All Blacks inspire Queenstown students


Wakatipu High students have had a double dose of leadership and sporting advice from two New Zealand stars.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and former netball star and Silver Ferns centre Temepara Bailey both talked to school students last Friday.

Bailey, who spoke at the school cultural and sporting blues awards night, says her main message for students is to never give up.

“It’s pretty much just the lessons I’ve learnt through my sporting career – meeting obstacles, getting kind of pushed to the side a bit but then just getting up and going back and doing stuff – pretty much, if you fall off the horse, you get back on it.”

Bailey, who played 89 tests for the Ferns including a World Netball Championships win, says she was told as a youngster she’d never be a Silver Fern because she was too short. 

“It’s only one person’s opinion, always strive to be your best and just keep going.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help ‘cos there’s so many people around you – coaches, sports science, teachers, parents – all that kind of stuff. Some kids feel a bit scared to ask for that help but it’s right there for them.”

Her advice for aspiring young netballers?

“Practise, practise, practise, pretty much – you have to keep doing the same thing over and over and get so good at it that you can do it with your eyes closed; it’s pretty boring but it works.”

McCaw, visiting Queenstown with fellow All Blacks Corey Jane, Ma’a Nonu, Andrew Hore and Francis Saili, told students at Wakatipu High when it comes to leading, actions speak louder than words.

“Your actions speak louder than what you say,” McCaw says. “To lead or inspire, you have to back up the talk.

“In rugby, if you sort out how you play first then the leadership side is easy. You always have to get your job right as a player first.

“Leading by your actions is the thing that’ll inspire people the most,” he says.

McCaw, who heroically captained the All Blacks to a 2011 Rugby World Cup win with essentially a broken foot, says one thing he lives by is to always give things a crack: “I never want to be old thinking if only I had done this or tried that. 

“One thing I saw in a rugby sense when I left school is a lot of players were capable of being top players, but it’s the ones who decided to put the hard work in who get there.”

Nonu added he wanted to be the best player at his school.

“I didn’t go to a wealthy college.

“I wanted to be a leader for my friends and best mates – some weren’t really confident, or that good at footy.”

Wakatipu High physical education head Laura Allen says such visits by sporting heroes are really important. “It’s great for the kids to break down the barriers between their heroes, who they see on TV, and have some contact with them.”