2017 Winners

View a list of all 2017 Finalists here

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Education, Community and Delivery Awards


Educator of the Year – Alistair Richardson, Hamilton

Judges Comments: This year Alistair showed us a shining example of workplace education in action. The judges particularly noted Alistair’s work and mentoring with secondary school students, giving them training and first hand experience in a gym; no doubt contributing to inspiring the trainers of the future.


Innovation Award – Busybody 12 Minute System, by Ross Bymolt, Auckland

Sponsored by: Active Management 

Judges Comments: No time for exercise is a common excuse, the winner in this category has broken down this barrier with an innovative offering – an exercise product that is broken down into just 12 minutes a week of high-intensity training with their business.


Programme Excellence Award – Puff Fitness Post Natal Recovery Programme, by Lynda Lovatt, Wellington

Sponsored by: PTLab

Judges Comments: A meticulously researched and thoroughly developed programme for post natal women, with outstanding client care and attention to needs. The Puff fitness programme sets a new bar for postnatal recovery in an exercise setting.


Community Excellence Award – YMCA Lynfield Youth & Leisure, Auckland

Judges Comments: A true community organisation in action, providing a range of services within its walls to get it’s locals  active but also providing tangible support to community physical activity initiatives beyond their facility and out in the wider community through their work and also through supporting other providers.



Special Awards

NZ Register of Exercise Professionals Award – YMCA North Shore, Auckland

The REPs award is presented to a role model that reflects the ethics and values of exercise professionals/facilities in New Zealand – with the award recipient chosen by the REPs Board.

This REPs registered exercise facility aims to have their community at heart, and definitely talks the talk. On closer inspection it is clear that it’s not just about marketing.  They also walk the walk, with a customer focus and range of services that look after and celebrate seniors.

With their programmes for seniors, it’s about the right fit for the individual and meeting the needs that are presented.   Their events and groups offer life affirming benefits of physical activity as well as community and a sense of belonging.

A fantastic example of from tonight’s award recipient, is member Bob, who has been a regular attendee for decades. Bob recently celebrated his 96th birthday with the team, and is arguably the most senior gym facility member in New Zealand. Bob is just an average bloke. He’s not running marathons, or achieving amazing feats of strength, but what he does is more inspirational, he stays active, with an exercise programme that sees him regularly working out.  

As exercise professionals, we know this is the secret – it’s not just what you do, but sticking at it. Bob’s found something at this facility that works for him, and allows him to exercise and stay physically active. Bob is at the facility like clockwork three mornings a week, along with his ‘young mate’ in his 80’s.

We are part of an industry that is often seen from the outside as celebrating youth – with the presumption being that youth equates to health, an easy mistake to make.  The truth is a little different, it’s not ‘youth’ that is the proverbial fountain, it’s health, and this can be gained and maintained at any age.


Exercise Association of New Zealand Award – Brett Fairweather, Tauranga

This award is open to any individual or organisation, recognizing their outstanding contribution to the industry.  This award is chosen by the Exercise New Zealand board.

Brett initially studied at AUT here in Auckland,  had presented internationally in over 20 countries, including a role of head choreographer for Les Mills International.  He runs Jumpjam a programme for children to enjoy exercise and promote health and wellness in school communities . With over 90% of primary schools in New Zealand adopting the programme, which is now also available in Australia, Singapore, and is expanding globally.  Brett is 8 times New Zealand aerobics champion, and the first ever double world aerobics champion and for those from the 80’s – He is of course known and remembered for his “Spiderman” and “Flintstone” routines.


Skills Active – Manukura Award – Janene Dixon Smith, Gisborne

Manukura is simply translated as a leader or person held in high esteem.    A significant aspect, that can’t  be simply translated is that to be pronounced a ‘manukura’ requires the support of people around you, and the people you work with.    It is a position of mana and a reflection of your work and how you are regarded by those around you.  

Janene’s belief and support for her own on the job training can been seen not only in the fact that she is completing qualifications herself, but she also manages the YMCA Gisborne where she supports her staff to complete their on-job qualifications.  In addition, she is also working to become a qualified Skills Active Assessor, so she can further help staff with their qualifications. Her encouragement, support, and mentoring is valued by her staff and the Skills Active team. It is fair to say that Janene’s passion, professionalism and ongoing support has been the key ingredient in the success of staff gaining on-job qualifications.


Skills Active – Te Iti Kahurangi Award – New Zealand Defence Force

Te iti kahurangi is the pursuit of excellence  , and is taken from the very famous whakatauki..  ‘proverb’ – (Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tūohu koe, me he maunga teitei) which is… pursue excellence – should you stumble – let it be to a lofty mountain.

The NZ Defence Force have been delivering a range of Skills Active training programmes for a number of years, including exercise qualifications for their Physical Training Instructors.

The PTIs hone their skills through “on the Job” training in Military camp gyms, on Navy ships, at Air Force bases and in the difficulties of field operations on deployment. These studies can form the base for ongoing training, including health related University study, with the entire process of training and development taking over 5 years.

Always looking ahead, NZDF consistently monitor developments in the global fitness industry, adjusting accordingly, and ensuring that their trainers remain current.

It is fair to say that NZDF’s partnership with Skills Active helps to uphold the PTI trade’s motto, Mens Sana Corpore which when translated means, A healthy mind in a healthy body.


Individuals Awards


Group Exercise – Pre-choreographed Instructor of the Year – Lee Radich, Palmerston North

Sponsored by: Powermusic

Judges Comments: Lee showed an extremely strong technical proficiency.  in addition Lee’s vocal cues and motivational performance was outstanding.  Overall there was high level of dedication to her class and participants.


Group Exercise – Own Choreography Instructor of the Year –  Lis MacLeod, Auckland

Sponsored by: OneMusic

Judges Comments:  Lis is the epitome of what a group exercise instructor needs to be: technically correct,  has energy to burn and great Communication.  Lis’s personality shows through in all her classes, which only further adds to the positive experience had by her participants.


Mind body Instructor of the Year – Amy Green, Whakatane

Sponsored by: Courage My Love 

Judges Comments: Through utilizing excellent technical knowledge in yoga sequencing and teaching, while delivering powerful, heartfelt philosophical messaging throughout the class; Amy clearly gives her students sessions designed for both the body and the mind. Amy’s teaching is a stunning example of what it takes to inspire people to connect with a deeper purpose through exercise. Amy teaches with warmth and she exhibits what it means to ‘hold space’ by staying connected to her students needs.


Small Group Trainer of the Year – Libby Searle, Christchurch

Sponsor: Fitnessworks

Judges Comments: Libby had excellent connections with her clients, she was able to work with a number of different client needs at the same time and her instructions enabled her clients to correct technique with relative ease.


Student of the Year – Ryleigh Hayes, Wintec, Hamilton

Sponsor: Les Mills New Zealand

Judges Comments:  Ryleigh is a game changer, showing a maturity and an insight into the behaviours around  sport, exercise and wellness at a level most often seen in more experienced trainers.



Outstanding Support Award – Julia Laulu Faalogo, Auckland

Judges Comments: With experience in a range of areas, Julia combines her broad exercise knowledge to her management role, supporting her team as a leader who walks the talk.



Peoples Choice Award – Lis MacLeod, Auckland

Sponsored by: Horleys

Judges Comments: This award is decided by public vote. 



Up and Coming Personal Trainer of the Year – Shane Way, Hamilton

Sponsor: Catch Fitness 20 week challenge

Judges Comments: Our winner exudes passion to help, he wants everybody to feel how he feels and keeps working with clients until they get there.  He’s an excellent observer of patterns and gives good progressional options.



Personal Trainer of the Year – Corinne Austin, Whangarei

Sponsored by: AUT University

Judges Comments: This trainer has shown great client care on a whole other level. She has upskilled and invested in her education regularly and thus gone beyond the realms of a session based PT and into a more holistic approach.  Beyond sets and reps and into care of the total person.  



Facility Awards

Studio of the Year – Power Living New Zealand, Wellington

Judges Comments:  A light and airy space, combined with high standards and an underlying philosophy of mind-body connection combine in this central wellington yoga studio. With high standards for staff and a real sense of community, Power Living offers a haven in the city for busy professionals.


Independent Facility of the Year –  ABSolute Health & Fitness, Dunedin

Sponsored by: Fitnessworks

Judges Comments: With only a few points difference between two finalists in independent scoring the winner of this category came through on their member feedback and community offerings.


Chain / Group Facility of the Year -Runner Up – Les Mills Newmarket

Sponsored by: NRG Fitness Equipment

Judges Comments:  This facility was outstanding on a couple of key areas- their gym floor staff experience and their innovation in group fitness.


Chain / Group Facility of the Year –  Stanmore Bay Pools and Leisure, Auckland

Sponsored by: NRG Fitness Equipment

Judges Comments:  A modern well-appointed facility that marries the needs of its varied community members along with up to date equipment and areas. Judges note the range of services offered and the fantastic team onsite.


Supreme Club of the Year – Stanmore Bay Pools and Leisure, Auckland

Judges Comments:   A combination of high marks on all scoring, including Net promoter score of 88 and excellence across a range of criteria, a culture of inclusion and support- for staff as well as members make this club stand out.