Police probe Hamilton gym death

16:00, Nov 02 2012
Josh Tanuvasa
Josh Tanuvasa

A Hamilton supplement store owner has been pulled into a police investigation into the sudden death of a teenager at a gym.

Joshua Tanuvasa, 17, died while doing a workout in the downstairs weight training room at Hamilton Les Mills on Wednesday.

Grant Pieterse, who owns GQ Nutrition on Victoria St, said Mr Tanuvasa, 17, came into his store with his brother, Jamieson, and his girlfriend about 4.45pm on Wednesday wanting a pre work out supplement.

Mr Pieterse, who captured the transaction on his CCTV footage, gave Joshua a serving of popular metabolism booster Monster Pump which helps with energy and said to give "explosive muscle power".

The supplement is a "run of the mill" pre workout supplement, commonly used by gymgoers to give them an extra boost of energy and increasing metabolism.

Mr Pieterse said he also gave Joshua two scoops of protein powder for after his workout, to aid in muscle recovery.


Joshua had visited his shop a couple of times over the past couple of weeks, asking what he recommended, before visiting again on Wednesday.

Joshua had been dieting and lost a lot of weight since January, he said.

Mr Pieterse said the first he heard of Joshua's death was when Les Mills owner Sheldon Macdonald came into his store, asking for a sample to give St John Ambulance staff.

The product was cleared by St John.

Mr Pieterse said he had been told Joshua had collapsed, got up before collapsing again and having a seizure.

He was there as people tried to help resuscitate him.

"It's not something I wish upon anyone."

Family and friends arrived at the gym following Joshua's death and spent time with the young man, who had aspired to become a personal trainer.

The Monster Pump serving had approximately 150ml of caffeine - half the amount of caffeine in some popular energy drinks.

Talking of the incident, Mr Pieterse and his partner Ms Tomuli were shaken and shocked at what happened.

"I know what I did and I know I did nothing wrong," Mr Pieterse said.

"There must have been something else going on for that to happen."

Upon hearing news of Joshua's collapse, Mr Pieterse has been interviewed by police and given them his CCTV footage to prove his involvement in the incident.

The couple have owned the store for six years, and been together for seven.

Both have been bodybuilders for about 10 years, with Ms Tomuli this year being nominated for Waikato Sportsperson of the Year.

When asked about clouds of suspicion that hang over the sport of bodybuilding, Mr Pieterse - who didn't condone the use of steroids - said there were cheats in all sporting codes.

A recent notable case was the outing of cyclist Lance Armstrong.

"Everyone thinks it's in the bodybuilding industry because they're big and muscly, but it's not what steroids do, but it certainly helps you recover faster."

Waikato police spokesman Andrew McAlley said post mortem results were in, but investigators were now awaiting toxicology results - which could take several months - before they would decide how they were treating the investigation.

It was currently being treated as an "unexplained death", he said.

Waikato Times