A new pilates class has started in Te Araroa run by Ngāti Porou Hauora Physiotherapist Anne Hewetson. The weekly class is held at Hinerupe (the local marae) and has a growing mix of local people attending regularly, especially kaumātua (elders). The initiative has been started as a proactive way to keep people strong, mobile and to prevent falls, as well to boost recovery for those who have had injuries or operations. The exercises focus on increasing levels of strength, balance, flexibility, muscle tone, stamina, and well-being. The ability to modify exercises to meet differing needs makes it a great community activity. “People are commenting about how good it makes them feel.
There has been increased mobility in some members and it has given people a greater understanding of what their bodies are capable of and what it feels like to have a good stretch.” - Tracey Morris, Rural Health Nurse Because the Physiotherapist is only in the area once a week, the goal is to train a local person to take over the classes going forward. This will give people greater access to recovery and rehabilitation sessions. The team at Matakaoa Clinic are also wanting to start a regular walking group. The staff walk most mornings already but are keen to get more locals involved. The Huringa Pai movement in Gisborne has certainly helped inspire the idea.
These activities all fit in with Ngāti Porou Hauora’s bigger vision to transform the East Coast into one of the world’s Blue Zones. Blue Zones are a handful of small areas in the world where people live longer and live 'happier' than anywhere else on the planet. Two of the core ingredients that have been identified in the recipe for a Blue Zone are regular physical activity and coming together as a community.