Taranaki whānau inspired to start hauora challenge

By Kelvin McDonald
Three-hundred whānau joined in the Taranaki Toa Mounga Tri-Series events in Opunake and Waitara.  (Photo/Supplied)

Whānau in Taranaki have been so inspired by two recent community triathlons that many are set to start an eight-week hauora challenge next week.

The Taranaki Toa Mounga triathlon events, which are inspired by the hugely popular Iron Māori endurance event in Hawke's Bay, were held in Opunake and Waitara last month. 

They saw 300 mainly Māori turn up across the two events to swim, walk, run and ride.  They ranged in age from 11 right through to an 80-year-old kaumātua. 

 

Taranaki Toa participants in the 2018 series (Photo/Supplied)

In many cases, the participants chose to join in as whānau groups in the Nganahau-ā-Uru Trust run tri-series. 

Chairperson Alf Robson says, "Kids jumped in with nans and koro, and parents joined in with them.  It's really cool to see kids join in with grandparents....moko were swimming and grandparents were doing the bike ride."

(Photo/Supplied)

Robson says triathlons are an expensive sport for whānau, especially with the cost of bikes.  The organisers of the Taranaki series deliberately sought to keep the costs down to make the events as accessible as possible.

They were also aware that events like Iron Māori were beyond the financial means of some whānau in their rohe.

"The reality is, some of our whānau can't afford [it]," says Robson, "It's a thousand dollar weekend to go over there [to Hawke's Bay]." 

That's why the local people chose to "do one in our backyard."

(Photo/Supplied)

After whānau have participated in the Taranaki Toa Mounga events, they can be so inspired that they want a fresh challenge, such as a hauora wellness challenge. 

While the tri-series is a vehicle for exercise and activity, Robson says the hauora challenge is about bringing it back to basics.

"The challenge is about keeping it simple," he says.

It's an eight-week challenge that starts on Monday and involves defining five goals to employ in maintaining a person's well-being.

Robson says one goal could, for example, be to "get off coffee", another might be to "learn a karakia to say before kai".  Others could be to "sit down for dinner with the whānau instead of watching TV, or to go for a run."

At the end of the challenge, Robson says people will do a self-reflection report. 

"They'll say what they will keep doing, what they will stop and what they will start to do," he says.

Robson says it's all about "encouraging people to have a crack" with both the tri-series and the hauora challenge.