Boxing: Raising fists and youth funding

By Barry Leabourn

Courage and fear will be on the line at the ASB Baypark Arena at Mount Maunganui on Friday, July 12, when 18 first-time boxers step into the ring to raise funds to assist the work of the Te Aranui Youth Trust.

It takes plenty of courage for the aspiring pugilists to make the decision to fight in the Dare Fight for Youth, in front of what is expected to be a sold-out crowd. Eighteen local men and women are putting it on the line in a spectacular manner to support the youth of the region.

All the aspiring boxers began training together a few weeks ago, under the tutelage of respected Tauranga boxing trainer Hemi Niha. One of the first shocks to greet the fight participants, in order to have them at the required fitness level to face three two-minute rounds in the ring, was a run to the top of Mount Maunganui.

This was just the start of regular training, where waistlines disappeared and fitness levels started to slowly increase.

The boxers who will enter the ring for the first time come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, including two local firefighters who will square off against police opponents.

Tauranga firefighter Shane Nelson will put his courage on the line against policeman Aaron Fraser, with Greerton firefighter Luke Burgess taking on policeman Karl Blinkhorne.

The Te Aranui Youth Trust is the governing body of three youth programmes which have operated for some time in the Western Bay of Plenty.

In 2010 Dare, Blue Light and the Police Youth Development programmes came together as they all shared the aim of providing opportunities that challenge young people, whanau and communities to make great choices together. The three now work together as Te Aranui Youth Trust, bound by a memorandum of understanding.

"Growing up is a trying time and youths are very much influenced by what is going on around them," said Wendy Nicholls, Te Aranui trust operations manager.

"Many of the youth we work with come from welfare dependant whanau, where anti-social behaviours and/or drug and alcohol abuse is common.

"Te Aranui Youth Trust builds courage and resilience in these young people so that they can break the cycle and follow a more positive path. In developing self-awareness and leadership potential, our youth begin to thrive."

Te Aranui Youth Trust works in close partnership with the police, delivering programmes aimed at reducing offending and creating safer communities within the Western Bay of Plenty. Through the delivery of the Dare, Blue Light and Police Youth Development programmes, Te Aranui Youth Trust provides a social service that ensures local youth become positive, steadfast, well-adjusted members of the community.

Te Aranui Youth Trust receives no government funding and the staging of the Dare Fight for Youth is to build funds in reserve so the trust has finance available.


  • Michael Sharp (Hobec) v Paul Wills (BNZ).

  • Paul Jamieson (Bethlehem Coachlines) v Damien Palmer (Placemakers).

  • Deirdre Lack (Oceanblue Health Club v Laura Eccleston (Global Fitness Mt Maunganui).

  • Allan Hammonds (MSC Engineering) v Shane Hodge (Robert Page Engineering).

  • Matt Barnett (Page & McRae) v Paul Sowerby (Robert Page Engineering).

  • Brodie Cummins (Cambridge Homes BOP) v Fiona Henderson (Eves Realty).

  • Shane Nelson (Tauranga Firefighter) v Aaron Fraser (Police-Ray White Commercial).

  • Luke Burgess (Greerton Firefighter) v Karl Blinkhorne (Police-Blue Light NZ).

  • Phil Comeskey (Ebbett Holden) v Damian Palmer (Ultimate Motor Group).

- Bay of Plenty Times

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