Co-Founder, Hauora Wellbeing Studio
Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Sport and Exercise Science & Exercise Science and Nutrition
When Heather Reed decided to set up her own wellbeing studio, she knew she wanted to create a welcoming space where friends and whānau can come together and nurture all aspects of their wellbeing. That’s how Hauora Wellbeing Studio in Grey Lynn was born.
“’Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa’ – let us keep close together, not far apart. This whakataukī guided me through the process of opening up Hauora Wellbeing Studio. I felt that a lot of businesses in the health industry only focused on the body (tinana), neglecting the remaining and often most important pillars of our wellbeing (hinengaro, wairua and whānau).
“There’s great power in whanaungatanga – the sense of connection we have with others – and this drove the kaupapa behind Hauora Wellbeing Studio. As a Māori-owned business, kaupapa is always at the forefront of our minds, and we pride ourselves in the genuine connections we have within our community.”
Starting a business in the midst of a global pandemic has certainly been challenging, she admits.
“Running a small business is hard! The pandemic has forced me to be adaptive, proactive and, most importantly, resilient. The success of your business is driven by you; and everything you do either aids or hinders the results. While this could be seen as a negative, more often than not it’s also the most rewarding part of the process.”
Finding her path
Her passion for health and fitness started as a teenager, says Heather whose journey towards a rewarding career in wellbeing began with enrolling in AUT’s Bachelor of Sport and Recreation.
“I actually hated sport growing up! I was the kid that would ‘forget’ their PE kit to avoid doing any physical activity at school. But during a period of bullying in high school, I sought out running as a coping mechanism. In my early adult years when I wasn’t working, I would research nutrition, human anatomy and physiology and watch endless hours of workouts for fun. That’s when I realised my passion for the health and fitness industry.
“I grew up in England but found the university courses there to be too clinical. On a whim I googled universities in Aotearoa and stumbled across AUT. I loved their holistic approach to sport and the diverse options, so when I saw the modules on nutrition I was sold. I loved the kinaesthetic side of the degree, with the group hikes, waka and whitewater rafting, exercise physiology workshops and visiting the clinics at AUT Millennium. I found these experiences invaluable for my personal and professional development.”
However, her studies were not without challenges, and she had to take a semester off to go through hip repair surgery.
“For the year leading up to the surgery, I was a sub-par student. I was constantly asking for extensions, missing classes and falling asleep in lectures. I kept beating myself up over it, promising change and repeating the cycle. It wasn’t until after the surgery that I realised how badly being injured had affected my mental health. 2020 was the year I sought help. I visited AUT’s counselling team for support, and began being open and honest with my lecturers. Showing vulnerability and learning to ask for help was one of my biggest takeaways from my time at AUT.”
Advice for other students
Heather, who graduated from AUT at the end of 2020 has some great advice for other students.
“He aha te mea nui o tea o? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! Connections are everything! The more you put yourself out there, the more opportunities will come your way. They often come from the most unlikely of places and people, so try to always be open, approachable and supportive of those around you.”
She also has some specific advice about the workplace experience that is at the heart of AUT’s sport degree.
“Commit to your placement. You get out what you put in, so why not showcase everything you have to offer? There are so many awesome organisations, so go out and find one that aligns with your personal kaupapa and offers opportunities for you to learn and grow.”