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Porirua students on the right track    

Porirua students on the right track    

  • 26 Mar 2024
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(Picture caption: Brandon Intermediate students enjoy the school’s popular track for fitness.)   

Alaiseuava Chris Te'o’s first triathlon experience sparked a change in his own lifestyle.   

Now, the founder of Uso Bike Ride is supporting a new project to help the Cannons Creek community stay active.    

Chris, whose father was from Poutasi and Moata'a and his mother from Tiavea and Safaatoa in Samoa, did not have an easy introduction to cycling.   

“I was 43, living in New Caledonia and I was persuaded to do the ride portion of a team triathlon,” he shares.   

“It was 15km flat, I was a smoker and over 130kg, and it exposed just how unhealthy and unwell I was.    

“As a consequence, I decided I needed to change my habits and lifestyle if I was going to live longer and be around for my kids and their kids,” Chris says.     

While Chris undertook this fitness journey, it became more urgent when his father received a late diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.   

With just three weeks between his father’s diagnosis and passing away, Chris and his ‘aiga were devastated by the sudden loss.   

Chris believes his father had been ignoring his symptoms for a while, and he quickly realised the need for our people to take more responsibility for our health and wellbeing.   

A bold mission to ride his bike from Mangere to Porirua, where Chris grew up, became the first Uso Bike Ride.   

With an aim of raising awareness of how important health and wellbeing are especially for Pacific and Māori men, Uso holds regular events, and advocates for cycling to stay fit, connect with others, and have a great time.   

Uso Bike Ride is also supporting schools to help get young people excited about cycling, and since 2018 has helped seven Porirua schools to establish cycle tracks, train students, and provide bikes.     

Most recently, the team partnered with Freemason NZ, Partners Porirua and Bikes in Schools to provide cycle training for students using the track at Brandon Intermediate.   

This training and the track are proving very popular with the community.    

“I’ve been told that families are already using it as a community resource,” Chris says.   

“Because it’s asphalted, it can be used as a multipurpose track for walking and scootering too.”    

He believes giving rangatahi fitness skills and opportunities can help unlock their potential.   

“Cycling has transformed my life and many others in Uso Bike Ride.  

“It has pushed us to do things we never thought possible.   

“That is how we talk to the students that we engage with: that they are capable of anything and have such great potential.   

“Good health and wellbeing go a long way to achieving their aspirations and dreams.”