Salina Galvan Photography

We are known for our beaches and sunshiny life but there’s so much more going on here…

Now that surfing is an Olympic sport, our cover star Matt Scorringe takes all his learnings from touring the pro circuit – training, nutrition and mindset – and, today, provides a pathway for our future Olympic stars to get themselves in the best possible position to excel internationally. And he also teaches our children how to surf on Main Beach. I haven’t seen many places in the world where that sort of thing happens at both ends of the success continuum.

One of the things that makes New Zealand special is that everyone knows someone who’s been an Olympian, is an MP, presents the news, has been part of a film crew on a Hollywood blockbuster, or some other exciting and public job. These connections are unheard of in my home country, the UK, where there are plenty of steely gatekeepers to protect the exalted from the 68-million-strong population. New Zealanders are fairly unimpressed by celebrity status, which makes it easy to have a conversation with pretty much anyone the length of the country. What a brilliant opportunity for us all to get better and better at everything we do; those at the top of their game are easily accessible and often very happy to share ideas to improve with anyone who takes the time to ask.

A case in point would be meeting Karen Walker. We had lunch at the Bistro in Clarence Hotel, and I felt very privileged to spend time with someone who’d run her business for 30 years in one of the most changeable industries, and has taken her business to the top in New Zealand and across the world. Karen has been partnered with Lexus for 12 years, and we interviewed her about the Lexus design ethos in Sisters & Co over a beautiful dinner. She has two pieces of advice:

1) Make something beautiful that’s bigger than you that serves your community; and

2) Stand up for yourself.

So, if there’s someone out there that you admire and you’d like to talk to, you should go ahead and just do it.