UC’s inaugural Tangata Tū, Tangata Ora: Celebrating Excellence event was held on Wednesday 27 November, acknowledging the University’s accomplished Emeritus Professors and celebrating the winners of the UC’s 2019 Council Medals.
Congratulations to Danielle Mather , Group Fitness Co-ordinator at UC Rec & Sport (UC RecCentre), who won the 2019 Group Exercise Instructor of the Year (Own Choreography) Award last weekend.
The New Zealand Exercise Industry Awards have been taking place annually since 2005, recognising excellence in the exercise and fitness industry. Judging was a three-stage process and took just over 3 months. Danielle submitted multiple videos of her teaching and personal reflection questions. In the final stage, mystery shoppers evaluated the six finalists, who came from Christchurch, Nelson, Auckland and Wellington. Danielle was awarded the top prize in the awards ceremony in Auckland.
Danielle’s journey started as a casual receptionist for the UC RecCentre in 2012, whilst studying full-time toward her BSc in Biology at the University of Canterbury. At the encouragement of RecCentre staff, she undertook concurrent study at SIT to complete her Group Fitness Instructors Certificate. In late 2013, Danielle stepped up to be acting Group Fitness Co-ordinator, whilst continuing her studies and working reception. At the completion of her BSc in 2014, she was successful in becoming the permanent Group Fitness Co-ordinator at the RecCentre. She now leads a team of 50+ instructors and offers a broad programme of over 70+ classes per week in term time.
As a certified Skills Active Assessor, Danielle now trains budding UC Students to become group fitness instructors. We have certified 15 new instructors since we started the programme in 2015, with five more currently receiving the helpful steady hand of Danielle as they complete their certification through on the job learning.
The team at UC Rec & Sport are extremely proud of Danielle’s journey and success so far, and we look forward to what’s to come. In the meantime, we’ll be jumping in on her classes at the RecCentre to get our daily dose of wellness!
Communications received a number of emails this week from young people with disabilities who were inspired by the story of Eleanor Hurton, reported in The Star newspaper recently.
Communications put Star reporter Jess Gibson in touch with Eleanor because she’d won two Blues awards and seemed an ideal fit for the newspaper’s new ‘Young & Successful’ column.
Eleanor is an amazing disability advocate as well as a Master’s of Sociology student who has an auditory processing disability herself.
The young people who emailed us had disabilities themselves or were looking for more information for siblings with disabilities. Many of them had been told they wouldn’t succeed at university – even those at the top of their class! – due to their disabilities. They had never seen a positive representation of someone ‘like them’ and were so excited and inspired that is was quite humbling. Many of our email writers are now applying to UC!
Communications replied to the emails and shared our equity and disability webpage links for further information. Eleanor is already part of the UCMe campaign launching at the start of 2020, so that also is very inspiring for young people with disabilities.
Takeaways from this experience:
One news story can make a huge difference to someone’s life.
Young people with disabilities don’t often see successful examples of people like them.
There may be some misinformation out there about who can succeed at university.