Regional | Māori

Annual Ironmahue event attract more competitors every years

The small Far North community of Mahinepua hosts the duathlon aimed at increasing health and wellbeing for iwi.

Ironmahue, a duathlon set up nine years ago in the Far North, kicked off on the weekend. It’s a grassroots event designed to promote health and well-being for the community of Mahinepua and the hapu of Ngāti Ruamahue.

The hapu has been hosting the event since 2013, and it involves two courses: a shorter 500-metre swim and a 5-kilometre run; the full course is a one-kilometre swim and 10-kilometre run. It takes in stunning views of Mahinepua Bay about 20 minutes from Kaeo.


According to Raniera Kaio, the event has humble beginnings. The iwi wanted an event of its own so its people could participate closer to home.

“This competition began with a team from Ngāti Ruamahue attending Iron Māori in the Ngāti Kahungunu region in Hastings.”

“It’s about dedication to the spiritual, mental, and physical well-being of the hapu, as well as those from Whangaroa.”

Each competitor enters for different reasons; some prefer the swim leg, while for people like Ihaka Ngapera, running is more up their alley.

“The swim is the hardest. Not much of a swimmer. Don’t train, didn’t train. The only time I’m swimming is for kna.”

But, according to Eljohn Fitzgerald, one of the event’s organisers, it’s all about health and wellbeing for the iwi, and the event grows every year.

“The number of participants grows each year. This year, there were around 140 competitors.”

“It’s promoting the health and spiritual well-being of the home people.”

Swimmer taking in the scenery