Celebrating a national champion


Maioro Barton is a go-getter – multi-talented and driven. Fitness Journal last caught up with Maioro as he prepared for the New Zealand Wheelchair Body Building Federation Online Showdown. This month we report on his success.

Ma9The New Zealand Wheelchair Body Building Federation (NZWBBF) Online Showdown, held on May 27, was the first bodybuilding event Maioro Barton competed in. After a challenging preparation following surgery in January, he took out the Open Weight Wheelchair category.

“I was very nervous about doing the competition because of all the scars on my stomach from operations that I have had,” Maioro explained.

“But throughout the journey, I learned to embrace these scars and be proud of the battles I have won because of them.”

Maioro’s Spina bifida, which he has had since birth, limits him to only being able to build his top two abdominals. This was one of the many challenges he had to overcome when preparing for the competition.

“While training at the Cambridge Fitness Centre to get as many gains as possible from weight training and to be competitive in the competition, I needed to be able to get out of my wheelchair and complete some of my exercises properly,” says Maioro.

“A few years ago I did not have the self-confidence to get out of my wheelchair to complete my exercise in a community gym because of my perception of others staring and judging me. I was also unable to be stable on surfaces without holding on to something or having something behind my back to support me.”

“But with all the training I did for this competition, I am now able to sit comfortably without having to hold on or lean against something,” he says.

He points to the support of staff and members of Cambridge Fitness Centre who had a huge impact on helping him to overcome his previous perceptions.

“I believe one of the biggest barriers for people with disabilities to be able to participate in an inclusive society is their perception of themselves and what others might think of them. Once those barriers are broken down, anything is possible.”

There were many highlights for Maioro in the lead-up to the event especially the support through Facebook and in person.

“Overcoming many challenges throughout the whole 12 weeks of dieting and training, to be at my best on the day were certainly,” says Maioro.

“It was like character building.”

The icing on the cake was being voted the People’s Champion of the NZWBBF event.

The day of competition went mostly as expected, pumping up the muscles, applying the dream tan and taking photos. However, what he did not expect was to feel so knackered afterwards.

In the 24 hours leading up to the event he had to deplete his fluids. Similarly, on the day of the competition he was restricted to 400ml of water.

“As soon as I had finished my competition I drank nearly a litre of water,” said Maioro. Then, as one would expect: “I then went to McDonalds and got my favourite  burger, a Kiwi Burger!”


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