YO! Joe and Andria Vagana Machines!

By David Tsai

Yo! Joe and Andria Vagana machines @ YO!Fitness in Te Atatu, West Auckland.

Yo! Joe and Andria Vagana machines @ YO!Fitness in Te Atatu, West Auckland.

A Kiwi couple who by New Zealand grassroots standards are true advocates of the good old Kiwi culture, in this fast developing country that Kiwis old and new call home, it is becoming a lost art form. Many will remember, some still live and love the days of playing rugby or league in stubbies, wearing jandals after Saturday sports games, and enjoying fish and chips (Fush ud Chups) with L & P while hanging with the bros and cuzzies as the standard. It was a time a nation full of happy, humble and embracing people coexisted, where nothing but a good time was ensured and community strengths were paramount.

It was an organic time for reminiscence when true experiences of what Kiwiana represents, a time the world of Rugby League was introduced to Joe Vagana/ Big Joe (more like really, really big Joe). As a former Rugby League star Joe Vagana will forever be held a place with the Auckland Warriors and in the memories of countless Rugby league fans across the world, he is remembered as one of the great props in rugby league. A starting member of the first Auckland, New Zealand league team to play in the Australasian NRL in 1995, a man who has lived the least of modest lives, but is of the modest sports star, come husband to Andria Vagana and a father of 4 great kids, he is also busily being the director of Machine Lease based in Auckland, New Zealand. Joe is a man with little need of introduction and no stranger in being recognised as a star in the sports world, what is the most outstanding is who he is. Joe is not only a big man in size, he is also a big man at heart, with a big smile and a big mind for progression and genuine leadership.

Joe and daughter Anuella at her local school Te Atatu Peninsular Primary, where Joe is an active Board of Trustees member and supporter of the local community.
Joe and daughter Anuella at her local school Te Atatu Peninsular Primary, where Joe is an active Board of Trustees member and supporter of the local community.

Andria Vagana a highly intelligent, focused and determined woman who grew up in Massey and attended Rutherford college on Te Atatu Peninsula . Andria is an amazing sports and gym fanatic, and entrepreneur; has happily been Mrs Vagana for 14 years, a loving and attentive mother of 4 lovely children. Andria has travelled to many places, and lives a bountiful life, all reaped from hard work, determination and support. Not a sit at home mum type, Andria is the proud owner of Yo! Fitness and Training in Te Atatu Peninsula , West Auckland. Yo! Fitness and Training is an awesome fitness gym which puts emphasis into people with their fitness people and does not rely on just treadmills and the plain old gym routine. Andria is a humble and thoughtful Kiwi girl that is down to earth and strong, a well-balanced person that knows what she wants and gets where she wants to be, by being a true and honest person, being genuine and focused are just a few attributers to her amazing complex. Together as a couple Joe and Andria are more than just partners they are a great team.

Andria Vagana in Leadership @ YO!Fitness and Training

Andria Vagana in Leadership @ YO!Fitness and Training

Admired by many, and very personable people! Machine Lease speak to Joe and Andria Vagana with a visit to a local fitness gym in Te Atatu, and we had a lovely dinner at the Vagana residence to find a connection and discover about their hardworking and dynamic selves. While experiencing the good old Kiwi hospitality with a modern twist, it a fun and excitingly humorous experience where waves of laughter extended to beyond the interview. The energy and life this couple presents is powerful and true, they tell us where they understand the hardships of life but learn to make the most of what they have and take on the challenges for a better result. Below is an excerpt of the interview, here we find out how so much can be achieved in their busy schedules through their quality personalities.

Machine Lease: First of all guys, thank you for your time in effort for this interview. Please tell us what is the favorite past times you guys share?

Joe: Oh, just cuddling and pashing………
Andria: Cuddling and pashing? Don’t say that!

Machine Lease and Joe: Bahahahahahahaha

Joe: Ok, Delete my last comments! **Smirk**
Andria: Um…. We love family time , going to the beach being active and more recently training together
Joe: As you can see!

All: **LOL**

Machine Lease: Training? What type of training have you guys been doing?

Andria: Boxing, HIIT circuit training, bit of kettle bell training and yeah we play touch together as well with our 2 teenagers. Other than that we both have big families, we like hanging with our families , eating we like eating together a lot.

Joe: I don’t…… I don’t like eating that much !

Machine Lease: (Laughingly) Cool! We discovered how you guys keep fit, but please do tell us where you guys do all these fitness activities.

Joe: Well, there’s this awesome little centre in the Te Atatu Peninsula, it’s called Yo! Fitness and training, run by a fit , hot looking lady. (Andria chuckles away). Here name is some Italian name….. I think its Andria.

**Laughter Reins**

Andria: You can find us at 44 Wharf Road, Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland. We do outdoor boot camps as well, they’re scattered around the Peninsula. It’s been built over the last year, our goal is to be the fitness hub of the Peninsula to build the community, which we seem to be putting together nicely.

We’ve also recently opened it up for the youth, this programme has a special focus, it’s about more than just getting fit, we believe supporting today’s youth socially and help develop their lives, its a place they can come to be stronger, more focused and develop into independent individuals.

Machine Lease: Thats fantastic! Fitness, health and life development. These fitness programmes you have come up with, are they fitness programmes you have come up with yourself?

Andira: Most of them yep! We have licensed choreography. I also have another fitness instructor, she designs her own, we are both qualified with a fitness instructor certificate, there is also another guy who designs his classes. So everything is designed by the trainer, they have the freedom to explore their own style and fuse that into the workouts. But Yeah, we’re pretty original! You can find us on our website http://www.Yofitness.co.nz

Machine Lease: As in YO what up?

Andria: Yep, or Yo mama.

Machine Lease: So what does the YO stand for? Is it an acronym for anything?

Andria: Yes, it stands for You Own it! Our clients range from being overweight to being retired professional athletes, big and small, we have everybody in our group, all different age groups, sizes, and race. Everyone has different goals so it’s for them to make it their own.

The Whole Gym is Jumping to the Roof

The Whole Gym is Jumping through the Roof

Andria Vagana leading and motivating the Yo! Fitness and Training class

“For example there is a client who had lost 30 kgs plus, in just a few months of being with us and he is still here with different goals”. -Andrea

Machine lease: So who is your favorite client, any favorite clients?

Andria: I do! Every single client is a favorite, each client has a unique goal and contribute to the club as much as the rest of us. This is a place where we have individuals that have come in from day one not being able to do a push up or even a chin up, but few months down they are doing sets after sets of intensive exercise, progression is big in this gym!

Joe: There are some special stories.

Andria: There sure are! For example there is a client who had lost 30 kgs plus, in just a few months of being with us and he is still here with different goals. Another woman who is in her mid 50s came in not being able to complete small tasks, but can now run circles around people half her age, there all so many triumphant stories, these are just a few highlights…….

To me a successful work out has to be challenging and motivating but fun at the same time, if we can tick all 3 of those boxes we’re doing good. We have 2 guys who were former professional sportsmen getting involved, some of the people in the group have watched them play their sports, and they can see these guys as people in society with real struggles, it inspires them to be working out along side them, so they are more like team mates now. We have a very diverse range of clients in the club, it’s so wonderful to have this melting pot of ethnicity and diversity.

Machine Lease: It’s all about You Owning it! (Pun intended)

J & A: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s a good one David. Theres a saying “Pain is weakness leaving the body “ once it all ends you are relieved and better for it. The sense of accomplishment for the people in our group creates our sense of accomplishment.

Machine lease: Joe what is your favourite class or course from YO! Fitness and Training?

Joe: Well, David that’s an awesome question! There are so many but if I was to choose one of the it will have to be the one on Tuesday night at 7pm , it’s called the “HIIT” Class it stands for; High Intensity Interval Training. Hence my solid frame is kept in condition lol , all classes are an hour, the challenge is up to the individual and I make it pretty hard for myself. Ay dear?! (Directed to Andria). It’s hard to explain the process or the feeling but if you can bring your gear to the class and you need to experience it yourself and actually feel the pain with us.
**Nonstop chuckling**

Andria: But you know, when Joe is not there people ask, where is Joe.

Joe: “Well I better stop wearing my tight shorts then!”


Joe Vagana in blue  and his tight shorts putting in full effort into his workout for HIIT class.

Joe Vagana in blue and his tight shorts putting in full effort into his workout for HIIT class.

“Well I better stop wearing my tight shorts then!” – Joe Vagana

Machine Lease: Family life! Tell us about your children, names, age and what they do, and whether they’re on Santa’s naughty or nice list?

Andria: We have 4 children:

Keanu (18 turning 19); 6ft 5” tall, has spread his wings and entered the real world, great personality, kind and loving person.

Isiah (14): placid, chilled out, the sports fanatic of the children (Joe’s shadow in sports), rugby league, touch rugby, Waka Ama, Basketball and much much more.

Joseph (13): Academic scholar; Australian Academic Dux qualifier, has an Otago University Mathematics certification, placid, chilled out, loves being at home, also plays a lot of sports with Isaiah.

Anuella (7): Challenging for mum but the “apple of her father’s eye”, both absolutely adore her and thinks she is beautiful. Knows to go to dad when she wants a “yes”.

Machine Lease: Andria, as a local resident and local business owner in Te Atatu, please tell us, what are your thoughts on the local civil and structural development in the area?

Andria: I think that times are changing, the traffic is increasing so it’s gotta be done. To be honest I use to wish Te Atatu would stay the way it was, just like when I use to go to Rutherford High School in the peninsula, back then the peninsula was called Te Atatu North. It was a hidden gem, however the Auckland population is growing, so people have to live somewhere, what is also good is that it’s providing jobs for people as well, so it keeps us up with the rest of the world……… I think it’s been done well, in terms of the new community centre and the roads are looking excellent. With all the protected areas the green patches will not be effected.

Machine Lease: Speaking of your children and the community centre, do you find this a safe and friendly location?

J & A: Like other communities Te Atatu Peninsula has its low points , but over all there is a very strong sense of community , as there is the new development of the community centre which was a $20 million project. We love that there is diversity and a whole range of people sharing and contributing to the area ….. It’s a Perfect community for our family !!

Machine Lease: Family, business and exercise, sounds like a lot of hard work and dedication how do you balance it all?

J&A: Prioritising , making sure we don’t forget the little things , family times , praying and have fun .

Machine Lease: Final question and a wild card question! What’s on your Christmas list this year?

Joe: Well David! I used to own a Holden V8, which had a very expensive sound system fit out by a in car entertainment company, I was wishing that maybe this Christmas or some Christmas I might get it back. (While delivering this message, Joe is staring at Andria with a suggestive look).

Andria: To be honest David, I really do just want to have a good time with the family, and in the wish for YO! Fitness and Training to grow in the community. I wish for my Children to all be doing their best in the future. And a Bently GT coupe…….

From this experience there is no second guessing that a former super star league player now a dedicated father and husband, is of a genuine and very likable character. Joe has not let his fame lead him astray or be succumbed to a rock star lifestyle, but rather realising life and utilising the true opportunities presented to him and is continuously going forward with his life. Also for Andria who has taken her own lead into creating a fitness community from her own passion, not fantasising about just sitting at home and living a footballer’s wife episode out. In a nutshell passion, energy, realisation, realistic, kind and genuine is what sums up this hospitable down to earth New Zealand couple.

Please support our affiliate partner Yo!Fitness and training and go check them out:

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44 Wharf Road, Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland