Members of the Aka’uka fitness group at the Tupapa Centre. 22112417
It is all about moving and feeling the music and the song, says Lady-Joe TangataTerekia.
Known to many as LJ, the mother of 11 visited Rarotonga to empower women and encourage them to accept who they are through her Hulanesian Fitness programme.
On Wednesday last week, members of the Aka’uka fitness group gathered at
the Tupapa Centre to participate in LJ’s programme and listen to her fitness
LJ is married to Ngatokoa Tagata and they are the proud owners of
Hulanesian Fitness based in Aotearoa New Zealand. They have branches in Papua
New Guinea (PNG), South Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney. They are expanding and
reaching women online.
Tagata is from Aitutaki and LJ says she and her children, 10 boys and
one girl, are looking forward to building their home in Aitutaki and connecting
with their roots.
“I love it, and my kids love it, this is where they would love to be, my
husband would love us to be here and move back to the Cooks Islands.”
LJ says she also has some missing lineage to the Cook Islands and hopes
to find her roots in the Cook Islands, as she was raised by her Maori side.
“I am a self-taught dancer, it is a way of finding my roots,” she says.
In her early teens, she joined an island dance group in Gold Coast,
Australia and began to hula her way through the cultural music, beginning to
love the experience as her passion for dancing and fitness accelerated.
“I have a massive background of fitness. Dancing is just who we are as a
people, it is in our DNA, our blood and culture.”
Because of their love for culture, LJ and her husband decided to move
their family to New Zealand a few years ago.
They wanted to raise their children in a cultural lifestyle among their
roots and learn to speak Te Reo Maori which is important for her and her
“That is what we are doing… I didn’t want the boys to grow up and not be
as hearty as we were.”
Their eldest son is 27 and the
youngest, a girl, is four years old.
LJ says in Pacific islands, women are
blessed to have their own talents, but they need to keep moving and keep
“We are very blessed to have so much talent, but I think it’s about
moving and once you start, I suppose it’s about working on technique, form and
pushing yourself harder.
“It’s also about feeling the music and songs and letting your body tell
Dance fitness is also about feeding the body well, she says.
“It’s about feeding our body well, we don’t want to be good throughout
the week and then when it comes to the weekend, it becomes a ‘weak end’.
“It’s about the knowledge, putting in the mahi (work) to find out what works for you. It’s about your mental
wellbeing and being in a positive state of mind.”
To stay fit, LJ says people need to be around positivity and around
positive people – not around gossip and negativity.