Skip Content
 Janna O’Malley

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
personal trainer.

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
stay fit.”

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.”

For more information please visit www.twoa.ac.nz or call us on 0800 355 553.

 Back to news & events

Published On: 13 March, 2020

Article By: James Ihaka



Other Articles

  • 24 January 2023

    From Kenya to Aotearoa - Toi and its many connection's

    Jennifer Dickerson, a self-proclaimed "Third Culture Kid" due to her unique upbringing around the world, has discovered who she is through art.

  • 19 December 2022

    Masters opens door to book project

    Juggling work as Communications Advisor for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa while completing his masters, and writing a book has meant Tracey Cooper’s plate has been rather full recently. Fortunately with his exegesis completed, book published and work in wind-down mode for Christmas he’s able to take a breather and reflect on his journey through study.

  • 15 December 2022

    ‘Rererangi ki te Ao’ Opens doors at Kirikiriroa Airport

    Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Kairuruku and Pouwhenua Whakairo (master carver), Professor Kereti G. Rautangata, (nō Ngāti Mahanga, Ngāti Koroki Kahukura) and his team of carvers have left their mark on a significant piece of the Waikato landscape.

  • 14 December 2022

    Making a difference with mau rākau

    Tamiaho Searancke, who started learning the art of mau rākau at age three from his kuia and kaumatua, has guided another cohort of tauira through their journey of learning the ancient Māori martial art.