Waikanae Marchers stepping out for fun, fitness and friendship

Fran Kennedy of the Waikanae Joysteppers Leisure Marching Team says the team was formed in 1991 for the over 50’s their motto being “fun, fitness and friendship”

“We now have a team of 17 members and a wonderful coach who plans all our routine marching.

“We practise twice a week on a Tuesday at the Waikanae Memorial Hall from 10am to 11.45am and then again on Wednesday at the Paraparaumu Hall opposite the RSA from 5pm to 6pm,” says Fran.

The team travels to other towns and cities in the North Island for leisure marching days hosted by the marching team in the particular city or town they are visiting and once and year they have the New Zealand Nationals which could be hosted either in the North or South Island.

Fran says the next National event is being held in Tauranga, March 2011.

“Also once a year we have the North Island Nationals which are being held in Tauranga this year in September. If anyone is interested in joining or just coming to watch, please do so. Our contacts are Fran 905 5491 or Graham 902 3622.”

Also check out the leisure marching website www.leisuremarching.org.nz

A brief history

Marching began in New Zealand in the early 1930’s during the depression to keep the nation’s young women fit and healthy. Teams emerged from business houses and factories for interhouse competitions. In 1939 members of the armed forces were drawn into the sport restructuring it based on rigid military style. In late 1945 the New Zealand Marching and Recreation Association was formed and the first New Zealand championships were held in Timaru Later in 1945 post-war marching becomes more technical. During the 1950/early 2000’s marching was a popular sport for the young girls of New Zealand.

In 1991 leisure marching for the over 50’s was formed in Tauranga and later spread to other parts of New Zealand. There are well over 100 teams of leisure marchers in New Zealand. The age rule has changed now and anyone interested in leisure marching can join.