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Doing what's important: Valued activities for older New Zealand Māori and non-Māori


Dr Valerie A Wright-St Clair, School of Rehabilitation and Occupation Studies, AUT University. Email:


Aim:  This project explored the usability of the World Health Organisation, International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) for describing older Māori and non-Māori people's self-nominated important activities.

Method:  Within a feasibility-for-cohort study, 112 participants, 33 Māori, aged 75–79 years, and 79 non-Māori, aged 85 years, nominated their three most important activities. Verbatim responses were coded using the ICF classifications and described using non-parametric statistics.

Results:  Men and women mostly named domestic life, interpersonal relationships and recreation and leisure activities. While Māori frequently named extended family relationship activities as being most important, non-Māori named more recreation and leisure activities.

Conclusions:  The ICF is useful for classifying older New Zealanders' important activities, although some activities of older Māori were not specified in the original version used. While important activity patterns were similar for men and women, those related to ancestral connectivity and community collectivity were most important for Māori.