Bay kura enjoying a physical training
Kura in Hawke’s Bay sees the benefits of a new bodyweight exercise program delivered primarily in Te reo Maori.
The program is called Liberating the Human Movement and is delivered by A2I Inspire 2 Inspire Ltd.
“One of the key aspects is delivering it to 80 percent te reo Maori,” says Chris Treacher, A2I facilitator.
“All class instructions and demonstrations of each exercise are all done in Maori, encouragement and positive affirmations are done in Maori to help students get through the class.”
The program is held at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Ara Hōu, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Wānanga Whare Tapere o Takitimu and Te Aratika Academy.
Each school benefits from two sessions per week, one being a ZUU session, which is bodyweight training based on animal movements.
A typical ZUU session may include movements called bear, frog, gorilla, or donkey crawls.
The other session is a resistance harness training known as ANKORR where students wear a multi-directional harness.
“It was dynamic and we only do it for 45 minutes, but I think that’s why they keep coming back,” says Kotuku Tomoana, teacher of Te Ara Hou.
“There really is something for everyone because we don’t need fantastic equipment, only when we are using the ANKORR harness.”
“It’s a win-win. It’s almost entirely immersed in te reo and the kids benefit from it because not only do they learn a new way of exercising, but they also learn te reo because they also have to learn from. New words.”
The program falls under the Moving the Māori Nation kaupapa and is designed to be high intensity but low impact.
“It’s the culture that allows everyone to work out,” says Treacher.
“We use the phrase – no matter how fast, fit or strong you are, better to slow down than not to go.
“I think it’s really important that we can deliver this kaupapa in Maori because health is more than physical.
“It’s mental, it’s spiritual, and being able to start and end each session with a karakia and being able to use te reo Māori to convey the message helps to cover more than the physical aspect of it.
“The workouts are designed to be stimulating and help build resilience in students while harnessing a supportive culture, no matter how difficult it gets – me mate upoko pakaru – never give up.
“Which in turn encourages teamwork among students to support, push, reach and lead.”
There is also a nutritional component where a registered dietitian helps educate students and all their whānau on healthy food choices.
“It seems cheaper and easier to buy processed foods, but our whānau don’t always know what other options are available.
“So this will hopefully impact our whānau choices when buying and let them know that there are other options that are just as cheap but a lot healthier.
“Because you can train as much as you want, but if you always eat shit your body won’t perform at its best. It’s all about education.”