Get­ting fit and hav­ing fun with hula

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Porirua is get­ting fit is­land-style, thanks to two women who run non-profit hula classes in the east.

Kelly Ruru and Ebony Nga­toko launched Hula Ac­tive a year ago.

It has proved so pop­u­lar the pair run four classes a week in Porirua and have ex­panded into the Hutt Val­ley.

The women don’t make a cent from the classes, how­ever. All gold coin en­try fees are do­nated back to the school and church halls where the classes are held.

‘‘What we get out of it is just see­ing the com­mu­nity en­joy­ing them­selves,’’ Ms Ruru said.

‘‘ This is our heart here. We grew up here and we went to school here.’’

Be­tween 30 and 80 peo­ple, mostly women, at­tend each Hula Ac­tive class, from small chil­dren to women in their 70s.

See­ing fit­ness lev­els im­prove over the weeks was a joy, Ms Ruru said.

‘‘That’s our mis­sion and that’s been our mis­sion from day one.

‘‘We’re see­ing progress and that keeps us go­ing. We’re thriv­ing on our classes.’’

While hula seems to be all about the hips, in fact it strength­ened your core mus­cles and legs, she said.

Hula danc­ing styles from Tahiti, Hawaii and the Cook Is­lands are taught, as well as Samoan, Maori and hip- hop moves. The mu­sic ranges from Is­land drum­beats to mod­ern R’n’B.

Vi­sions of grass skirts and co­conut bras scared some peo­ple off hula, but Hula Ac­tive was de­signed to make peo­ple feel com­fort­able, Ms Ruru said.

A lot of Pa­cific Is­land women grew up danc­ing, but never saw it as a way to get fit, Ms Nga­toko said.

‘‘Dance is very much part of their cul­ture. They’re see­ing it and do­ing it, but not as fit­ness,’’ she said.

The best part about the classes was form­ing friend­ships with the women who at­tended, and hear­ing their sto­ries, Ms Nga­toko said. ‘‘It’s just a priv­i­lege.’’ Ms Ruru and Ms Nga­toko would like to roll out Hula Ac­tive na­tion­wide and even over­seas, and are look­ing for in­struc­tors who can ex­tend the pro­gramme.

Photo: AN­DREA O’NEIL

Is­land moves: Kelly Ruru and Ebony Nga­toko, cen­tre, run pop­u­lar hula fit­ness classes in Porirua East.

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