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Chinese martial arts flourishing in Ōrākei

Published: 17 January 2019
Chao Shan NZ Wushu Academy, 1st place winners in the Team Points Collection Competition at the 2018 New Zealand National Kung-Fu Wushu Championships.

In November, the New Zealand Kung-Fu Wushu Federation delivered their national championships at the Auckland Netball Centre in St Johns following a Quick Response Grant given by Ōrākei Local Board. The championships are described by the Federation as the “pinnacle Chinese martial arts event in New Zealand.”

Wushu, better known in the west as Kung-Fu, was developed in China during 1949 in an effort to standardize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts. In modern times, Wushu has become an international sport through the International Wushu Federation (IWUF), which holds the World Wushu Championships every two years. The first World Championships were held in Beijing in 1991.

The New Zealand Kung-Fu Wushu Federation has been active in New Zealand since 1990 and is the peak governing body for all forms of traditional, recreational, health-related and contemporary Chinese martial arts in New Zealand.

Wushu training is run out of Remuera’s St Aidan’s Church, drawing participating members from the surrounding community. Federation President Glen Keith says he wants to increase local community awareness of and participation in Wushu in the Ōrākei ward and across New Zealand.

“Wushu is a superb recreational sport for people of all ages and ethnicities. It’s also great for people that want to get involved in competing. In the 2018 World Youth Wushu Championships, 7 of the 8 competitors were from the Ōrākei ward area,” he says.

November’s championships saw around 200 athletes compete individually and in teams with first place trophies going to Chao Shan NZ Wushu Academy in the Team Points Collection Competition and to Ratanui Beazley in Sanda (sparring).

Ōrākei Local Board Community portfolio lead David Wong says it’s important to support sport and recreation in the community.

“Sport brings people together and creates social bonds. As a board, we want to ensure that our communities are encouraged and given opportunities to participate in sport and enjoy all the benefits that it can bring.”

“Training in Wushu is also a fantastic way to learn about traditional Chinese culture,” he says.

NZ Wushu offers free trial classes across Auckland. To find out more and get involved, visit their website.