Additional reporting by Whakaata Māori videographer Nick Winter.
With mental health charity Movember beginning its annual fundraising month-long event once again, one gym has brought its world of CrossFit into the fold to help kick off fundraising for the charity.
CrossFit Mecca on Auckland’s North Shore hosted a Movember event that incorporated CrossFit, breathing techniques and ice baths to help raise funds and awareness for mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
Gym owner Tegan Mitai is passionate about bringing awareness to men’s health and bringing the community together. It culminated on a Sunday when she and her team of CrossFit coaches brought people together to do a workout, learn breathing techniques for meditation, and plunge into ice baths - an uncommon practice for recovery.
Tegan Mitai helps shine the spotlight on an all-important cause.
“I’ve definitely had whānau affected by all three and I think a lot of the people that attended are in the same boat. So it was nice to bring everyone together to get everyone thinking, talking and to share the experience,” she says.
Coinciding with the month of November, Movember has a few ways to get people involved to donate, such as growing a moustache as the name suggests, and the 60km Move For Movember event to walk or run 60km for the 60 men who are lost to suicide every hour worldwide.
Suicide rates for Māori tend to be higher than those for non-Māori. In the 2020/2021 financial year, the rate of suspected self-inflicted deaths for Māori males was 23.9 per 100,000 Māori male population - 1.4 times that of non-Māori males, who had a rate of 17 per 100,000 non-Māori male population.
“My husband and I are both Māori and have roots to connect to… and we try really hard to bring more health and well-being to the Māori community. So [we’re] drawing in our friends and their friends and whānau, and making important those areas of hauora that are important to all of us. [We’re] making sure they are a point of difference at Mecca.”