Fight For Life: It's really close to home for me - Tegan Yorwarth

By Contributor

By Te Ao Mārama reporter Raniera Harrison.

Award-winning radio announcer Tegan Yorwarth (Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kurī) is squaring up to take on the biggest fight of her life.

She'll be taking on former Black Ferns and Kiwi Ferns athlete Honey Hireme-Smiler on next Thursday's Fight For Life boxing card. However, her biggest opponent is one she's had to face out of the ring.

“I think that's why I'm really passionate about this and giving this my all - it's really close to home for me just going on this journey. I did not expect to get upset and cry,” Yorwarth said.

Swapping out the mic and headphones with boxing gloves. 

Yorwarth claims to have grown a lot in the past 12 months. She says, though, that her fight has been far bigger than boxing.

“Especially last year, I had some really low times. My parents were really concerned about me and being able to access different types of mental health support around me and outlets and trying different things. I know I Am Hope has been massive in providing that for a lot of young people.”

A portion of ticket sales from fight night will go to I Am Hope, which promotes positive societal change on mental health, especially for young people - a demographic it says Māori are overrepresented in.

“We're from a culture where we only speak when spoken to. So, for a lot of our young Māori and Pacific Island young ones, they're growing up where they don't have a seat at the table, they don't have a voice at the table,” said Tai Tupou, spokesperson for I Am Hope.

With a plethora of clashes ahead, former All Blacks Liam Messam and Carlos Spencer are listed on the card, while the main event will see Rugby World Cup-winning All Black Keven Mealamu looking to take down Taniwharau superstar and former Kiwi Wairangi Koopu.

“For us, it's not always about money. It is more about the message and the kaupapa because at the end of the day, they're all of our kids. If we don't get together, if we don't effect change together - it does get frustrating, you do get burnt out.”

As for Yorwarth, she has already reached numerous milestones.

“It's been so pivotal in my journey with mental health - boxing in itself. So it does feel a little bit like... as corny as it sounds... fighting for my own life - that's what it's felt like in the last couple of years.”