A CHANCE meeting has given the Te Miha, Casey, and Kepa whānau a new lease of life
It was a hot January night and milk delivery man Kelly Te Miha had left exercise instructions at his cousin’s place so she and others could do a workout. The instructions said they should jog up and down the street.
At another house on the street Tūranga Health school health and fitness kaiāwhina Daiminn Kemp was sitting on his veranda thinking about what his boss had said that day. It was the school holidays and he had to find other whānau to work with until the kids came back.
And that’s when some of the Te Miha, Kepa and Casey whānau jogged past.
“I remember thinking ‘is this really happening?’” says Daiminn.
He spent the next 10 minutes watching the group walk and jog around the street. Deciding this was the project he’d been looking for he wandered over to the house they’d come out of. “Kia ora, I’m Daiminn, and I’m pretty sure Tūranga Health could help you.”
KELLY Te Miha, Ngati Porou, is a 33-year-old man on a mission. Having successfully ditched his heavy drinking and rediscovering his love of exercise, the former under-16 Poverty Bay winger, has been the catalyst for nearly 40 whānau to lose weight and stay healthy.
He has a full time job delivering milk, is a husband, and father to four busy sporty kids. Despite his own commitments Kelly began helping some cousins and nieces with some easy at-home exercises earlier this year. He says they were motivated - they just didn’t have the money for a gym membership.
“So I thought this was a good way to help. You don’t need money, there are still ways to work out.”
He’d go to their house every second night and guide them through a workout.
Kelly’s homestyle exercise sessions were a hit and more whānau kept turning up. They were beginning to outgrow the small Daphne St house they’d started in. So Kelly moved the sessions to Anzac Park and started a Whānaufit 2017 Facebook page to better keep in touch with everyone.
Cousins told aunties about the workouts. Nieces told brothers and sisters they were feeling great. And the whānau fitness group swelled from seven, to 12, to 40 at last count.
“They want more every day,” says Kelly who now works out with them six days a week doing a mix of cross training and Kaiti Hill runs. “Exercise doesn’t have to cost a lot. It just has to be fun and with other people.”
THE group includes cancer survivors, diabetes sufferers, and someone with gout. Some are overweight and others are just there because it makes them feel good and they want to support the kaupapa.
Now, with Tūranga Health’s help the fitness sessions also include circuits with equipment like kettle bells and weights. Tūranga Health has held short nutritional education sessions with the group and many of them have now seen a Tūranga Health nurse. Some whānau are considering a smoking cessation programme. And the YMCA Gisborne, where Kelly is studying to become a personal trainer, has provided spin classes.
“I think it’s amazing,” says Daiminn who expected attendance to drop off. “Kelly is 100 percent behind his whānau and they are 100 percent behind him. Everyone keeps coming back.”
Kelly says it’s an honour. As a young man he survived rheumatic fever, used to weigh 100kg, and once got expelled from school.
“My family used to be a sick family, but now I’m helping keep them get fit and healthy. The kids come along too and that’s great because their mums and dads are role models now.”
Just this month the whānau helped raise hundreds of dollars for cancer awareness by taking part in the Relay for Life. Some members walked through the entire night – something they would not have been able to do before Kelly and his inspirational idea.
Tūranga Health congratulates Kelly Te Miha and the whole whānau fit team.
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