Overcoming Adversity (Speakers)
Graeme has faced and won some big challenges. Now in a wheelchair but still producing television programmes. Really nice guy with fascinating stories of fishing, bear hunting etc
Aaron Fleming is an Ironman, New Zealand’s Olympic Games torchbearer, an author, and one of New Zealand’s youngest speakers with one of the most moving tales you will ever hear …At 16, Aaron was a promising gymnast when his lung collapsed and had to undergo many surgeries to save his life. He was told he would never again be physically active. Following the grueling surgery and the devastating news, Aaron got addicted to his painkillers and suffered from severe depression. After hitting rock bottom, he decided to turn his life around. He went off his painkillers, finished school and went on to finish a degree in Science and Commerce specialising in Environmental Studies. He then discovered Ironman. Aaron's story is gripping, emotional and truly inspirational. He can talk about change, overcoming adversity, goal setting and perseverance.
For 10 months he was trapped by crushing ice. For 5 months he endured soul-destroying solitude. For 3 months he lived in total darkness. For 1 hour he will have you on the edge of your seat. Explorers are a special breed of people blessed with courage, determination and an instinct for survival.
Christine Rankin is the former Chief Executive Officer of one of the largest government departments in New Zealand at the time, WINZ. Christine’s passion for leadership and her belief in the power of individual potential is the centre of her continuing work.
She was born in Zimbabwe and has lived in England, Norway, South Africa and now New Zealand. Getrude is an African poet, an artist, a self published author, an entrepreneur and the founding director of three successful companies in New Zealand. She has an extraordinary ability to manifest her dreams into reality and has the Midas touch as everything she touches turns to gold. Her presentations have drawn hundreds at recent engagements.She works exceptionally hard to tailor every speech to the situation and the personalities involved.
James Castrission and Justin Jones earnt their place in history, when they became the first people to successfully kayak 3318km across the treacherous Tasman Sea. Staggering upon the shores of New Zealand the adventurers were sun-burnt, bearded, underweight, physically and mentally wasted … and most of all happy to be alive.
Jason was a Super 12 rugby player whose story makes compelling listening. It tells of the courage and strength an individual can find when life deals out some cruel blows. Jason tells his story – as a professional rugby player who suffers the worst of all injuries, a broken neck. Listen as he begins a new career as a policeman – and then has to face life threatening brain surgery.
Justin Jones and James Castrission earnt their place in history, when they became the first people to successfully kayak 3318km across the treacherous Tasman Sea. Staggering upon the shores of New Zealand the adventurers were sun-burnt, bearded, underweight, physically and mentally wasted … and most of all happy to be alive.
Starting at the age of 14 Laura Dekker set off on her journey to sail solo around the world with the blessing of her parents, but not of the Dutch government. She completed the journey aged just 16 years old, proving all naysayers wrong.
Standing on the summit of Mount Everest has always been a boyhood dream, a dream that Mark thought he had lost in 1982 when as a Search and Rescue Mountaineer in New Zealand’s majestic Mount Cook National Park, He had a ‘hiccup’ in my climbing career, stuck in an ice cave dubbed ‘Middle Peak Hotel’ near the summit of Mount Cook for 14 days. As a result of this stay Mark lost both legs below the knees to frostbite.
Matt Pickering has had more than his share of challenges. He was Rural Manager for one of the ‘big four’ Banks in Tauranga. Matthew graduated (should that be survived?) Lincoln College in 1995 with a B.Com.Ag. majoring in Valuation and Farm Management. He fractured his neck while playing rugby for Lincoln College. After seven weeks in hospital and 12 weeks propped up with plaster and neck braces, his rugby career was over. Yet, while contact sports were out of the question, Matthew turned to surf lifesaving determined not to be defeated by his injury. “You’ve got to look on the positive side and get on with life”
For team leader Nigel Cherrie, rowing into Auckland City on 20 January this year wasn't just the culmination of a two-month adventure on the Tasman Sea, it was the finish line of a five year journey to achieve a great life-changing goal.
Nigel, with team-mates James Blake and Andrew McCowan, passed under the Auckland Harbour Bridge 55 days and two hours after leaving Australia- a 3,300km human-powered voyage.
The team endured almost a month of torrid weather on the Tasman Sea, spending approximately 27 days at sea anchor as their 10.5m boat, The Moana, was tossed around by 4-6m seas and winds reaching 50 knots.
But the perseverance required to cross the Tasman by oar power and eat cold food when they ran out of gas, was fuelled by five years of pursuing the dream, raising the sponsorship, building a team and overcoming every hurdle imaginable just to cross the Sydney Harbour start line.
Once the stereotypical marketing man – busy, overweight, stressed. You name it, that was him ! Then not long after his 40th Birthday – fast paced living caught up. Paul was diagnosed with terminal Bowel Cancer and given 6 months to live Describing it then as the “Wake up call from Hell” – he now refers to his Cancer diagnosis as a gift that saved his life.
An amazing lady with a story of courage and fortitude and amazing achievement. Pauline entered the convent at the age of 17 and at the age of 29 found herself back within the secular world, having to begin her life all over again. Her daughter Mary had a stroke whilst still at primary school and Pauline talks about the effect that had on her and on Mary’s siblings. Whilst visiting Mary in Tauranga hospital she met a severely disabled man who changed her life. Her recent book and play ‘500 Letters’ tells the story of her 17-year friendship with him.
While at the Barcelona Olympics competing in equestrian, he was unknowingly infected with a rare parasite from a sand fly bite. The illness he contracted as a result, usually kills by destroying the bone marrow within twenty months. Now in his twelfth year of treatment, he is considered a medical pioneer, he is heading towards 800 doses of treatment date. Now partially blind and profoundly deaf from the effects of the treatment, Peter brings a refreshing personal perspective to dealing with change and staying motivated. Peter will challenge, entertain, inform and inspire any audience. His positive attitude is infectious as he uses humour to spread his message of ‘Don’t Postpone Joy’.
Rob Hamill is a master of his mind, he will share and delight your audience with his stories of goal setting, planning, commitment and persistence.
Rob has won 29 international gold medals including eight Paralympic gold medals, and has set 22 world records. He has cycled around Europe; driven a racing car at high speed at Brands Hatch; he’s skied on snow and on water and played golf, football and cricket. He believes your attitude to life dictates your outcome. He's not blind; it’s just that he can't see!
Sam Johnson is the founder of Christchurch's 9,000 strong Student Volunteer Army (SVA), an elected member of the Riccarton/Wigram Community Board and is in his penultimate year studying law and political science at the University of Canterbury.
In 1977 Colin Quincey, Shaun’s father became the first man to row solo from New Zealand to Australia taking a grueling 63 days and 7 hours. In March 2010 Shaun stepped up to be the second man in history and first to row from Australia to New Zealand to conquer the Tasman Sea. Shaun’s epic voyage took 2 years of planning and 54 days of rowing in the world’s most dangerous ocean departing from Coffs Harbor and narrowly hitting the northern tip of ninety mile beach.
is a powerful motivational speaker, stockbroker and businessman. He inspires audiences with his passion for achieving against adversity. Crippled at birth and battling dyslexia throughout his childhood, he beat horrendous odds to win numerous national dance titles as a teenager before becoming New Zealand’s first male tap dancing teacher and has recently set a Guinness world record as the fastest tap dancer in the world.
The former captain of the All Blacks still has a high profile from his battle with cancer, his charity appearances and his work with prostate cancer awareness
Ten years later Yossi returned to the Amazon and made it his home. Working with indigenous forest dwellers for three years they built Cha-la-lan, a model eco-tourism village that inspired the entire Amazon basin and the world. The following decade of his life he dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of opiate addicts around the world.
Georgina was born 1957 - part Maori and worked as a stripper and prostitute in Wellington and Sydney before undergoing a full sex change. She has also worked as an actor, publicist and broadcaster.
Victim to Victorious!
Janice is the President of the International Council of Self Esteem. She turned her life around after eighteen years following a teenage bullying experience. She resumed life with a different perspective embracing parenting, teaching and leadership. Janice is a specialist on the subjects of attitude, self-esteem and confidence.
Because of her serious injuries, doctors predicted that Janine wouldn’t live, then that she would not be able to walk or bear children. However, Janine refused to accept this and focused every sinew of her being on healing her broken body. In addition to walking again, Janine is the mother of 3 children and a commercial pilot.
Despite suffering horrific injuries Jason risked his own life to rescue two sisters from the burning wreckage and then gave up his seat on an evacuation aircraft to those he believed were worse off than himself. Returning to Australia with extensive burns, Jason lapsed into a weeklong coma he was administered the last rites but fought back. His determination to survive and win the battle for recovery against his terrible injuries saw him not only make it to his wedding on time and but to once again play Australian football.
For the past nine years John Haines has assisted many people from all walks of life—from singers and entertainers to teachers and business owners to enhance their communication skills.
As a psychologist and long term multi trauma patient with experience of the health care sector at just about every level of care, Kathy offers a unique perspective of health care that is based on both professional and personal experience. It is a perspective that few other speakers can offer.
Li Cunxin (pron “Lee Schwunsin”) is a remarkable man borne of a remarkable story. He is a very special speaker who talks passionately and most modestly about his achievements.
Is a highly successful businesswoman who had an 18-year career in corporate America and is now working on her own venture involving trade between the USA and NZ. Mary is perhaps best known for her dramatic escape after being taken hostage in Yemen by local militants in 1998. She is the author of the book Kidnapped in Yemen.