MEDIA RELEASES

Kaitaia Teens Bucking Obesity Trend

Kaitaia’s population is usually renowned for its high rate of obesity but five young residents are breaking that cycle and are off to the USA to represent New Zealand with their fitness expertise.

Sixteen New Zealanders – eight of them Northlanders - are representing the country in CrossFit Kids in Ramona, California this week and five of them, one as young as 14, hail from Kaitaia College.

The Brand X Method is holding its second annual CrossFit Kids event from July 17-19. The team from Kaitaia are Brooke Ah Sam, Kyla TePaiatai puhiroa Smith, Christian Linder, Dakota-Li Mitchy Lum and Kelly Lum, with some of them having ranked first in the world or New Zealand in their specialty.

Brooke Ah Sam only began CrossFit in 2013 and placed first in the world in the July 2014 Teen Gauntlet, Junior Varsity division.

“I have grown to really love the sport. Throughout my journey I have met some amazing athletes who inspire me to strive and work hard to get to where I want to be – a professional athlete.

“I am currently ranked third in the world on the Gauntlet Leader board. I’m really excited about having the opportunity to be part of this amazing event, being able to represent Kaitaia and New Zealand is one of my goals.”

Kaitaia Hospital is a major supporter of the team with clinical leader Sarah Clarke saying Kaitaia is fortunate to have five youngsters who have been selected based on their athletic ability to represent New Zealand.

“Of course it is with great delight that Kaitaia Hospital is supporting these children in attending this event through our Active Workplace initiative, and assisting with their fundraising. Kaitaia’s population is unfortunately known to have a high rate of obesity and its consequent diseases including heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and hypertension. It is imperative that we, as a part of the Northland community, encourage our young people to strive towards good health and fitness.”

To enable the teens to participate in the international event, $35,000 was needed and after months of community fundraising through a costume party, and garage sales, as well as family support, the amount was secured.

New Zealand-South Pacific District Kiwianis Foundation Trusts, chair Patsy Hill said, although the trust was unable to help with funding in this instance, she fully supported what the youngsters were doing.

“Personally I feel the achievement of these youngsters is really to be applauded. As we have had a holiday cottage at Cable Bay in Doubtless Bay for over 30 years, and consequently many friends in the Far North, I am very aware of how hard it must be for young people in the North to progress to such a high level, being so far removed from others working in the same field of sport.  And I also know how hard it is to obtain funding.

“Very many congratulations to each of them and well done to all concerned.”





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