Marino Tiuka believes he's like most Maori blokes who love playing rugby or rugby league.
That is to say, even as a teenager, he wouldn't have been caught dead on the road wearing spandex.
But that mindset changed for the Central Hawke's Bay school teacher and his family a year ago when he found his weight had ballooned from 120kg to 150kg.
It all started with a back injury and an orthopaedic surgeon telling him he would never play rugby again.
Caught up in the web of fast food, fizzy drinks and beer, Tiuka latched on to some sound advice to get off the couch.
Consequently wife Ngatel and their children, Aaliyah and Isaiah, are in the throes of leaving behind their sedentary life for cycling, swimming and running.
Next Saturday the Waipukurau family will join about 2130 other health-conscious people to tackle the Ironmaori event at Panadora Pond, Napier.
In keeping with the Ironmaori edict, next week's triathlon is smoke, drug and alcohol free. While the focus is on the promotion of health and well-being among Maori and Pacific Island people, it is open to everyone.
"We've got a virus and we're infected by it so much so that it has changed our fitness and lifestyle habits," he says.
The event began in 2009 with 300 competitors, lured 600 starters in 2010, and mushroomed to 1500 last year. According to organiser George Mackey, whose wife Missy is a co-founder with Heather Skipworth, this year's field of 2130 sold out in seven minutes online.
"The event is bigger than Taupo's annual Ironman," Mackey claims.