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Feel the music, dance and let your body tell the story

Monday 28 November 2022 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Health, Local, National


Feel the music, dance and let your body tell the story
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 advice.

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 husband.

“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 pushing themselves.

“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 the story.”

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.

“Be a leader in yourself.”