Two gyms in Christchurch have abruptly closed their doors due to financial troubles faced by their owner, Sonia Tafilipepe. Tafilipepe, with a history of business challenges including suspension as a real estate agent, attributes the closures to the economic strain exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously known for marketing herself as a business coach promising to significantly increase income, Tafilipepe now finds herself grappling with her own financial turmoil. Her gyms, F45 Ferrymead and F45 Central, were shut down by the franchisor on February 21st due to Tafilipepe’s failure to meet franchise fees, leaving a pilates studio attached to the Ferrymead location also closed.


Sonia Tafilipepe with Arnold Schwarzenegger at a real estate industry conference.

The closures came as a shock to both staff and customers, with Tafilipepe expressing dismay at the lack of opportunity to inform them beforehand. Negotiations with the franchisor to save the gyms proved challenging, with Tafilipepe citing unrealistic payment plans proposed to recover the debt.


Sonia Tafilipepe markets herself as a entreprenuer and business coach.

Tafilipepe attributes the failure of her businesses to escalating operational costs and economic factors such as inflation. Despite an increase in gym memberships since her acquisition of the businesses in April 2022, it wasn’t sufficient to sustain the operation and support the staff.

This isn’t the first time Tafilipepe has faced business difficulties. Past incidents include being stripped of real estate franchises and facing censure and suspension for misconduct in her real estate dealings.

Her ventures into other businesses have also encountered challenges, with several companies she directed ending up in liquidation. Despite her troubled business history, Tafilipepe had previously marketed herself as a successful business coach promising significant financial gains for her clients.