The way of the warrior involved tests of fitness, agility and mental sharpness.
And now these traditional methods Māori used to maintain their health and wellbeing are being offered as a pathway into the fitness coaching industry.
Certificate in Tākaro, Sport and Exercise is a new programme that combines two qualifications; the New Zealand Certificate in Exercise and the New Zealand Certificate in Sport and Recreation at Te
Wānanga o Aotearoa in Whakatāne and in Hamilton.
Tākaro programme ambassador and champion bodybuilder Janna O’Malley says the 38-week course is for people who are thinking of a career in the fitness industry as a fitness coach, instructor or
It could also be for people who want to work in a range of recreation spaces.
Janna says tauira (students) learn the foundations for a career in the industry including anatomy, physiology, nutrition and how to prescribe a gym programme for clients.
But its point of difference is tauira apply mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and learn ngā taonga tākaro (activities and games) that kept Māori fit and healthy.
Janna says the old methods are fun and innovative and can be used successfully today.
“They (tauira) will meet the fitness industry’s expectations but Tākaro is an alternative method – it’s how our tupuna (ancestors) kept themselves agile, fit and mentally sharp because they were often at war and had to be.”
“There’s poi rākau where you’re passing sticks around a group. This was actually used to improve hand-eye coordination and increase a person’s agility with the taiaha.”
“We also play Manu Tī where you try to snatch a feather from another person’s hand. This improves your peripheral vision and speed.”
“There are lots of other games our tupuna used for training they made up from the resources around them because there were no gyms in their time. We’re reinvigorating what we used to do to
Janna says the programme, which is taking enrolments for early March, gives tauira a number of options to further their careers.
“If our tauira choose not to go into the industry like gyms or as personal trainers they can work their magic in another environment like kapa haka or iwi forums.”
“Our tauira get the best of both worlds really – I see them as hauora (health) practitioners as well as personal trainers.”