Injury leads to rewarding role in Maori service


At the time, badly breaking a wrist was a huge setback for Daniel Goldsmith, a freezing worker at a Hastings meat plant.

The accident meant multiple surgeries and over a year off work but, as it's played out, it's transformed the fitness enthusiast's life. Daniel turned to study, completed EIT's Certificate in Health Promotion and now has a new career supporting others wanting to improve their health.

Daniel has always been into health and fitness but says he had a narrow view of what constituted good health.

"I thought it was about being fit and eating well. I learned it was more holistic, and that it was also about having a healthy mind and nurturing family life. I think the EIT tutors were good at explaining that in the context of Aotearoa."

Launching into study, Daniel knew where he was headed.

"I wanted a job in a hauora and to help whanau by supporting the work of a healthy lifestyle service."

Part of a three-member team at Te Kupenga Hauora o Ahuriri in Napier, the 30-year-old is based in the Sale St gym helping whanau working on their fitness.

The Government-funded hauora provides free health and social services to Maori.

"It's a very good facility and I love the job," Daniel enthuses. "Those taking part seem to enjoy working with me. The circuits are changed to make the sessions interesting and to keep them coming back, and we're also doing a bit of boxing."

Of Ngati Porou descent, Daniel has family in Gisborne but he's lived most of his life in Napier and attended Napier Boys' High School.

Being a freezing worker for much of his life was "alright", he says. "I never enjoyed the work, but it paid well and helped me move between different works."

The broken wrist was the result of a fall and, as a result, Daniel went on to ACC.

"I spent a year in and out of surgery and it still wasn't right," he says of his severely damaged hand. "The year off had given me time to think that I didn't want to be a freezing worker for the rest of my life. From one terrible injury came all these good things."

Te Kupenga Hauora o Ahuriri has close to 60 clients - most are referred by GPs, while the rest are "walk-ins" who have heard about the service, or friends and family of staff. All are screened to ensure they meet the service's criteria.

"We focus on being a healthy lifestyle service rather than a weight-loss centre," Daniel said.

"In some cases it's about getting blood pressure down, in others it may be about breaking a pattern of sitting on the couch all day watching TV.

"The clients are meeting people, some are making lifetime friends through the service."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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