Shaking and swaying a way to fitness with Pacific flavour
POLYNESIAN dance routines are the latest way to get fit – for $2 a time.
Performing arts graduates Nikki King, 32, and Te Hau Winitana, 23, are the brains and bodies behind Pacifit Fitness Hula Active.
Samoan, Cook Islands and Maori cultures, with a touch of Tahitian and Hawaiian have contributed to their aerobic fitness routines.
Nikki and Te Hau, both from Petone, have drawn on their Bachelor of Applied Arts from Whitireia Polytechnic.
The two women were involved in youth work last year and decided to build on that by developing a way of getting people fit and active.
“We really want to share what we do, because it is so cool,” Nikki said.
“The classes start with a low impact routine, then build to a higher tempo using the intense movements from each culture to get the heart rate up for two or three songs.And we really want our communities to get active, from young to old,” she said.
They then safely bring it back down to get the breathing back in line, all within an hour session.
No-one turned up for the first few sessions in April, but the two women persevered.
Through word of mouth the classes are now regularly attended by about 16 people, but they have had 32 participants one night.
All age groups are represented including kids, nannies and granddads.
“It’s just really cool to see people not only active, but coming out if their shells and losing weight,” Nikki said.
“Because it is a fitness routine, we’re not checking everyone’s technique. It’s more about having fun.”
Traditional drum dances are injected every fourth song. All designed to get people up and moving.
The classes are held in the evenings on Monday at Randwick Community Hall, and Tuesday and Wednesday at the Configure Express gym in Lower Hutt.
“Even if people go to three classes a week it is $6, much cheaper than the gym”.
The two women drew their inspiration from the three-year bachelor course, marrying aspects of Cook Island, Samoan and Maori cultures with contemporary dance.
“Each culture has its own movements, using the same concepts with different execution,” Nikki said.
When they were students at the Whitireia Performance Centre they travelled to places as diverse as France, Belgium, Holland and Kuala Lumpur showcasing the cultural differences through dance and performance.