Rose | Ōtāhuhu

“In the past I’ve run a 22k marathon in Kerikeri, which was a huge achievement for me that probably nobody would have thought, let alone myself, I could have achieved.

Prior to that, I had what they call bariatric surgery, and I have what they call a sleeve. So I’ve lost something like about 30, almost 40 kilos, which was a huge thing. It wasn’t an easy surgery. I actually got very unwell throughout it, and spent about nine months in hospital.

Post-that, trying to get back on my feet, I started doing IronMāori. My sister was actually involved in it, and she was the one that started getting my involved and saying, come on you can do the 10k, at least do the 10k. So I did about five of those, and we travelled down to Napier, and did it as a group from Counties Manukau. It was an awesome experience. It was an achievement that when I first did it, I never thought that I could do it.

After achieving that I, I thought wow, maybe I can do more than what I’m putting out there for myself, which is what drove me to the 22k.

I had a friend who had been through a similar experience as myself, so her and I decided that we would go and we would do the 22k, with two of my other sisters. We went up and it was a very, very difficult thing. I won’t lie. I thought I was going to die. That 22k was the longest 22k I’d ever thought about, or even become involved in. So that was a really huge thing for me.

The one thing that I always remember from that experience is, while we were out I was nowhere near the middle, let alone the front of the line, I was towards the back there. I could constantly hear people behind me, though they weren’t there, but for me being Māori, I knew that they were whānau that had passed on, I felt. They were there supporting me in my journey. I felt, I felt quite uplifted and quite supported, and I felt really moved. It was a moving experience.

I grew up in Ōtāhuhu. Um, we’ve been in the Panama Rd community for the last 56 years. Um, out of that 56 I’ve been away for seven, overseas and came home, and this to me is where my roots are. This to me is where my community is. This to me is where the people that are important to me started, I guess, and I’m from a big whānau of 21. So we’re quite scattered quite throughout the world, and it doesn’t matter where we go or what we do, we always come home, and know that we belong here.” 

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