Remarks At Papakura Marae On Tamariki Maraerobics

  • Georgina te Heuheu
Maori Affairs


Tamariki Maraerobics is a television series based on the successful Te Hau Kori a Rehia Tamariki Maraerobics Team which has members aged from 11 to 13 years.

Maori is the language of instruction.

The programme designers have a vision of a cultural lifestyle where health and exercise are as much a part of daily life as eating and sleeping.

It is a lifestyle we should want to live, that we can be proud of and want to pass on to future generations.

We should all want Maori people to be fit, and to identify with healthy lifestyles and people. We should want our children to think, "We are Maori, therefore we are healthy, we are fit".

The origins of the exercises in Maraerobics can be traced to influence from haka, poi, waiata-a-ringa (action songs), Kopikopi (hand games), weapon drills and whaikorero.

The future of Maraerobics will be influenced by its impact on young people, their aspirations and a dynamic approach to Maori culture, it is a future my Government is confident in.

An 8 week series was successfully screened on ETV in 1997. The response, with even this limited broadcast was significant.

Since then the team has matured, its talent has improved and its profile has increased through school and sports visits, and with national Television exposure with performances on What Now! And the 1998 MDC Maori Sports Awards.

Ad Breaks / Health and Safety Commercials

Ad Breaks are interspersed throughout the programme but they are not for standard commercials but are Health and Safety messages on a range of high priority issues, including:

  • Injury prevention 
  • Smoking 
  • Seat belts and child restraints 
  • Dental health and care 
  • Road Safety 
  • Smoke Alarms 
  • 5 + a day 
  • Cold water treatment for burns 
  • Vehicle speed 
  • Glue ear checks 
  • Not leaving kids in cars unattended

These messages are presented in Maori by the Tamariki Maraerobics team members and it is hoped some well recognised Maori personalities and Sports men and women.

These visual images play an important role in providing messages for kids by kids.

Our hope is that this form of peer education will make these messages "cool" to the target audience and will bring attitudinal change amongst the children and their families towards these health issues.

Hopefully children will adopt these kids as role models, and learn to value people who are not that much different to themselves.

A number of the messages just promote healthy lifestyles, e.g. brush your teeth twice a day, wear a helmet, wear a seatbelt.

And some of the messages promote behavioural issues like child abuse or parents leaving unattended children in cars in carparks at the supermarket or pub.

These messages can be installed in children so they can know that this is not right.

Children seeing messages where the older sisters and brothers help their younger brothers and sisters allow them to become "local" role models in the future.

Television Broadcast

The target audience for the series are Maori people aged from 3 to 25 years, the secondary target audience in non-Maori in the same age group.

From the perspective of Tamariki Aerobics Marae style, fun is how we hope to encourage more participants, who in turn receive direct benefits to their health.

If it's fun then there is an increased chance they will do it everyday.

It is through this medium of fun and entertainment that we place the health and safety ads - it gives the tamariki a chance to rest and it makes them attentive and wide-eyed to the messages that are coming up.

Aerobics by nature is much like "Simon Says .... put your right foot in, put your right foot out".

The instructor is very influential, their commands have a hypnotic effect on the participants.

If an instructor says - "put your right foot in", you're not going to stick your left hand up - you will be out of place and look uncoordinated.

So you try your best to follow the same. Instructors doing these aerobics routines are now saying to their audience: Remember:

  • wear a seat belt 
  • put your helmet on 
  • don't play with matches and lighters 
  • brush your teeth twice a day 
  • never ever smoke 
  • wash your hands after going to the toilet - before eating food

If the important messages they need know about - staying alive and enjoying a quality life - are heard many times, children will hopefully remember what the right thing is all the time.

Additional information


Tahuna Minhinnick - is the creator of the Tamariki Maraerobics concept and has run a number of successful health initiatives for Maori people including the establishment of the Whareoranga programme placing health and fitness centres on Marae.

Brett Fairweather - was the first ever World Aerobic Champion in both 1990 and 1991. He also held eight successive New Zealand National titles. He is widely respected internationally in the fitness industry and has performed, lectured and instructed in more than 25 countries..

Ross Jennings - has vast experience as a producer of television programmes and commercials. Most notably his recent work has included two acclaimed series "Middlemore" and New Zealand Police".

Waihoroi Shortland - also has considerable experience in film and television. He is a member of the Maori Language Commission - Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori. Waihoroi provides specific advice on the Maori language component of the routines and the health and safety "commercials".

Rob McLeod - is a principal Partner in the Arthur Andersen Firm of Chartered Accountants. He acts as an Advisory Trustee on the financial management of this project. Rob has a proven reputation, distinguished by a number of ministerial appointments to Government projects.

Nga Tamariki

Paretaunu Randall - Ko Tainui me Ngapuhi nga iwi, Ko Hora Hora te marae. Ko Te Whare Kura o Hoani Waititi te wahi ako, Pare is 13 her interests are Aerobics and Kapa Haka.

Hone Nepe - Ko Ngapuhi me Ngati Haua nga iwi. Ko Puau te Moananui a Kiwa te Kura Kaupapa. Hone is 12 and is interested in Kapa Haka, Basketball, Judo and

Ice skating.

Korowhati Nepe - Ko Ngapuhi me Ngati Haua nga iwi. Ko Puau te Moananui a Kiwa

te Kura Kaupapa. Koro is 12 and is interested in Kapa Haka, Judo and Rugby League.

Awaroa Minhinnick - Ko Terua Kaiwhare te Taniwha, Ko Maungawhau te Maunga, Ko Ngati te Ata, Ngati Hine me Ngati Whatua nga iwi. Ko Tahuna te marae. Ko te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Waiuku te kura. Awaroa is 11, he is interested in te reo Maori, aerobics, Kapa Haka and basketball.

Hine te ata Castle - Ko Tainui te waka, Ko Ngati Paoa me Ngati Wairere nga iwi. Ko te Raki Pae Whenua te Kura Kaupapa. Hine is 12 and likes netball, basketball, rugby, music, Kapa Haka, slow jams and rock 'n' roll.