IronMāori Toa prep for New Zealand Ironman

By Lynette Amoroa

Sixty four participants of the IronMāori Toa group took part in a weekend of intense training at Taupō, in preparation for one of New Zealand's toughest events, the New Zealand Ironman.

A training camp was held with the aim to strengthen a bond between the group of strangers in hope that it will see them through to the finish line come March 7.

They began as strangers with a common goal.

Ironman NZ is the primary focus. But many of the participants see the benefits as a long-term goal for them and their families.

This weekend has also been an eye opener for some, giving them an insight to what they're about to embark on and furthermore a reminder where they've come from.

According to a competitior, Rawiri Shedlock, “Five years ago I was suffering from diabetes and heart problems. It was my sister who encouraged me to get up and give Iron Māori a go, with the aim for healthier body.”

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer lives a busy life, but has made the pact to lead by example for her family, hapū and iwi.

Even if you're not competing you could pop out to support. These women have made the effort to battle the heat and ensure they provide a supportive environment for the kaupapa.

The experience is a taste of what to expect come March. But for many of these participants, the relationships and experience taken from this camp is hoped to be held for a lifetime.