A local volunteer fitness programme has attracted huge interest from locals looking to get fit and churning out top young talent.
Pou Hākinakina ō Otangarei is a fitness programme run by Te Hau āwhiowhio ō Otangarei Trust after youth service co-ordinator, Marcelle Kaipo identified a gap in the market for those not confident in getting back into exercise. Kaipo said they want to springboard people into gaining momentum with excercise and inspire others to get the fitness bug.
“The foundations for Hākinakina are removing the blocks that stop people from being more active. So if finances are a block, we remove that by charging a dollar. The other thing that stops people is kids. People can’t train because they have their kids.
“We say, bring your kids to the gym and your kids can run around while you train. The other thing is image. Most of these people that come are just getting back into their fitness so we have removed all mirrors. Confidence is a big thing for them, its just about being there for yourself and everyone is there to support.”
Local mother of two, Chloe Graham-Stewart said she started at Hākinakina at a time when she was feeling self-conscious about her body and struggling to find motivation to change.
“I worked up the courage to go to the 9am class and was immediately at ease due to the relaxed welcoming atmosphere. By the end of it I was tired, sweaty and feeling great about myself and my efforts,” she said.
Hakinakina body weighted circuit training class in action at City rugby club.
Hākinakina implements a range of training techniques including body weighted circuit training, walking groups, boxing , spin classes, kickboxing and the popular “Zuu” was recently introduced by Australian based local, Moea Niha. Kaipo said he wants to move clients to a stage where they are prepared with the basic foundations and confidence to enter a proper gym.
“We also aim for local events as targets, our latest event was the beach to basin and we are looking at The Beast in July and we have a number of people interested in Iron Māori. It’s all about goal setting and participation,” he said.
There are currently three programmes on offer; whanau fitness, womens fitness and the extremely successful, champions programme aimed at under 14 year-olds.
Switching up the training by moving outdoors for a session.
The champions programme was set up to assist young athletes with extra training outside of their regular sports coaching sessions. Kaipo’s 11 year old nephew Tre-zhan was struggling to find a place to get extra kickboxing training in during winter after being turned away from multiple gyms. That’s when Kaipo realised there was a big issue out there that kids were being faced with.
“We went to every single gym in town and all of them turned us down because of health and safety regulations around having under 16 year olds in gyms. I thought, I bet he’s not the only one. What’s more unsafe? An 11 year old out running 5km on a wet winter’s morning when it’s dead dark or him being supervised on a treadmill?” he said.
In 14 months the champions programme has 32 Northland representatives training across a range of sports with nine students going on to New Zealand teams. Three students have also gone on to study at prestigious schools around the country under rugby scholarships. They are Jade Stewart (St Kentigern’s), Tama Anderson (Mt Albert Grammer) and Taurus Tau (Hamilton boys).
Hākinakina operates out of the City rugby club at 10 Matai Street, Otangarei. Whānau fitness is Monday, Wednesday, Thursday at 6pm and Women’s fitness is Monday and Friday at 9am.
For further information on any of the programmes contact Te Hau āwhiowhio ō Otangarei Trust on (09) 437- 0908.
*Written by Shannon Pitman*