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Profile - Kirsten Harley

Kirsten Harley attended St Hilda's from 1989-1993.

"While at school I was always the girl who dreaded any form of public speaking, hated being

in front of people and would have sleepless nights leading up to a class presentation. It was a

huge surprise for everyone, including myself, when I woke one day and decided to train to be

a Group Fitness Instructor. My love for Group Fitness started when my workmate from

Stirling Sports dragged me (reluctantly) to Les Mills for a free trial. I soon became a huge fan

of BodyCombat and would be one of the many queuing up outside the studio.

A move to Christchurch in 2001 saw me start working at Les Mills as a Gym Instructor. I

attended multiple classes but BodyCombat was always my first love. I was 6 months into the

job when I woke one day and decided I wanted to challenge myself and try to teach

BodyCombat. After months of attending multiple classes per week, one on one training with

the Head Trainer, shadowing on stage and finally attending and passing the training module, I

was a certified BodyCombat Instructor. My Group Fitness journey had officially begun…

Fast forward 10 years...I was a Personal Trainer, teaching another 2 class programs and was a

member of the National Les Mills Presenter Team. 2011 came and so did the big earthquake.

I wanted out of Christchurch and it just so happened that around the same time one of my old

Les Mills friends, who was in the Middle East, advertised a job opportunity – ‘Group Fitness

Instructor and Personal Trainer in a 5 Star Resort’. Six weeks later I moved to Kuwait for a

planned 1 year stint which somehow turned into almost 10 years.

It was an amazing experience – the culture, climate, people, food and the opportunities that

arose. I had various roles over my time there – Group Fitness Instructor, Group Fitness

Manager, Personal Trainer, Social Media Manager and Female Section Manger. I was also

selected for the Les Mills Middle East Trainer and Presenter Team by which time I was

certified in 6 programs. This was an incredible experience and allowed me to travel all over

the Middle East as well as attend 3 Trainer Summits in Europe. The highlight of my career

was being selected as part of the 4 person team to represent Les Mills Middle East at the

Auckland filming of ‘BodyPump 100’ in 2016 and ‘Les Mills Live Dubai’ 2015 where we

presented to hundreds of people with the Burj Khalifa as our backdrop.

Due to a family illness I returned to New Zealand in November 2020 and am currently based

in Mosgiel. I am enjoying getting involved in team sports again (something I haven’t done for

18 years) and am currently playing hockey for a team that has 2 other members from our

school team when we played MANY years ago. I am also co-coaching the St Hilda’s 1 st XI

hockey and cricket teams.

My passion for Group Fitness continues and I have recently started my own business – ‘Group

Fit Dunedin’. I am currently teaching at my local gym in Mosgiel and also taking classes in

the Fitness Room at St Hilda’s. I love designing different workouts where I can tailor them to

suit different fitness levels and abilities. My main focus is on providing a safe and effective

workout with a big focus on building a community and having some fun while doing it. I am

very grateful to have found a career that I am extremely passionate about that helps me, and

more importantly others, lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

If you would like to come and try a class or for any further information please contact me -

027 392 6460 or email


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