For the past 50 years, the Kawerau Boxing Club has been providing opportunities for the community to learn skills and compete in boxing. Now, thanks to a generous grant from NZCT, the club is providing health and fitness programmes in two local primary schools.

Boxing is a popular sport in Kawerau. The Kawerau Boxing Club can have up to fifty kids turn up to training on any given day. The club has a pretty proud history too. A Commonwealth Games gold medallist was trained at the club, as well as a number of national champions – both men and women.

Although boxing remains the core activity, the club also works with children in the community to help them develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. “Modern lifestyles are increasingly sedentary and often people have unhealthy habits,” says Kataraina Godfery, Executive Director of the Kawerau Boxing Club. “Childhood obesity is a critical issue. Our club recognises that more intensive support is needed to resolve this and other health issues impacting our community.”

The NZCT grant of $90,000 towards funding an Operations Manager and two Programme Developers will help the club reach more children and young people in the community.

“The support from NZCT really does mean the world to us,” says Kataraina. “It will allow us to extend the work we do to help children and their families stay fit and healthy.”

“What we do is a mix of activity-based sessions and classroom-based sessions. The kids love it, especially the activities. We’ve worked with local kids for over forty years, and to take the work we do and the experience we bring from our gym to primary schools is a privilege.”

Often the biggest challenge facing people isn’t necessarily getting fit and healthy – it’s staying fit and healthy. This is something that the club is well aware of and why they do so much of their work with children and young people. “We want to build good habits early,” says Kataraina.

As well as working with children, the club also helps adults in the community with things such as job-readiness. “Obviously, there’s more to keeping fit and healthy than just good habits. A secure job and decent income helps and so we try and help people where we can with this. We help a lot of people with training for the police fitness test, for example. But most of our work focuses on the things we can do well and are in our control, and that’s all about building those good habits.”