Fire spinning promoted as safe, fun community activity

On Fire ... Over a 100 people participated in the Waitaki Community Fire Performance last weekend.

More than 100 locals played with fire in Oamaru last weekend.

Dunedin-based charity group Te Ahi Ora held a community fire performance at Friendly Bay on Saturday night, where people could give fire spinning a go.

After working with more than 700 pupils from Oamaru Intermediate, Weston and Ardgowan schools and East Otago High School, they brought everyone together for one big evening of fire performances and learning.

Te Ahi Ora delivers learning pathways that enhance well› being through inspiring creativity, connecting communities and providing ongoing opportunities for growth.

Te Ahi Ora director Levi Cunniffe said the discipline engaged the mind and connected it with the body, while still being a fun experience.

‘‘Te Ahi Ora provides a new and exciting community activity that increases well› being through the performing arts.

‘‘Our engaging learning pathway gets kids, youth and adults moving, teaching a form of active recreation that enhances confidence and encourages creativity, while also bringing the community together to celebrate our tamariki and rangatahi.’’

Fire spinning was a form of dance in which performers spun props that had been set on fire. With the right precautions, the activity was very safe, Mr Cunniffe said.

‘‘We specialise in teaching kids and youths and parents of all ages how to perform with fire. Despite its fearsome appearance, by sticking to a few simple rules we make fire performance incredibly safe, even safer than many traditional sports.’’

The group would be travelling around the South Island holding similar events in other towns over the next two months.

Mr Cunniffe was also looking to start practice groups in the area for stage performances, and was hoping to sign up more schools for 2023.