Opunake Tainui Centre Class – 5 Year Celebration

Pictured above: Jo Hoogenberg cutting the celebratory cake with team leader Jenny Cavaney


The Tainui Centre run from St Barnabus Church in Opunake is supported by The Bishops Action Foundation (BAF) and is led by the centre’s coordinator, Jenny Caveney and her incredible team.

It has been running in Opunake for 5 years and Corryn Pryce-Baxter (from BAF) and I were invited to the celebrations.

We were met at the door with a lovely warm welcome on a freezing day by Jenny, who knows everyone by name and greets them with enthusiasm and love. There was plenty of social time for catch-ups and conversations before the games began. It was so well organised we didn’t realise the power wasn’t working and heaters were brought in to warm us, and the food to be cooked for lunch had to be taken offsite to local homes to be cooked and returned to the church ready for 12 pm lunch.

We played a couple of fun games, where small prizes were awarded to the winners.  There was lots of laughter from everyone as the challenges of the games became more evident (strictly no cheating of course!)  and then we had a couple of singers REV Paul Bowers Mason and his lovely wife REV Wynne, Missioners based in Eltham entertain us with the beautiful music and song and some very relevant, witty tunes about struggles in the garden.

As the heated food returned, we got ready for a delicious lunch of salads, ham, boiled spuds, peas and an array of tasty sweet treats for desert. Everyone would have been ready for a well-needed afternoon rest!

The Tainui Centre was created to establish a social haven for the older people for rural Taranaki. Its aim was to address the isolation of older people in these communities making it a place where like the song goes “where everybody knows your name”!

The centre runs so well with love and connection due to Jenny and the many volunteers that each week make the centre what it is- here’s to another 5 years!


The Tainui class is Approved as part of the Live Stronger for Longer movement as being a safe, fun and effective class to improve your strength & balance. They meet each Monday for an hour of exercise before an hour of games, morning tea and social time. There are other Tainui classes in Patea & Wavereley.

Sport Taranaki assist to train and support leaders of Approved classes across Taranaki to ensure they meet criteria set by an ACC advisory group for falls prevention.

If you would like more information about a class near you, or how to become a leader please contact

Hilary at Sport Taranaki