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Curvy Angels guardians for next generation
For the Tamatea whānau getting healthy and fit has become a family affair.
The Opunake whānau of late Tui Ora Board member David Tamatea is determined to live the best lives they can, and it’s the aunties who are leading the way.
An all-female fitness group that call themselves the Curvy Angels, is just one of the family initiatives the Tamatea whānau has come up with to live better lives.
Aunty Jean Jost opens her house to whānau every fortnight. Family members from four households gather to discuss their health hikoi. They share ideas, training plans, nutrition tips, recipes and inspire each other to walk a healthier path. Every month they are joined by Leanne Matuku from the Tui Ora Oranga Hapori team (pictured above, far right) who motivates them to keep on track and do even better.
Aunty Jean explains:
“In 2015 we had a family reunion and Sport Taranaki came along and talked to us about reducing the sugar in our diet and leading a healthier lifestyle. That’s where it all started really, and then we got in touch with Leanne and that’s when it really kicked off.”
Whānau are now involved in Get Fit in Opunake, have taken to the swimming pool and are participating in the Taranaki Toa triathlon series.
“We are really trying to set a good example for the younger generation. We have three children in our group and they are all learning good habits,” says Jean.
Sister, Wendy Tamatea admits that it is not always easy to be healthy:
“I work in the pub where there is always the temptation of hot chips and burgers. I’ve started planning my meals ahead now so I don’t fall into that trap. I make sure I have salad in the fridge and chicken, and fruit for snacks so I always have something good to eat.”
The Tamatea whānau has a predisposition to bowel cancer and some members are about to undertake genetic testing to understand who carries the gene. The family is working closely with Tui Ora Cancer Navigation Service kaiāwhina and close family friend, Joyleen Connell (pictured above, far left) to educate them about the disease.
“There are things you can do around diet, and lifestyle when you know what you are dealing with. That’s what I’m here to help the family understand,” says Joyleen.
“We are in a much better place as a whānau. We are all really positive and working hard to make a difference for ourselves and our kids and mokos. We’ve had to make some big changes but they’re good changes. We are making a difference,” Jean says with a big grin.