There's a Big Day Out for Whanganui region kaumātua this week.

They have their second annual Taipāhake/Kaumātua Olympics on Thursday at Whanganui's Jubilee Stadium. There will be about 200 over-60 Maori people there, contacted through the region's kaumātua groups.

John Maihi and Josephine Takarangi-Firmin made the initial request for a day of fun and challenging activity for older people, and of course there will be some whanaungatanga.

"They tell us what they want and how they want it. Some of them have supplied resources - people or money or activities," Te Oranganui's Mel Maniapoto-Bennett said.


What the elders want is a powhiri, morning tea, a session of team games in rotation and lunch. After that they have about 40 minutes to kanikani (dance) to music from entertainer Willy Matthews.

Then there's a prizegiving, and farewells at about 3pm.

The games will include cup stacking and an obstacle course and catering will be done by a Whanganui River group.

Each participant will get a medal made by primary pupils from Whanganui kura/schools.

Last year's event had 181 participants who thoroughly enjoyed themselves. This year the net has been spread wider, with Te Ati Awa people from Taranaki attending as well as people from Taihape, Taumarunui, Raetihi, Ohākune, the Whanganui River, Whanganui and Waverley.

Organising the day has involved hundreds, including students from Te Kura o Kōkōhuia and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Tupoho who are to bridge the generation gap by helping with the games.

The organising committee has people representing nine organisations - they are Sport Whanganui, Awa Sport, Ngā Tai o te Awa, Whanganui District Health Board, Kaumātua Kaunihera o Whanganui, Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority, Te Kōtuku Hauora and Ngā Rauru Kītahi.