Te Ao o te Māori

A window into the rich lifestyles of contemporary māori

Photographs and words nā Phil Tumataroa

Korey Gibson (Ngāti Huia, Ngāti Tama, Ngāi Tahu) says he’s not the type of person to sit on his hands.

Today not sitting on his hands means being in the boxing ring for an early morning workout, story time with his 18-month-old daughter Waitohi, singing waiata with partner Tessa Murray, and time with his beloved pig dogs before heading to the office.

The office is his Ferrymead headquarters where Korey operates three new businesses, Fit Futures Learning Institute (for training personal trainers), My First Gym (for children), and Cadence – a cycle fitness gym. These form part of his growing footprint in the fitness industry having already established, at last count, 52 Snap Fitness franchises throughout New Zealand.

For the former professional rugby league player, mixed martial arts fighter, boxer and personal trainer, health and fitness has been a way of life that he has harnessed to become a highly successful business career.

What underpins Korey’s passion for business is whānau. “My whānau is very important to me. I want to do everything I can for them and for my staff – my businesses allow me to do this.

“Here everyone is part of our family. People always want somewhere to belong – it makes them feel comfortable to be in a loving environment.”

Korey and Tessa are both learning te reo and speak it predominantly in their home. Giant images of Kaikōura and Taranaki, where they were raised and spend a lot of their time, adorn his premises. Karakia are used to help open and close staff hui and everyone is encouraged to use and pronounce Māori correctly.

“I’m using the Pākehā world as much as I can to strengthen the Māori world,” says Korey.