Our Story

What is Pure Tough?

Pure Tough is the Scots word for Strong. However, it doesn’t mean lifting the heaviest weights, or being the biggest and baddest person in the gym.

To us, Pure Tough is about inner strength balanced with physical strength. It’s about mental toughness, strength of spirit, and resilience. Pure Tough is going through hard times, and persevering on. You might call it grit, guts, or backbone, but we call it Pure Tough.

Pure Tough started as just the name of our gym, but it has now become our motto, and our way of life.


More than a Name

Matthew Gilmartin always had a dream of running his own neighborhood gym, and in 2017, his dream came true – he purchased an old, run-down gym at 14 Park Road. Matthew, with the help of his team and his friends, scraped, painted, and built his gym into something he was proud of.

Now that Matthew had a space, he and his wife Shelley started brainstorming for a name for their gym. Matthew, who is of Scottish and South African heritage, spotted a Scots term that resonated with him: “Pure Tough”. Matthew and Shelley immediately thought “That’s it!”. A name was born.

However, in 2018 Matthew had a sudden cardiac arrest . He so hard fought to recover. People in the gym could see his resolve, and started referring to his fight as Pure Tough.

Sadly, Matthew passed away from a second cardiac arrest in 2019, leaving behind his wife and two young children.

Passing the Torch

Now, Shelley runs the gym. This wasn’t the plan. Shelley – Matthew was always the one with a passion for fitness and the dream of running a gym. But it has been the gym that has given Shelley the strength to fight through the pain and heartache – the community, the people, and the strength gained by working out.

In Matthew’s memory, Shelley has taken on his dream and strives to run the gym as Matthew would have.

Remembering Matthew Gilmartin

Matthew Gilmartin hailed from South Africa and Scotland, and came to New Zealand in 2007 with his Kiwi wife, Shelley. He was a personal trainer and fitness instructor, and Pure Tough was his baby.

Matthew died suddenly and peacefully of a heart condition in mid-2019, shortly after his 40th birthday.

Matt was the face of Pure Tough and is hugely missed by the Pure Tough family of trainers and members.

Arohanui Matthew, rest easy – we got this for you now.