Adventurer and television star Jamie Fitzgerald pauses at
the University of Otago while on a visit to Dunedin on
Saturday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
New Zealand adventurer and television star Jamie
Fitzgerald has tackled the Atlantic Ocean, the Antarctic and
New Zealand's wilderness.
But the 33-year-old Wellingtonian jokes his greatest
challenge in life is getting his two young children to eat
Whatever the size of the challenge, Mr Fitzgerald has a
simple message about the need to find the purpose
underpinning the task at hand.
On Saturday, he was in Dunedin to share that message with
about 300 people at the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors
125th Anniversary Conference, held at the University of
The weekend's events also marked the 50th anniversary reunion
of the University's School of Surveying.
Mr Fitzgerald, a former New Zealand rower turned adventurer,
television star and motivational speaker, was invited to
share his experiences, including those while filming First
The television show pitted Mr Fitzgerald and co-star Kevin
Biggar against the New Zealand wilderness with only authentic
period equipment to help them, while retracing the steps of
early explorers and surveyors.
The show was the latest adventure for the pair, who have
together won the Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race and trekked
across the Antarctic to the South Pole.
Mr Fitzgerald told the Otago Daily Times his message
to the surveying students - like any individual or
organisation - was to consider the purpose behind their
activities, whether it be a job or an adventure.
''It's one thing to go off and have an adventure, but if
actually you're not influencing change or making people's
lives better, or helping people demonstrate success ... then
is that really a valuable use of our time?''
He said his adventures were not about trying to tame Mother
Nature, but rather to ''demonstrate these principles of
success, but in different environments''.
''Maybe I get bored from doing one thing for too long, but
also I'm quite keen on really understanding what I'm capable
''I think if any of us fail to try and find that out ...
we're probably letting ourselves down. We've got this
personal responsibility in each of ourselves to see what
we're capable of.''
And, stubborn children and their vegetables aside, he rated
the Antarctic as his biggest challenge to date.
''Because every minute of the day, the environment doesn't
want anything to survive, or any human to survive down there.
''It's one of the most beautiful places on the planet, but
there were many days we were there that its beauty was hidden
behind a sheet of blizzards and snow and very unhappy