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Book Launch: There is Genius in Passion

Press Release


Gordon Paterson was CEO of Physical Education New Zealand (PENZ) for five years, but the particular passion he is presently sharing with the world was fuelled long ago in his native South Africa. He came from a sporting family, taught sport and, as a coach of young students, helped many of them ‘discover their own spark.’

His book, There is Genius in Passion, is not only a memoir; it also explores the idea that for all of us, to discover that spark is perhaps the most important achievement. Because, he contends, if that spark ignites a passion, the genius will unfold.

For him, and for the boys he tutored, that spark was in sport, but the lessons learned extended way beyond the cricket pitch or rugby field. Gordon Paterson’s focus became movement derived from play and in teaching Physical Education he sought to contribute to his students’ holistic education.

He says, “For adolescent boys, the development of athletic competence correlates positively with their self-perceptions. Teachers and coaches can impact positively through the provision of appropriate experiences and astute leadership. This is something that can be learned through sport, but which is not confined to sport.”

There is Genius in Passion not only details his own early learning from teacher-coach parents, but also the philosophy and practice developed later in school and at university. Much of what he tells us of his evolving theories are through anecdotes of both ‘the good and the bad’ because, he claims, we learn important things not only from our obvious successes, but also from what some might regard as our failures.

In fact it was an experience with a team that won just over a third of its matches that proved to be the catalyst for a doctoral study. Returning to student life full-time for two years allowed Paterson to fully explore the power of the affective domain and to develop a keen interest in the value of positive self-perceptions.

In There is Genius in Passion, he shares with the reader some remarkable stories ranging from those who had to overcome motor impairment at birth through to the highly-gifted all-round performer. From each and all of these interactions between coach and junior athlete much was learned.

Gordon Paterson has now lived in New Zealand for twenty years, holding middle leadership positions in Sport and Exercise Science and a senior leadership role as Dean of Faculty in tertiary education before taking up that position as CEO of PENZ. He now runs his own company - find out more from his website,

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