Vibrant team is top
Takapuwahia Marae’s elders proved they can learn new tricks last month by winning a North Island- wide Kaumatua Olympics competition in Palmerston North despite never having competed before.
Twenty local kaumatua, mostly in their 70s, smashed the opposition in activities such as kumara egg- andspoon races, a mobility scooter obstacle course and hangi stonethrowing. The marae’s ‘‘A’’ team of 10 elders came away champions at the April 27 event. They called themselves the Ngati Toa Uenuku (rainbows), and dressed the part in neon wigs and feather boas.
‘‘ We were there to have fun, we didn’t care if we won or lost,’’ organiser Jane Edwards, 74, says.
The Olympics’ theme this year was hau ora ( health) and Mrs Edwards is certain the competition did her good. ‘‘Laughter is good for the soul and I haven’t laughed that much for a long, long time,’’ she says.
Mrs Edwards was a key contributor to her team’s success. ‘‘I got the prize for the most energetic kaumatua,’’ she says.
Rainbow brights: A team of Takapuwahia Marae’s elders calling themselves Uenuku (Rainbows) beat 230 of their contemporaries at a Kaumatua Olympics event in Palmerston North last month. Reprising their kumara egg-and-spoon race are, from left, Waina Williams, Jane Edwards and Pep France.