1983 to 1987

I hope to impart a few retrospective positives and learnings from my college journey.

The best learnings however usually emerge from losses, mistakes and overcoming hurdles!

I will start with the lessons…


I was a solid, slightly above average student which was slightly above my application to it.

Lesson 1

And there is the best lesson of all folks – it’s all about attitude first. What you put into it…

I did get inspired around year 12 and got into Otago.

With the insistence of my mother and careers advisor I declined, as I would have started at age 16.

In retrospect, I spent another academically mute [but fun] year at school before University.

Had I taken the opportunity, I believe I would have had more respect for the greater challenge that lay ahead.

If there’s one thing I have learnt about myself, it’s that I respond best to large or even impossible challenges.

Lesson 2

That’s a tough one for teens. Even people with the best intentions can sometimes offer advice not suited for you. At college, you aim to discover your passion or at least your strengths in order to choose the best options/pathway. The trick is knowing when you are being a stroppy teen or you are discovering the confidence to back yourself and pursue something.


I was an Asthmatic so Mum put me in swimming to improve my lungs and I turned out to be a bit of an athlete…

I would say my crowning achievement according to the Matamata college merit system, was twice winning sportsman of the year. Proudly, only one other had done that at the time. [All Black Wayne Smith]

I swapped swimming for triathlon at 16 and at my third race attained the NZ Junior title.

Lesson 3

What is success? It’s a perspective.

Most at my school era would say I was a pretty good swimmer. I won all that stuff at school, zones, NZ Juniors etc so – yes, I was pretty good. But if I informed Matt Stanley [Matamatas recent swimming Olympian] of my times and stroke counts he would do well not to laugh!

I also excelled at athletics cross country etc. Although I only won it every 2nd year due to Steve Dunn’s stunning and graceful talent producing 800m NZ records!

I went on to pro level international road races and triathlon including 1990 Commonwealth games and even three Tower Run trophies!

I am the runner of our year…

As in every year of our decade we have troops affected by the big C.

You may have heard of Vanessa Oshima [nee Mackenzie] and Caroline Steer [nee Bridson].

Survivors who have run their way to health and a cause. Vanessa ran for Caroline and is at over 1750 consecutive days of running and Caroline is now running for Vanessa.

My running journey was wonderful and is profound for me but…

I am NOT the runner of our year!

Around the turn of the century I started a coaching business in Rotorua. It was swimming based then expanded into many sports over 12 years. The best part of coaching was sharing some amazing journeys. The oldest female to swim the Cook Strait and Lake Taupo. The first double distance Ironman, 1000km Bike race and many more.

It was sharing in others journeys that I found the constant factors that repeat in any success.

Lesson 3 Part A

Success is in the attitude, perspective, journey and the result. For every person, it varies in order and priority.

Most recently I am known in the media as a kayaker. The one who is aiming to be the first Trans-Tasman solo. I did mention I like a challenge.

The last attempt was 80km short of Taranaki so this story is about putting Lesson 1, 2, 3 and 3A to the maximum test!

My time at Matamata College was and still is, a very positive experience, but if I were limited to one statement -it was the people.

The people that largely form our social perspective and standards. Matamata 80s kids Rock!

I know this bio is directed at the “old” people – Remember how everyone was “old” when you were at school?  It always astounds me to catch up with people who now have teen kids and have completely forgotten what they were like as teens! I seem to remember it clearly…

Sarah [I coupled with another organic free-range product from Stratford] and Zac 7 [sun shines from derriere] at least still pay attention to my ramblings.

I hope the old people gloss over with at least vague interest. But if this holds one teen’s interest to the end, I shall be self-impressed.


Favourite Alumni spiel – Daniel Hawke

PSS. Apologies to all my English teachers.