.
They looked at ways people could be encouraged to do exercise in a fun way and kapa haka fit the bill. Marae members were also given healthy recipes to cook at home.
Hero Potini says he also inspired by the Maori proverb: Tama Tu Tama Ora, Tama Noho Tama Mate - An active person will remain healthy, while a lazy one will become sick.