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Woman who helped Israel Adesanya deal with trauma joins well-being programme

Katy Jones

Janet Redmond didn’t know anything about Israel Adesanya’s “social world of fame”, when she took part in a documentary about the two-time UFC middleweight champion.

But the retired psychotherapist said it was a privilege to help the MMA (mixed martial arts) athlete “heal some of his past traumas”, including the bullying and racism he experienced after moving to New Zealand from Nigeria when he was 10.

Redmond, who now lives in Motueka, said the documentary’s director Zoe McIntosh invited her to hold sessions with Adesanya as part of the film, after McIntosh and Adesanya’s then girlfriend attended Redmond’s trainingin 2021.

Several months after the release of “The Last Stylebender”, Redmond is focusing her efforts on helping students at a Nelson school.

Redmond, a “possibilities manager”, will be available to answer questions after a showing of the documentary at the city’s Suter Art Gallery on Monday, to help raise money for Broadgreen Intermediate’s new Hauora well-being initiative.

The school revised its Hauora programme after a spike in anti-social behaviour and mental health issues among students.

It was hoped Redmond could help run a camp to foster student leadership as part of the programme.

“If you are even a little bit curious about Israel Adesanya, this film is a must-see,” Redmond said.

Her work with Adesanya involved “him being able to feel what he’d numbed”, she said.

“He discovered his chip on his shoulder and how he’s been fighting from that place of resentment and ‘I’ll get you back’ energy.”

Redmond, who trained as a primary school teacher, said she wanted to help equip younger people with skills in relating, conflict resolution and decision-making – and help them re-visit feelings from past trauma to help break the cycle of bullying. “A bully has been bullied.

“The ability to be able to ... use the wisdom of our feelings means that people don’t need to go to persecute and bully other people.”

Adesanya had donated a signed painting of himself to help raise money for the school programme.

It was up for auction on Trade Me, with bids closing at 8pm on December 7.

Tickets to the screening of The Last Stylebender at the Suter Art Gallery at 6pm on Monday December 4 are available for $20 at en/stylebender-movie-with-janet-redmondyouth-fundraiser-142?section=TICKETS





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