IronMaori organiser Heather Skipworth says she will step up her contribution to the Hawke's Bay District Health Board if re-elected.

While enjoying her first term, she said she did not have an expectation other than to learn how everything worked.

"I was welcomed to the board, with a lot of fellow members offering support and genuine interest in what I had to say."

Now confident from knowing the ins and outs she said she had much to offer, including her youth.


"I am relatively still one of the youngest board members. I have my hand and ear in the community and a huge heart that feels for the community."

If successful in the election, she said, a goal was to "positively challenge" where improvement was needed, saying she was "very passionate" about health equity to the region.

"I think the board has definitely come a long way in regards to wanting to have a really good go and changing the way services are delivered and received. It has been on the radar which is important - I believe all my fellow board members genuinely want a healthier Hawke's Bay.

"Rome wasn't built in a day but now it's standing. There is always hope if we all believe we can all achieve."

One of three founders of IronMaori, Ms Skipworth received a Queen's Service Medal in 2014 for services to athletics and Maori.

Other awards include: Maori of the Year 2012, Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader Award 2011, New Zealander of the Year Local Hero Award 2011 and she has twice won the Ngati Kahungunu Sports Awards Administrator of the Year Award.

Ms Skipworth and Missy Mackay created the first IronMaori half ironman race in 2009 to tackle obesity and promote healthier lifestyles.

More than 35,000 people have taken part in IronMaori events over the past seven years and it now encompasses the quarter ironman race, the IronMaori Tamariki-Rangatahi event for youngsters and the major half ironman race - a 2km swim, 90km cycle and 21.1km run.

IronMaori has flourished outside Hawke's Bay with a duathlon in Wairarapa, half ironman in Taranaki and IronMaori Whakatu Nelson, a race in Auckland and Australia's Gold Coast.