Sir Graham speaks of purpose in life

Everyone, even an All Black, needs a purpose in life and a ''personal aspiration'', former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry told University of Otago graduates at the weekend.

Reflecting on why he was giving a graduation address at the Dunedin Town Hall at a 1pm ceremony on Saturday, Sir Graham said this was because ''Richie and the boys smashed the French 8-7 in the Rugby World Cup final'' on September 22, 2011.

And he also was an Otago University graduate.

He told graduates their Otago qualifications would enhance their career prospects, but asked them if they knew what success would look like.

''Most of us don't know - very few of us have a clear purpose.''

He also asked if graduates knew themselves. Having a clear ''personal aspiration'' was crucial and, and ''when the going gets tough, it gives you focus, it gives you direction, it gives you inspiration-it stops you giving up.''

Sir Graham had had several goals written down 40 years ago,''things like All Black coach; school headmaster and some goals about my life'' with his wife Raewyn and their children.

It had just taken him ''40 years to get there''. The All Blacks aspired to be ''the best sporting team in the world'' and they were inspired and motivated to achieve that goal.

Speaking at a second university graduation ceremony, at 4pm on Saturday, plant ecologist Sir Alan Mark said university academics should ''take seriously'' their legal right to act as a critic and conscience of society.

Sir Alan, who is an Otago emeritus professor in botany, said acting as a ''critic and conscience'' in their respective fields was an ''important role'' for academics.

There were ''constraints on government scientists'' to speak publicly if this was ''contrary to the policy of the government of the day''.

And in ''environmental/ecological fields'', there were ''many such challenges'', he said.

In seeking to ensure the sustainable management of the Fiordland lakes and high country tussocklands, he had become involved in ''considerable controversy''. However, he said Otago University had shown ''unwavering support'' for his credibility and ''critic and conscience'' role.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate of science degree at the ceremony.

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