Ladies of leisure
While their military- inspired garb and regimented movements evoke the battlefield, the hundreds of leisure marchers descending on Porirua this weekend are surprisingly noncompetitive.
Porirua’s leisure marching team, the Kapi-Mana Insteps, will host 51 teams from throughout the North Island for a day of marching displays choreographed to traditional brass band music.
While each team strives to do their best and impress the crowds during their five-minute routines, there are no prizes or winners in the sport, member Jan Alleman said. ‘‘That’s what makes it so good,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s totally non-competitive, so at the end of the day there’s no medals, and every team goes out to have fun and do their best.’’
Leisure marching is open only to the over-40s, and is dominated by women marchers, many of whom first took up marching when it was a popular sport in the 1950s and 1960s, Mrs Alleman said. The sport’s motto is ‘‘fun, fitness and friendship’’.
Mrs Alleman is a founding member of the 10-strong KapiMana Insteps, who formed in 1993 after a Close Up television article featured the sport, which was then new to New Zealand.
Kapi-Mana Insteps has mem- bers aged 45 to 70, and while enjoying yourself is a key aim of the sport, it takes commitment. The Insteps train for two hours a week, and frequently enter display days around the country.
‘‘Although no-one would disagree that marching is both a physical and mental discipline, we all enjoy it immensely,’’ Mrs Alleman said.
This Saturday there is an an all-teams ‘‘maze march’’. They will attend an after- party dressed as nursery rhyme characters.
North Island Leisure Marching Display Day, Saturday, September 29, 8.30am to 3.30pm at Te Rauparaha Arena, free entry.