Meet Our Team | MyFirstGym New Zealand

Meet our team

Meet the team

alison shanks

new zealand area developer

Alison Shanks is a New Zealand Olympian and double World Champion in the sport of Track Cycling. Wife to Craig Palmer, and mother to Lucas and Abigail, Alison also holds various director roles across the New Zealand High Performance and Olympic sport system. It is this dedication coupled with her passion for leading an active lifestyle that has now seen Alison move into the world of kid’s fitness.

Born and raised in Dunedin, Alison graduated with a Bachelor of Marketing and Human Nutrition from the University of Otago. Sport and physical activity has always been a big part of Alison’s life.

Since hanging up the race bike, Alison embarked on a career in sport governance where she currently holds directorships on the High Performance Sport NZ board, the Cycling NZ board and is a member of the New Zealand Olympic Athletes Commission. “In these roles I see the bigger picture, and now having children of my own, I also see the benefits every day of being physically active. It’s so important mentally, socially and from a development perspective. It’s never too early to start encouraging and inspiring movement in our children.”

The horrendous childhood obesity stats and lack of physical activity in New Zealand children has led Alison on a mission with MyFirstGym to Inspire Movement across New Zealand.

“I want all children to have the opportunity that I had to learn the fundamental physical literacy skills in a fun environment that will make them fall in love with fitness to ensure they lead healthy and active lives.”

dan newton

co-founder and ceo

Our Group CEO & Director, Dan Newton is a proud family man with 3 children and husband to Erica.

Dan is a fitness industry veteran and training enthusiast / multi-sport athlete, competing in Ironman Triathlons and multiple endurance racing disciplines internationally.

After graduating with an Exercise Science Degree in 2003, Dan worked as a Personal Trainer operating a studio on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Dan later spent 10 years as a Senior Manager for large multinational health club brands, such as Gold’s Gym USA and Fitness First Health Clubs, and most recently, the former Chief Executive for the international 247 gym chain, Snap Fitness Australia.

Dan has spent his career at the heart of the fitness industry, leading global teams to open and operate successful health clubs. He has a passion for delivering fitness to the community and has found it his mission to bring new and exciting ways for people to exercise to market, which has led him to the children’s fitness sector.

Dan and the MFG founding Team see a unique opportunity to offer an unrivalled service to the young people of today. Dan sees MFG as an International brand that will provide communities with a destination for kids to fall in love with movement & fitness. A place that supports skill development and inspires kids to move their bodies through those important developmental years.

Dan also understands the demands on the busy families of today and hopes the MFG facilities can not just be an inspiration to the kids, but also be an inviting place for parents as they find their own time to unwind and relax.