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These boots are made for walking - He hu hou, ka korikori
Keeping our elders fit and active just got easier for members of the Tui Ora pāhake group in New Plymouth and Whaitara. Following a grant from the TSB Community Trust, 40 pairs of New Balance and Asics sneakers have been given to members of the Hikoi Haere group who meet regularly to walk and enjoy each other’s company.
The tauheke and kuia service is offered by Tui Ora as part of its pāhake service which provides opportunities for people aged 55 and over, to age positively. It focuses on three key areas of health education, fitness and mobility.
Speaking about the initiative to kit out the pāhake is Ropata Maxwell, the Koroua Kuia Programme Leader
“The pāhake came up with the idea themselves. We have been running a regular programme where we gather and walk. Some of the group didn’t have adequate footwear and that’s where the idea was born.
“Lots of our kaumātua don’t have their own transport, or can’t drive, so we pick them up and drop them off. We try and make it as easy as possible for them to be involved.”
Making it happen was a joint effort. Pāhake member, Chona Telford approached the TSB Community Trust for funding. Nick Bull, manager at the Shoe Clinic in New Plymouth provided the shoes at a discount, and made sure they were fitted correctly and any orthotic problems addressed.
Tui Ora fitness guru, Leanne Matuku and Koroua and Kuia Early Intervention programme coordinator, Ngareo Akariri put together the walking programme.
“Some members of the group use walking aids or have other health issues so this needed to be considered when deciding where we go,” says Ngareo.
Recent trips have taken in East End Beach and the foreshore and Pukekura Park. Exercise is always followed by a shared meal with an emphasis on healthy kai.
“Our pāhake love their funky shoes and it’s encouraged them to get outside and get active. It’s all about keeping the limbs moving and being part of a community,” says Ngareo.
Some of the group will take part in the 12th annual Kaumātua Olympics in Hamilton later this year where they will have the opportunity to compete in a wide range of sports including kumara and spoon races, hockey, basketball, volleyball and wheelchair races.