Even when the fish aren’t biting, Tahuri Tibble manages to stay positive.
“We haven’t got anything yet but we’ll get something before we go home,” he says confidently.
Tahuri is the kaiako for the Youth Guarantee Level 2 Fitness Programme in Kaitaia and takes his tauira fishing as part of his teaching programme and unit delivery.
“We’re lucky up here, we’ve got the beaches.”
His tauira are equally lucky to have a kaiako with the passion, commitment and dedication of Tahuri, who says it’s important to him that he provides a positive role model.
“I’m just loving life and thankful for the opportunity. Every day Monday to Friday I wake up at 5.30am and go for 5km run. I come to work and I’m up for it. You’ve got to be motivated and lead by example because with the kids, they will follow your example and respect you.”
Tahuri is coming to the end of his 36 week programme and looking to finish off strong.
“I’ve still got 10 tauira with me and they’ll all graduate. It’s pretty full-on but we’re nearly there.”
Along with teaching at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Tahuri also runs a Muay Thai Gym in Kaitaia (Far North Thaiboxing) and says the two go together well.
“In Kaitaia, along with a lot of other small towns, there are not many things young people are interested in or many opportunities they like but this course is a hit. Because I run a Muay Thai gym in town and all the kids know what I do, word gets around. I really pride myself on being that positive leader in the community who always aims to do my very best not through words but more through actions.”
He has previously taught at other tertiary institutions but says TWoA surpasses those.
“There are some really good success stories. I’ve been working with youth for a while now and the wānanga is awesome. The tauira are definitely learning a lot, particularly with the kaupapa of the wānanga and through the sport that I teach. We blend it with the wānanga kaupapa and that really works here in Kaitaia,” he says.
Tahuri has recently returned from Thailand, where two of his Muay Thai fighters took part in the IFMA Muay Thai Youth World Champs.
“A big mihi goes out to fellow YG Fitness kaiako in Tāmaki Francis Vesetolu, who is the current head coach of the National Black Gloves team. His input was vital with the boys fighting strategies for the competition. The two kids weren’t wānanga tauira but are part of our rangatahi. We took one 9-year-old and one 11-year-old and they came home with a bronze and a silver. That’s a good start to their careers and a great result for a small town. You normally only hear about Kaitaia for the wrong reasons.”
Tahuri has his own ambitions in the ring, and at 35, says he’s probably at his peak.
“The body is right, the mind is right, the attitude is right.”
And it’s that attitude which helps the father of seven, even when he faces setbacks.
“Sometimes the tauira might not come to course but you can’t let that get you down. You’ve got to stay positive for those that are there so we just keep on rolling.”
“I’m a leader in the community, I help the kids and if we can get the mindset right, they’ll choose a good pathway.”