Ngāti Tūwharetoa kaumātua have proved they are top sports, winning the 2019 Kaumātua Olympics.

Over 300 kaumātua from all over Aotearoa competed in 11 events in Rotorua at the Energy Events Centre, Government Gardens. The 15th Kaumātua Olympics was hosted this year by Te Arawa after a successful campaign by the Oranga Tinana o Ue kaumātua group which partnered with students from three Rotorua schools who devised the games and provided volunteer support for the event.

Tūwharetoa Health Charitable Trust (THCT) operations manager Willy Tiopira said the kaumātua looked forward to the day's event and participated with vigour and enthusiasm.

"But weren't under any illusion that they would win – but win they did!"

Tuwharetoa kaumatua in the Noodle Soccer event. Photo / William Tiopira
Tuwharetoa kaumatua in the Noodle Soccer event. Photo / William Tiopira

THCT kaumātua programmes Tiaria Konui organised the team. THCT whānau engagement manager Bella Moke said the kaumātua programme was mainly socialising but did include exercise.

"Their training was reading a list to familiarise themselves with what was involved with each event."

Bella said the kaumātua enjoyed the event and they hope to enter again.

Toa Oranga Tinana spokeswoman Dr Laurie Morrison says the Kaumātua Olympics consist of cognitive, light cardio and strength games, comparable to a mini version of the New Zealand game show Top Town "without jumping into water".

Involved in the fitness group was Sir Toby Curtis who thought it was wonderful the Olympics were being held in Rotorua because it raised awareness of the body.

He said if there was one thing people should be focusing on as they got older it was to keep the body moving.

"I feel that when people's bodies are active and people's bodies are flowing well, I feel naturally the heart and the spirit plays well. And when that happens people are in a positive state of mind."

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