Mea Motu is a world champion boxer, having claimed the IBO super bantamweight title in April this year. Photo by Mark Smith.

Top Spot: Mea Motu, Boxer


Mea Motu is a world champion boxer, having claimed the IBO super bantamweight title in April this year. The mother of five has been boxing professionally for just over two years. She describes West Auckland’s Peach Boxing gym where she trains as her happy place.  

“People say boxing is a lonely sport, but I’ve never felt that because I’ve got my team 100% behind me. They have got my back and that’s really encouraging and empowering. That’s my inspiration.  

We’re all grinding together here, pushing ourselves to the next level, physically and mentally.  

I come to the gym and my worries go away. It becomes all about boxing – you lash it out and forget everything. It really works.  

I let my kids make their own choices. If they want to do boxing or bowls or netball I will fully support them; it’s just got to be something they love. My (16-year-old) son is a professional lawn bowler. We’ve had the talk: we don’t do things half-pie, we finish it. He sees that you need to train every day and it can be hard and tiring, but also, I remind him, what do you love about it? I teach him that. And he teaches me. He says, ‘oh Mum, you need to slow down, have patience!’  

Boxer, Mea Motu, in her 'happy place' Peach Boxing Gym.

Boxer, Mea Motu, in her 'happy place' Peach Boxing Gym. Photo by Mark Smith.

I grew up outdoors, running in the rain, being in the bush and at the beach – embracing nature. I want my kids to have the same.

I grew up in Kaitāia, and further north, in Ahipara – right on Shipwreck Bay. Ahipara is where I go for holidays. It’s where I want to be whenever I need a break away.  

I go diving; I love being in the sea. The kids love it too – going on the quad bikes, running dirt bikes, riding the horses, catching eels, catching seafood.  

Nothing beats New Zealand. I’ve been overseas to lots of other countries, but it feels polluted and toxic, everything seems so structured and people only care about their work life and their money life.  

Kids overseas, they’re on devices or at theme parks. Here, we’re going to the beach, going surfing, horse riding… we do all the fun stuff. We’re into nature here.  

New Zealand really makes the most of it. We like the real things.” 


Story by Kathryn Webster, photos by Mark Smith for the Winter 2023 issue of AA Directions magazine. 

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