The day before PM Jacida Ardern announced a move to Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown in New Zealand, 14 Tu Ora gathered at the start line of their City2Surf event. The Tu Ora were enthusiastic and grateful that it could still go ahead, despite the cancellation of the public City2Surf scheduled for exactly the same time out in the community.
Pathway’s Tu Ora Navigators set out a 2km course around the prison, and the Tu Ora had the choice of a 6km walk or a 14km run. The day started with a karakia, a safety briefing, and then a warm up led by the Tu Ora’s fitness trainer, Marcel Wilkinson, from Te Ora Hou.
At the start/finish line for each 2km lap, a water station was set up as well as a white board to track each of the guy’s progress towards their goal. Most were pleasantly surprised by their ability to achieve their goal, and in some cases, exceed it. Pathway staff provided encouragement, and even walked alongside some of the guys on a couple of laps.
The first Tu Ora to cross the finish line set a new Navigate Initiative record, running 14km in 58 minutes and shaving five minutes off the previous record. The final walkers and runners completed the course about an hour later. While the guys showered after their huge effort, the Pathway team prepared a kai of saveloys, baked beans and toast to share. While everyone was gathered, one Tu Ora stepped forward to thank everyone who helped make the day possible. This included Te Ora Hou, Pathway, He Waka Tapu - a Maori health organisation that kindly donated t-shirts for all the guys who took part, and the Department of Corrections for granting special approval for kai to be brought in to share after the run.
Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely, with many of the Tu Ora saying they didn’t feel like they were in prison while taking part. All were mindful, however, that it could be the last meaningful activity they’d be sharing for a while as our Pathway team are unable to continue their work inside the NI unit during the Level 4 lockdown.