Kawana wins novice powerlifting competition

By Rahia Timutimu, Ruth Smith
  • Auckland

A well-known voice in music, Tawaroa Kawana has broken into the weightlifting scene to compete in the North vs South 3 lift powerlifting competition that was held in Auckland on Sunday.

The Maimoa singer and lead musician has found a new hobby, mixing music with powerlifting.  

"It’s a small wedge that splits the log," says Kawana as he describes the challenges he faces in the new venture.

These words rang true as he won the North vs South 3 lift powerlifting competition.

"I feel so humbled," says Kawana. 

This is the first competition that the 23-year-old has entered and won.  Kawana says that there are many advantages to lifting and winning is just a bonus.

“There’s the fitness and health element.  It is also an opportunity for me to outlet my frustrations in a positive way.”

The novice competitor who performed kapa haka for Te Piringa and Te Tū Mataora says Māori values are key to his journey.  He says that the behaviours and skill-sets needed are not dissimilar to those that have been instilled in him from childhood.

“I’ve come from a kapa haka background where repetition is key and so I bring a lot of that experience to lifting so that I remember, so that my body remembers the things that are right for my body, so that I can achieve my goals."

Kawana first found a passion for lifting weights at a young age when he was inspired by the likes of Ronnie Coleman.

But it wasn't until he made the decision to return home to NZ, to his Māori world, two years ago that he was inspired by powerlifters, Odell Manuel and Rongo Keene.

"This is the first time I’ve met other lifters.  The good thing about that is getting to know the nature of people and it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who’s into this– there’s others.”

Kawana will look to compete again at a novice powerlifting competition in Auckland at the end of the year. 

But for now he will put the weights to the side for the mic.

Maimoa will be performing in Rarotonga this weekend.