Piripi Menehira has a few years on his students, but he keeps up the momentum leading Aka Maori martial arts.
He was back yesterday at Te Kura o Kokohuia, where he has taught since 1993, and there was no let-up within the hour's lesson. Aka is a rhythmic cardio-workout that combines kapa haka, haka and taiaha, and was started by the late John Tahuparae in 1991.
Mr Menehira is now living in Perth and has been teaching the skills to Justin Gush, the co-ordinator of Awa Sports Trust (AST). Mr Gush will now take the classes once a week at the kura and also at Te Wharekura o Tupoho.
Mr Gush said he was pleased to be back at his old school, where he first learned Aka from Mr Menehira. AST holds the contract, He Oranga Poutama, through Sport New Zealand, promoting the development and implementation of physical recreation and sport in a way that is culturally appropriate to Maori.
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"Aka is a mix of indigenous cultures, with a Pacific flavour, and is a big component alongside waka ama, kapa haka and Ki o Rahi," Mr Gush said.
"The rangatahi really engage with Aka."