Fighters flock to couple’s new gym
It is just as well Sharon and Leamy Tato have so much room.
The founders of Tranzformus mixed martial arts (MMA) and kickboxing gym have relocated from their cramped premises in the old Porirua Hospital grounds to a spacious area at the back of Waitangirua Mall.
They have carried out plenty of renovations over the past month.
There is still a lot to do, but nothing can take the smiles off their faces.
It is the start of a new chapter and demand is high.
‘‘ Our original members from Kenepuru love the new place and we’re already getting plenty of new faces in,’’ Sharon says.
‘‘We had a quarter of the room we have now, it’s just an amazing space.’’
The husband and wife team have been running an MMA gym for three years, with Leamy’s reputation as a professional Muay Thai fighter under Rex Redden helping them get established.
In their Waitangirua gym they plan to retain their simple philosophies of providing opportunities for those with serious MMA ambitions and members of the community who just want to get fit.
New Zealand MMA champion Nato La’auli is under Leamy’s wing.
Sharon has left a full-time job with BNZ to run Tranzformus, which she hopes will grow to 200 members.
‘‘We had 150 people through the door right from the start here and we didn’t have to do any advertising, it was just through Facebook and word-of-mouth.
‘‘It just humbles you, because we are just doing something that we are passionate about.
‘‘I think what makes it attractive is that this gym is somewhere all ages and fitness levels can come to and it’s here in Waitangirua. People are coming from just up the road and around the corner.’’
Leamy has a no-nonsense and demanding style, with sessions varying week-to-week.
‘‘ Fighters can come in every day, before or after work, it’s close to home for a lot of them. But people wanting a workout can come in when they want, around their own schedule. We are creating the right atmosphere but you can’t come in and hide at the back of the line, I want you to train properly.’’
Kids and seniors cost a gold coin per session, with members paying $ 15 a week. They run classes every day except Sunday.
Sharon says they are even looking to extend the space they have to meet demand, with huge lines for punching bags. More equipment is being sourced.
They are happy to be part of the mall’s rejuvenation, which is seeing a community space being established, new retail stores opening, and murals and colour brightening the once- drab exterior.
Tranzformus hope to hold at least two fight nights this year, in the hall next door.
Tranzformus: Leamy Tato with some of the next generation who will use the Waitangirua gym – Josh Maoate, Dorian Tato and Nasser Tato.