Naomi Wilcockson

1980 to 1984

Naomi was a talented and active student and has gone on to use her talents in a vast array of fields.  She gained School Cert, Trades Cert and University Entrance at school.

She was always making the most of every opportunity in and out of school.  Naomi participated in swimming, hockey, squash, athletics, a bit of golf, did a maths competition with Kay Gibson and won a calculator for making art out of matrix!  (That appears to be the end of her career in mathematics so she says)!   She also took part in a musical – but not sure which one!  Naomi and her sisters (Adele and Rachel) were exquisite ballet dancers and that took up much of their time outside of school.

On leaving school Naomi trained at Tauranga Hospital and became a Registered Nurse.  After gaining practical experience in the hospital Naomi started her travels.  She worked in Arkansas USA in a trauma unit for nearly two years.  She travelled for about 5-6 months through the States, selling essentials oils, potpourri and terracotta at small town fairs to make money while living in a red long base 1970 Dodge van with red and black shagpile carpet floor and walls, captain seats, wood panelling on ceiling and multiple other highly sought after fashion features including a house air conditioning unit hanging out the back window!

On leaving the States, she travelled for a few months in UK and Europe before heading back to NZ in time to birth her daughter Samantha.   After the birth she went back to Tauranga hospital and worked in medical and surgical areas, a few years in the Acute Pain Service, Coding, and as Gynaecology Nurse Case Manager.  She then shifted to private practise specialising in the oral maxillofacial surgery area for six years.

After various changes and end of chapters in her life she chose to ditch the comfort zone and bought a one way ticket to Cambodia and is still there 18 months later.  After five months of voluntary work with a couple of NGO’s she secured paid work which has enabled her to stay in Cambodia which has really grown on her over time.  As it happened this paid work was exactly right for her at exactly the right time.  She is the Nursing Manager of International SOS Clinic in Phnom Penh managing 12 Cambodian nurses and working with 10 Doctors, both local and multinational.  She says it is challenging and rewarding depending on the day!

She very much enjoys the job, the people she works with, the diverse friends she has made while living and working in this unique part of the world.   She is happy to be there for a few more years yet if the universe allows.

As well as working overseas Naomi has travelled through quite a few countries – but there are still many to go.  She is attempting to see lots of Asia while it is on her doorstep and she hopes to one day get back to South America as that would be up there as one of her favourites.


When asked about interesting snippets throughout the journey so far, she says that remaining relatively sane is a great achievement!

Quoting Naomi on “what now.” –  be grateful to wake up every morning and then remind herself how lucky she is.  She lives by the mantra…’The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances’.

She still loves swimming which she does regularly and spin class because road cycling is a bit on the precarious side to say the very least.


Naomi has a fabulous daughter Sammie who will be 21 next March.  She lives in Tauranga and Naomi is very proud of her – she has a golden heart, confirmed by the many friends that want to surround her.  Naomi’s dog Maggie fell on her four paws when Naomi left for Cambodia and now idolises her mother and is living a life full of love and luxury.   Her sisters are both doing very well.  Adele and Bruce (Donnison) just shifted back to Auckland after many years in Melbourne where Bruce has worked for Fonterra and Adele has done most things!  Rachel and her husband and family continue to live in Hong Kong.