Class Act - Where are they now?

Montage: ODT
Montage: ODT
Ten years ago, Otago’s school leavers were looking forward to a bright future. Kim Dungey asks those who received Otago Daily Times Class Act awards in 2010 how they are dealing with the Covid curve ball.

 

Bayfield High School

 

Sean McIntee
Sean McIntee
SEAN MCINTEE

2010: The head boy was in the New Zealand men’s futsal team, an Otago under-17 representative in volleyball and basketball, and a collector of shoes. He planned to study physical education or accountancy.

2020: McIntee has a physical education degree and is the national sales executive for footwear and apparel brands Caterpillar, Saucony and Sperry. He has made more than 100 appearances in the New Zealand men’s futsal league and has captained both Otago and his current team, Auckland. Highlights have been winning the national league with Auckland in 2018 and being his team’s top scorer in the Oceania futsal championships last year. He is also in the New Zealand high performance futsal squad. He still collects shoes and co-founded Sole Central NZ, the country’s biggest online sneaker forum and marketplace with more than 22,000 members.

 

Blue Mountain College

 

Avana Hewitson.
Avana Hewitson.
AVANA HEWITSON(NEE MILLER)

2010: As well as being head girl, Hewitson was in the Otago Sparks, captained the school’s A netball team and was in its 1st XV rugby team. She hoped to become a sports psychologist.

2020: After leaving school, Hewitson opted to have "a gap year or three" which she says turned out to be the best decision she could have made and provided "valuable life experience". She now lives in rural Southland and is a constable with the New Zealand Police. Her involvement in sports is limited due to her work commitments but she plays netball twice a week.

 

 

Kate Stiven
Kate Stiven
KATE STIVEN

2010: A medium-paced bowler, Stiven had debuted for the Otago Sparks and played netball for Southland. She hoped to study tourism management.

2020: Stiven continued to play for the Otago Sparks, as well as the Central Districts Hinds cricket team and the Canterbury women's indoor cricket team. She now gives back to the sport by coaching children. She has also completed many half marathons and multisport events. She teaches year 3 and 4 children at Riversdale School in northern Southland.

 

Columba College

 

Samara Dalziel
Samara Dalziel
SAMARA DALZIEL

2010: A striker for the Otago under-18 hockey team, Dalziel was also in the New Zealand youth Olympic hockey team, and had competed at a high level in athletics and tennis. She hoped to become a member of the Black Sticks.

2020: Dalziel went on to play hockey for various Canterbury teams while studying and now plays in the Mid/South-Canterbury senior women's’ competition as well as the senior women’s Tasman hockey team, which won the national competition last season. However, due to work commitments and the fact she lives on a farm in the Rangitata Gorge, near Geraldine, she does not play anywhere near as much as she used to. A farm account manager with the Ruralco farmers co-operative, she works in the Methven area and specialises in seed and agronomy.

 

 

Annabel Drummond
Annabel Drummond
ANNABEL DRUMMOND

2010: Drummond began learning the violin at age 4 and by 2010, was in the National Youth Orchestra and the Southern Sinfonia. She was also an Otago Chamber Music Contest winner and national finalist. She hoped to study music and violin in Europe.

2020: Drummond completed her masters of music at the College of Music and Theatre in Leipzig, Germany, in 2018. She is now based in London and working as a freelance musician, which involves solo work, chamber music and orchestral work. Having passed an audition process, she is also on trial with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra. This means working with the orchestras, with a view to possibly being offered a full time position with them in the future. One of her biggest professional achievements was performing solo with the Southbank Sinfonia at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s Southbank Centre in 2018.

 

Cromwell College

 

Kenzie Jackson
Kenzie Jackson
KENZIE JACKSON

2010: Was co-leader of the Central Otago Regional Training Orchestra, attended the National Rotary Science and Technology Forum and took the lead role in the school production. She wanted a job that would make a difference and was thinking of studying genetics, biochemistry or anthropology.

2020: Jackson is an environmental adviser for Genesis Energy, working on Resource Management Act requirements for operating the Tongariro and Waikaremoana Power Schemes. She completed her masters of science in environmental management in late 2017, looking at the hydrology of the Cardrona River. She intends to join a theatre company in Taupo and says she still wants to leave the world better than she found it but has realised that you cannot help others if you are not looking after yourself: "I still look for ways I can incrementally help out ... but in a way that won’t burn myself out and help no-one."

 

 

Margot Streeter
Margot Streeter
MARGOT STREETER

2010: Had won the school’s top art award for two years and was also involved in speech, drama, dance and music. She was interested in studying law and psychology.

2020: A solicitor practising commercial and property law in Palmerston North, Streeter says her creative pursuits have manifested differently now. She enjoys going to shows and finding new art and furniture. "I make cards and things for friends and family, but I guess I am more of an admirer than a creator these days."

 

Dunstan High School

 

DANNY GARRY

2010: Garry had won medals at the New Zealand Open Karate Championships and the Shukokai New Zealand Championships. He was studying maths through Canterbury University and had been selected through a national essay competition to travel to Gallipoli. He planned to study civil engineering.

2020: Since completing his masters in engineering, Garry has worked in management consulting for Deloitte in New Zealand and overseas. He recently returned to New Zealand after two years in Canada and is now living in Auckland. He no longer practices karate but stays active by playing squash and "getting into the mountains" as much as he can.

 

 

Sarah Arshavskaya
Sarah Arshavskaya
SARAH ARSHAVSKAYA LILEY (NEE LILEY)

2010: An Otago-Southland representative at the New Zealand Pony Club Association national dressage championships, Liley was also an eventing championships A1 reserve representative, a Central Otago hockey representative and winner of an Otago-Southland speech competition. She hoped to be a vet.

2020: Arshavskaya Liley is a paediatric registrar at Starship Children’s Hospital, working in the neonatal intensive care unit. In addition to her bachelor of medicine and surgery, she has a postgraduate diploma in paediatrics. A scholarship from the University of Auckland put her on her career path, in preference to training to become a vet. She still rides.

 

East Otago High School

 

Liam Jenkinson
Liam Jenkinson
LIAM JENKINSON

2010: Was head boy and in the North Otago under-17 cricket team. He was considering a career in environmental management.

2020: Jenkinson decided in his final year of high school to pursue exercise sciences rather than environmental management, and is now a self-employed personal trainer in Brisbane. After studying physical education, majoring in exercise prescription, he initially worked for Les Mills in Dunedin. He stopped playing competitive cricket when he moved to Dunedin to study and shifted his attention to playing basketball.

 

 

Cassie Prescott
Cassie Prescott
CASSIE PRESCOTT

2010: Was head girl and in the school volleyball team that was runner-up at the South Island secondary schools volleyball championships. Prescott, who also played netball, hockey and basketball, wanted to study travel and tourism.

2020: An Australian reservation consultant for House of Travel, Prescott lives in Christchurch and plays social netball.

 

Gore High School

 

Emily Wallace
Emily Wallace
EMILY WALLACE

2010: Was head girl, in her school’s tennis team and had completed her gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. She planned to become a pharmacist.

2020: Wallace is programme pharmacist for the EVOLVE intern programme at the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand. Based in Wellington, she is one of four pharmacists who teach and run the assessments of intern pharmacists around the country as they complete their final year before registering as pharmacists. She has not played tennis for several years but hopes to get back to it at some point.

 

 

Tessa Walsh
Tessa Walsh
TESSA WALSH

2010: Played in the Eastern Southland women’s basketball team, the Southland under-19 basketball team and her school’s top netball team. She was thinking about studying radiation therapy or radiography.

2020: Walsh works as a radiation therapist at the Bowen Icon Cancer Centre in Wellington and still plays netball and basketball socially. She worked for the Australian Red Cross Blood Service in Melbourne for three years before returning to complete a bachelor of radiation therapy degree at the University of Otago.

 

John McGlashan College

 

Nat Christensen
Nat Christensen
NAT CHRISTENSEN

2010: Had been awarded academic blues, represented New Zealand in the International Geography Olympiad and won the best school award in the 48 Hour Film Competition. He planned to study law and secondary education.

2020: Christensen completed a masters in geography at the University of Otago, before moving to Wellington to work in public policy in the public sector. As a senior policy adviser at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), he has spent most of this year providing ministers with advice about the impact of Covid-19 on the labour market, skills and employment. 

 

 

Hamish Finnie
Hamish Finnie
HAMISH FINNIE

2010: Was head prefect and the South Island Secondary Schools Athletics shot put and hammer throw champion. He planned to study health sciences and possibly become a physiotherapist.

2020: Finnie is production manager for Ashburton’s Midlands Apiaries, an export company that processes and packages honey. He competed in athletics at a national level until 2012, when he gave it up to focus on studies and other personal interests. He completed a BSc with a double major in food science and human nutrition and a minor in marketing. He captains the Celtic rugby team in Ashburton and has played in the Heartland rugby competition for Mid Canterbury.

 

Kaikorai Valley College

 

Chris Bernhardt
Chris Bernhardt
CHRIS BERNHARDT

2010: A delegate to the International United Nations Youth Conference in Perth, Bernhardt was also cultural prefect, chairman of the school council and captain of the 1st XI hockey team. He hoped to forge a career in politics.

2020: Bernhardt is a crown prosecutor for the Dunedin Crown Solicitor’s Office, a law firm responsible for conducting Dunedin’s jury trials. He also serves on the board of trustees at his former high school. He returned to Dunedin last year after finishing his legal studies in Christchurch and working for the police on the West Coast. As for pursuing a career in politics, he says he is "very content" with being a lawyer and " close to the coal face". He has no imminent plans to run for office.

 

 

Renee Johnson
Renee Johnson
RENEE JOHNSON

2010: The sports prefect captained the New Zealand under-18 women’s basketball team, was co-captain of the Dunedin Netball Centre under-17 team and had represented Otago in touch rugby and volleyball. She wanted to be a primary school teacher.

2020: Johnson teaches a year 8 home room at Mt Aspiring College in Wanaka. She has played basketball there for the past three years but this year focused on playing netball for the Hawea A team.

 

Kavanagh College
 

Kalie Eathorne-Gould
Kalie Eathorne-Gould
KALIE EATHORNE-GOULD

2010: The school’s top female maths and science pupil, Eathorne-Gould played cornet in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Brass Band and hoped to create a career in genetics.

2020: Based in Dunedin, Eathorne-Gould is an auditor for Audit New Zealand. Two years into a science degree, she realised it was not her passion, she says. A friend mentioned accounting and after googling "accounting in New Zealand", she was taken to a careers website and signed up for a commerce degree the next day. She no longer plays the cornet but sings in two choirs and has singing lessons for fun.

 

Alex Gorrie
Alex Gorrie
ALEX GORRIE

2010: Winner of the Otago Secondary Schools cross-country, Gorrie was also runner-up in the Nga Manu Korero speech competition for the Otakou Murihiku region and was planning to study mechanical engineering.

2020: Gorrie does youth development work for the Malcam Charitable Trust in Dunedin and is studying te reo Maori through Te Wanananga o Aotearoa. He earlier completed a mechanical engineering degree and then his masters. He does not do as much competitive running as he used to but runs up Flagstaff Hill (Whanaupaki) most mornings.

 

King's High School

 

Angus Knox
Angus Knox
ANGUS KNOX

2010: Was head boy, a keen rower and had spent six weeks in Paris on a French exchange. He planned to study law and commerce.

2020: Knox is a pilot for the Royal New Zealand Air Force, based at Ohakea in the Manawatu. He studied law and commerce in his first year out of school but it did not interest him as much as he thought it would, so he instead completed a science degree, majoring in geology and geography. After two years as an agriculture consultant, he decided to pursue his dream of flying.

 

Andrew Pauling
Andrew Pauling
ANDREW PAULING

2010: Was Dunedin cricket’s under-17 bowler of the year and received an NCEA scholarship in level 3 statistics and modelling while still in year 12. He was considering a career in engineering or architecture.

2020: Pauling played cricket until 2017 when he moved to the United States to study towards a PhD in atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. His area of study is the effect of changes in the Arctic and Antarctic on the global climate. He was awarded a Fulbright New Zealand Science and Innovation Award in 2017, as well as a fellowship from the Programme on Climate Change at the University of Washington. "Rather than engineering, I ended up pursuing physics for my undergraduate, honours and masters degrees from the University of Otago," he says. "During that time I had the chance to do research on Antarctic sea ice, which involved travelling to the Antarctic for three weeks to assist with fieldwork."

 

Lawrence Area School

 

Andrew Blackmore
Andrew Blackmore
ANDREW BLACKMORE

2010: A loose forward who played at No. 8, Blackmore had captained the West Otago under-18 rugby team and played in the New Zealand Area Schools tournament. He was also head boy. He wanted to get into farm management.

2020: Blackmore completed a bachelor of commerce (agriculture) at Lincoln University and is now in the King Country where he manages a sheep and beef farm for a Maori trust. He has played for the Piopio Rugby Club since moving to the North Island after university.

 

Logan Park High School

 

Kieran Bunn
Kieran Bunn
KIERAN BUNN

2010: Best speaker at the New Zealand Russell McVeagh debating competition, Bunn had also co-directed an award-winning film in the 48-Hour Film Festival, attended the Bio Futures Forum in Brisbane and played saxophone in the school jazz band. He hoped to study chemistry and to become a researcher or lecturer.

2020: Bunn has turned his high school interest in science and debating into using scientific evidence to argue for policy change. He lives in Cambridge in the UK and works in public health policy and advocacy for a charity that works to reduce alcohol harm. A couple of years ago, while working as a junior doctor in the UK, he made the difficult decision to change career, he says. "It has been a great decision for me and I consider it a great personal achievement."

 

Finn Butler
Finn Butler
FINN BUTLER

2010: Butler, one of New Zealand’s top five age-group fencers, also won Chamber Music New Zealand composer’s award with a piece that was performed at the Wellington Town Hall. He was first in music at the school, a trumpeter in its jazz band and played piano in the Dunedin City Jazz Orchestra. He planned to study music, philosophy and maths.

2020: Butler completed a master of arts in philosophy at the University of Otago last year and is working for the university in student experience, processing admissions. Music is still a passion. He completed a bachelor of music in composition and filled the Level 4 lockdown evenings this year with some exploratory songwriting. His small, jazz-inspired band that was formed at Logan Park High School is still together and he still plays piano for the Dunedin City Jazz Orchestra.

 

Maniototo Area School

 

Rachel Hawkins
Rachel Hawkins
RACHEL HAWKINS

2010: A Maniototo Youth Group leader, Hawkins was also a head pupil and in the New Zealand Area Schools volleyball tournament team. She hoped to study nursing.

2020: Hawkins has completed animal care and animal handling certificates and is part-way through studying veterinary nursing through Otago Polytechnic. She recently moved back to Ranfurly after five years in the North Island and is a cook at the Waipiata Country Hotel. She volunteered at Riding for the Disabled in the North Island and has been involved in a kapa haka group in Alexandra.

 

Willie Miller
Willie Miller
WILLIE MILLER

2010: Miller was head boy, in the New Zealand Area Schools rugby team and the South Island Area Schools volleyball and basketball teams. He hoped to study physical education and become a teacher.

2020: After graduating with a physical education degree in 2015, Miller completed a postgraduate diploma in applied science. He lives in Ranfurly and is an apprentice builder working for John Renton. He played rugby for Kaikorai while in Dunedin and now plays for the Maniototo Maggots.

 

Mount Aspiring College
 

Thomas Sherson
Thomas Sherson
THOM SHERSON

2010: Was bass guitarist in a band that won the Rockquest regional final, in his school’s jazz band and choir, and excelled academically. He planned to study electrical engineering.

2020: Sherson is based in Utrecht in The Netherlands and works as a machine-learning engineer, specialising in audio and music technology. "Basically [it] involves designing software tools for both musicians and studio engineers to help them create the sounds they hear in their heads," he says. "My work specifically focuses on tools for guitarists and bassists ... including for the design of virtual amplifiers and effects." Studying electrical engineering at Victoria University and completing his PhD meant Sherson has spent eight and a-half of the past 10 years studying. That, and moving countries, has left little time for making music himself but it is still an interest for him.

 

Alex Black
Alex Black
ALEX BLACK

2010: Black had received public speaking awards, had a passion for painting and science and excelled academically. He planned to study medicine.

2020: Black thought about studying medicine but realised he had a passion for technology and business, which he decided to pursue instead. He completed a BSc in computer science and a BCom in marketing management and is the acting chief executive of ADInstruments, which manufactures scientific equipment and software for life science education and research. The business has offices in eight countries so he usually travels a lot for work and lived in the United States for four months last year. The Dunedin man says he no longer paints but enjoys working in his garden.

 

Otago Boys' High School

 

Andrew Curtis-Black
Andrew Curtis-Black
ANDREW CURTIS-BLACK

2010: As well as gaining school commendations for physics, chemistry and maths, Curtis-Black played flute and piano in school and community ensembles and had represented Otago in fencing. He planned to study electrical engineering.

2020: After choosing to specialise in software engineering rather than electrical engineering, Curtis-Black now lives in Sydney where he is a software engineer for Google. He is also studying remotely to complete his PhD in computer science at the University of Canterbury. He still plays, and listens to, music and is looking forward to having more time for this after he completes his thesis. He no longer fences but regularly goes rock climbing.

 

Jonas Lobitz
Jonas Lobitz
JONAS LOBITZ

2010: The youngest New Zealander to fly more than 100km by hang-glider, Lobitz was runner-up in the New Zealand Hang-Gliding Championship men’s open section, was sixth in speed gliding at the World Air Games and won the most promising pilot award at the Forbes Open competition. He was also head boy at Otago Boys’ High School. He planned to study electrical engineering with a view to a career in the automobile or cellphone manufacturing industry.

2020: Lobitz is an engineer working in Australia for multinational renewable energy equipment firm Ingeteam. He studied for a year at the University of Otago before completing his engineering degree at the University of Wollongong, south of Sydney. During the past decade, he has represented New Zealand four times in hang-gliding competitions, most recently in Brazil, in 2018. He has spent most of the past two months in isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic; a month during a visit to family in Dunedin, two weeks when he returned to Melbourne and then another fortnight when he shifted across the state border to New South Wales. Lobitz has recently set up Spark Lithium, which manufactures proprietary lithium battery systems for a range of uses including electric vehicles and off-grid power storage.

 

Otago Girls' High School

 

Dara Watson
Dara Watson
DARA WATSON (NEE CARADUS)

2010: The head girl had taken lead roles in several productions, won the student-directed scene in the Otago University Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival, won the school’s speech competition for her year and was first in class in French, German and English. She hoped to study languages and classics at Otago, then study drama overseas.

2020: A lawyer at Crown Law in Wellington, Watson is in one of the public law teams which provides advice and litigation work for several government departments. These include the Department of Conservation, Ministry for Primary Industries and Land Information New Zealand. Deciding she was not good enough at acting to make a career of it and that she enjoyed doing lots of other things, Watson instead did a bachelor of arts in French and a bachelor of laws.

 

Queens High School

 

NICOLE BRADLEY

2010: Was head girl, a leader in her school’s kapa haka group and was first in the senior discus and second in both the senior hammer throw and senior shot put at the South Island Secondary Schools Athletics. She planned to study radiography.

2020: Bradley is still a hammer thrower and training to try to qualify for the Olympics next year. She threw a personal best of 67m in January in a season that was interrupted by a shoulder injury. A radiographer for the past six years, she currently works for Auckland Radiology Group.

 

Talia Ellison
Talia Ellison
TALIA ELLISON

2010: Was Maori prefect, the Maori liaison person on the Young Labour national executive committee and had won the senior English category of the Nga Manu Korero Otago and Southland speech competition. She hoped to study law and te reo Maori with a view to entering politics.

2020: Ellison lives in Dunedin and is completing her masters in peace and conflict studies. She began studying law but instead completed a bachelor of arts, majoring in Maori studies and indigenous development. While at university, she tutored undergraduate te reo Maori and spent six months teaching te reo at Queen’s High School while the kaiako (teacher) was on maternity leave. She was later contracted by Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu to undertake research relating to young Maori in the South Island. She is no longer involved with the Labour Party but has represented Te Waipounamu on the Rangatahi (young people’s) branch of Matike Mai Aotearoa, an independent working group on constitutional transformation. The achievement of which she is proudest is preparing and presenting a submission to the Waitangi Tribunal on behalf of her nan. "She has been fighting this claim since before I was born, so to be able to use the things I have learnt at university and as a researcher for my whanau really means a lot to me," she says.

 

Roxburgh Area School


Breiana Bennetts
Breiana Bennetts
BREIANA BENNETTS

2010: Was in the Otago Country under-19 netball team, the Otago representative on Netball New Zealand’s youth council and active in organising hui and wananga at her school. She wanted to become an event manager.

2020: Bennetts freelances in event management and operations for music events and festivals in the UK and Europe. She has also been part of the team running Rhythm & Alps near Wanaka for the past three years. Due to the travel involved with her work, she has not played netball since leaving university.

Zoe Paterson
Zoe Paterson
ZOE PATERSON

2010: Was head pupil, captained the Otago Country under-19 netball team and had played the lead role in a Roxburgh musical. She planned to study design.

2020: Paterson completed a bachelor of design (communication) and now lives in Edinburgh where she is a freelance graphic designer with clients in Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. She also works with a charity, Leith Community Crops in Pots, which has a large green space in Edinburgh. She initially delivered meals to vulnerable people during lockdown and is now running a programme educating children about food systems. She continues to play club and social netball.

 

St Hilda's Collegiate

 

Jasmine Knowles
Jasmine Knowles
JASMINE KNOWLES

2010: Her school's top art pupil and long-jump champion, Knowles attended the National Youth Science Forum in Canberra and was eyeing a career as a vet.

2020: Knowles won the dux award for the bachelor of veterinary science programme at Massey University and now works for Huon Aquaculture, a company that farms Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout in Tasmania. She is one of the vets involved in fish health, welfare and biosecurity. She still likes to paint in her free time and says that "funnily enough", her subject matter has moved from birds to fish.

 

Sophie Morris
Sophie Morris
SOPHIE MORRIS

2010: The arts prefect had performed in various stage shows and was one of the youngest singers selected to attend the New Zealand Opera Summer School. She hoped to study music and the arts and to forge a career as an opera singer.

2020: Morris is often on tour, as a singer and actor. Based in Melbourne for most of last year, she is now back in Dunedin but continuing to perform around the country. Highlights have included touring with The Ten Tenors, performing national anthems at sporting events and concerts such as Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park and Spring Festival in China. She runs a marketing company called Market Me and works as a presenter and speaker, which includes presenting news for Channel 39.

 

St Kevin's College

 

Oliver Hailes
Oliver Hailes
OLIVER HAILES

2010: Hailes was head boy, studied maths at tertiary level and was a singer and guitarist in the school band. He planned to study law.

2020: After being awarded a Woolf Fisher Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge, Hailes completed his master of law degree. He is now doing his PhD, studying public international law and focusing on disputes between foreign investors and governments. Alongside his research, he runs graduate workshops in international investment law and has editorial roles with Cambridge University Press. One role is with the Cambridge International Law Journal; the other is with the ICSID reports, which detail decisions made by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, a tribunal that comes under the umbrella of the World Bank. Last year, he lectured briefly at the Otago Faculty of Law on jurisprudence. Throughout the past decade, he has kept an acoustic guitar "close to hand". 

 

Caroline Maxwell
Caroline Maxwell
CAROLINE MAXWELL

2010: The head girl with a fine soprano voice had the lead role in the school’s 2010 production and was a high-achieving academic. She hoped to become a paediatrician.

2020: Maxwell is a doctor, in training to become a GP and in the first year of a three-year fellowship. At present, she works at an inner city practice in Christchurch. As well as her medical degree, she has a diploma in women's health. Although she enjoyed working in Starship Hospital’s emergency department, she decided against paediatrics. "Looking after sick children [and] babies is always slightly terrifying and the consultants have a hard job, getting called into the hospital a lot," she says. "I also love the range in general practice ..." Working as a junior doctor did not leave time for singing but she hopes to return to it in the next couple of years.

 

St Peter's College

 

Franky Maslin
Franky Maslin
FRANKY MASLIN

2010: Maslin chaired the Gore District Youth Council, was the Te Whanau o Hokonui Marae and Te Iho Awhi Rito Social Services youth representative and in the Eastern Southland netball team. She was keeping her options open but considering a career in management.

2020: Maslin is studying Maori language at Te Wananga o Raukawa in Otaki and plays both netball and basketball. She has a law degree and worked as a judges’ clerk (a legal researcher to the Wellington District Court judges) for three years. In 2011, she lived in Italy for five months on a school exchange and in 2015 she went back to visit her host family.

 

Fallon Pullar
Fallon Pullar
FALLON PULLAR

2010: Pullar won a gold medal at the 2008 New Zealand Ice Skating championship and was later selected for the senior synchronised ice skating world championships. She was unsure what she would study at university but psychology or a bachelor of science degree were possibilities.

2020: Pullar gained a BA in psychology and a bachelor of social work and is now a youth justice social worker working with Oranga Tamariki (the Ministry for Children) in Invercargill. She stopped ice skating to rest her body and to focus on her education.

 

South Otago High School

 

Jemaig White
Jemaig White
JEMAIG WHITE (NEE BELL)

2010: A school council member, White captained the school’s netball team and was in the Otago Country under-19 netball side. She planned to study either teaching or business and marketing.

2020: White attended Outward Bound and the 2011 Aspiring Leaders Forum before completing a commerce degree at Otago. She now farms in Balclutha and plays netball for a local club. She also coaches the South Otago under-14 netball team and the top junior team at her former high school.

 

Erica Ward
Erica Ward
ERICA WARD

2010: Was heavily involved in singing, dancing and acting and had won the best student-directed comedy award at the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival in 2009. She hoped to study primary teaching and possibly have her own performing arts business.

2020: Ward is head of drama and dance at Kavanagh College in Dunedin. She particularly enjoys directing the school’s musicals and pantomimes and says she is happy to continue teaching rather than opening her own studio, as she once dreamed: "I love working with the variety of students who share the same passions as I did when I was at school." Next month, she will perform in The Highlights, a compilation show celebrating musicals three local groups have staged over the last decade.

 

Taieri College

 

Jessie Wilson
Jessie Wilson
JESSIE WILSON (NEE LORD)

2010: Was head prefect, involved in sport and public speaking and excelled academically. She hoped to become a radiation therapist.

2020: Wilson is a dentist at Dunbar Wilson Dental in Dunedin. Overseas at the time radiation therapy interviews were held, she decided to do first-year health sciences instead and quickly realised dentistry was the "perfect" career choice for her. She no longer plays team sports but is a keen runner and enjoys swimming and yoga.

 

Alicia Rosevear
Alicia Rosevear
ALICIA ROSEVEAR

2010: The sports prefect captained the school’s senior A netball team and senior water polo team, was the senior cross-country champion, senior swimming champion and a violinist in the school orchestra. She planned to study law.

2020: Rosevear recently joined the in-house legal team at Meridian Energy in Wellington. She has a bachelor of law and a bachelor of arts (politics, philosophy and economics), competed in the Hong Kong humanitarian law moot and has been admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court. She tries to complete a couple of running events each year and counts the Tarawera and Motatapu ultra-marathons among her favourites.

 

Tokomairiro High School

 

Julia Flett
Julia Flett
JULIA FLETT

2010: Was head girl and captained the school’s top netball team. She was thinking of studying veterinary science or physical education.

2020: Flett is a Pilates instructor who contracts out to several Pilates studios in Melbourne while also running her own online classes. She has a physical education degree and gained a studio practitioner qualification from Polestar Pilates NZ with a mark of 95%. During her studies, she was selected for an international exchange programme and spent a semester studying in Exeter, England. More recently, she has spent two summers working as a lifeguard for Camp America in New York State. She has not played sport since leaving university due to her work hours clashing with game times but does Pilates daily.

 

Caitlin Lindsay
Caitlin Lindsay
CAITLIN LINDSAY

2010: Was in the school’s top netball team and the senior girls swimming sports champion. She was keeping her options open but thinking about studying physical education or geography.

2020: Lindsay pursued her interest in geography at university, gaining a bachelor of science (majoring in geography) and now teaches the subject at Wairarapa College. Acting assistant head of social sciences, she also manages the school’s senior A netball team and manages and coaches a junior girls’ cricket team. She plays competitive and social netball and, until last year, played in a local women's cricket league.

 

Waitaki Boys' High School

 

Cameron Bignell
Cameron Bignell
CAMERON BIGNELL

2010: Was head boy, played trumpet in the school's concert band and played in its top rugby, softball and volleyball teams. He planned to become a chartered accountant.

2020: Bignell lives in Auckland and is general manager of Eden Juice Ltd, a company that he started with his parents in 2015. The company’s cherry and blueberry juices go to New World supermarkets and online customers as well as being exported to Asia. Bignell, who has an accounting and finance degree, hasn’t been involved in music since high school but has played social basketball in Auckland and is now playing touch rugby. He still helps out on his parents’ Marlborough orchard every summer.

 

Waitaki Girls' High School

 

Emma Kingan
Emma Kingan
EMMA KINGAN (NEE HALKETT)

2010: Was head girl, leader of the school’s social committee and in the A netball team. She planned to study marketing and management.

2020: Kingan is on maternity leave from her job at Timaru’s Grantlea Downs Primary School, where she teaches year 1 and 2 pupils. She and her husband have a 8-month-old son. In her final year at school, she developed a fascination with the brain and human development, she says. That led her to complete a bachelor of arts, majoring in psychology, followed by a masters in teaching and learning, which she passed with distinction.

 

Wakatipu High School

 

Andrew Benington
Andrew Benington
ANDREW BENINGTON

2010: Played in the school’s jazz band, was a member of the Wakatipu Rugby Club’s under-18 team and was studying maths a year ahead of his level. He planned to travel overseas and to study either engineering or commerce.

2020: Benington is the saxophonist and bass player for Little Sunday, a band which released a six-track EP earlier this year on Spotify and Apple Music. After studying law and commerce (majoring in finance), he spent three months travelling in Central America and two years at Buddle Findlay. He now works as legal counsel for ASB in Auckland in its contracts and innovation team.

 

Caitlin Laurenson
Caitlin Laurenson
CAITLIN LAURENSON

2010: Was heavily involved in music and dance and had twice won the award for all-round excellence in her year. She wanted to study commerce and law.

2020: Laurenson is a lawyer at Mactodd Lawyers in Queenstown/Cromwell, having studied law and commerce (majoring in economics). She is not dancing and playing music like she was in high school but has not ruled out returning to them in the future.

Declined to take part: Emily Day (Bayfield High School), Hannah Williams (Otago Girls’ High School), Nicole Cuthbert (The Catlins Area School), Peter Knight (Waitaki Boys’ High School), Annaliese de Ruiter (Waitaki Girls’ High School).


 

 

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