Sporting Opportunities for Whaikaha Community

Over forty rangatahi from Lytton High School, Campion College, Gisborne Girls High and Gisborne Intermediate took part in Futsal Festival for the whaikaha (disability) community.

Central Football alongside Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti, adapted the traditional futsal elements to fit the needs of those who have physical or mental learning obstacles.

“The games and activities have been really interactive and achievable,” said Gisborne Intermediate Kaiako Michaela Boyle.

“It’s been great seeing so many students be successful during the activities and be supported and encouraged by all facilitators and staff. There are also many opportunities for students to explore skills individually and in a team.”

The basic modifications of football allowed rangatahi to find a way to participate in sport that works for them, and not against them. It allowed them to be active and build relationships so that they don’t miss out on quality sporting experiences.

“It’s wonderful to be able to provide opportunities that may not necessarily be readily available to the students and fantastic to see them having so much fun,” said Central Football Special Projects Manager John McGifford.

“Seeing the smiles on so many faces was incredibly fulfilling, and we look forward to the programme becoming an annual event.”

Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti is seeking out other clubs or codes that want to jump on board and provide similar opportunities for whaikaha in their respective sport.

“The four-week Futsal Festival was such a great experience to see sport codes and the whaikaha community work together to create more opportunities, connect and have fun,” said Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Manawakura Advisor Courtney Stubbins.

“Traditional sports don’t always work for our communities that face barriers, so we need to be responsive to ensure that we are providing opportunities for all of our rangatahi. We would love to hear from any other codes or clubs who are interested in finding ways to be more inclusive.”

Titirangi Mt. Everest Challenge Wraps Up Tenth Year

Last Sunday marked the end of the tenth Titirangi Mt. Everest Challenge.

For the seven weeks of the challenge, 1,547 participants set out to climb the maunga to complete the 68 climbs, the equivalent of Mt. Everest. Altogether, participants climbed the maunga over 15,000 times.

Each participant had their own unique story of what the challenge meant to them. For some it was to raise funds and awareness for the East Coast Cancer Society to support locals living with bowel cancer, for others, it was to climb the maunga for the first time in their life or to join their friends and whānau in a team for a bit of fun and to keep active.

The Hulkfit Team topped the team leader board with a combined total of 3,171 climbs, while the Last of the Summer Wine team, with an average age of 76 years, averaged 74 climbs each.

This year, a participant made event history, Lewy Flemming topped the individual leader board with a total of 420 climbs. This is the most climbs that has ever been recorded in the ten years of the Titirangi Mt. Everest Challenge.

“After ten years of the Titirangi Mt Everest Challenge it continues to have some incredible stories and achievements recorded. Talking with some of the individuals and teams that participated during the event really emphasised how life changing it can be. We would like to celebrate all those that participated and encourage people to continue what they have started as this maunga and others, are here for us to enjoy 365 days of the year,” said Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Events Advisor Debbie Hutchings.

With support from Ngati Oneone, Sean and Fiona Shivnan, the East Coast Cancer Society, the Gisborne District Council and ProTraffic, as well as local champions such as Huringa Pai, the event was able to raise awareness and funds for the East Coast Cancer Society to support locals living with bowel cancer.

Val Lewis Conquers Titirangi Mt. Everest Challenge

The Titirangi Mt. Everest Challenge always produces amazing stories of participants who register with an unknown ability to do even one of the sixty-eight climbs to scale the height of Mt. Everest using the local maunga of Titirangi.

The saying “you are never too old to learn something new” is very applicable to Val Lewis who is participating for the first time in the challenge with her workplace team Te Runanga O Ngati Porou.

What started as a wero team challenge to engage in a range of nutrition, wellness and fitness activities continued on to the Titirangi Mt. Everest Challenge. One of the wero challenges was to climb Titirangi 14 times amongst your team. Val’s response to this was “no way can I do this, I’ve never walked or run Titirangi in my life!” However, with her wero team mates together they took up the challenge.

Some, like Val, had never in their lives attempted the walk. At 66 years of age with her work team mates Val did her first climb of Titirangi. It was hard, there were many stops along the way but together they successfully completed their first climb. After logging her first climb and seeing that she also achieved a badge also provided the motivation to accumulate more badges. She is now sitting on 67 climbs with one more badge to achieve, Mt Everest!

Val has also encouraged her son and four mokopuna to join her in the challenge. Son Terry, and moko Norris (14 years), Jacob (13 years), Tyrone (20 years) and Connor (17 years) have all logged climbs as part of the Te Runanga O Ngati Porou team. Val says that the boys won’t walk with Nan as she’s too slow, but she takes pride that they are doing this with her and that they will join her to do her 68th climb.

Prior to starting the challenge Val suffered from asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and painful arthritic joints. Now 6 weeks into the challenge her joint mobility and blood results are all remarkedly improved, she hasn’t needed to visit her doctor and managed a bad asthma attack without having to get further medical treatments. Her doctor has been really impressed with the positive results of her overall health improvements. Val has seen a big change in her general wellbeing. Energy levels are far higher, her mental state is improved, she doesn’t feel the same fatigue in the mornings, and she understands how important it is for her to get out and walk up and down the maunga to keep the balance she needs.

Along with the challenges of full-time work, Val’s partner also suffers from dementia. At times caring for him can be extremely frustrating. She has noticed that she has more tolerance and energy when there are tough days. On those tough days she now just heads out to walk the maunga and clear her head so that she can be a supporting and caring partner for him. Her eating habits have also changed with better food choices at mahi and home.

Te Runganga O Ngati Porou have really got behind their staff and whānau team to support this hauora kaupapa with weekly incentives to keep motivation high. There are 52 registered participants in their team, and they currently sit third on the team leaderboard for the Titirangi Mt Everest Challenge. Val is determined to keep her team on top of the leaderboard, and she has set herself a goal to complete 100 climbs. Regardless of whether she makes this by the end of the challenge on 13 November she will continue this journey until she reaches this goal.

“Val’s experience and journey to date epitomises what the challenge is all about.” Said Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Events Advisor Debbie Hutchings.

“It’s about improving your own health and wellbeing, inspiring others, connecting with the community and achieving something that you never thought you could or would be able to do. We know there are many stories of people just like Val and just admire those that participate in the event and have similar experiences of overall improvement in their daily lives”