Never2old - Interdisciplinary Research

The never2old Interdisciplinary Research Group conducts research to improve the quality of life and lifespan for ageing adults.

Research goals

  • Encourage physical activity, community connections and a sense of purpose for older adults.
  • Support the presence and visibility of older adults as significant, contributing individuals and community members.
  • Facilitate ties between communities and Whānau, respecting elders and the sharing of their stories.
  • Collaborate and educate with stakeholders, such as exercise instructors and programme leaders.

Research activities

Steph Clout (PhD student): The lived experiences of maturing New Zealand women who participate in adult recreational ballet classes.

Kyra Seiler (Masters student): Physiological comparison of eccentric vs concentric upper-body cycling at light-moderate intensity in older adults.

Kelvin Tait (Masters student): Narrative and systematic literature review on the effects of inclined treadmill walking on fall risk prevention and well-being in older adults.

  • Lead: Kaushik Talukdar: Understanding the association between physical activity patterns using machine learning, wellbeing and risk of falls in the older population in New Zealand.
  • Co-Lead: Richard Wright: Unforgettable: an evaluation of stakeholder attitudes and expectations around the establishing a self-sustainable Sporting Memories network in Aotearoa New Zealand (with Kay Shannon, ACAA).
  • Lead: Richard Wright: Masters of their universe: assessing the psycho-social health benefits of running reminiscence and recreational therapy sessions for older athletes living with career-ending injuries and illness.
  • Co-lead: Luigi: Development of Guidelines for Gym Facilities in Retirement Village.
  • Lead: Jennifer Nikolai: Shared storytelling; an intergenerational community project through making games and play. A shared experience between older adults and youth A shared experience between older adults and tamariki (Manukau, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland).

Associate Professor Jennifer Nikolai  - ORCID:0000-0003-2921-5833

Jennifer Nikolai (PhD) is an Associate Professor, contemporary dance practitioner and performance studies scholar. Her research spans mobile camera improvisation, motion capture and Virtual Reality, as well as learning and teaching research in a range of contexts including physical activity, health, well-being, and dancing as we age.

Jennifer lectures and supervises Postgraduate research in the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences and Design and Creative Technologies at AUT, Auckland, New Zealand.

Current Outputs:

Markula, P., Jeffrey, A., Nikolai, J., & Deol, S. Becoming an affirmative community: mature dancers’ experiences in an age-aware contemporary dance class. In Burridge, S., & Svendler Nielsen, C. (Eds.). (2023). Dance On!: Dancing through Life (1st ed.).

Nikolai, J. (2022). Move: Durational dance-making as we age. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 4. doi:10.3389/fspor.2022.795526

Nikolai, J., & Markula, P. (2021). Aging, Memory, and Camera: Immersive Choreography Between Live and Digital Improvisation and Performance With the Camera-Dancer Dyad. In D. Owen (Ed.), Digital Performance in Canada, New Essays on Canadian Theatre Vol. 11. Ontario, Canada: Playwrights Canada Press.

Nikolai, J., Markula, P., Deol, S., & Jeffrey, A. (2021). Challenging the brain and the body: Mature dancers’ experiences in an age-aware contemporary dance class. In Healthy Dancer Canada Virtual Conference: Access, Adapt, Advance: Finding our way forward together. Toronto: Healthy Dancer Canada. Retrieved from

Future projects:

  1. Shared storytelling; an intergenerational community project through making games and play. A shared experience between older adults and youth A shared experience between older adults and tamariki (in Manukau, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland).  Purpose: Connecting Whānau; older adults storytelling with younger family members through music, dance, drawing and telling stories via shared legacy games. This intergenerational, community project holds purpose in the perceived goals and benefits of learning through play and legacy games; between old and young (Fitzpatrick, 2013). The community project aims to invite and engage members of the Manukau region, through shared storytelling experiences based on memories of legacy games through family ties and childhood.
  2. Book launch: Pirkko Markula and I have co-published a book chapter resulting from our previous 2019-2022 research collaborations. The release of Dance On! Dancing through Life ( initiates a book launch/research and performance event we will host with Routledge in January 2024. Purpose: The book launch will also exhibit a range of older adults’ dance projects and pieces supporting dance in and around Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

Dr Luigi Bercades - ORCID: 000-0002-3558-8110

Luigi Bercades (PhD) is a lecturer and a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS). His past research has focused on martial arts, combat sports, physical fitness, and kinanthropometry. He is currently focusing on research on enhancing the quality of life of special populations, particularly older adults and individuals who identify with disabilities.

Luigi lectures and supervises Undergraduate and Postgraduate students in The Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences at AUT, Auckland, New Zealand.

Current Output:

Bercades, L. T., Oldham, A. R. H., Lorimer, A., Lenetsky, S., Millar, S. K., & Sheerin, K. (2023). Experiential knowledge of expert coaches on the critical performance factors of the taekwondo roundhouse kick. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 18(3), 668–686.

Future projects:

  1. The expert knowledge of veteran N2O instructors. Purpose: To inform the Never2Old programme and instructor’s course, as well as uncover potential research questions that are meaningful to the stakeholders in this area.
  2. Critical discourse analysis of fitness instructors' communication with older adults: Understanding language, power, and inclusivity. Collaboration with Dr. Chien Ju Ting. Purpose: Supporting fitness professionals to enhance communication for better client retention and health outcomes in older adult fitness programmes.
  3. Barriers to participation in physical activity: A cross-cultural comparison. Collaboration with Dr. Lucille Montes of De La Salle University, Philippines. Purpose: Collecting the thoughts and feelings of elderly members of Māori, Pasifika, and Filipino communities with the goal of guiding the marketing efforts of exercise programmes for the elderly, including the N2O programme.

Our people