Movement on the march
Laughter fills the Matamata Memorial Hall as the Leisure Marchers get in to their weekly practice.
For these women, marching is about more than just foot movements and uniforms.
It is about making friends, having a great time and staying in shape.
Coach Dawn White who has been dancing on and off since she was six said marching was great for discipline and socialising.
‘‘ It is about fun, friendship and fitness,’’ she said. ‘‘Ladies get dressed up in their uniforms and we march – we just have a ball.’’
Marcher Sue Lainy is new to the sport and said she also loved all aspects of marching.
‘‘Apart from the fun side of it that I love, I just fitted right in and it feels really good.‘‘
Matamata Leisure Marchers now has two teams, the Kaimai Rangers and Kaimai Guards.
The Kaimai Rangers formed in November 2010 and the Kaimai
the Guards in April 2011 but group is always on the lookout for more enthusiastic marchers. New Zealand has more than 100 leisure marching teams for both sexes over 35 years.
‘‘ We only have women at the moment but we always have room if a man wants to join,’’ Mrs White said.
‘‘Leisure marching is also about commitment – you need that to come each time and be a part of the team.’’
The Kaimai Guards train on Monday nights and the Kaimai Rangers on Tuesday nights from 5.30 to 6.30pm. Once a month the teams travel to another town for Display Day.
‘‘These days are just the absolute best. Every team from around the area does a march. They are always themed and we dress up – it really is amazing,’’ she said.
Mrs White said they would love to be able to return the favour but there were no suitable premises in Matamata to hold the day. ‘‘ We really need a hall with plenty of seating and somewhere that can hold about 250 marchers overnight,’’ she said.
Marcher Glenice Dando agreed that it would be good to be able to host a day because display days would also bring in great revenue for the businesses in town.
The women pay a small fee each week to be a part of the team which helped pay for trips and new uniforms, and they fundraise regularly.
If anyone wants to be involved in Leisure Marching go to the Matamata Memorial Centre on Monday or Tuesday night between 5.30 and 6.30pm.
In time: Matamata now has two Leisure Marching teams. The Kaimai Rangers on the left, coach Dawn White, centre, and Kaimai Guards on the right.