Inspiring students in my hometown of Waitara New Zealand with Tony Kemp and Bruce Sharrock

There are some very special people who share a heartfelt passion for the continued success of our little hometown of Waitara on the Taranaki coast of New Zealand’s North Island. I’ve been collaborating with two highly successful friends who also grew up in Waitara and share this heartfelt passion. They are Tony Kemp (former Kiwi Rugby League International/Warriors Coach and entrepreneur) and his best mate Bruce Sharrock (Director of ESPORTIF INTERNATIONAL Sports Management).
manukorihi-inspiration-day-3Here’s an insight into what we are up to and some background info as told by Tony Kemp:
“Growing up in Waitara as a kid was so bloody cool back in the day. The town was thriving and the economic wheels were well in motion with the likes of Borthwicks [Freezing Works], Subaru, Swandri, Methanex [Methanol Plants at Motunui and Waitara Valley] filling the pockets of the community.
As a kid life was full of adventure. Modern technology only existed at Sisarichs’ Pool Parlour. We survived on instinct and lived not such a PC life. We could climb trees, jump off the bridge into the Waitara River or stay at mates for days without a complaint. If you wanted to phone someone you had to head down to the post office with your six cents to call them, and hopefully the phone box was vacant when you got there. You would walk half way across town to visit a mate not knowing if he was home! In a nut shell we contributed to a healthy lifestyle because we had to. There was no other way but to get off your bottom and get on with it.manukorihi-inspiration-day-1Fast forward to 2013. How things have changed!!! Mobile phones, PlayStation, Xbox, social media and the internet have all replaced what was once a healthy lifestyle.
In 2001 after the suicide of my whangai brother Phil, a group of us came up with the idea of holding an Inspirational day at Manukorihi Intermediate School led by Tania Niwa and her whanau (family). We wanted to provide HOPE to as many kids as possible. We used local identities to demonstrate that if your desire was great enough to succeed then anything was possible. Jason Mathews (NZ Surf Champ), Tania Niwa (Internationally renowned photographer), Tui Katene (NZ Touch Rep), Jarrod Martin (Black Sox Softball World Champ Team Captain), Bevan Martin (Black Sox), Rangi Kipa (International Maori Artist) and Julie Paama-Pengally (Int Maori Artist) spoke of what it took to make it to the top. The day was a huge success!
In May 2013 we went back to Manukorihi to hold another Inspirational Day after hearing that our old school needed a little motivation. Our key motivation was to instil some inspiration into our young rangatahi (children) who filled the seats we once sat on. We spoke of goal setting, our journeys, and what sacrifices we made to get to the top of our chosen professions. It was well received and has further fuelled our ambition to support our local town with future events that will continue to build confidence in our community of Waitara.manukorihi-inspiration-day-2
So keep a look out for us in 2014. We are currently working with Waitara High School on dates and Waitara Alive regarding supporting our vision.” Check out Tony’s website and stay tuned on his Facebook.
It was an amazing experience interacting with the students and seeing the glow of excitement on their faces as Tony and Bruce inspired the students to dream big and choose pathways for success. For me, Manukorihi Intermediate School holds a big part of my childhood memories. With my dad as the school principal up until his retirement last year, we spent several years living in the school house, so the expansive fields, netball/basketball courts, bushland and gardens of Manukorihi was the best adventure playground for me and my siblings Nic and Jeff.
It was also very educational for me to see what initiatives Manukorihi Intermediate teachers have set for their students and the contribution my family have made to help children prosper. My sister Nic Niwa and my Mum Raewynne Niwa are both very respected teachers at the school. Both Mum and Dad were teachers when I was a student there. Now Mum and Nic are teaching my friends children!
Here’s The Taranaki Daily News article about the Day (they got most of it right, just one inaccuracy – Bruce was actually the manager of The Warriors when Tony was coach (not the All Blacks), however Bruce’s company does represent some of big name All Blacks:-) New Zealand

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