Strongman competition for rangatahi

Published 30 Jan 2023

The first ever Strongman competition for rangatahi / teenagers is coming to our district soon. Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua will be working on Te tahi toa kaha o Tararua 2023 – The Strongest Teen in Tararua programme. This exciting six-week training programme is for rangatahi between 15-18 years old.

At the end of the six week training programme there will be a Competition day to showcase how hard the youth has trained.
Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua together with Council and Sport Manawatū worked together to get funding for the programme from the Tū Manawa Active Aotearoa Fund.  

Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua Youth Mentor Jarna Mihaere, himself a former Strongman competitor that came in 6th nationally, came up with the idea; “Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki-nui-a-Rua and the Rangatahi team have created the first ever Strongman competition for rangatahi, it is our intention to build this as an annual event that is replicated across the region and maybe even beyond. It’s designed to get inactive youth active, and improve their mental and physical well-being, and ensuring that rangatahi feel a sense of identity, connection, and ultimately a thriving community.”

During the Funders Forum held last October, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua members heard of the fundraising support that Council provides. Council linked them up with the Tū Manawa Fund that supports active recreation and sport experiences for tamariki and rangatahi. In a team effort, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua Youth Mentors, Council’s Community Development Advisor, and Sport Manawatū got together and worked on the successful funding application for the Strongman Programme.  
Youth Mentor Jamie Hape explains more about this: “We worked together on the various stages of the funding application, from identifying the best fund, to contacting the funder, and finalising the application process. It was a valuable experience that taught us a lot about the ‘world of funding.”

Kimberley Stevens, Council’s Community Development Advisor, says: “There are plenty of funding opportunities around for groups and organisations. Council is increasingly providing support to connect them with potential funders and find out how to put in the best possible application and optimise chances for success. The Strongman programme is an example of how we all worked together to make a funding application, literally, as strong as possible.”

This is reiterated by David King, the Tū Manawa Fund Administrator: “Our approach is to try to be positive in our support, so the application can meet the criteria of the fund. We were able to guide them through this process, gaining the information and insights needed. The result was that the decision-making panel approved the Strongman programme application.” Leah Sole of Sport Manawatū adds; “It was great working in partnership with Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua members and council, with a great outcome for our district.”

For more information about Sport Manawatū and the Tū Manawa Fund: or email:

For more information about Council’s funding support for groups and organisations please go to: l Living here l Community Information l Community Funding or email: