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End of an era this weekend

Friday 18 August, 2023

An end-of-an-era morning tea was held today to mark the last Aqua Fitness class being held at the Olympic Pools Complex. Ironically the last class had to be cancelled this morning because the pool’s temperature wasn’t high enough, which spells perfect timing for the new Kiwa Pools Complex opening in two weeks.

The Aqua Fitness classes have had strong support with an average of 20 people in each class every weekday morning at 9am.

This morning’s gathering of regulars included people who’ve been going to the classes for decades, and they all said how much it’s increased their well-being.

George Edmonds, 80, says he’d be “pushing up daisies” if it wasn’t for these classes, which he’s attended three times a week for more than 10 years.

“My doctor encouraged me to do them through the green prescription programme, it’s beautiful in the water, and it’s helped me a lot after heart surgery, knee surgery and all the other aches and pains.”

Stan Pardoe says he was encouraged to go to the classes by his wife, “to lose weight after moving into town”.

“I joined the water aerobics and I go three days a week. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I try and encourage more men to do it. The water makes it so darn good on the knees.

“And I actually work up a sweat in the pool, thank you for holding these classes.”

The classes are led by instructors Katie Boyle, Tori Saunders, Rosina Aupouri and Mary-Lee Searle who will carry on taking the 9am classes along with new additional classes in the early evenings when Kiwa Pools opens in two weeks.

Guest speaker at the morning tea was Toni Hoskin (nee Hawksworth), who originally brought the concept of exercising in the buoyancy of water to music here in the early 1990’s.

She recognised some of the same faces who’d taken her early classes.

Mrs Hoskin says she remembers at first combining her love of land-based aerobics with her love of swimming was a “total flop”.

“Land-based exercises don’t go that well in water.”

But over time she developed moves that utilised the unique properties of water, put them together with great music, and developed a range of classes. These were initially delivered in Gisborne by Megan Thompson, Karen Whitehead, and Katie Boyle.

This weekend is the last time the Olympic Pool Complex will be open.

On Monday 21st August the Olympic Pools will close with mana whenua holding a karakia at 10.30am.

After this, the administration building and old 50m pool and roof will be demolished to make way for a green space to be developed to support the Kiwa Pools Complex.

Jess Bolwerk is the new Kiwa Pools Team Leader Aquatic programme and activities.

She says swimming pools are her happy place.

“Everyone always leaves happier and feeling better.”

Ms Bolwerk says as well as the regular weekday Aqua Fitness classes at 9am, there will be a lot more on the schedule too.

“We’re going to try lots of new classes.”

Originally from the Netherlands, Jess brings a long history of working in the aquatic fitness area and moved to Gisborne this year.

“Kiwa Pools is looking amazing. It will be something incredible for all of us.”

Aqua Fitness morning tea - end of an era Olympic Pools

PHOTO CAPTION: These ladies and gentlemen will have a two-week break from their regular 9am weekday Aqua Fitness classes. That’s because it’s the final weekend of the old Olympic Pool Complex as we’ve known it for almost 50 years. On September 2 – Kiwa Pools opens and with it, the regular Aqua Fitness classes at 9am continue plus so much more is on offer. Gathering at The Forces Café this morning for an end-of-an-era morning tea of the Aqua Fitness being held at the Olympic Pool Complex are front row from left: Jo Broeke, former instructor Toni Hoskin, instructor Tori Saunders, Melva Atkins, Colleen Skuse, Lyn Griffiths, Trish Leach and Stan Pardoe

Back row from left: Vernie Eriksen, Kiwa Pools aquatic team leader programme and activities Jess Bolwerk, instructor Katie Boyle, instructor Mary-Lee Searle, Jane Jacques, Kay Orchiston and George Edmonds.