Timoko’s students and their whānau have heeded the message to “fly, be on to it, and to be humble in your successes”, and through her leadership, they are accomplishing extraordinary feats.

Six athletes from the Kaikohe kura, along with three critical crew members including Timoko, participated in the legendary Kathmandu Coast to Coast multi-sport endurance race, which is staged every February, starting at Kumara Beach on the West Coast before traversing the width of the South Island, crossing the main divide and finishing on the East Coast at New Brighton Beach in Christchurch.

Four of the six athletes from kura completed the solo event which included brother and sister Kona-Ariki and Te Morehu Hippolite.

Twenty-seven of the 30-strong Time 2 Train group led by Frank Haimona, which they were also part of, completed the two-day event - a huge achievement for everyone involved, Timoko says.

Perhaps even more extraordinary, was that before even competing in the grueling Coast to Coast adventure, Timoko, Haimona and Kona-Ariki with their support crew from kura cycled 1700 kms from Kaikohe in the North Island to Greymouth in the South Island.

 “For the journey down, our all female support crew also towed a huge trailer with gear and all the kayaks for our Coast to Coast competitors,” Timoko says.  

“We were sponsored two e-bikes from Planet Cycles, clothing from T2T, travel expenses and accommodation by Independent Traffic Management.”

After learning from her first experience at Coast to Coast in 2016, Kona-Ariki and her brother – first-time competitor Te Morehu and the kura staff specialised their training for this year’s event.

They finished in style as some of the very few Māori to participate in this type of individual sporting event.  

The Hippolite siblings both finished an impressive third place in their respective age-groups.

“You have to accept where this journey will take you, I can see the drive in athletes, and have watched them become more and more confident,” Timoko says.

“If opportunities are presented to you, take them … and if at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up, just do it well the second time around.”

While the humble tumuaki puts success down to the kura and community support, it would not have been possible if she did not have the foresight and ambition for our young people.

“When I look back over the last six years and see how far our little kura has come it's been an amazing journey overall. We have been lucky to engage with the very best of the best people to get the best out of our students.”

“Work hard is the key,” Timoko adds.