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IronMāori To Return Home

Fifteen years after the launch of IronMaori, the annual indigenous triathlon is returning to the place where the idea for the event that has had a huge positive impact on Māori lives was conceived, Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga.

Heather Te Au-Skipworth and Wayne Skipworth founded the only indigenous event in 2009 with the vision of promoting health, well-bring, and longevity from mokopuna through to kaumātua. Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga now take up the wero (challenge) to progress the event alongside the 80 plus whānau services currently delivered that align with the same vision.

The phenomonal success of IronMāori has seen thousands of participants pouring into Hawke’s Bay to take part in one, two or all three legs of the triathlon. Ms Skipworth who was working at the kaupapa Māori health and services provider as a health coach says, “it started as a simple approach to remedy significant health problems among Māori, using whanaungatanga and manaakitanga as the catalyst to drive that change, and it has been an honour to walk alongside so many people who have taken up the challenge, through this journey of self discovery. Succession of this beautiful kaupapa for me was key, as I want the kaupapa to outlive my lifetime and many generations to come.”

For IronMāori stalwart, Waiora Rogers, the event has always been about whanaungatanga, “coming together to work towards that goal of healthy mind and healthy body, you just put one foot in front of the other, then the next week you walk a little farther, then the next month you start thinking about the kai that you fuel your body with and on it goes.”

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Chairperson of Te Taiwhenua o Herataunga, Mike Paku says, “Over the years we have all watched as IronMāori has gone from strength to strength, taking individuals, whānau, hapū and iwi along for the ride, even across Te Tai-o-Rehua (Tasman Sea), so we are happy to keep it here in its ūkaipō, Kahungunu.

Waylyn Tahuri-Whaipakanga is thrilled that IronMāori is returning home, "I am excited for the opportunity to bring this event home as it fits our strategic plan, our values and the Whānau Ora kaupapa. We could really feel the mauri of the event carried by participants, support crews and organisers alike.”

After cycling in one of 18 teams registered by Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga last year as part of their workplace wellness programme, Ms Tahuri-Whaipakanga adds "the celebration of participation and achievement throughout the day is uplifting and electric, you never feel alone, you feel supported all the way through and this is something that we look to uphold."

Heather and Wayne will be handing the mauri of IronMāori over to Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga at a pōhiri at 10am on Thursday morning.

© Scoop Media

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