Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Local fitness groups battle NCD’s in the Cook Islands

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Johnson Raela | Reporter/Director – Wellington

Fitness groups in the Cook Islands are taking matters into their own hands to inspire their people to lead healthier lifestyles in the battle against chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). 

Nan Thompson is the founder of the Raro Flex which offers high intensity interval training (HIIT) and cardio combat classes on Rarotonga. 

“There is a need for health and fitness in the Cook Islands, after doing a bit of study we did find that NCDs is a huge risk factor here and cause a lot of deaths,” says Nan.

After doing her research on health issues in the Cook Islands, Nan held community classes to raise funds to help get her fitness venture off the ground. 

“I did a lot of fundraising and saved all my door money so we were able to get enough funds to buy some weights from New Zealand and get it shipped over here and we found a nice home for it at the Enuamanu Hall in Titikaveka.”

Nan Thompson is the founder of the Raro Flex.

Nan and her team have seen extraordinary changes in many members, including Damon Enoka who has lost over 26kgs over 12 months. 

“I set off on a mission to lose enough weight to get back to my 20 year old weight and I’m two thirds of the way there; Raro Flex has been pivotal to my health journey,” Damon says.

Raro Flex member Liana Scott’s fitness journey has led her to competing in three triathlons and gets a buzz out of seeing the progress of other members.

“Just seeing others really get their goals and come out of their shells and you know participate in things that are a little bit more public, that’s always so rewarding,” Liana says.

Women across Rarotonga have been flocking to CC Tamure Fitness which offer women different exercise options from HIIT and weights training.

Moana Taio (pictured right) founder of CC Tamure Fitness.

Former Cook Islands dance champion Moana Taio founded CC Tamure Fitness three years ago.

“I decided to start something small and we’re not dancing for tourists, families or friends overseas, we’re actually doing it to benefit ourselves, to keep healthy and to stay fit,” says Moana.

Moana added, “this is a fun supportive environment where we bring the queens in, have fun and uplift each other.”

Uirangi Bishop, considered one of the greats of Cook Islands dancing, started her fitness journey at CC Tamure Fitness after the birth of her daughter and is now an instructor. She has seen women of all ages, shapes and sizes flourish in the environment.

“You see the transition in the queens, the more they come, the easier it gets and then the more confident they feel about themselves and then, next minute, they want to come on stage and assist us the instructors and we allow that opportunity; we don’t hold them back.”



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