GJ Gardner – dedicated to the business of fitness


A good level of fitness leads to a strong and healthy mind which functions pretty much like the sharpest knife in the drawer.

What a statement, you might say.But have a chat with Jeff de Leeuw, managing director of G.J. Gardner Homes, the Waikato region’s largest new home builder and fitness in the workplace comes across strongly.

While it is not a hard and fast philosophy, Jeff believes fitness has helped their company and personnel to succeed.

Although Jeff freely admits he struggles sometimes, he is keen on maintaining his own fitness level and over the years has completed various competitions and events.

While leading by example Jeff and his father Bob completed the Wellington to Auckland cycle challenge, have ridden round Taupo a number of times and knocked off a few half marathons and the like.

Within the office team there are multiple bike races, running events, mud runs, business house tennis teams, corporate rowing, indoor soccer and netball participation. They even have a New Zealand top 10 multisport athlete, Jo Chalmers in the office. The company draughtsperson’s next event is ‘The Goat’ an off road run from Whakapapa to Turoa around the rocky sides of Mt Ruapehu.

The company also has a touch rugby team playing out of the G.J. Gardner-sponsored Suburbs Community Sports Club and sponsors the Whangamata Run Walk festival which was held last month.

“This sort of support captures a variety of people that hopefully puts our business front of mind and may one day consider a G.J. Gardner Home,” said Jeff.

“We also have a corporate responsibility to look after our staff,” he said. “We know that the fitter and healthier people are, the better they are able to concentrate, handle stress and function more confidently” Therefore, one thought was to give everyone the opportunity to up their level of fitness.

Jeff took the philosophy seriously and endeavoured to identify mechanisms to assist with getting his team healthy if they were interested. They took to it like ducks to water with their first steps being to the gym.

They knocked on the door of City Fitness in Te Rapa, not too far from the G.J. Gardner office and were delighted with the support. We assisted with their memberships and the team uses the facilities as they wish.

We gave the team the opportunity to have an individualised fitness plan with personal trainer Daniel Hyett. They were then put through their paces with an initial fitness test.

“Daniel is a really positive, encouraging and extremely knowledgeable guy” said Jeff“ For those that got involved, they each had their measurements done, heart rates taken and forward planning was based on that.
“The team has been very supportive of the idea,” said Jeff. “And it has proved beneficial through the workplace with sharper decision-making and certainly higher levels of health and fitness.”

Nationally sponsored athletes have visited from time-to-time to speak to staff on their specialised subjects.
Most recently, Erin Taylor, nutritionist and Olympic kayaker, was engaged to talk to the staff on healthy eating.
“This was well received and as well she devised eating plans for some the team,” said Jeff. It’s all about balance and moderation.

Flexible hours allow staff members to use time most efficiently as long as they remain on the company side of the ledger.

“Everything we put in place has received the support of the G.J. Gardner ‘family’ and has added strength to our work/life balance,” said Jeff.

G.J. Gardner Homes lead the market in many respects, mainly based around their great homes, value and reputation. But maybe it’s the leading of the market in healthy living responsibilities that makes the difference.



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