EIT graduate Peter embraces his new life

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

5 mins ago

Peter Whalley has never shied away from accepting new challenges. In reward of his commitment, the passionate long-distance runner is now graduating with a Master of Health Science with Distinction. Shortly after submitting his thesis he decided on a big move to the bottom of the South Island.

Peter grew up in Rotorua as the youngest of four. “Our family was one of the real outdoorsy ones. We loved tramping and camping, and we spent a lot of time at the lake, in the forest, and at the beach.” Both parents were very sporty and introduced their children to all kinds of sports.

Straight out of high school Peter joined the army and completed a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise at Massey University sponsored by the army. He trained as an officer at the New Zealand Officer Cadet School in Waiouru and worked on site as an Operations Officer coordinating medical support for army training exercises and operations.

After the devastating cyclone that hit Fiji in 2016, he was sent there as a Health Liaison Adviser to plan health logistics and to manage environmental health issues that affected the army personnel.   

As life goes however, Peter had fallen in love with a woman from Hawke’s Bay, Erica. He left the army in 2017 to move to Napier and to brush up his skills at EIT. “I thought that studying Health Science would open up new career perspectives.”

Shortly after taking up his studies he started to work part-time as a sports coordinator at Flaxmere College and then as a health and fitness tutor at EIT’s Trades Academy. “My scope was to introduce the students to work in a gym environment. I got a good insight into how challenging teaching is,” says 27-year-old Peter.

He very much enjoyed his year at EIT. “It was easy to establish relationships with our lecturers and to get in contact with fellow students.”

In his thesis, Peter compared the different forms of caffeine supplements – chewing gums, tablets and dissolvable strips – on running performance. “I really enjoyed carrying out the research. All of EIT’s staff were super helpful. I could even use the wine lab for my tests.”

His supervisor, Dr Carl Paton is full of praise for his straight-A-student. “His thesis is an excellent piece of work and I’m confident that it will fly through and get published in an international journal.”

For now however, it’s all about getting settled into his new life. Peter recently accepted a job offer as a health promotion adviser at the Southern District Health Board in Invercargill. The couple found a nice house and was surprised how much cheaper it is to rent compared to Hawke’s Bay.

“We will probably not get a lot of sun down here,” Peter says with a smile on his face, “but there is plenty of outdoor stuff to do. I went for a surf in January, and everyone wore warm wetsuits and boots. That was pretty astonishing.”

“I’m really happy to be in the work-force again and to apply my knowledge in both sports and health science to my new role.” Peter will probably need another set of warm clothes, a warm wetsuit, and a good raincoat. 


Networks an asset in new role

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

Waata Shepherd

From humble beginnings milking cows on the family farm at Whangaparoa, former Gisborne District Police Commander Superintendent Waata Shepherd is extending his career in another field. He talks to Marianne Gillingham . . .

Waata Shepherd has been appointed campus manager at EIT Tairāwhiti, replacing Wayne Spence, who retired this month.

Campus director Jan Mogford said he was selected from a strong pool of about 30 applicants, for his strong leadership skills and his background in financial and resource management.

Waata joined EIT in 2018, after retiring from the Police. He was invited to teach EIT’s services career pathway programme, for young people considering a career in the police, emergency or armed services.

The programme was a huge success, with the first repeat of the six-month course this year fully-subscribed, and places rapidly filling for the next intake in July.

Waata saw it as a way of giving something back to what he says has been a fantastic career path, and also an opportunity to work with promising young people. He found it really inspiring and says he will miss the direct contact with students.

But he believes he can contribute even more at a managerial level, using his networks, particularly in the Maori community, to help extend those of EIT.

Of Whanau a Apanui, Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahu descent, Waata Shepherd was born and bred at Whangaparoa (Cape Runaway), the fourth youngest in a family of 12 children. He grew up on the family farm, where the family ran dairy cows and grew their own vegetables, fruit and pork and made their own butter. His mother baked their own bread.

At the time Waata did not realise how hard they worked in those days. Waking up at 5am to milk the cows before heading to school, and returning to milk them again after school, plus attending to the many jobs on the farm, was accepted as just normal farming life.

Reflecting now, that sort of work could be considered hard work, all done manually without any of the technological and mechanical advances present today. But hard work stood them all in good stead. All the children went to boarding school, only two with scholarships; the cream cheques from milking the cows paid for the education that his parents valued.

The girls went to Queen Victoria Māori Girls’ School in Parnell and Waata and his brothers went to Hato Petera College on Auckland’s North Shore.

After leaving school Waata joined the Police, rising steadily through the ranks, predominantly in the Criminal Investigation Branch. He started in Rotorua, then was promoted to South Auckland, to Gisborne as a Senior Sergeant in 1992 before being appointed as Area Commander in South Taranaki in 1999. In 2002, he became Area Commander for the Gisborne District.

After leaving Gisborne in 2009, Waata went to Manly, Sydney, to join the Australian Institute of Police Management to deliver leadership programmes for all Australian State Police Services, NZ Police and Police jurisdictions across the Pacific.

He stayed there a year before returning to New Zealand where he was appointed to the rank of Superintendent at Police National Headquarters in Wellington working as the Executive Director of the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police working with 21 Police Commissioners across the Pacific with building capacity across their jurisdictions.

After 38 years in the force, Waata says he still misses aspects of the job, especially the camaraderie, but still stays in touch with his many former colleagues.

He likes to keep busy and active, being a self-confessed “gym junkie” when he’s not working or spending time with his family.

Waata and his wife Mereaira have three children and four grandchildren, most of them in Gisborne. He still enjoys going back home to the farm at Whangaparoa, where his sister is principal of Te Kura Mana Maori o Whangaparaoa.

Thanks to her and his parents’ influence, numerous members of the family, including two of his children and himself, are now involved in the education sector.

Waata takes up his new position early next month, allowing time for the appointment and induction of his replacement.


Hawke’s Bay rugby talents receiving EIT scholarships

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

13 mins ago

“I feel incredibly blessed to be given an opportunity to study for free,” says Felicity Powdrell after being awarded a Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union EIT scholarship for the second time in a row. “It means I’m able to be debt free once I finish study, which will be really useful if I travel overseas with sport.”

Felicity plays for the HB Tuis and is in her second year of studying a Bachelor of Recreation and Sport. The other four EIT scholarship recipients are Kainu Kereru-Symes (Magpies), Donovan Mataira (Magpie Academy), Liam Udy Johns (Magpie Academy) and Trent Hape (Magpie Academy).

Kianu says his scholarship and studying at EIT allows him to focus on living out his dream to play for the Hawke’s Bay Magpies, gaining his degree, all while living at home.

Donovan also mentions that it means a lot to be a scholarship recipient, “It takes a bit of financial stress off my shoulders. Studying at EIT is quite fun and a lot different to high school and I thoroughly enjoy it.”

Felicity highlights the understanding and leniency of the lecturers when it comes to sporting commitments. “I am grateful for the support I receive, I feel like EIT staff personally care about their student’s wellbeing, not just their academic results,” she says. 

Further Magpie Academy members Liam and Trent talk about how studying challenges them to leave their comfort zone and how much the lecturers support them to overcome certain difficulties.

The partnership between EIT and the HBRFU has seen rugby players supported through their tertiary studies, and EIT’s Recreation and Sport team provides support to the HBRFU Academy squad. It has given many sports talents the support to carry on with their sports career while gaining a qualification for after their sport career.


EIT sponsorship key part of success for Hawke’s Bay netball talents

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

  • Home
  • News
  • EIT sponsorship key part of success for Hawke’s Bay netball talents

15 mins ago

Four years ago EIT started to sponsor the Hawke’s Bay netball talent development programme. At the moment there are 212 female netball players who are part of the programme.

“The EIT sponsorship has given our programme mana to be able to provide skills to over 850 netball players over the past four years,” says development manager, Denise Aiolupotea. “This programme has grown each year and we hope with continued sponsorship we can provide the programme for years to come.”

Lee-Anne Taylor, Assistant Head of School of Health and Sport Science, says, “The sponsorship is a benefit to both EIT and the School of Health and Sport Science, in that we are supporting the development of female athletes within our region.”

Lee-Anne also carried out a three-year research project within the netball talent development programme. She developed the six week programme based on other research from different sports that have been found to improve athletic performance and reduce injuries.  She was testing the athletes before and after the programme and then monitored them throughout the season for any injuries.

“The EIT talent development programme has been a key part of success of Hawke’s Bay netball. It has contributed to them winning Sport Organisation of the Year at the Hawke’s Bay Sport Awards five years in a row,” says Denise.


Gaining real work experience is vital

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

  • Home
  • News
  • Gaining real work experience is vital

15 mins ago

The speed networking event organised by EIT’s sport and exercise programme staff was a great chance for both students and industry to get in touch and talk about prospective projects which the students will have to complete throughout the semester. 

The students embraced the opportunity to talk to 22 different industry representatives, amongst others Sport Hawke’s Bay, Special Olympics, Health Hawke’s Bay or Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union represented by EIT graduate Jason Long. Jason knows how much students can benefit from an industry placement. “The students learn a lot in the classroom but there is nothing like getting out and learning from professionals on site,” he says.

We were talking to third year student Roman, who was able to connect with Health Hawke’s Bay. He is aiming at working in health promotion. “Health Hawke’s Bay is organising some interesting events such as the Youth Alcohol Expo where we could get involved,” Roman says.

Diana Kirton, practicum manager, pointed out how vital it is for students to gain real work experience, “For a lot of students their placement leads to a job and that of course is the outcome we work for.”


U.S. Ambassador Scott Brown visiting EIT

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

13 mins ago

On Friday, the U.S Ambassador to New Zealand, Scott Brown visited EIT’s Pettigrew Green Arena. He and his family are attending Napier’s annual Art Deco Festival and are taking part in the vintage car parade on Saturday. Being a successful triathlete, the 59-year-old Ambassador took the chance to meet with members of EIT’s School of Health and Sport Science.  

In particular Mr. Brown sought advice regarding his training regime in preparation for the World Masters in Switzerland later this year. EIT sports science lecturer, Dr Carl Paton, who coaches a wide range of world champion athletes, shared his expertise with Mr. Brown and offered his advice to further discuss the Ambassador’s training.

“You are like a kid in candy shop,” said Ambassador Brown to Dr Paton looking at the high-quality training and research facilities at the Pettigrew Green Arena.

Sport has a vital importance for Mr. Brown, he served as a board member for the USA Triathlon Foundation, introducing youth to the sport of triathlon. Following some micro fractures after an accident, it took him a year to be able to run again and Mr. Brown recently completed the Triathlon NZ National Sprint Championships with his favoured discipline noted as swimming. 


Nat Waran, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Health Science and Kirsten Westwood, Head of School of Health and Sport Science told him about the broad range of interests EIT has in terms of teaching and the community based research which reflects community needs.


Mr. Brown also enquired about job opportunities EIT graduates have. “Sport is a learning context for a lot of our students,” said Kirsten Westwood. “They build skills in order to establish their own business for example. A lot of our graduates work for Sport Hawke’s Bay, coach other athletes, work in gyms or as health advisers and with communities or in public services.”


The new EIT Institute of Sport and Health Science at the Sports Park in Hastings will be opened in July as both a research center and an important institution for community sport and health opportunities.