SUPPORT: Kaahu Hohepa, Mike King, Anahera Apanui-Hohepa, Paarani Apanui and Keri and Ryan Topperwien, together after the family received a grant to help with winter expenses. Photos supplied

SUPPORT: Kaahu Hohepa, Mike King, Anahera Apanui-Hohepa, Paarani Apanui and Keri and Ryan Topperwien, together after the family received a grant to help with winter expenses. Photos supplied

THE inaugural Kawerau on the Rise event – a week’s worth of free community activities – was a huge success, according to organisers.

It was run from July 18 to July 25 and aimed to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Dream Chaser Foundation co-founder Keri Topperwien, an organiser of the event in collaboration with Kawerau Youth Council and Kawerau

District Council, said the free activities were designed to appeal to a wide audience and encourage Kawerau people and visitors to be active.

“The event was well-placed to attract interest across the community demographic,” she said.

Other activities included a cross fit challenge, roller disco, an Amazing Race and a health expo.

“There was so much on offer [at the expo] all under one roof, from a car crash re-enactment, high energy boxing demos, workshops, prizes, games and lots more.”

Kawerau on the Rise featured speakers and workshops that gave people a chance to get involved and learn more about health issues that may affect their families, and showcased the various support agencies.

Keynote speaker Mike King drew a crowd from the town and the wider Eastern Bay and inspired his listeners to take mental health seriously by talking openly and honestly about it with families and friends.

The event’s key message was that everyone should look after themselves.

“Making good choices is the key to overall well-being.

“It’s important to know how to be healthy and take care of yourself, mentally and physically,” Mrs Topperwien said.

Oh Thursday evening, five Kawerau and Te Teko families registered with Dream Chaser were surprised with $500 grants each.

“The special grant was intended to help out with extra added bills this winter.

“We know these families really well and they are all very happy to receive some extra support,” Mrs Topperwien said.

Council youth projects officer JJ Rika said the event aimed to encourage Kawerau’s young people to make healthier lifestyle choices.

“With that in mind, it was great to see so many young people participating over the week, especially in activities such as the police competency test, which really challenged people’s physical capabilities.”

Planning for a 2017 Kawerau on the Rise was already under way, she said.

Source: Whakatane Beacon