Fortitude Fitness NZ

Burgers & Bowls | Fortitude '23 Member Awards

November 13, 2023

The winners of our 2023 Member Awards were announced on Saturday night at our End of Year Party, after our Burger and Bowls night which was held at Royal Oak bowls.

This year, the theme was “All White,” adding an extra layer of sophistication and unity to the celebration.

Burger and Bowls at Royal Oak Bowls:

So, the arvo kicked off at Royal Oak bowls, and big shoutout to our legends from the social club, Ruth and Lagi, for pulling it off. And can we talk about Ruth being some undercover under-14 lawn bowl champ? Like, what the heck, right? Sounds like a total setup! But jokes aside, it was a ripper event, and we’re stoked everyone had a top-notch time. Massive props to Ruth, Lagi, and the whole crew who made it happen – you guys rock! 🎉

This year, our member awards were:

Most improved – Male and Female

Rookie of the year

Masters Athlete



Class clown/Cheerleader

Member of the year

Apart from Member of the Year, the winners are all selected by the coaches. We each nominate someone and then get together and discuss who we feel deserves the award the most out of the nominees.

Most improved award:

Who has improved as an athlete the most in 2023. Who has progressed their fitness, their level of skill, their attitude to training, their work rate or their pain tolerance. Who has started lifting heavier, hitting more complex movements or pushing their boundaries a little more. Who ultimately has improved.

This year we have female and male categories.

The winners are Sofie and Ollie

Sofie: The crown goes to the one and only Sofie. I still remember her first day, doubting her weightlifting skills, but boy, did she surprise us with some gymnastics magic. Sofie’s been on a grind, showing up consistently, and making gains like it’s nobody’s business. And guess what? She’s not just conquering weightlifting; she’s hitting the podium with her team mates!

Ollie: Now, onto our male category champ—Ollie. This guy’s a legend in the making. Picture this: 4:30 am, gym doors swinging open, Ollie’s already there, doing extras, and tackling his weaknesses head-on. And get this, he took a whole day off work just to master double unders. Now, that’s what I call commitment! Ollie’s come a heck of a long way, refining his technique, boasting insane mobility, and showing us all how it’s done.

Rookie of the year:

Now, let’s talk about the Rookie of the Year—the fresh face who’s burst onto the scene and left us all in awe. Drumroll, please… and the winner is none other than Kueni!

Imagine this: She joins us mere weeks after bringing a tiny human into the world. That’s superhero level commitment right there! But it doesn’t stop there—Kueni’s been on a fast track to greatness. She’s acing her technique and skills, smashing personal bests like it’s a walk in the park. Did I mention she pulled off a clean at a comp, aiming for a whopping 90kg? Now that’s what I call setting the bar high!

Not just a solo act, Kueni’s a regular team player in comps, bringing her A-game and spreading good vibes all around. She’s basically the definition of amazing. Cheers to Kueni, our Rookie of the Year, for kicking butt and taking names! 🌟👶💪

Masters Athlete:

Let’s give it up for our seasoned rockstar, the Masters Athlete of the Year—a title reserved for the legends over 35 who defy the laws of aging. And guess who’s taking home the crown this year? None other than the unstoppable force of nature, Che!

This award isn’t just about age; it’s about consistency, kindness, and that undeniable, never-ending energy—seriously, Che’s got those energizer bunny legs that never seem to call it quits. Plus, despite just jumping on board, Che’s already nailed a spot in the Masters NZ finals. Talk about making an entrance!

Cheers to Che, the epitome of resilience and power. Keep breaking those stereotypes and showing us all how it’s done, Master of the Year! 🌟🏋️‍♂️💪

Sportsmanship Award:

Let’s talk about the heart and soul of our Fortitude fam—the one and only Rose, bagging this year’s Sportsmanship Award! 🌟

Our community is special, no doubt, and the Sportsmanship Award is all about recognizing the unsung heroes who make it even more extraordinary. Rose strolled through our doors in 2019, and from day one, she’s been the living, breathing definition of what it means to be a Fortitude legend.

This award isn’t just about being there; it’s about being present in every sense. Rose, you’ve been at every comp, whether throwing down or giving the loudest cheers from the sidelines. Talk about commitment! And let’s not forget, earlier this year, after recovering from an ankle injury, she rocked the CrossFit Open like it was a walk in the park.

But wait, there’s more! Rose even did a spontaneous day trip to Rotorua just to back up our Masters athlete. Now, that’s what I call next-level support.

So here’s to Rose, the definition of commitment, grit, and all-around good vibes. Your dedication makes our Fortitude community shine a little brighter. Cheers to you, Rose, for being an absolute legend! 🌹👏🏋️‍♀️


Big cheers and applause for the man of the hour, the one and only Andrew Richards, snagging this year’s MVP Award! 🌟 This guy is the definition of an all-around legend, showcasing his skills and prowess across the board. Andrew’s not just a jack of all trades; he’s the master of awesomeness in everything he does. But here’s the kicker—he’s not walking around like he owns the joint. No way! Andrew is hands down the most humble dude we’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Whether it’s crushing workouts, mastering new moves, or just being an all-star team player, Andrew brings his A-game without a shred of ego. So here’s to you, Andrew, our MVP extraordinaire—humble, talented, and an all-around amazing dude. You make Fortitude shine a little brighter! 🚀🏋️‍♂️👏

Class Clown / Fortitude Cheerleader:

Get ready for a good laugh and some seriously contagious positivity because the Fortitude Class Clown / Cheerleader award goes to none other than the one and only Sam Newell! 🎉🤣

Now, this award might sound a bit goofy, but trust us, it’s a big deal. Sam isn’t just a chatterbox during class (we mean, who can resist some good ol’ dad jokes?), but he’s also the glue that holds our community together. From cracking jokes to rallying everyone up, Sam’s the life of the party.

Sure, he might have a few too many words up his sleeve, but hey, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Sam, you’re the heartbeat of our Fortitude fam, and we’re stoked to have you as our Class Clown / Cheerleader. Keep those jokes and good vibes coming! 🤹‍♂️🌈👏

Member of the Year award:

This is the only award voted for by the members. This is where they get to tell us who they think is an epic Fortitude. Which of their peers makes them proud to be part of Fortitude, makes them want to work a little harder or be a little better. Who makes them feel welcome and at home in a class, who do them feel is a good ambassador for what we do.

Massive Shoutout to Nominees!

Hats off to these absolute legends who made it to the Member of the Year nominee list! 🌟 Your positive vibes and dedication haven’t gone unnoticed. Here’s a quick rundown of our incredible nominees:

Sam: Always rocking a smile, making newcomers feel at home, and just an all-around lovely presence in class.

Sha: The vibes maestro, keeping the energy up for those early classes and social gatherings.

Chip: The powerhouse! We love seeing Big Chip crush workouts, a true Fortitude OG.

Ariel: A consistency queen, driving herself and inspiring others with her dedication.

Ruth: The organizational wizard, who put in the effort to make things happen for the whole gym.

Rose: The ultimate supporter, non-judgmental, humble in her progress, and always going the extra mile to include everyone.

James: The comeback kid, showing remarkable improvement, keeping everyone accountable, and being a great comp mate.

Sam Lin: Infectious effort in becoming better and a constant source of encouragement for all.

Sefa: The unique vibe builder, encouraging and uplifting everyone, even after the toughest WODs.

Sam Jones: A team player extraordinaire, dishing out compliments, and bringing charisma, wit, and plenty of mana.

Salu: The Fortitude caretaker, selflessly looking after everyone, the mama/auntie we all need.

A massive high-five to each one of you for making Fortitude the amazing community it is. Your contributions inspire and lift us all! 🙌💪🎉

.. Let’s dive into the epic showdown for Member of the Year! 🌟


Andrew: Our man Andrew Richards, the unstoppable force who throws 100% into everything he does. From workouts to being an all-around good dude, he’s a true Fortitude gem.

George: The embodiment of kindness and consistency, George Short has not only been a solid supporter but has also shown remarkable improvement throughout the year.


Kueni: Brace yourselves for Kueni, the motivator who inspires us to learn and grow in this fitness journey. A strong, athletic, and fit mama who’s a powerhouse in every sense.

Tanya: Enter Mama Tanya, the amazing woman who’s a constant guiding force, always there to push and uplift us towards our best selves.

A huge round of applause to Andrew, George, Kueni, and Tanya—our exceptional 3rd Equal and 2nd Equal Member of the Year contenders! 🏆 Your dedication and positive vibes make Fortitude the incredible community it is. Cheers to these legends! 🎉💪

Drumroll, please! 🥁

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for—the crowning of our Member of the Year!

Juri, Member of the Year 2023

Let’s take a moment to truly appreciate Juri, whose gym efforts this year have transcended the ordinary and reached legendary status. A standing ovation is in order for this remarkable individual, as his dedication to the craft serves as a beacon of inspiration for everyone within our Fortitude family. Juri doesn’t just push himself; he catapults beyond comfort zones, leaving an indelible mark on every personal goal he sets. It’s not just about being a legend in the gym; Juri is an amazing guy who embodies the spirit of Fortitude.

His journey is a testament to resilience, growth, and unwavering commitment. Well done, Juri! Your achievements not only reflect personal victories but also contribute to the vibrant tapestry of our community. Here’s to the legend himself, Juri—our well-deserved Member of the Year! 🌟💪🏆

A massive congratulations to all our nominees and winners! 🏆 Your passion, commitment, and positive energy have truly made Fortitude an exceptional community. As we wrap up this year, let’s carry this momentum into the next, filled with more achievements, growth, and shared victories. Here’s to each and every one of you—our Fortitude family! 🌟💪🎉

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