Maunga to Moana . . . ‘An opportunity in our own back yard’

Hikurangi to the sea . . . all in a day’s adventure

Hikurangi to the sea . . . all in a day’s adventure

Matakaoa team members (from left) Caron Taana, Lisa Rudland, race support Shaun Aupouri (on quad) and Campbell Dewes stop on their way down Hikurangi to look at neighbouring Aorangi.
MULTISPORT WITH A VIEW: Left, members of whanau team Kingz Co. (from left) Varcon King, Issac King, Neihana Takitimu-Cook, Mayo Lilo-Maru and Connie King reach the pou on Maunga Hikurangi. They won the team section of the Maunga to Moana Multisport Adventure Race. Pictures by Tairawhiti Gisborne
Maunga to Moana

They conquered the maunga, made it to the moana and even filleted a fish or two in between. It was all in a day’s mahi for Maunga to Moana Multisport Adventure competitors.

After it was held three times as an army team-building exercise, corporal and Kaupoi Adventures owner Keelan Poi’s race creation — a 20-kilometre hike up and down Maunga Hikurangi, 25km bike and 5km run to the sea at Tuparoa — has now seen some civilian action.

Thirty competitors took part in the first public Maunga to Moana event.

First across the symbolic maihi — Maori for marae entrance — in the individual section was Tom Carter, from Tauranga, in three hours and 20 minutes.

Kingz Co., a whanau team from Palmerston North — made up of Maya Lilo-Maru, Varcon King, Connie King, Neihana Takitimu-Cook and Issac King — posted a time of six hours and 20 minutes to win the team division.

Poi says feedback was positive.

“I’m really happy everyone enjoyed it and we got everyone over the line — that was the goal for this first time, to make sure that it was achievable for all of our whanau.”

The race journey didn’t start on Saturday, though. On Friday, competitors arrived to a powhiri at Coastal Camp, at Mangahanea Marae. The weekend finished with a feast at the marae on Saturday night. Poi says these touches are just as important as the race.

“This journey includes everything significant to who we are on the East Coast, and having a big kai wraps everything up.”

Tutira Poi hails from Tikitiki. She said racing on home whenua was a special experience.

“We always have to go outside of the Coast to do things like this; now we can do it here.

“Finishing the race was an awesome feeling, especially touching the water at the end; it was so energising and cleansing.”

She completed the event in a time of eight hours and 38 minutes, not far behind second-placed team For the Tamariki, whose time was seven hours and eight minutes.

For the Tamariki were made up of teachers from Lytton High School and Gisborne Intermediate — Jason Devery, Jason Scott, Matt Henwood and JP Vorster.

Devery said that while hiking up to the pou on Hikurangi was hard, the experience was worth it.

“There’s definitely a mental aspect to it, where your mind takes you to some dark places and you are struggling but when we got to the top, it was beautiful.”

Clouds had started to roll in as team Tamariki neared the pou.

“When we got there the clouds parted; it was like it was meant to be,” Devery said.

“The views from Hikurangi were beautiful, it was so peaceful.”

Devery said journeying to the moana and touching the water at the end made the event feel “full circle”.

It wasn’t all swims and stunning scenery, though. Competitors tackled mystery challenges along the way.

The first test was to fillet a fish, another was an eating task.

In true adventure style, a makeshift treasure-finding challenge was created as a stand-in after possums meant for skinning — hunted by Poi — proved too tempting for prowling dogs the night before.

Poi says it is all part of the journey, one he and the coast hope has a bright future.

“This is a great opportunity for Te Tairawhiti to be put on the map for adventure racing and tourism. I believe that with the right backing and support, this event can bring in big numbers to the smaller communities on the East Coast, along with economic benefits to our whanau here.”

Poi says a key driver is to show that positive things are happening on the Coast, and with fantastic people, too.

“To have the community come together and put on a show like that is just awesome. It just takes one or two people to rally the troops and bring them together and then everyone’s prepared to give back.”

A total of 32 local volunteers helped run Coastal Camp and race-day logistics.

The “community” can be viewed broadly, though. Eastland Community Trust — through its economic development arm Activate Tairawhiti — came on board as the major sponsor, under regional brand Tairawhiti Gisborne.

Poi says having Tairawhiti Gisborne fund the event meant he could focus on organisation and execution.

“We are really grateful for their support and hope we can work with them in the following years’ events. It’s awesome to be able to shed light on what beauty we have here, and if we look after it, it will remain for a long time.”

Eastland Community Trust chief executive Gavin Murphy says the real thanks goes to mana whenua Ngati Porou and the entire Ruatoria community.

“It is a focus of ours to awhi tourism products and events that thrive in the shoulder season, rather than our region’s traditional summer peak; it’s a big one for us.

“From a community wellbeing perspective, too, there’s no doubt about the link between that and exercise. Ka rawe Keelan, you will see an ECT team there next year.”

Community support for the Maunga to Moana race came in many different forms.

“Honestly, I’m just stoked,” said Poi, who thanked all those who contributed to the success of the event.

They conquered the maunga, made it to the moana and even filleted a fish or two in between. It was all in a day’s mahi for Maunga to Moana Multisport Adventure competitors.

After it was held three times as an army team-building exercise, corporal and Kaupoi Adventures owner Keelan Poi’s race creation — a 20-kilometre hike up and down Maunga Hikurangi, 25km bike and 5km run to the sea at Tuparoa — has now seen some civilian action.

Thirty competitors took part in the first public Maunga to Moana event.

First across the symbolic maihi — Maori for marae entrance — in the individual section was Tom Carter, from Tauranga, in three hours and 20 minutes.

Kingz Co., a whanau team from Palmerston North — made up of Maya Lilo-Maru, Varcon King, Connie King, Neihana Takitimu-Cook and Issac King — posted a time of six hours and 20 minutes to win the team division.

Poi says feedback was positive.

“I’m really happy everyone enjoyed it and we got everyone over the line — that was the goal for this first time, to make sure that it was achievable for all of our whanau.”

The race journey didn’t start on Saturday, though. On Friday, competitors arrived to a powhiri at Coastal Camp, at Mangahanea Marae. The weekend finished with a feast at the marae on Saturday night. Poi says these touches are just as important as the race.

“This journey includes everything significant to who we are on the East Coast, and having a big kai wraps everything up.”

Tutira Poi hails from Tikitiki. She said racing on home whenua was a special experience.

“We always have to go outside of the Coast to do things like this; now we can do it here.

“Finishing the race was an awesome feeling, especially touching the water at the end; it was so energising and cleansing.”

She completed the event in a time of eight hours and 38 minutes, not far behind second-placed team For the Tamariki, whose time was seven hours and eight minutes.

For the Tamariki were made up of teachers from Lytton High School and Gisborne Intermediate — Jason Devery, Jason Scott, Matt Henwood and JP Vorster.

Devery said that while hiking up to the pou on Hikurangi was hard, the experience was worth it.

“There’s definitely a mental aspect to it, where your mind takes you to some dark places and you are struggling but when we got to the top, it was beautiful.”

Clouds had started to roll in as team Tamariki neared the pou.

“When we got there the clouds parted; it was like it was meant to be,” Devery said.

“The views from Hikurangi were beautiful, it was so peaceful.”

Devery said journeying to the moana and touching the water at the end made the event feel “full circle”.

It wasn’t all swims and stunning scenery, though. Competitors tackled mystery challenges along the way.

The first test was to fillet a fish, another was an eating task.

In true adventure style, a makeshift treasure-finding challenge was created as a stand-in after possums meant for skinning — hunted by Poi — proved too tempting for prowling dogs the night before.

Poi says it is all part of the journey, one he and the coast hope has a bright future.

“This is a great opportunity for Te Tairawhiti to be put on the map for adventure racing and tourism. I believe that with the right backing and support, this event can bring in big numbers to the smaller communities on the East Coast, along with economic benefits to our whanau here.”

Poi says a key driver is to show that positive things are happening on the Coast, and with fantastic people, too.

“To have the community come together and put on a show like that is just awesome. It just takes one or two people to rally the troops and bring them together and then everyone’s prepared to give back.”

A total of 32 local volunteers helped run Coastal Camp and race-day logistics.

The “community” can be viewed broadly, though. Eastland Community Trust — through its economic development arm Activate Tairawhiti — came on board as the major sponsor, under regional brand Tairawhiti Gisborne.

Poi says having Tairawhiti Gisborne fund the event meant he could focus on organisation and execution.

“We are really grateful for their support and hope we can work with them in the following years’ events. It’s awesome to be able to shed light on what beauty we have here, and if we look after it, it will remain for a long time.”

Eastland Community Trust chief executive Gavin Murphy says the real thanks goes to mana whenua Ngati Porou and the entire Ruatoria community.

“It is a focus of ours to awhi tourism products and events that thrive in the shoulder season, rather than our region’s traditional summer peak; it’s a big one for us.

“From a community wellbeing perspective, too, there’s no doubt about the link between that and exercise. Ka rawe Keelan, you will see an ECT team there next year.”

Community support for the Maunga to Moana race came in many different forms.

“Honestly, I’m just stoked,” said Poi, who thanked all those who contributed to the success of the event.

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