Heather Skipworth

In 2009, Heather Skipworth conceived the idea of Maori competing in an indigenous Maori half-ironman event. Such was its success, the event has more than doubled in size and attracts Maori from throughout Aotearoa. With more than 1,500 registrants, the event has taken on a life of its own in Maori communities.

Rather than being daunted by the significant health problems suffered by Maori, Heather seeks to do something about it through a simple basic approach to activity and has made it fun, enjoyable and sustainable.

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Rather than being daunted by the significant health problems suffered by Maori, Heather seeks to do something about it through a simple basic approach to activity and has made it fun, enjoyable and sustainable.

IronMaori participants train together, support, encourage and motivate each other. It has been suggested that IronMaori is the biggest thing that has hit Hawke’s Bay Maori since the closing of the local freezing works 25 years ago, but with the opposite effect.

The result is a positive impact much larger than one event. IronMaori has made significant inroads into transforming lifestyle messages and choices within a population where traditional health systems have failed to do so. IronMaori has swept the country through social media and other Maori networks.

Heather has delivered her message with profound modesty and total commitment and, in doing so, has changed many lives in her own community and around the country.

I try to lead by example and practise what I preach. I believe everyone has a purpose and my purpose is to encourage those around me to strive, and to be the best that they can be. ”