The Kaitāia boxing community are issuing a huge challenge before the biggest event on the Far North boxing calendar this weekend.
“I think we've got to start as Māori men, being better fathers and role models for our kids, you know?” says Robert Leef (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa) who will be facing an opponent on Saturday night.
A handful of the Far North's most promising boxing talent are on a mission to spread a message as they prepare for the Far North's ITM Fight The P - the second of its kind.
Organiser, Jason Reti says the social transformation has been huge.
Open The Curtains social worker and head organiser of the ITM P Fight Night 2, Jason Reti (Ngātiwai) says that “some guys are just naturally drawn to fighting, and this way it's done in the right way and done in a really good way where we can show them you don't always have to win to be a champion”
Organisers say that all of the profits will be returned to support the Kaitāia township.
Open The Curtains community liaison Moana Erickson says that “all the funds and proceeds from this night will go towards the infrastructure and putting in the park for the residents of K West” – in reference to Kaitāia West, a suburb which has caught a lot of negative media in the past.
22 fighters will take part in 13 bouts on fight night, with organisers saying they've already sold in excess of 600 tickets and will be releasing further tickets to the sold-out event.
“Boxing, as I've found brings out the best in them, you're all by yourself and you've got no one to fall back on except for yourself at the end of the day,” says Reti.
“The straight jab aye - just don't come into it. I'll get you every time” adds Leef.
The action will take place at Te Wharekura o Te Rangiāniwaniwa's Te Puna Ora on Saturday night.