New Māori fitness centre opened in Brisbane

By Mātai Rangi Smith
  • Australia

In a Australia a new fitness and health centre has recently opened its doors to the many living in Queensland. A vivacious Māori woman from Manutuke near Gisborne is its owner-operator and is giving it her all to ensure it achieves great success.

Fitageous Fitness has only been open for four months, enticing all those living in Brisbane to come here for a good workout.

But for its owner, Marion Leedie from Rongowhakaata, the dream was within her grasp, but the road to achieving it was long, “We started in the backyard over a decade ago, what prompted me to start was I actually lost my parents when they were very young and I was very young so I decided I wanted to love the people that I love, to stick around longer. So I said I'm going to do something where I can educate the people that I love about health, well-being and fitness.”

According to Marion, if it wasn't for her family and close friends, she would never have achieved her dream, “We had family come in here, remember we had a budget of nothing! We had no money, no anything I just had a dream I wanted to open a place to help heal the people. You could walk in and you'd always be welcome. That's what I wanted and I asked all my family, all my friends hey can you help me and they all come.”

Many of her clients and supporters shared their thought about her journey.

“It's been hard work, it's been a lot of sweat and tears and tantrums but it's been awesome to watch Marions' dream evolve and for me to be a part of it, it's just been awesome,” says Cindy Hakaraia from Ngāpuhi.

“It's got a real Māori spirit and good feeling in this place. It's all about building good relationships. She's the bomb and what she does is just awesome. She's got a really easy-going nature about her and that resonates with her clientele. She's amazing at what she does here,” says Te Moana Hakaraia from Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Porou.

“I come here because it's a supportive whānau environment, not just a number walking through the doors here, we get greeted every single time we come here, they want to know what our goals are.

It's also not a place that's exclusive to the young ones. Many older people come here as well,” says Richelle Hokianga from Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Tùkorehe.

“I like coming here because everyone is friendly, lots of whānau. Lots of Aussie friends, yeah I just love it. I kind of like think sometimes ooh shall I just move in there,” says Blossom Allen from Ngāti Porou and Rongowhakaata.

While it's only in its infancy stage at the moment, Marion is already looking to the future, “Franchising wise I'm not a hundred per cent sure if I'll franchise, I don't want to take the authenticity and the care factor out of it this unless I can reproduce myself and my staff I have in-house.”

But no matter what, it's business as usual for Marion as she continues to train and give it her all.

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