We are celebrating the successes of Tama Mazel, a very friendly face around Cameron Pool and Leisure Centre.

As Tama describes it, before he joined Cameron Pool “exercise was a sin”. He and his partner Mokaveni used to see people going out for runs and say to each other “you won’t ever see us running hun”. Tama’s lifestyle was sedentary, and the last intense physical activity he had done was rugby league, over 23 years ago. 

However, in 2014, that was all set to change. Tama had a hip replacement, which put Tama out of work and resulted in a more sedentary lifestyle. He also became a grandparent. In October of the same year, Tama came down with pneumonia, which overstressed his heart and put him at a high risk of having a heart attack. This, coupled with the want to be around to see his grandchildren grow, was the wake-up call Tama needed.

It started with baby steps. At a family reunion, Tama had a stipulation; no fizzy drinks at family get-togethers. It was a small change, but a significant one. This rule was enforced at Tama’s household; he became aware of the importance of not just looking after his own health, but also that of his family. 

The next step was adding physical activity to Tama’s regime. He was walking through Keith Hay when he stumbled upon Cameron Pool and Leisure Centre. The location was ideal for him, so he came in and was given a tour by Dylan the Fitness Manager. As Tama put it, he was sold. A few days later Tama was at his local doctors and noticed that Cameron we were a Green Prescription provider. That was all it took for Tama to seal the deal.

Tama started using the facility through Sport Auckland’s Green Prescription programme. To start, he solely used the pool, ‘just killing time’ as he puts it as it was better to be water walking than sitting at home alone. As Tama started to integrate the gym into his activity he began to see Danni, where he got his first programme. However, in April 2015 he was laid low by gout, which put Tama out of commission for a time, and continued to plague Tama for several months. Tama was not to be deterred though, and even through gout continued to attend the facility as often as he could, fighting through the pain to continue improving his health.

October 2015 being a game-changing month for him. Chris Kanuta, another one of our Cameron Pool champions, joined Danni’s Summer Shape-Up Bootcamp, and convinced Tama to jump in with him. Tama claims, “I didn’t know what a Bootcamp was!”, however, the high intensity team training coupled with the fun factor and exemplary service that Danni provided was just what the doctor ordered for Tama. At the conclusion of the Bootcamp Tama’s results were jaw-dropping; in just 8 weeks his push-ups in a minute improved 150% and his sit-ups improved 100%, while losing 6.8kg of body weight and total of 24.5cm in girth measurements. 

Just before Christmas, Tama made a final change for the better; he signed his family up to a family membership. As Tama puts it, the ultimate pleasure of this experience has been not just improving his life for the better, but the lives of those he loves too. Tama says, “I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through”.

Over the last year Tama has visited the facility over 200 times. The changes in Tama’s life have been holistic too, he has become the “king of broccoli”, and has gone from binge drinking to just having the occasional social drink with friends. Tama attributes his consistency to the great service of YMCA; all gyms have the necessary equipment, however for him what catapults YMCA into the next tier is the friendly approachable service and comfort he feels when attending the gym. Tama notes “I still have a lot of work to do”. However, with his drive and commitment to changing his life for the better, Tama is already halfway there.