Ngāti Porou athlete record-breaker at NZ Strong Woman competition

By Jessica Tyson

New Zealand's Strong Woman 2019 winner Shayna Tapara has broken records at the national 2020 competition today.  

Over the weekend, Tapara of Ngāti Porou went up against five other women at the competition held in Kumeu in a bid to defend her title. Competitors participated in six events, including deadlifts, axle overhead press, tyre flips, squats, stone carry and yoke carry.

“The deadlift, which I managed to pull 230kg off the ground, that was a personal best of mine, Tapara says.

“Today I managed to get a New Zealand record of 110kg overhead press and then today doing squats at 140kg.”

By the end of the competition on Sunday, she was awarded second place overall.

“After six events, and winning three events from six to tie at first place, on a points countback I came second place by one point.”

After breaking records, she says it was a “great personal best day”.

Shayna Tapara.  Photo / File

Competing internationally

Aged 25, she recently placed 13th at the World Strong Woman 2019 competition in Florida, USA.

“I was actually the youngest at the World's Strongest Woman competition I had last year, so I know that I've got many years to come to at least be at that level.”

She trains at least four times a week at Zenith Gym but a lot of her training happens in her shed or on the grass at her parents' home.

"I'm lucky they help out," she says.

Her next goal is to compete in the South Hemisphere competition in April.

“I came second last year so I'd like to gain that title there, that's my next goal after this goal today.”

Shayna Tapara. Photo / File

Whānau support

The whānau environment is what makes the sport so worthwhile.

“Everyone actually supports each other.”

Her twin brother, who also competes in the Strongest Man competitions, is one of her biggest inspirations and was by her side at the competition this weekend.

“He's always behind me or even in front of me when it comes to events, even when it comes to training. He keeps me going even though I get tired.”

She also thanks her parents for their support.

"They are honestly my biggest supporters when it comes to travelling. But also the Hauraki Māori Trust Board, they always get behind me each year."