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As a first post, we thought we'd share the journey of how we came to set up our gym...we've tried to keep it short! There's also a little blurb on how we came up with the name 'Bonobo.'


Both James and I come from a coaching background in water sports (well they're quite different really). James in diving (the springboard kind) and me in swimming. The many years (we're talking 30 combined...) of working with young and old, beginners and international representatives has given us some pretty good background to what it takes to perform in sport, and how to progress people through the levels.

Both diving and swimming at the top level are fairly time-consuming sports, requiring hours per week of demanding training. There are many benefits of the dedicated hours: The 'tribe' of mates, the many lessons forged through constantly testing yourself, and the satisfaction in really 'earning' success. However, through the years we have also seen the many pitfalls of specialising in a sport from a young age: The loss of motivation, the injuries and the early 'retirements.' Many of these pitfalls were drivers for setting up our concept gym.


Having sporting backgrounds both in the water and out, James and I love to push ourselves; enjoying both the self-examination of individual pursuits, and the camaraderie of team sports. We love being outside with the sun (and wind - we are talking about Wellington!) on our faces, so were never really gym-goers - everything just seemed a bit sterile and rah rah rah.

In later years we've both had an interest in endurance events - you know, those gruelling cycling events or triathlons where your facial expressions give a good description of the fun you're having...

Through these fairly one-dimensional (in a movement sense) pursuits and a few long-term injuries (mainly me, James is a natural athlete) we've both realised the importance of being able to move well.


Through both our coaching and individual pursuits, we've realised that variety, creativity and having fun were the secrets to long-term sustainable fitness. Sure there's a place for hard work and discipline, but you need to counter that with a good dose of freedom and 'soft movement.'

Sitting down mid-2016 we both had a desire to do something for ourselves, to create a space that wasn't a gym in the traditional sense of the word, and catered for a wide range of people, young and old, that just wanted to move better and have fun. Bonobo was born! We opened in March 2017, gently feeling our way into new challenges and with plenty more to come.


We'd decided we weren't going down the route of a traditional gym, so our name couldn't follow that line either!

If you ever want a large breakdown of our philosophy read the book 'Exuberant Animal' by Frank Forencich (it's a great read). In it is a chapter about Bonobos, the peace loving, playful, and female-ruling species of ape. Frank talks about a "bonobo workout" being off the cuff with no regard to time or sets and reps, one that fitted their mood at the time and felt more like play than a traditional workout...boom! We had our name.

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