Hastings gym Patu will soon announce two trainers of the year, both losing 40kg.

The gym was founded two years ago by Jackson Waerea and EIT graduate Levi Armstrong. "I wanted to help our whanau," Mr Armstrong said.

The Orchard Rd gym boasts 300 members enjoying "massive results". "We have a lot of whanau who have really done nothing over their lifetime. We are just getting them in the door and losing a bit of weight. There is a social factor to it - whanau work out together to reach the same goals.

"We have a few beneficiaries and we try [to] get them to invest in their own life - $10 a week is all we charge. We are trying to motivate people to get up and get active and hopefully it will lead to other things in their life."


While it was Maori branded it had open membership and operated as a social enterprise, he said. "We are using a business model to create social impact and change in Hawke's Bay. By using a business model we are not reliant on outside funding."

Success had meant outside funding had come to the venture - it was about to sign a contract with the Hawke's Bay District Health Board. "They are keen to jump on board. We see them as an investor - investing for social outcomes."

Last year along with administrator/director Kia Diamond and Mr Waerea, Mr Armstrong developed a franchise model of the business. They plan to roll out their Hawke's Bay success nationally. Patu Aotearoa uses te reo and tikanga and is offered to workplaces, schools and marae via mobile trainers.

It won six months business mentoring through Launchpad, a nationwide incubator for social enterprise projects.

After the mentoring they will pitch their concept to investors, philanthropists and government funders. "There is a gap in the market at the moment, hence winning the Launchpad," Mr Armstrong said. "We are trying to come up with a different concept for the average Joe. It is different [from] other gyms and we also go mobile - we have been doing a few workplaces and have been doing some work out at the prison."

Hinu Wero, a body-fat losing challenge, would start soon.

"The year is 45 weeks of training and workshops broken into five nine-week blocks. On Saturday January 17 we are having the first weigh-ins. Whanau will sign up as individuals or pairs and are worked hard over a nine-week training regime.

"They will then be reweighed and the team who loses the most body fat wins that block. They then roll into the next nine-week block and a new intake can sign up."

A recent Health Equity report said one in three Hawke's Bay adults is obese, compared with one in two Maori adults and two out of three Pasifika.

"Now is the time to get the whanau active", Mr Armstrong said.