Things are buzzing at Ngā Purapura

Ātea Fraser (hat) watching over his Uakaha class
Ātea Fraser (hat) watching over his Uakaha class

Opened in February 2012, the huge gymnasium, sports and leisure centre of Te Wānanga o Raukawa has proved a great success for the community. The unique design won architectural awards and the process of design and construction featured on television. Ngā Purapura has hosted a variety of events such as the Kāpiti orchestra, Māoriland film festival, health and wellbeing conferences and expos alongside it’s use as a sports venue for netball and basketball.

What about the gym? Well, like many gymnasia, demand fluctuates, but right now it’s busy. Resident kaiwhakahaere, Kiwa Raureti says there are two fitness instructors running classes from early morning to evenings, and the classes are buzzing. People are motivated by sport, or the desire for a greater level of fitness, or perhaps even the opportunity to do something a bit more exciting. All ages and fitness levels are catered for.

DE15_Atea-5543.jpgNgāwira Logan, graduate of Te Wānanga o Raukawa runs ‘Maranga Mai’, a medium-intensity circuit training at 6am on Tuesdays and Thursdays with as many as 30 people attending each session. Strength training is the focus of Uakaha classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings before breakfast. Run by Ātea Fraser local waka ama teams can often be found squatting, sprinting and lifting weights, young women attacking the weights with great commitment and good humour. Ātea who monitors their performance, technique and execution, sees it as a way of increasing fitness and preventing sport injury.

On Monday and Wednesday nights Ātea also runs ‘boxing for fitness’. Te Rangiātea (Ātea) Fraser studied at Te Wānanga o Raukawa before gaining his NCEA level 5 as a Group Fitness Instructor at Weltec in Petone. After two years away, Ātea is back at Ngā Purapura as a fitness and personal trainer instructor. “Boxing for fitness is an exercise that people like” says Ātea who has both men and women from 16 to 40 in his class, “…it is a fitness technique that avoids lifting weights.” Ātea stresses that boxing fosters discipline and is a fun way of exercising.

Other group fit includes Mum’s n bubs on Thursdays at 5 p.m. obviously for mums with bubs and Korikaumātua on Tuesdays and Thursday at 10. This is a fun, low intensity group fit attended by large numbers of kaumātua of all cultures.