Puawai's Story

Te Puawaitanga Winterburn-Chapman
Founder of Fit Wāhine NZ Aotearoa

Ko Tararua, Mereanapai me Maunga Taniwha ngā maunga
Ko Ōtaki, Mangataipa me Mangamuka ngā awa
Ko Hokianga te moana
Ko Ngāti Raukawa, ko Ngāpuhi ngā iwi
Ko Ngāti Kapumanawawhiti ko Te Kōhatutaka ngā hapū
Ko Te Pou o Tainui, Mangataipa me Mangamuka ngā marae
Ko Tainui rāua ko Ngā-toki-mata-whao-rua ngā waka

If there’s something Puawai is an expert at, it’s how to overcome obstacles and wear many hats. As a proud māmā to Kōtuku Te Toi O Ngā Rangi (6 months), and Puhi Ihaia (10 years), as well as a supportive partner to Wharehuia, Puawai doesn’t do anything by halves. Puawai is also an entrepreneur, actress by trade, Fitness Coach, and BOSS Wāhine – to name just a few more of the hats she pops on.

Despite this long list of achievements, Puawai did not always count herself as a successful wāhine – it took a long journey to find her place in the world. Her strength and growth have come from pushing the boundaries to teach herself and others that self-love, self-care and healthy habits can and will change your life – forever.

At the young age of 17, when Puawai fell pregnant, it was hard to be a young Māori māmā at the time. She felt criticised for having a baby so young, judged and shoved into a perceived box of being a “Māori stereotype.” But Puawai knew she would prove them all, and the system built to stop her, wrong. With the guidance and support from her whānau, Puawai knew, even then, that one day she wanted to be a positive role model for Māori wāhine in her line of work.

In 2017 while being in the last year of her degree at Toi Whakaari NZ Drama School, Puawai started sharing her health and fitness journey on Instagram and used this platform to keep herself in check and accountable for her decision to GROW, change and become the best, most amazing version of herself. She started reading self-improvement books, listening to podcasts, daily motivational videos and started implementing small positive daily habits into her life. She knew it was time to find that positive wahine again! 

Those three years at drama school, although intense, were priceless. They taught Puawai so much about being a strong Māori woman in her environment and standing by her values and truth. Her acting training would go on to become a major contributing factor to Puawai’s confidence in being a business owner and group fitness trainer down the line and spreading inspiration via her social media platforms. Puawai harnessed the power of her Instagram followers to hold her to the promise she had made, to never back down on training, to keep eating healthily and practising self-love and self-care.

After running a few different Instagram handle names, trying them on for size to find the perfect fit for her brand, a new name suddenly came to her – and she knew instantly that it was the one. Puawai named her journey Fit Wāhine, and unknown to her, a community was about to be born.

Wāhine she didn’t know began reaching out and asking for advice after being inspired by Puawai’s hauora journey. Thousands of wāhine, who have been inspired to take action in their own lives, were making themselves known. The influence Puawai was having on people was humbling for her – and stirring. A new purpose had emerged. Puawai felt compelled to empower as many women as possible to be the best version of themselves using fitness as the vehicle. In her eyes, there was nothing more fulfilling than seeing women’s faces light up after a workout! It filled Puawai with purpose and pride to be contributing to something that was larger than herself!

It was time to reach further! In 2019, Puawai qualified to be a personal trainer at the NZ Institute of Sport. This meant she could dig deeper and really go to the next step to provide qualified services to empower even more wāhine! In the brief spare moments between qualifying to become a personal trainer, Puawai was rapidly building her community and outreach on Instagram. In 2020, she even started running $2.00 koha fitness classes at the local Ōtaki hall.
Humble beginnings!

Then Covid19 landed. The fitness industry, alongside many others, was brought to its knees. With no public spaces open, Puawai knew she had to find a way to continue supporting her clients. In 2020, the online Fit Wāhine platform was established out of necessity to reach her household clients in their own living rooms. This was the absolute GAME CHANGER for Fit Wāhine. With the maximum potential of participants skyrocketing, Puawai suddenly had hordes of wāhine reach out on Instagram wanting to join the online zoom classes. She had tapped into a niche she didn’t even know existed! Without needing the physical space to accommodate everyone, Fit Wāhine’s community exploded in size!

This is how Fit Wāhine Online came to be what it is today. Since the first lockdown, the
Fit Wāhine online space has grown exponentially. And now, the classes are 100% online. With members from across Aotearoa NZ and Australia tuning into the weekly classes and community, Fit Wāhine had become an important part of so many women’s success stories.

Puawai had built a fitness community from a promise she made to herself, and now it helps other wāhine make the same promise. Fit Wāhine is the vessel that helps put the fire, drive and purpose back into your life! If you are ready for change, Puawai’s promise to you is that you do not have to face those obstacles alone.

What has Puawai learned on this journey? Wāhine are more successful when we lift each other up and hold each other accountable. It is Puawai’s absolute passion to inspire, empower and motivate wāhine to find the love for themselves again.

Wāhine are stronger together. And it’s time you joined us!


Not only do I run my own business online, but I am also lucky enough to be sharing my journey online. Here are some of the businesses I represent and would love to share with you! Use my discount codes to save you money on these great products!

Aim'n Activewear

AIM HIGH & DREAM BIG | Aim’n Activewear NZ

Aim'n activewear is designed to inspire and motivate you to live an active lifestyle. Featuring happy colours, up-to-date designs & prints inspired by nature & things we like.

For a 20% discount use code: PUAWAI20

Please note: This code is only valid for 48 hours on a specific date every month

Dose & Co

Your daily dose of beauty and wellness

Collagen is the essential ingredient to achieve healthy, younger-looking skin. Let your glow shine bright with Dose & Co.

For a 20% discount use code: FITWAHINE20

Hello Fresh

Save time at mealtime with Hello Fresh!

Code gives new customers up to $100 off over 4 boxes!
Available in NZ / Australia

1st box: $50 off
2nd box: $30 off
3rd box: $10 off
4th box: $10 off

Choose from meal plans that are designed to make your life EASIER! Each Hello Fresh meal has a total calorie count so that you can stay on track with your daily calorie intake! Choose from a vegetarian, family-friendly or meat & veg to suit you and your family! The best part? The ingredients and recipes are delivered straight to your door! (See ya later, supermarket!)

Use your discount code now! PUAWAI100

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