Our Iron Maori Success


Amongst the 1550 participants who entered last December’s half-ironman IronMaori, 17 were Te Kupenga Hauora-Ahuriri clients, staff or supporters. Six Healthy Lifestyle clients – Natalie Garner, Ginger Kuru, Patrick Hooper, David Coulson, Leslie Tata and Wiki Ngawaka; plus five staff members – Renee Whitiora, Taetuli Tuala, Veronica Young, Jen Robin and Faryn Ngawaka; along with six support people, Margaret Young, Toni Torr, Debbie Stubbs, Jason Rewita, Ross Rainhan and Colin Fifi eld all proudly completed either

  • a two kilometre swim,
  • 90 kilometre cycle, or
  • 21.1 kilometre walk or run

One of them, our Healthy Lifestyles coach Faryn Ngawaka, completed all three sections of the half ironman triathlon, coming in second in his category. What an amazing achievement for all participants!


It all began almost seven months earlier, in April 2011, when our Healthy Lifestyle Coaches (Faryn Ngawaka and Veronica Young) first approached their clients to identify who would be keen to take up this huge challenge. To Faryn and Veronica’s delight they managed to register seven enthusiastic and energetic clients, five equally excited staff members and six eagerly supportive whanau members.

Their first decision was whether to train for the swim, cycle, or walk/run in the months ahead. For some participants, they had little or no confidence in their ability to complete even part of the course but they gathered up their strength and knuckled down to the business of preparing their bodies for the IronMaori with the support of their Healthy Lifestyles coaches Faryn and Veronica, who coached and supported all those clients involved through their months of training. Making an effort during those winter months was challenging! Getting out in the cold, chilly Hawkes Bay weather was not easy.

Throughout the year, these Healthy Lifestyles clients showed true perseverance and stamina, achieving huge milestones every month.


Saturday 3 December 2011 was a day when thousands of supporters cheered and clapped encouragingly to see whanau, friends, strangers achieving what would have seemed impossible months before.

We cried tears of joy, with knots of pride in our throats as we celebrated seeing our clients and staff from Te Kupenga Hauora – Ahuriri cross the finishing line at Pandora Pond in their leg of the IronMaori 2011 event.

Leslie Tata, who had never participated in a swimming race, let alone a triathlon, was so excited when she completed the two kilometre swim, grinning from ear to ear. A role model for others, she now says, “If I can do it, anyone can!”

Natalie Garner was supported in her healthy lifestyles journey by her sister, Toni Torr, who completed the 90 kilometre cycling stage; and Margaret Young, who completed the two kilometre swimming stage of the three-person team. Natalie was also grateful to Ginger Kuru who, after completing his two kilometre swim for his own team, also walked the last two laps with her to support her in completing her 21.1 kilometre (half-marathon) walk. Natalie’s mum, Lorraine, celebrating her birthday that day, watched, with tears in her eyes as Natalie crossed the finish line in 4 hr and 47 minutes.

Congratulations goes out to the many participants. Everyone was so amazing!