Kaumātua cut loose

By Laurel Stowell

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Josephine Cunningham gets into some line dancing. PHOTO/ STUART MUNRO
Josephine Cunningham gets into some line dancing. PHOTO/ STUART MUNRO

Patea pair Arthur and Bev Rangi had a "beautiful and wonderful" day on Thursday.

The two were among 15 blue-shirted Mapuna Kaumātua, led by Milly Broughton, who came to Whanganui for the Taipāhake/Māori Olympics day of fun and togetherness.

About 150 older Maori people spent the day at Whanganui's Jubilee Stadium, with a powhiri, morning tea, games, lunch, dancing and then prizegiving and farewells.

The Rangis were watching line dancing - Mrs Rangi wanted have a go but couldn't because she uses a crutch. She said she especially liked the cup stacking and ball passing games.

Others liked a card game where people drawing certain cards had to do haka moves. Another game tested brains instead of bodies.

One of the organisers, Mel Maniapoto-Bennett, said it was very unusual to have that many older Maori people from across the region together. They were taking the opportunity to get to know each other.

The many organisations running the day also enjoyed working together. The work load was shared, and there was no stress.

School children liked demonstrating the games and helping kaumātua through them. Rangatahi (young people) Rongomaitawhiri Takiari Ah-Ching and Tamahaia Skinner took charge of some of the announcements.

John Maihi, Joe Taiaroa and Mayor elect Hamish McDouall spoke at the powhiri. The catering was done by the Tahi Te Koheroa Whiti Miriama whanau from the Whanganui River.

Organisers want to make more opportunities for kaumātua to get together. During the day participants were asked what sort of social and exercise opportunities they already had, and what they would like.

Sport Whanganui's Nicole Dryden said the big Taipāhake day would continue to happen each year, but activities for smaller groups would happen in clusters as well.

The aim is to keep kaumātua from Whanganui, Ruapehu, Rangitikei and Taranaki active and connected, and to give them information about movement and nutrition.

Helping with the day were 13 organisations, including the Whanganui Regional Health Network, Kaumātua Kaunihera o Whanganui, Ngā Tai o te Awa, Whanganui District Health Board, Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority, Te Kōtuku Hauora, Ngā Rauru Kītahi, Awa Sport and Sport Whanganui.

"It's been an amazing day today, seeing all our kaumātua who have come out and given it their all," Miss Takiari Ah-Ching said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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