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‘Atiu on the move’ – Te Marae Ora introduces healthy island programme

Thursday 6 April 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Health, National, Outer Islands


‘Atiu on the move’ – Te Marae Ora introduces healthy island programme
Atiu on the move … Rarotonga-based dance fitness group Aka’uka Time conducted a week of sessions with participants in Atiu. SUPPLIED/23040520

In a bid to create a healthy lifestyle on Atiu, Te Marae Ora and Aka’uka Time teamed up to introduce a week of fitness sessions through a dance fitness programme ‘Atiu on the move’.

Te Marae Ora’s manager health promotion, Tereapii Tumutoa said the purpose of last week’s trip to Atiu was to support the healthy island programme that the ministry is piloting on the Southern Group island.

Tumutoa said the key areas around the healthy island concept was to reduce the smoking population down to less than 5 per cent.

He said in early February, TMO visited Atiu to launch the healthy island concept and set up the smoking cessation programme and water bottle support for students of Enuamanu school.

Their second visit was to strengthen the tobacco cessation programme and help introduce a physical activity that could cater for all sizes and gender hence the support from Rarotonga-based dance fitness group Aka’uka Time. TMO has also incorporated Rippa rugby as part of their fitness programme.

Tumutoa said Te Marae Ora led initiative was supported by the Health Minister Rose Toki Brown of Atiu, the Island Council and Atiu community.

Tangi Tauira, one of the Aka’uka coordinators, said they enjoyed working with the Atiu community in terms of delivering strategic activities.

She said that at the same time they embraced more of the Cook Islands culture.

“Our purpose was to drive a physical programme supporting health and wellbeing in Atiu. The theme was called Atiu on the Move, which was a total success where the ura class brought together the Atiu community including women, men and children to dance.”

Tauira said seeing the popularity of dance fitness spread through the community, they were able to build a team on the island to continue the fitness programme as their own.

Atiu now has six instructors who form the fitness dance group – “Vaine Toa Ingo Fitness”.

“And with great demand for healthy lifestyle awareness, they are making it their mission to continue classes for the people.”

Meanwhile, Tumutoa said they aim to reach their target of reducing the smoking population by 2030.

He hopes the establishment of the Vaine Toa Ingo Fitness will boost the interest of the community to live a healthy lifestyle.

Tumutoa says they will introduce a similar programme for Mitiaro and Mauke.

“Atiu is a pilot programme for the healthy island, once Atiu takes ownership of the project we will then move to Mitiaro and Mauke.”