Working ‘on’ the business instead of ‘in’ it

‘Making gains in the gym’ is the challenging goal set by the owners of a holistic health centre in Waikato. But the ‘new year, new you' goal isn’t just for clients, it is also for the business itself and staff. To grow into their future, the team joined up with Te Puni Kōkiri Cadetships.

Published: Tuesday, 16 March 2021 | Rātū, 16 Poutūterangi, 2021

Hale Health is run by husband-and-wife duo, Aaron and Kimberley Murphy. Aaron (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahungunu) and Kimberley (Ngāti Toa, Ngāi Tahu, Tainui, Rangitāne) opened their whānau focused gym in Hamilton five years ago, after returning home from Australia.

From left: Hale Health co-founders Aaron Murphy and Kimberley Murphy, are cadets alongside their kaimahi, Evette Toa and Rachel Dombroski.

The founders have a passion for helping their community improve their mind, body and soul. To support more whānau, Kimberley says the centre needed time to catch their breath and reflect.     

Time to reflect

‘It was only after COVID hit and we went into the first lockdown last year, that we had a moment to step back and think about where we wanted to pivot ourselves in the future,” says Kimberley.

“There were gaps our staff and our business needed to fill, so we knew we had to learn how to grow into those spaces. For my hubby Aaron and I, our greatest realisation was we had to start moving away from our day-to-day roles. We needed to work ‘on’ the business, instead of being ‘in’ the business.”

Support from Cadetships

Evette supporting Hale Health whānau with their hauora goals.

To help the Hale Health founders make that transition, a Te Puni Kōkiri advisor introduced them to the Cadetships programme. The kaupapa supports Māori to achieve their potential in the workplace, and contribute to thriving, innovative and resilient businesses.

Cadetships support employers in a range of growth industries to mentor, develop and train Māori staff of all ages so they can take on more senior roles, extend their career paths and boost workforce development.

The company began their six-month cadetships development programme before Christmas. Business owners, Kimberley and Aaron, are among the five Hale Health kaimahi who have enlisted as cadets.

Leadership development

Kimberley’s learning pathway focuses on developing her directorship skills, so she can work on the company’s strategic direction, which includes setting up a charitable trust.

“We created Hauora Tangata Trust to be the social arm of Hale Health, so we could support the hauora of at-risk whānau”, says Kimberley.

“Support from Cadetships has allowed me to be released from my administration duties, so I can receive mentoring to learn how to govern, and attend workshops about how to lead a team effectively.”

Developing team-leadership skills is also the focus of Aaron’s cadetship. He wants to empower their employees to become multi-skilled leaders so he can leave the running of the business up to his team.

Rachel is learning how to become a digital marketing pro for the company.

Boosting digital business skills

Another cadet, current Floor Manager Rachel Dombroski (Ngāti Maru) is learning how to become a digital marketing pro so she can become the Sales and Marketing Manager. Rachel says the company relies heavily on social media to get clients through the door, which is why they used to outsource this work to specialist niche agencies based overseas.

“The social media campaigns needed for a gym, is different from other businesses. Plus our gym isn’t generic, we have a mainly Māori client base so I’m learning how to grow our membership through all the detailed work that needs to be done in the back-end of social media engines.

Rachel, who has been working in gyms for 16 years, says the cadetship has opened up a whole new avenue for her.

“It’s awesome to know there is another facet to the business where I can bring my creativity and encounter new challenges. I get bored easily so when this came up I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to increase my knowledge, which would be beneficial for myself and to Hale Health.”

Greater gains for the future

‘Making gains in the gym’ is the challenging goal set by Aaron for his clients and for his business.

Kimberley says the cadetship programme came at the right time for their company as small business owners. 

“Our Cadetships experience has been really beneficial. I think we got to the point where we needed to work smarter by filling the gaps, instead of running around trying to wear all the different hats. It can be detrimental to your business if you become too consumed with the day-to-day stuff, instead of concentrating on growth.”

“We love engaging on a daily basis with whānau at the gym. But by working on these strategic kaupapa, we will help more whānau achieve their own hauora goals in the long term.”


To find out more about the Cadetship programme contact one of the Te Puni Kōkiri regional offices.