South Auckland school kids getting fit with the help of boxer Dave 'Brown Buttabean' Letele have been given some extra motivation with 150 free pairs of running shoes.

Letele leads a free lunchtime boot camp at charter school Te Kura Maori o Waatea in Mangere four times a week, for almost 100 students who usually turn up in bare feet.

But those students have all got a free pair of training shoes to help keep them active over the holiday period thanks to the generosity of ASB.

Letele said giving the children, many of whom came from low-income families, running shoes was "amazing".


"They really come from very humble backgrounds…for some of them, it will be the first pair of new shoes they have ever owned. A lot of their shoes are just hand-me-downs from their older brothers or older sisters.

"A lot of these kids come to school in bare feet, most of the time they're running around in bare feet. It's hard running on concrete when it's hot. It's hard running on grass when you have prickles. Now they have the gear they are more likely to get out there and do [fitness]."

Letele started the boot camp at the school, which is sponsored by the Manukau Urban Maori Authority (Muma), in July.

School principal Tania Rangiheuea said the lunchtime exercise programme was a great way to enhance the student's learning and spread awareness about obesity in the community, starting with the children.

"Obesity is such a critical issue in South Auckland and it was a way for [Muma] to address that problem," said Rangiheuea who hoped the children would go home and encourage their parents to get active.

Rangiheuea said the shoes would also make a huge difference to the many struggling families within the school community.

Letele started Buttabean Motivation boot camps in 2015 after shredding from a once-obese 210kg to about 120kg. Today, he spends his time helping thousands of Kiwis lose weight with boot camps across Auckland as well as training and dieting tips aimed at increasing mental and physical health.

His Buttabean Motivation Facebook page has attracted 27,000 followers including people who have lost up to 50kg with the help of his programme.