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10 Inspiring NZers Who Don’t Just Dream It

3 July 2002

AMP Scholarship Winners
10 Inspiring New Zealanders Who Don’t Just Dream It

Tennis Player, Shoe Designer, Weightlifter, Research Scientist And Dancer Among Kiwi Talent To Receive AMP Scholarships

The winners of the 2002 AMP Scholarships include a 15-year-old winning tennis player, an 81-year-old medal-winning weightlifter, a heart research scientist and a Wellington dancer/choreographer.

AMP Managing Director Ross Kent said the 2002 AMP Scholarship winners are ten extraordinary New Zealanders with a real passion for the goals they are pursuing and the determination to achieve their dreams, no matter what the odds.

“From Auckland’s Victor Kendall who wants to establish an organic farming co-operative to provide work for the community to Cameron Douglas who wants to become New Zealand’s first Master Sommelier and increase hospitality standards in New Zealand the winners all embody the kiwi attitude of ‘going for it’.”

Mr Kent said that the 2002 winners stood out because of the depth of their talent as well as their commitment to do the very best they can, both personally and for the wider community.

“As a company that is helping our customers to attain their goals and live their dreams, we’re proud to be able to assist these kiwi role models who will in turn inspire others through their achievements.”

Mr Kent said AMP had received almost 800 applications from a wide range of New Zealanders of all ages, professions and backgrounds.

“Once again, we were overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of the scholarship applications we received this year. It is incredibly inspiring to discover the number of ordinary New Zealanders who are quietly getting on with some quite extraordinary things in communities throughout the country.

“From shoe designers to entrepreneurs each application was a wonderful story of aspiration and achievement.”


Name Goal Location

Rubin Statham Further develop winning tennis career Auckland
Ted Denne Win a weightlifting medal in Australia Auckland
Raewyn Hill Establish contemporary dance company Wellington
Cameron Douglas Become NZ’s first Master Sommelier Auckland
David Cooper Become leading wheelchair glove supplier Auckland
Simon Thurston Attend the Globe theatre as a director Rotorua
Darren Hooks Carry out world-class research in heart disease Auckland
Kathryn Wilson Be a leading designer of fashion footwear Auckland
Victor Kendall Establish an organic farming co-operative Auckland
Jonathan Ormrod Producing quality gourmet food products Pamerston North


Rubin Statham

“I really rely on this generosity. There is a huge lack of funding in New Zealand tennis for young people and I can’t wait until I am older – it will be too late then.”

Davis Cup qualifier Rubin Statham is fifteen and has been playing tennis since he was five. He is currently unofficially ranked in the world’s top ten for fifteen-year-old boys due to his success in the 2001 Orange bowl – he was ranked 8th. He plays double-handed backhand.

Rubin will be using his scholarship to attend an academy in Atlanta in July. He says the academy will “open his eyes” to what he needs to do to achieve his long-term goal of playing in the French Open.

Ted Denne

“I’m eighty-one so the goal is to really keep going for as long as I can and to do the best that I can.”

Aucklander Ted Denne is proof of the old adage that you are never too old to dream. Last year Ted won a gold medal in Kefalonia, Greece and equaled the world record. In 1996 he won a silver in the Masters World Championships in Canada. His dream for this year is to bring home another medal from the World Master Olympic Weightlifting contest in Melbourne in October.

Ted was so determined to go to Melbourne that he had already bought his ticket before he heard that he had won the scholarship. “It costs a lot of money to attend the games and this win is very very welcome.”

Ted was eighty-one in May and attends his local fitness centre almost daily.

Raewyn Hill

“It’s incredible that AMP can set up scholarships like this, it’s such a gift and means so much to people like me.”

Wellington dancer and choreographer Raewyn Hill has performed professionally for ten years although her first dancing lesson was at the age of six.

Raewyn plans to establish a contemporary dance school in New Zealand to “ensure the longevity of many already established careers and to provide a much needed inspiration to aspiring students entering the profession.”

She would also like to spend some time fine-tuning her skills by attending classes with Pina Bausch’s Tanztheatre Wuppertal in Germany.

“I think the greatest gifts you can give an artist are time and space. To keep the passion alive and to constantly present innovative work you need the time and the funds to study. You also need the opportunities to observe international companies and what they are doing.”

Raewyn has performed and choreographed dance in America, Italy and Australia.

Cameron Douglas

“There is always a question over funding, especially if you have to go overseas for your education and it’s great that there is a company like AMP that is innovative and diverse enough and prepared to support different sections of the community.”

Auckland sommelier and senior university lecturer Cameron Douglas wants to take his profession to a higher level and become New Zealand’s first Master Sommelier.

”This is the highest international distinction a professional can attain in the fine wine and beverage service field.”

Cameron says his qualification will have long-term benefits for New Zealand, as he will use his knowledge to train others and raise the profile of the hospitality industry here. He says the award gives a huge boost to the hospitality industry which is lacking role models in the front-of house area.

“We all know about famous restaurants and famous chefs but it’s difficult to name specialists in my area and it’s essential that the standard of service in New Zealand is lifted to international levels.”

David Cooper

“This is a big help to me in achieving my dream of owning and running a successful business.”

Auckland wheelchair glove designer David Cooper is determined to become the leading Australasian wheelchair glove/push mitt supplier.

If anyone should know exactly the sort of glove a person in a wheelchair needs it is David who, as a result of a road accident, is confined to a wheelchair . It was his own experience of suffering severe occupational overuse syndrome (OOS) and receiving blisters and grazes to his hands that led to him designing the Custom Grip Gloves.

“I looked for protective hand wear that offered wrist support but couldn’t find anything suitable.’

Simon Thurston

“It’s awesome how AMP supports all the different areas, it goes out of its way so that people like me can fulfil our dreams.”

Nineteen-year-old Simon was selected to be a student director for the New Zealand National Shakespeare Team when it performs at the Globe Theatre in London in July.

Despite being wheelchair bound (Simon was born with spina bifida) he does not let his disability prevent him achieving his goals. “My participation at the Globe will prove that a wheelchair does not prevent me from pursuing my dream and achieving my goals.”

Simon has a strong debating and speech and drama background, including winning the Frona King Memorial Trophy for outstanding directing.

Rotorua-born Simon is also a full-time student at Victoria University in Wellington studying law and completing an arts degree. He has represented New Zealand in wheelchair basketball.

Darren Hooks

“AMP rewards unconventional paths, you can step outside the norm and do something you believe in. It’s great when an organisation encourages people to strive for excellence in their field.”

Research scientist and medical student Darren Hooks’ goal is to carry out world-class research in the mechanism of heart disease by combining his science PhD with his clinical background. Darren hopes to spend six weeks next year at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA - a place he describes as “one of the most prestigious cardiology units in the world.”

However Darren doesn’t intend to join the brain drain – quite the opposite in fact.
“I am dedicated to a research career in New Zealand. I hope to gain experience of common heart pathologies and find out how those pathologies affect individuals and then combine that knowledge with my research skills to further advance the understanding of cardiac disease.”

As well as working hard on his studies Darren also lists his hobbies as mountaineering, rock climbing and tramping.

Kathryn Wilson

“I feel really privileged to be given this scholarship. It’s really neat that AMP is willing to back my creative dream and this gives me a start to achieve my goal.”

Aucklander Kathryn is twenty-two and graduated from Massey University in 2001 with a Bachelor in Fashion Design.

Her passion for shoes has been with her for a long time and when she was a high school student (working weekends in a shoe store – where else!) she would purchase footwear trade magazines to keep abreast of trends.

In 2000 she was awarded the 2000 Link Foundation and the Drapers Company Fellowship which saw her spend six months studying fashion design at Nottingham Trent University in England.

“Shoes are my future; it’s what I want to do. I plan to develop my footwear brand into a household name which represents quality, style and comfort. I want to provide my customers with innovative, original shoes that are versatile for any occasion.”

Victor Kendall

“This win is an adrenaline shot. It’s a huge incentive and the AMP Scholarship enables me to move onto the next stage of the model’s development.”

MBA student and plant manager Victor Kendall has a dream to establish a working model for an organic farming co-operative on under-utilised Maori land in Hokianga. The co-operative is based on a research model from the Basque region of Spain.

Victor says the project will focus on building a strong business and operating model for the ultimate aim of providing work and lowering unemployment rates in the north.

“The aim is to strengthen Northland communities by providing employment, training and business opportunities.”

Jonathan Ormrod

“AMP are marvellous. They really do help you with your dreams. I’m really grateful – it’s made my whole year and it’s a big deal to me.”

Palmerston North’s Jonathan Ormrod has a goal to produce and sell quality gourmet food products nationally and internationally.

Jonathan started his business - Jonathan’s Spices - two years ago after 12 years in the building trade as a plasterer. His promotion work for his company has led to the nickname ‘The Plastered Chef’.

“It’s quite hard establishing a business and learning what’s required and the food trade is very different from the plastering business!“

Jonathan currently leases kitchen space from the local theatre and his dream is to lease or build his own commercial kitchen and possibly a shop front from where he can sell his gourmet products. Currently his products can be found in 15 outlets throughout New Zealand.

Background information on the AMP Scholarships

The AMP Scholarships are open to people of any age and background who can demonstrate that they have the ability and attitude to succeed in their chosen field.

The AMP scholarship is in its fourth year and its aim is to help exceptional New Zealanders achieve their goals. In that time AMP has awarded almost $500,000 worth of scholarships to 45 New Zealanders. This year AMP received almost 800 applications.

This year’s scholarships are worth up to $5,000 each and the winners will also be considered for two premium scholarships worth up to $20,000 each over two years. Winners of the Premium Scholarships will be announced in September.

Previous Premium Scholarship winners include Mark Inglis and Reina Webster.

About AMP
AMP is a leading international financial services business, providing wealth management products and services to around 8 million customers worldwide. Principal activities include retirement savings, funds management, life insurance, financial planning and banking services. AMP operates in more than 20 markets around the world with a significant and efficient domestic presence in its three home markets of Australia, New Zealand and the UK. AMP has around 15,000 people worldwide, manages assets of more than A$344 billion and has a market capitalisation of approximately A$24 billion.

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