Beginners discover new way of enjoying exercise in inclusive environment
A beginners' spin class at Ki Whanau Gym, IronMaori Hawera is transforming lives from the very first step.
Surrounded by whanau in the same waka, dozens of fitness newbies are finding the motivation and courage they need to put their own wellbeing first.
Beginners' Spin Class instructors Dawn Mendes and Jamie-Anne Manutai say it's about taking back control, and shaping a brighter and fitter future.
The pair host the pay-as-you-play session every Wednesday at 6pm.
* Maori lives are being transformed thanks to work of IronMaori and Ironman NZ
* Months of training brings success for Ki Whanau IronMaori at Napier
* Iron Maori programme transforms fast-food fan into a fitness fanatic
Mendes said they wanted to help people move past those common barriers to exercise and make the classes a fun, inclusive and sociable experience.
"It's not just about training. It's sharing advice, overcoming obstacles and meeting new friends.
"The half-hour class is about nurturing our new ones and giving them the support they need to reach their goals.
"Everyone has to start their journey somewhere and we have all been there before."
Gym newcomer Gregg Parata said the knowledge passed on is being put into practice.
"I am in the infancy of my fitness journey but I am already recommending this class to friends and family."
Parata said he and his fiancée had mapped out some key fitness milestones they wanted to reach while adhering to the "Your Race, Your Pace" mantra.
Designed to motivate people to get off the couch, IronMaori Ki Hawera Whanau Training and Support has been leaping from strength to strength since late 2015. Many of its members have competed or are aiming to compete in the triathlon event.
Manutai said the results of the beginners' class were already plain to see, as participants begin to catch that fitness bug.
"This is our chance to give back to a group of people who have transformed our lives, and pass on the passion to the next wave of fitness