Whakatane-based Tamati Taylor has used study at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa to add new sport and exercise skills to his work with vulnerable rangatahi.
Tamati (Ngāti Pukeko) last year completed a Certificate in Tākaro, Sport and Recreation Level 4. He’s due to be among more than 120 Whakatane campus tauira (students) attending a graduation ceremony at 9.30am on Wednesday 19 May at Whakatane Baptist Church.
The solo dad says he came up with the idea of doing the course after a period focused on self-development through gym work, better nutrition, spirituality and good quality whānau time. He started thinking about what more he could do.
“Although I was enjoying working with youth already, all day every day I think about training and nutrition.
“So, the answer was right there, I needed to do something to do with sports and exercise.”
He says the knowledge gained on the Certificate course is really helping his interactions with the rangatahi.
“My job is to prepare them for independence. It’s a challenging yet fulfilling job and even though I’m on the course to teach these youth, like our own children they teach us just as much.
“A lot of them need an outlet and exercise is one heck of a good one. So I’m fortunate enough to be able to incorporate my teachings I received from my kaiako Lynette Ngaheu to the youth I deal with every day.”
Tamati is planning to carry on developing the health of his community through the establishment of a training academy for tamariki and rangatahi.
He says it’s important to create safe spaces for those who feel uncomfortable or out of place in a gym or other environments.
Besides working with rangtahi, Tamati is also an advocate for making sure older people remain physically active.
“Our elderly shouldn’t need to wait for a doctor to tell them to get moving - start now.
“Although exercise is only a factor to better health and wellness it’s still a factor. So, if you’re reading this, take your kuia or koroua for a hikoi.”
Tamati says study at TWoA was “awesome”.
“Being in an environment with other students, who are now my whānau, that were passionate and keen to learn about the stuff that I was into, was a vibe!”
Kaiako Whaea Lynette was “amazing”, he says.
“The best tutor I’ve ever had, hands down. So grateful to have a kaiako that’s passionate about what she does, and is on to it with what she’s teaching and how she manages the class.”
Tamati, a Christian, uses a quote from Philippians 4:13 to sum up his attitude today: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”