A chance to finish for triathlete

By Anna Ferrick -
Horiana Nukutarawhiti, from Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga in Hastings with her supporters. Photo / Paul Taylor
Horiana Nukutarawhiti, from Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga in Hastings with her supporters. Photo / Paul Taylor

When Horiana Nukutarawhiti was knocked off her bike during an Iron Maori event last November she was resigned to the fact she'd never finish the triathlon she'd trained so hard for.

She was checked out at the hospital and took a week off work before returning to find her boss and co-workers had organised the Hori-athlon, an event specifically for Mrs Nukutarawhiti, mother of All Black fullback Israel Dagg, to finish what she started.

"It's nothing major, just a fun thing about supporting me to finish. I trained all last year to do the quarter and I got knocked off so I never got to finish it.

"When I got back to work my boss put out an email saying he'd organised the Hori-athlon for me to finish and for whoever else wants to do it. I thought that was really great.''

Mrs Nukutarawhiti's boss at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga, Luke Rowe, said the idea had the "feel-good factor about it''.

"After she got hit she was more stressed about not completing the event than the actual accident, which is to be expected of the mother of an All Black I guess.

"We sort of thought that's not right so we wanted to give her the opportunity to finish it.''

Mrs Nukutarawhiti, who has worked at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga since 2008, said it took her about a month to get back into exercise after the accident but said it was her pride that was injured more than anything else.

"My knee took the brunt of it, I didn't want to hit the car front on in case I went straight over the top so I managed to turn my wheel to the left a little bit so that knee copped the most of it. It was a real bummer not to finish.''

She still took part in the half Iron Maori in December but did only the swim as part of a team.

"I couldn't do the run or the bike so I just did the swim.

"It probably took me about a month before I could go out for a long walk.''

Mrs Nukutarawhiti said she had just started training in the past few weeks but was hoping to complete the triathlon in under five hours.

"I'm not as quick off the mark as I was before the accident but as of tomorrow I'm into my serious training. I'm hoping to do the quarter and the half individually at the end of the year.''

The Hori-athlon was due to set off around Pandora Pond at 7am today but Mrs Nukutarawhiti said it was not all about her. "The reason why we're doing this is that's what Iron Maori is all about. It's about support and aroha.''

Mr Rowe said he expected 10 to 20 people to turn out.

"There are about eight or nine from Taiwhenua helping out and taking part and then, through those networks, a few others have expressed an interest.''

Mrs Nukutarawhiti said her family would also be there. "I'm not sure how many people will turn up but my boss will be there,'' she said. "He started it so I'm making sure he's there to see me finish it. My husband will be there and my daughter if she can get up.

"My husband will park where I got hit to make sure nothing's coming for me, and to hand out water and that kind of thing.''

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