Connecting the dots between Te Āo Māori and Sports Science – Matiu Spring, Growing the Puna Intern 2024

Exploring how to integrate te reo Māori, pūrākau, and tikanga into a gym environment, Matiu Spring joins our 2024 Growing the Puna internship

I te taha o tōku pāpa,
Ko Panguru te maunga,
Ko Whakarapa te awa,
Ko Hokianga nui-a-Kupe te moana,
Ko Ngātokimatawhaorua te waka,
Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi,
Ko Waipuna te marae.
I te taha o tōku māma,
Ko Maungataniwha te maunga,
Ko Mangamuka te awa,
Ko Hokianga nui-a-Kupe te moana,
Ko Ngātokimatawhaorua te waka,
Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi,
Ko Mangamuka te marae.
Ko Matiu Spring tōku ingoa,
No Hokianga ahau,
Kei Ahuriri ahau e noho ana,
He pāpa ahau, he tauira ahau, he mātanga whakapakari tinana ahau.

I was born in Whangārei and moved to Sydney when I was four years old. I was raised in Australia until we moved back when I was 16 where I finished my high school years at Pompallier Catholic College not knowing what I wanted in life and being advised to follow my passions.

I’ve been passionate about sports and exercise since my childhood when I played any sport that had a rugby ball and began gymming at 14 when I needed to put on some size to get better at the game I love. As I got older, a rugby career didn’t seem like the direction my life was headed. So, to fill my competitive need, I began exercising more seriously which developed into a new passion and lead me to studying physiotherapy.

From there I accepted the Tū Kahika scholarship to study health sciences at The University of Otago to achieve a Bachelors in Physiotherapy and pursue a career in working with athletes. At that point in my life, that goal didn’t align with my lifestyle and I took an eight-year break from studying before returning to study Sports and Exercise Science at EIT in Hawkes Bay.

I began by studying level 3 Sports, Exercise and Recreation, alongside level 2 Te Reo Māori before moving on to level 4 Sports and Exercise and level 3 Te Reo Māori. Now I’m onto level 5 Sports and Exercise Science where I intend to continue progressing my studies. This is when I learned about the Toi Tangata internship.

I was initially interested in this internship as it was an opportunity to combine the two subjects and passions that I’ve been studying over the past two years, and allow me to connect the dots between Te Āo Māori and Sports Science. My internship kaupapa will involve exploring how to integrate Te Reo Māori, pūrākau, and tikanga into the environment and programming of a gym. I’m excited to be a part of a completely Māori environment and use the knowledge that I have acquired over the past couple of years to support our whānau and our communities and get our people moving to enjoy better health outcomes.