Despite the Te Tai Tokerau senior regional kapa haka competition being postponed due to Covid-19, Te Rōpū o Muriwhenua is still making their fitness and well-being a priority. Each day they post their workouts to their private Facebook page to keep each other inspired and to maintain a regular connection during this time.
Māori performing arts is the main focus for Muriwhenua Kapa Haka's health and well-being and also plays a big part in the group. Both aspects are balanced evenly, ensuring the requirements for their bracket are achievable.
"It's to ensure that we as a kapa haka group are keeping fit within a private and safe environment. We are big believers in training not only the body but also training the spirit and the mind," Thomas Strickland says, who is one of the male tutors of the group.
The group's fitness page, Muriz CPR, was established in 2015 for members to motivate each other and to also make sure they were haka-fit before the regional and national competitions.
Hera Te Kurapa, who is one of the female tutors of the group, says, "The idea behind the Muriz CPR page was to encourage, motivate and build a community of healthy and happy kaihaka and whānau within Muriwhenua. The name Muriz CPR simply means 'Muriz Couch Potatoe Rescue.'"
The tutors say the results have been inspiring and have had a positive impact on the members and their whānau.
"We will post challenges for the group to do before the first wānanga starts, and then when it comes closer to competition time we will then up the ante. We see our members taking time out of their day to post up their home workouts which is awesome and encouraging to see," Strickland says.
"The approach is a team effort rather than a personal, and we see it benefiting everyone. We encourage whānau challenges where you see them do it at their own pace and at their own capacity."
Last Friday, the Waitangi Cultural Committee announced that the Te Tai Tokerau regional competition will be postponed, which did not stop Muriwhenua from keeping active.
"Although the competition has been postponed, that does not mean we should put aside the hard work that we have been doing leading up to the comp. Let's keep the momentum going, and that seems to be the mindset of the whole team," he says.
Te Kurapa adds, "Haka is not the be-all and end-all, we have other kaupapa to look forward to, we enjoy each other's company, we all have a common goal and that is the well-being of ourselves and our whānau."
A rescheduled date for the regional competition for Northland has not been issued yet, and until then Muriwhenua will continue their haka and fitness training.