Keeping fit is just a workout in the park

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Keeping fit is just a workout in the park


Stanton Ropiha 12, taking part in an evening session of Fitness Within The Hood with session instructor Kayden Meston. Photo / Warren Buckland

Young Couple Meka Ripohau and Kayden Meston decided to start a free fitness program for the Flaxmere community.

Fitness Within The Hood’s focus is to help the community better their health, prioritise fitness or self-care, and come together as a community and give things a go.

Every week, Monday to Sunday after 4.30pm, Meston kicks off the initiative at Flaxmere Park, with each session boasting multiple different activities.

Meston plans fun activities for kids and adults of any size to have goals and reach them as they work at their pace and have some time out.

An evening in the park consists of touch rugby, boxing-related training, and other types of workouts.

Ripohau said, “We decided to start up a free fitness program for our hood as we know that our kids in the hood don’t get many opportunities due to people not having the time, money or transportation.”

Having just started in February, the free program is brand new, however, more and more people are joining in each session.

 Trevor Walsh-Lloyd, 11, going hard on the ropes at an exercise session with Fitness Within The Hood at Flaxmere Park, Hastings. Photo / Warren Buckland
Trevor Walsh-Lloyd, 11, going hard on the ropes at an exercise session with Fitness Within The Hood at Flaxmere Park, Hastings. Photo / Warren Buckland

Fitness Within The Hood’s first session had eight local kids show up, and Ripohau said they all gave 100 per cent, and she hopes in the future more women or adults in general turn up and kids.

Ripohau and Meston have been running for only a few weeks. They have already had a private message from a council worker who looks after the Flaxmere area, and wants to pass it on to the Hastings council if there is any way it can help support the fitness classes.

“Fitness really gave my partner a different look to life and his future with his family – it really saved him from a lot of wrong directions,” Ripohau said.

After sadly experiencing a miscarriage at the start of the tear, the two moved their focus in a new direction.

The fitness program is about Meston’s journey and doing good for “the hood”, giving families in Flaxmere something to do without worrying about prices, transportation or vaccinations.

Kayden Meston, intructor and co-founder of Fitness within The Hood showing the kids who to use the exercise equipment. Photo / Warren Buckland
Kayden Meston, intructor and co-founder of Fitness within The Hood showing the kids who to use the exercise equipment. Photo / Warren Buckland

“As a young mum and dad ourselves, we understand about pricing and transportation and being unvaccinated so we understand it’s hard to put your kids or yourself into something when you need a pass to get anywhere,” she said.

In the future the couple want to develop Fitness Within The Hood as a small business and have more people be part of the journey.

The two have been working on merch to help with the cost of more equipment.

The couple’s main goal is to see their dream of giving the community something useful.

“Rangitahi here in Flaxmere have an opportunity to better their health and wellbeing.”



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