8,000 burpees in one week to beat tāne Māori mental health issues

By D'Angelo Martin

In support of Movember, an annual event raising awareness for men's mental health. Māori cross-fit enthusiast and reo exponent Eru Kapa Kingi and his friends have created a challenge to burpee the height of Mt Everest, which is over 8,000 burpees in one week. 

"It is indeed a known fact that tāne Māori suffer greatly from the struggles of both physical and mental health, at a higher rate than non-Māori men in Aotearoa. Being a Māori tāne myself, I feel it is my duty to help change that reality by any means possible," says the creator of this burpee challenge, Eru Kapa-Kingi.

The goal of the challenge is to burpee the height of Mt Everest, which is exactly 8,848m tall. Eleven of Eru's friends have accepted the challenge and each has been asked to complete 738 burpees - roughly just over a hundred a day. They have just one week to do it but Kapa-Kingi is adamant that it is achievable and says that, ultimately, this will test a person's mental and physical well-being.

"So as a collective, between the 12 of us, we've passed the 3,000 burpees mark and so we are tracking pretty well I'd say. But it's all in light of raising awareness for men's mental health, especially for Māori men."

Māori adults are about 1.5 times as likely as non-Māori adults to report a high or very high probability of having an anxiety or depressive disorder, and the suicide rate among Māori men rose to almost 32 per 100,000 in 2016 - more than double the non-Māori male rate.

"No doubt the numbers have increased even more from 2016 to this year in 2020," Kapa-Kingi says.

The challenge has been included in the Movember movement, which involves the growing of moustaches during November to raise awareness of men's mental health issues, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide. "If people are kind enough to donate they can and, if they are wanting to do the challenge as well,l that is also fine."

Eru's older brother, Heemi, has also accepted this challenge. Earlier this year he and a friend launched 'Soften up Bro,' a mental health movement designed to flip the narrative and attitude on the male expression of emotion. "I want to see men talking about their feelings and letting them know that it's okay to express themselves and to not bottle up or hold their emotions and feelings inside," Heemi Kapa-Kingi says.

Those who accepted the 8,000 burpee challenge have three more days to complete it.