Select Page


The Exercise Association of New Zealand


Mid Thomas – Savelio


As a board member for ExerciseNZ, I will bring a multifaceted skill set that aligns to the right personal attributes—starting with a robust academic history completing an MBA, achieving top Strategic Student for my year. A 30-year career in Fitness, Club Management and Ownership, National Training Manager for Les Mills New Zealand, and International Master Trainer for Les Mills. More recently, I have founded four successful startups and currently Chair two boards, Rotary Hutt Valley and Women of Worth. My skills and experience are only equalled by my rich and deep passion for developing those in the fitness industry.

Reece Zondag


Reece has been in the fitness industry for more than 30 years. He currently works largely as a consultant to the industry with clients in New Zealand, Australia and China.

Prior to consulting, Reece was the CEO of Les Mills New Zealand for some 11 years. Reece has operational experience ranging from being a group fitness teacher, PT, gym floor staff, management, owner operator of a small club and large gym general manager.

cameron ward

I have held multiple senior management and executive level roles across a number of industries and my own businesses, I bring experience in governance and board input, as well as strategic business experience. Our industry is impacted heavily by technology and rapidly changing customer behaviours which requires a stable but agile board to ensure that we are approaching these challenges in the most meaningful way. I bring valuable commercial insights to a board environment which will positively influence the direction of our industry, and in turn the wellbeing of our people. I am excited for the opportunity to contribute and help shape the coming years, which with Covid-19 and its wider impact on our economy still being felt, promises to be challenging to say the least.

Ish cheyne

Ish Cheyne’s fitness career spans over 25 years, and he is currently the Head of Fitness for Les Mills New Zealand’s Senior Leadership Team. Ish has a strong skill set in change management and operational strategy and is known as a key influencer in the fitness industry.

He is an accomplished communicator and keynote speaker and presents internationally in areas of Leadership, Fitness strategy, Personal Training and Sales. Ish has an innovative approach to doing things ‘outside the box’ and has developed paradigm shifts around the way Les Mills runs its fitness departments.

Jaci Griffin

I have been fortunate to have worked in the fitness industry for over 30 years. Every day I feel excited to be a part of this industry knowing that my role has a positive effect on our members and community. A career in fitness is not about the money – you need to truly care about others, be inclusive of every culture, religion and sexual orientation and embrace change.

I started my career in a community gym and then moved to Les Mills and spent over 8 years managing the Auckland City Club. I then moved to open Les Mills in New Lynn and have spent over 18 years managing this club which ranks no 1 on ROI, staff satisfaction, NPS and membership growth in the Les Mills group. I have worked in all areas of the gym and therefore have a deep understanding of the procedures and culture needed to be successful. I will commit my experience, passion and energy to Exercise NZ as it works to improve our amazing industry.

jacquie hibbs

Physical activity is essential for overall health, wellbeing and happiness. What we do and how we deliver as an industry is fundamental to achieve this. My contribution to the board and health of our industry is over 25 years of experience from ‘grassroots’ as a fitness/group fitness instructor and personal trainer plus management and operational experience managing programmes and services across a portfolio of recreation and sport centres for Christchurch City Council. This includes setting strategic direction, developing business plans, budgets and KPI’s to ensure services remain fit for purpose, maximise utilisation and revenue opportunities at optimal cost. I completed my Masters in Business with Distinction in 2019 with a project focus on fitness service delivery.

Jase Te Patu

Jase Te Patu (Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāti Tūwharetoa) is a TEDx Speaker, an Edmund Hillary Fellow, and an award-winning facilitator of yoga and mindfulness. He has 28 years’ worth of experience teaching in the wellbeing industry.

Jase is co-owner of Awhi Yoga and Wellbeing and Founder of M3 Mindfulness for children. His students include the All Blacks, the Hurricanes, the Pulse, the NZ School of Dance contemporary students, and many more high-performance athletes. Jase has received various awards for his work particularly in the mental health and wellbeing space. These include the NZ Exercise Industry Awards- Body/Mind Teacher of the year in 2018, the Lifekeeper’s Award for Suicide Prevention, the Regional Local Hero medal as part of the New Zealander of the Year Awards 2018, and the Absolutely Positively Wellington Award 2019.

Jase is an ambassador for Youthline and international brand lululemon. Jase sits on the Māori Council of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship and looks forward to sharing his experience of upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi with the ExerciseNZ Board.




Previous owner of fitness centres in Christchurch for 15 years, and has worked in the industry for over 20 years. Involved with ExerciseNZ since 1998, and President from 1999-2005.

Richard has a Bachelor of Science in Statistics, and completed a Masters degree (MBA) specialising in the fitness industry. Richard presents internationally on fitness industry trends and has a passion for helping businesses realise their potential.



Nigel Harris is a Senior Lecturer in fitness and exercise science AUT University.

Nigel brings a wealth of industry and education experience, having been on the ExerciseNZ board for over five years (in two separate sessions) and is keen to further contribute as an advisor to ExerciseNZ.



Stephen Gacsal is the Registrar of REPs, who oversees the day to day operations of the register.

Stephen has extensive management and industry experience, having previously operated businesses, and holding board and directorship positions in the exercise industry for over 20 years.

Stephen is committed to the ongoing growth and development of the register.



Nikki has worked around the world in the fitness industry for nearly 30 years as a group exercise instructor, personal training, studio co-ordinator and small business owner and landed in NZ in 2007. Since then Nikki has contracted to many NZ facilities and enjoys a large exercise network.

She started in her Auckland based role with ExerciseNZ in October 2018. As Nikki loves talking exercise, her aim is to connect as many facilities and independent exercise providers as she can, she looks forward to meeting you soon.


Specialising in web support, registration of exercise facilities and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses, Project development and helps Exercise New Zealand with the running of it’s national conference FitEx.

Charlie first started in the industry in 2005 as a Sales Manager for successful facilities in Christchurch. After a short break away he came back to manage two facilities in Christchurch before coming on board with REPs in July 2008.


Hannah Thomas-King started in the role of REPs Registration Coordinator in November 2015. Hannah comes to REPs from a background in electronics and sales work.

She will be using her previous experience for processing REPs registrations, answering any REPs questions and helping guide applicants through the registration process.

Hannah has lived in Christchurch for several years but is from both Te Hiku O Te Ika, the Far North District – North Island where her family still resides and the Waikato area. Has had experience as a Waka Ama Paddler is still an avid follower of the sport due to her family’s continued participation and success in the sport.

Louise RYK

Louise comes to the team from a background in customer service, most recently managing a department in a large chain store.

Louise has a knack for troubleshooting and takes pride in having good rapport with the fitness community.

A big fan of both team sports and going to the gym, Louise has always been involved in exercise in some way.

She has played in several representative teams from her hometown Ashburton, for both netball and tennis.

nathan burrows

Nathan has been with ExerciseNZ since 2002 where he worked part-time, while studying towards his BA and Graduate Diploma in Teaching.

After completion of study he became a full-time employee and has held many different roles in both REPs and ExerciseNZ.

Nathans main roles are around the events which ExerciseNZ host including FitEX Conference, Roadshow, Awards, and the Hauora Yoga Conference. 

sean thomas

Sean is a web developer with a background in enterprise software systems. Since January 2020 he has worked part time to maintain many websites including ExerciseNZ, REPs and YogaNZ.

Sean enjoys developing large end to end systems and solutions engineering. These talents will be put to use as the EXNZ family of websites are re-branded.


Sarah comes to us with a passion and enthusiasm for all things related to the health and wellbeing of others. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Promotion and Exercise Science and has worked in the industry for over 10 years, with her most recent role working in the corporate health sector supporting the development and implementation of online wellbeing strategies to create behaviour change.

On the weekends you will find Sarah either at the gym or on the beach sipping coffee!

Sarah is beyond excited to be a part of the Exercise New Zealand family and looks forward to extending her knowledge within the industry.


Ben Mann

Ben has spent almost the last 10 years holding various management roles in the fitness industry around New Zealand and Canada. Beginning his role with ExerciseNZ in August 2021, Ben works on special projects whilst he operates his Personal Training
and Fitness Website-Design businesses.

Passionate about health and fitness, Ben aims to help grow the fitness industry and contribute to helping more Kiwis become physically active through exercise.

Andrew Dixon

Since late 2020 Andrew has been working closely with ExerciseNZ to assist them in their efforts to maintain New Zealand’s world-class exercise industry standards, support kiwi facilities, and educate the public on the great benefits of exercise as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

Being the owner/director of D-Cipher Marketing – Andrew has accumulated skills in a variety of areas, from experience in print media design, digital design and marketing, website design, coding & development, and advertising campaign ideation/management. This array of skills allow him to produce collateral with “the big picture” in mind.

Andrew is thrilled to be on this journey with such a great cast of passionate individuals and is looking forward to the road ahead.