The Flaxmere Boxing Academy is more like a home than a sports facility, for the past nine years providing inspiration and fitness training for locals.
In recognition of the service it provides, Hastings District Council recently allocated the gym funding through its 2021-2024 multi-year strategic community partnership fund, which will see it receive $10,000 a year for the next three years.
Academy founder, Hastings Ambassador and Hastings district councillor Henare O’Keefe said the funding was much appreciated, and would be put towards the rental of the facility beside the Flaxmere Community Centre.
“We really appreciate this grant – and being a multi-year one it’s great to know we don’t have to worry about paying the rent for the next three years.”
More than 40 people are currently enrolled at the academy, of varying ages, but mostly younger people.
Training is on offer two to three times a week, and coaches Elishia Pritchard and Dayna Nuku say it’s really rewarding to volunteer their time helping others.
“I’ve been coaching the last three months, but have been coming here to do training since 2016,” said Elishia.
“There’s a real sense of belonging here – for me it brings me out of the cold and is somewhere I feel valued.”
For Dayna, the whole package of what’s on offer at the academy is what appeals.
“I’ve been involved for five years or more – I started off taking part and am now coaching – I just like the whole vibe here and as a coach I like to make the others sweat!”
This week academy member Colten Garnet, 15, was preparing for a tournament being hosted by the Havelock North Saints Boxing Academy this weekend at Havelock North High School.
He said it was his second-ever tournament, having already won his first one that was held in Hastings.
Since he started attending the academy a year ago, he said he had got a lot out of it.
“I started with nothing, I didn’t know anything about boxing but now I love it.”
Mr O’Keefe said that ultimately the Flaxmere Boxing Academy was about warriors in the ring and champions in the home.
“It’s about our Lord, love, compassion, humility, kindness and family. As I’ve always said: ‘Boxing reveals the truth.’
“If we get a champion in the ring that’s a bonus but ultimately we want champions in the home.”
The Flaxmere Boxing Academy was one of 15 organisations to receive a multi-year community grant in this year’s funding round.
7 July 2021
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