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Whānau made me do it!

9 December 2013

Whānau made me do it!

Rongowhakaata mother of two, Mere-Kingi Nepe will line up for a Marae to Marae duathlon this weekend because the attraction of whānau and Marae is too strong to resist.

“It’s our standing place, our place of belonging. Our family is going to do it because it’s iwi related. You’ve got to support your iwi.”

Mere, 17-year-old son Xavier, and Mere’s partner Brent Mumu, are taking part in ‘Tū Marae Duathlon Ohako – Muriwai’ which is as much about celebrating Māori health and connectedness to Marae as it is about working up a sweat.

“One of the most important features for us is whakawhanaungatanga and the responsibility to our marae and hapu. That’s why we are going to be there giving it a go. I urge all whānau to tautoko this kaupapa”.

The duathlon is the fourth of its kind run by Māori health organisation Turanga Health which looks for innovative ways to help Māori stay well. Marae are vital to whānau, says Turanga Health’s Rhonda Pohatu. “A Marae to Marae event strengthens whānau connectedness to their Marae while providing others with an introduction to local Marae and whakapapa. The event is about participation, and whānau engaging in physical activity as individuals and teams. We want to celebrate that.”

Interacting with extended family is the reason Mere’s partner, driver/operator Brent Mumu, will be lining up for the Marae to Marae duathlon. He admits he’s out of his comfort zone.

“Whānau made me do it!” says the first time participant. Twelve months ago he never dreamed fitness and health would be part of his life. It started out as Sunday sessions with whānau at CrossFit 4010 then escalated to taking part in Turanga Health’s Men’s Health programme. After a health check to ensure he was safe to begin exercising, Brent found he enjoyed it. “Well, the first one was murder! But they started me off gradually and now I am fine”.

Brent now takes part in CrossFit, Taha Fitness spin classes, and regular Kaiti Hill workouts. He bikes and runs, and does lots of stretching. When photographed he’d just completed a 20-minute warm up around the streets of Gisborne with other Men’s Health programme participants. He’s lost five kilograms in just a few weeks and is rapt with what he has achieved.

“When they asked me to go in the duathlon I said ‘you are mad!’ but now we are all doing it.”

Mere, Brent and Xavier will line up on Sunday 15 December for the Ohako Marae to Muriwai Marae event. There are adult and children courses. Turanga Health encourages iwi to grab whānau and friends to make up a team or do it as an individual. Registrations open at Ohako Marae, 51 Papatu Road, Manutuke at 1pm. Race safety briefing 1.40pm. Race starts 2pm. Tamariki event starts at 3pm at Foxley Stockyards on SH2. Information and registration at or at Turanga Health 145 Derby St, Gisborne, or Waikohu Health Centre, cnr Station and Cliff Roads, Te Karaka. You can also enter on the day from 1pm.


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