My mate Sachin


Resort College graduate on his days playing cricket with Tendulkar.

Graduating adventure tourism student Jehan Driver played cricket with Sachin Tendulkar on the streets of Mumbai as a child.

Driver, one of 40 students graduating from Queens­­­town Resort College this Saturday, may meet many celebrities in his new career, but nothing will compare with standing in the slips waiting for an edge from arguably India’s greatest batsman.

“[Tendulkar] used to play cricket in my street, where I lived in Grant Road,” says Driver.

“He lived probably a couple of blocks away, but that was his street where he would come and play cricket with his friends.

“As a kid, whenever I would walk through from school they all used to be playing gully cricket, cricket in the street, so quite often I’d be invited to play cricket out there.”

Back then, 12-year-old Driver remembers Tendulkar being in his early 20s, a lot skinnier than he is now and on his way to becoming a superstar. “Everybody knew that he was a good cricket player,” says Driver, 27.

Driver doesn’t have time for cricket now. He’s running an India-based adventure travel company he started after finishing QRC’s adventure tourism management diploma – which combines a six-month internship with 26 papers – last July.

He’s top of the class among the first 17 students to graduate from the Queenstown Resort College’s intensive two-year course, the only one of its kind in New Zealand. He won’t see his classmates and 23 hospitality management students get their diplomas at Millennium Hotel at 2pm, but in absentia will be awarded the overall academic prize for his course. 


Sharp move away from Mugabe’s reach

Zimbabwean Graeme Sharp’s parents encouraged him to move overseas for his safety.

The 23-year-old relocated to Queenstown two years ago to study adventure tourism amid political turmoil in the African country.

His parents lost their farm in the 1990s when Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe forced white farmers off their land and redistributed it to blacks.

The family set up a crocodile farm and rebuilt their lives, but encouraged their son to enrol in the Queenstown Resort College course he had read about online.

“Graeme’s parents wanted him to come because they didn’t feel it was safe in Zimbabwe,” says college tourism boss Dr John Cossens. Sharp returned to his struggling homeland after finishing his course last July and works with a safari company in the Zambezi Valley.

“He could have had any job he wanted but he’s chosen to go back home,” Cossens adds.

“He actually believes in the future there, once things get sorted out.”