The team will compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a form of martial arts based on control.
As well as a fun sport to practice, it is touted as the world’s most effective self-defence system.
In New Zealand it is the fastest-growing martial arts sports in the country and it’s taking off here, too.
Aere Moe Jiu Jitsu will be among many teams competing in the New Zealand national tournament this year.
Taokia, who bought the art here and founded the first BJJ club on Rarotonga in 2011,
says it’s “crazy” that the team will be the only Pacific Island competing.
An incident last year in which a woman was sexually assaulted inspired the introduction of a women’s only classes.
A year later, and a team of six people, including some of the women from that original class (and some men), will compete in Auckland.
“They have been training really hard and have the best coaches,” says Taokia.
Team member and competition team assistant coach Martin Stetka won a silver medal in the 89kg intermediate division in April 2017 and was mentored by Dion Teau during the lead-up.
Teau is the highest ranking BJJ player in the Cook Islands and head coach of the competition team. He trained UFC fighter Dan Hooker and was an original member of Strikeforce, one of the original pioneering MMA gyms in New Zealand.
Aere Moe Jiu Jitsu are raising funds to attend the contest, which will take place on October 14.
They have held barbecues as well as washing cars and holding garage sales.
Their final fundraiser will be an auction dinner at The Islander Hotel on September 14. Tickets will cost $55.00 each.
All of the funds raised during the auction will help the team with accommodation and other tournament expenses.
“We are all excited and can’t wait to compete. It’s going to be a tough competition, but it’s something we have all been training for, says Taokia.
“Win or lose, the fact that we will even be there to fight is a win for us.”
For more information about Aere Moe Jiu Jitsu club and tickets contact Mii Taokia on 50663.