Three members of Whanake Rangataua Karate, based at Te Kao, have achieved Shodan (black belt) status.
Manuera Riwai, Kurt Nattrass and Pereniki Conrad. Maria Ihaka said the gradings were very significant for her and fellow instructors Andrew and Mani Ihaka, given that one of the new black belts was a "mature, older individual" who was over the age of 60.
"It is very rare that a person attains this status at his age, but through determination, dedication and commitment, he fulfilled his goal," she said.
"This followed seven years of training in between pursuing his other involvements in sports promotion in and around the Far North."
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Kurt Nattrass and Pereniki Conrad, both members of well-known whānau at Ngataki and Te Kao, trained alongside their children.
"This is a kaupapa that we encourage, to get parents participating in physical activities with their children," Ihaka said.
Meanwhile Kayla Nattrass, who had been graded at Brown 1, was an aspiring young rangatahi who was displaying the traits required for success in other sporting codes.
"Martial arts is not solely about learning self-defence," Ihaka added.
"Over time, commitment to training develops other personal attributes such as humility, respect, confidence, self-esteem and general wellbeing."