(By Mere McLean - October 2016)
Members of Tāne Takitū Ake enjoying a morning workout. They are part of a programme dedicated to helping Māori men.
Richard Rautjoki (Ngāti Pikiao, Te Arawa) says, “I'm a totally different person you know from what I was six months ago till what I am now, I'm far more motivated, far more health, you now I've lost weight I know about nutrition I have better communication with my whānau, we do this as a whānau now exercising and the eating it's been an awesome, awesome experience.”
Richard Rautjoki is a success story. He was referred to this programme because of the health issues that affected him. He is nearing the end of this 10-week programme.
Rautjoki says, "Men's health is largely overlooked and I think this is a programme especially Māori men you know a lot of us don't look after our health we don't go and see the doctor and this is some that helps us with all those health issues that we need to look at."
The programme is funded by the Ministry of Health and is run by Te Korowai Aroha. This is the organisation's third year running the programme and according to Tracey Ormsby, it not only changes the men's life but that of their whānau.
Tracey Ormsby (Tane Takitu Ake, Korowai Aroha) says, “We've identified that there is a gap in the community for a place for men to be able to go too. To seek help with multiple issues not just in health but social issues, health, education housing so we have a holistic approach to our programme.”
Ormsby says that 130 men have entered into the programme over the three years, the next intake starts on October 3.