Matt Ngametua – Functional Adaptive Movement™ | Faces of Auckland Sport and Recreation Volunteers

Published on Saturday 17 June, 2023

Matt Ngametua has dedicated almost half of his life to helping others – but he still gets a thrill every time he supports people with an impairment or disability to achieve their life goals. 

As a volunteer support coach alongside FAM™ (Functional Adaptive Movement™ Ltd), Matt is able to combine his love of being active and helping people with impairments or disabilities.  

It’s something he’s been doing for 21 years now, including roles as a teacher aide at two special needs schools, and as a support worker for a disability support service provider. 

Matt, who has mild Cerebral Palsy, hemiplegia and diplegia, loves to keep active, and decided to study to become a personal trainer in 2018. “I’ve been in the gym for years,” he says. “I studied [personal training] to be a better support person for people in the disability community.” 

FAM™ is a strength and conditioning program for all people, “but targeted at the disability community,” says Matt. After learning about FAM™ during his studies, Matt joined the programme as an athlete, before recently making the move to become a volunteer coach.  

“After I completed the course I went straight to FAM™, and I really liked it,” says Matt. “Now that I’m a volunteer coach, my role with FAM™ is like being a teacher aide for the gym. I work with students who have a wide range of impairment or disability, and support them the best way I can." 

It's a passion that Matt says never fades, and one that’s fuelled by his determination “to make a difference in the lives of others.” 

“Each student is different, and you have to work with them to figure out how to work best with them. You have to learn about the person first before you can work with them – to find out what they can and cannot do.” 

The FAM™ programme, which was established in 2018, is supported by eight gyms across the Auckland region, including OTB in Takanini where Matt teaches. The programme is currently training 500 athletes, either in one-to-one sessions or as part of more than 30 group classes per week.  

For Matt, volunteering is not just a career choice; it is a calling that found him. He attributes his passion for helping others to the people he interacts with daily. 

“The one thing I enjoy the most about volunteering is the people. It always comes down to them, and helping others. Working with the disabled community humbles you in a way that no other job has done for me. I like making my students smile, making them laugh… but their life experiences really humble you.”   

“[If you’re thinking about volunteering in sport and recreation in Auckland], just do it. You don’t know until you try. That’s what I did, and I ended up loving it – and I’m still going strong. There’s something about it that makes you feel good.” 

Aktive and One New Zealand are thrilled to be working together to celebrate our awesome volunteers who make Auckland sport and recreation possible. 
Volunteers generously give their time, knowledge, and skills to community sport and recreation, making for a happier, healthier Tāmaki Makaurau.  
If you’re interested in volunteering, have a chat with your local sports club or recreation group – we’re sure your support will be hugely appreciated!