Developed by the Kapa-Kīngi triplets, this is the first ever functional Māori crossfit-style fitness competition. This month is organized with the goal of simultaneously improving the health and language of Maori.
Three Maori men in their mid-twenties, Kappa-Kunji triplets, combine their passion for raising Maori health and endorsing te reo with the fail-proof formula that Maori love – competition.
Matt is a CrossFit-style functional fitness competition founded by brothers Hemi, Tibeni, and Iru Kappa Konji, who are descended from Te Oburi, Ngati Kaho Ki, Wangarwa Waikato, and Te Wanao Abanui.
“Matatua is a representation of two things my brothers and I are passionate about, te reo and fitness,” says Iru Kappa Konji.
Competition is another crucial element. “This is the whanaungatanga element,” he says. “Kei roto ia tātou te wairua whakataetae, we thrive apart from the competition. Anna ronga ia tātou tātou te wairua whakataetae, we all love a little bit of it. This is why so many Māori do kappa hakka, to add that competitive element,” says Kappa Konji.
Functional fitness works for Māori
For Eru Kapa-Kīngi, exercise and functional movement is a natural area for Māori looking to improve their health and fitness in a group environment.
“Most people who practice Kappa Hakka will do some kind of functional trainingAnd the So they will have one foot in this area, and another foot in te ao Māori and te reo Māori, says Kapa-Kīngi.
The triplets are longtime gym goers and ex-football players who have switched to CrossFit in the past few years. The gains made by Iru Kappa Konji are numerous.
“You don’t get concussive like you do when playing footy, it’s a good way to train and probably goes more in line with how we train our tupuna—functional stuff, running, hill climbing, fitness training and mental flexibility,” he says.
One of the Mātātoa exercises is called “upoko pakaru”, and is related to the Maori proverb “kaua mā te waewae tutuki, engari mā te upoko pakaru”. It encourages us not to give up when we face adversity, but to move forward.
For the Kapa-Kīngi, whakapapa Māori and kōrero tuku iho is the way he channels his inner strength.
“When you’re in that dark place, I think of Te Oneroa a Tohe. He’s famous for his athletic abilities, he ran up and down Te Oneroa a Tohe and was known to be. If I’m out there, I think of my tupuna incarnation,” he says.
Kapa-Kīngi firmly believes that physical fitness is an integral part of our overall health.
“We want to see more Maori for the health benefits so we can mitigate some of the negative stats about hauora within our iwi.
“The Maori are a very talented group, so for a lot of Maori who just can’t break it in football, if you still love training and fitness, bro, CrossFit is a flimsy way to do it,” he says.
Normalization of Te Rio and Kubaba Maori
Functional fitness is huge. The basis of functional movements is a popular way to train athletes across multiple codes, although the emergence of CrossFit has seen a new global industry stand on its own two feet.
The introduction of te reo into these spaces is a natural progression and exemplifies the extent to which efforts to normalize and revitalize te reo have come in 50 years.
Mātātoa is supported by Te Mātāwai, an independent entity created under the Te Ture mō Te Reo Māori (Māori language law) to promote the use of te reo in society, with the idea that Enable Rangatahi to create a future in which our culture is normalized in all spaces.
“You don’t have to be a mātanga reo, or a top athlete either. All we have is wero reorua-All our contacts are reorua. “Currently, the language used is in the introductory stage,” says Kapa-Kīngi.
Workouts in the competition are posted on Instagram at Series of “ero” videoswith all the movements behind it Kaobaba Maori.
“One exercise has rope climbing – that relates to Tuaki who ascended to heaven. Another exercise focuses on leg strength, related to Tani who separated his parents Ranginui and Papatanoko,” says Kappa Konji.
The set of moves is centered around fitness, strength and cardio based on gymnastics.
“My brothers and I put together a glossary of all the moves and equipment in crossfit, translating them to enhance the usability of te reo even in that space, even if it’s idiomatic,” Kapa-Kīngi says.
Burpee is translated as “papa peke,” the pull-up is “tō runga,” while the squat is “tūruru.”
The brothers hope that through competition, kubo will be normalized in the fitness community.
“It’s a spectacle dominated by Bakiha, but that’s just one part of our world and as the saying goes, ‘whakamāoritia tō ao, tukua te reo ki ngā wāhi katoa’—”Make your world one Māori, te reo Māori project in all areas.” This is one of those areas, says Kapa-Kīngi, your gym.
As the competition progressed, the Kapa-Kīngi brothers’ goal was to grow the fitness of te reo Māori and te reo side by side.
Ngā piki me ngā heke – ups and downs
Not all actors have had it easy, as the pandemic has put all the physical events of the past few years in jeopardy. Mattātoa was no exception, with the original competition date postponed.
“It is a kaupapa about a hauora, so who will run the kaupapa that will effectively display the health of the attendees? This was a consideration for us to determine the safest time for the event to occur,” Kapa-Kīngi says.
The changes have had an impact on the equipment supply chain, but the trio is grateful for the support of a number of local gyms that practice manaakitanga and support kaupapa by lending equipment to help the movement get up and running.
Filling a gap in the market
If there is anything to contend with, Matatua will be sprinting into a sprint in the coming years.
“The response we received was tremendous, the first of its kind and there was a huge uptake,” Kapa-Kīngi says.
Participants from all over the country will travel to Tāmaki Makaurau later this month to test their fitness while dealing with and uplifting our native language.
On the day recordings opened, all three sections sold out in less than two hours. An over 18 event, there are 70 teams in total and 30 teams on the waiting list, with 140 athletes this year.
In this first competition, athletes will compete in teams of two, men and women.
“It is ao takirua te ao Māori, it is very much dependent on the dual worlds, being Watokora And the Marikurais not strictly gendered, but is in line with the way we decided to put our teams together,” says Kapa-Kīngi. “We think this is appropriate in the te ao Māori model,” says Kapa-Kīngi.
As the competition grows, the brothers will open the door to more teams and the Masters division.
“The goal is to keep rolling and get this as the Crossfit equivalent of Iron Maori. This is how this kupaba started — some Maori got together, they rolled the kupaba together, and now it’s huge,” says Kappa Konji.
The new date is set for June 18 at the CrossFit Waitākere in Tāmaki Makaurau, just in time for Matariki, where we’ll see who is crowned the nation’s Mātātoa title.