Top Kiwi exercise experts vying for NZ awards

Top Kiwi exercise experts vying for NZ awards

Top experts from Whangarei, Palmerston North, Dunedin, Hamilton and Auckland have been named best personal trainer of the year finalists in ExerciseNZ’s annual exercise industry awards.

The finalists are Corinne Austin, Northland; Freya Thompson, Palmerston North; Matt McKay, Dunedin; Matthew Bevege, Hamilton; and Naz Spencer and Ross Bymolt from Auckland.

The winners will be announced at a gala ExerciseNZ event in Auckland on November 25.

Last year, Auckland’s Richard Ellis won personal trainer of the year and Christchurch’s Linda Miratana won the people’s choice award. See all of last year’s winner here.

The awards are very much the Oscars of the New Zealand exercise industry and they have been run by ExerciseNZ since 2005. They recognise excellence in exercise professionals and facilities, as well as for community contribution and support, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

“It’s a chance for clubs and individuals who positively contribute to the health and wellbeing of New Zealander to get recognition from their peers for their effort.

“The judging gets more difficult each year as the NZ health and fitness industry takes on increased responsibility and strives to come up with new ways of encouraging Kiwis to be more active.

“We know that, if considered a sport, exercise continues to be the number one sport in New Zealand, having more participants than the rugby, netball and cricket combined.

“There are an estimated 550,000 people who work on fitness at gyms and exercise facilities alone. But exercise is now just one of the many components to wellness. Many providers of exercise now offer far more holistic products and services, from dietary advice, to stress management,” Beddie says.



Chain / Group Facility of the Year – For facilities that are part of a larger chain or group. Sponsored by NRG Fitness

  • CityFitness Lower Hutt
  • CityFitness – Lyall Bay, Wellington
  • CityFitness – Moorhouse Ave, Christchurch
  • Les Mills – Newmarket, Auckland
  • Stanmore Bay Pools and Leisure, Auckland
  • YMCA Mt Albert, Auckland


Independent Facility of the Year – For facilities that are standalone businesses. Sponsored by Fitnessworks

  • Absolutes Fitness, Dunedin
  • Iron Hood Fitness, Christchurch
  • NRG Fitness, Cromwell
  • Total Body Gym, Gore


Studio of the Year – Studios and specialist facilities.

  • FXU Vibration Training Studio, Upper Hutt
  • Hot Yoga Works, Auckland
  • Power Living New Zealand, Wellington
  • Supreme Club of the Year – The best of the best.
  • Selected from the winners of the above 3 categories.


Personal Trainer of the Year – Finalists in this category attend the live judging event on November 24.  Sponsored by AUT University

  • Corinne Austin, Northland
  • Freya Thompson, Palmerston North
  • Matt McKay, Dunedin
  • Matthew Bevege, Hamilton
  • Naz Spencer, Auckland
  • Ross Bymolt, Auckland


Up and Coming Personal Trainer of the Year – For personal trainers in business for less than two years. Finalists in this category attend the live judging event on Friday 24 November. Sponsored by Catchfitness

  • Abby Dutton, Hamilton
  • Devin Glover, Lower Hutt
  • Emma Goldstraw, Auckland
  • Polly Taylor, Blenheim
  • Shane Way, Hamilton
  • Tom Burke, Wellington


Small Group Trainer of the Year – Personal trainers who lead small group training sessions. Finalists in this category attend the live judging event on November 24. Sponsored by Fitnessworks

  • Adam Christian, Auckland
  • Libby Searle, Christchurch
  • Paula Brady, Lower Hutt
  • Manuela Sumetzberger, Christchurch
  • Steve Butler, Auckland


Group Exercise Instructor of the Year – Own Choreography – Instructors teaching freestyle group exercise classes. Sponsored by OneMusic

  • JB Anderson, Christchurch
  • Lis MacLeod, Auckland
  • Martin French, Auckland
  • Nicola Williams, Auckland


Group Exercise Instructor of the Year – Instructors teaching pre-choreographed classes. Sponsored by PowerMusic

  • Lee Radich, Palmerston North
  • Lis MacLeod, Auckland
  • Loren O’Hanlon, Auckland
  • Louise Neville, Christchurch
  • Vinny Lopez, Wellington


MindBody Teacher of the Year –This category includes Yoga, Pilates but can be any class style that incorporates extensive principles of mindbody philosophy. Sponsored by Courage my Love

  • Amy Green, Whakatane
  • Kotte Aguilar, Christchurch
  • Larissa Tonya O’Brien, Auckland
  • Lauren Tinker, Auckland
  • Nikki Ralston, Auckland


Outstanding Support Award – Individuals working in a support role in an organisation or a facility.

  • Di Lauder, Queenstown
  • Heather Bunyan, Wellington
  • Julia Laulu Faalogo, Auckland
  • Naomi Lovodua, Auckland


Community Excellence Award – Individuals or organisation offering exercise to populations that may normally find exercise difficult to access.

  • Silver Sneakers, Cromwell
  • YMCA Lynfield Youth & Leisure, Auckland
  • Active in the Park, Nelson
  • Tane Whanake , Christchurch


Programme Excellence Award – Programmes involving exercise nutrition or other lifestyle interventions.

  • Koha Fit, Tauranga
  • Nordic Kiwi, Auckland
  • OA Smart Course, Auckland
  • Puff Fitness postnatal recovery programme, Wellington


Innovation Award – A programme that is either a new idea or adds a unique angle onto an existing concept. – Sponsored by Active Management

  • Busybody 12 Minute System, Auckland
  • in2hula – Hoop with Heart Activity programme for preschool children, Christchurch
  • Stanmore Bay Leisure Centre – HIIT for Seniors, Auckland


Educator of the Year – A person supporting or training exercise professionals in a lecturing mentoring or presenting role.

  • Alistair Richardson, Hamilton
  • Mark Hurdle, Christchurch
  • Siona Fernandes, Auckland


People’s Choice Award – The winner chosen by popular vote.  Sponsored by Horleys

  • Daz Murray
  • Dmitro Miklashevskiy
  • Kylie Carston
  • Lis MacLeod
  • Lauren Tinker
  • Michael Sullivan
  • Paula Brady
  • Renee Riley


- Exercise NZ / Make Lemonade