Dianne Tatana


I have never considered myself an athlete. Active, yes, but only average when it came to potential.  With encouragement from my sister, I completed a Real Women's mini duathlon.  It left me feeling half dead after but inspired by the fact that I had done it!  I then completed a Kapiti Women's duathlon and was satisfied, I was a big person doing it. 

I danced for the Royal NZ ballet at a very young age. I was a netballer but my passion was in the dance studio. I was brought up with sisters who were into sports which allowed for exposure to the sporting elements. I raced competitively in Waka Ama. 

Motherhood happened, which meant a shift in priorities and also on the weighing scale as my life became more sedentary. I did not lack inspiration as my husband, Phil, was in the Waikanae Triathlon. However, I was adamant it was not for me. 

So, what changed? 

In 2010, my hubby laid down the challenge of doing a half marathon.  I discovered a whole new world with running. It was freedom and it was liberation! I was broken but blummin over the moon I could call myself a runner :-)  

I then went on to finish the Kapiti Women's full triathlon and was told about the Iron Maori.  I was only interested in the running bit having convinced myself it was not for me. 

My mind-set shifted during a post-race lunchtime discussion with Carl (?), Nga and Phil. We discussed quality training, results, OPPORTUNITY, LIFESTYLE and change. The seed was planted. I contacted Nga for help after a week. Like Phil, she was clear-cut, straightforward and explained things in black and white. She took time to listen to what I valued most. I expected a fitness test and a training programme for weight loss but was instead asked for my household routine and the kids' training schedule. She said "we aren't gonna make this work if it doesn't fit everything else first and foremost". I was sold. She told me "training is a lifestyle, not a chore". And that's exactly what happened. It became my lifestyle, my habit, my balance.

Training slotted into gaps and was not an impediment to my routine and responsibilities. Nutrition happened by default. It was not a fad diet where I have a deadline for a weigh in, I was taking my brand new way of living with me any time and anywhere. 

The question "what's your household routine?" allowed me to realise I can be an athlete. By 2013, this shy girl signed up for group sessions (GT4Girlz) where I felt a sense of belonging. I completed my half Iron Maori and it is my perfect race to date. Why? Because I was completely satisfied and this was my new lifestyle. 

In 2014, I suffered a back injury. Despite all of Nga's commitments, she supported me in managing my predicament by teaching me that recovery is as important as training. Recognising my mental and physical barriers was hard.  I am still learning.  She also taught me that there is always an option. 

Nga has been a fountain of faith that never runs dry.  You invest in the future of health and you never stop believing. You see everyone as an athlete in their own right.  You have taught me two simple things: 

  1. Never waste an opportunity. 
  2. This is about lifestyle. It has to work for you and the family. 
Nga, thank you always for your faith, belief and the opportunity from the bottom of my heart.

Love and hugs,

Di.