A rapid rise of more than 500 Crossfit athletes competing at the 2TOA Aotearoa CrossFit event in Rotorua has prompted a call for more financial support for the sport.
Munroe Waerea from Crossfit Rotorua has run the competition for three consecutive years. Each year he has welcomed around 100 new athletes to the competition.
“We've got the core, we've got the heart, we've got the know-how. But if we got that funding it could make this event a whole lot more professional," he says.
The Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Porou descendant says gym owners are relied on to organise CrossFit competitions in New Zealand alone, without official funding.
“Then with that, it’s pretty much who they know within their own facilities to chip in here and there, he says.
"I mean you take a look around and see what we can create just from our own whānau. This is what we've done, and it's getting bigger and bigger.”
Waerea says more than three-quarters of athletes competing in the event this weekend are Māori. They have teamed up in pairs of the same gender, from teens as young as 14, beginner level athletes, intermediate, advanced, RX and Masters athletes up to the age of 60.
The name 2TOA translates to two-person strength, therefore testing the strength of both partners and how well they work in a team.
Waerea says plans are in place to host an international CrossFit competition in New Zealand but to do so they are calling for more support from government-owned agency, Sport New Zealand.
Ground manager Kererua Savage of Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau and Ngāti Awa, says funding could go towards coaching and making sure facilities are fit for purpose.
“Also helping out with the competition calendar, a lot of resources for people on the ground for local heroes like Munz Waerea that's put together CrossFit Rotorua.”
Waerea says Māori athletes enjoy the competitive aspect and the discipline.
“I think Māori love those things. So heavy lifting, gymnastics. You know we get to have a tutu with all those things.”
Head judge Lawrence Norton, of Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Tūhoe, says a lot of Māori get involved in Crossfit, “and naturally we can move a lot of weight around.”
The competition will run until Sunday.