Our Ambassadors are ordinary New Zealanders who have achieved the extraordinary. They all have stories to tell as teenagers of hard work, determination, highs and lows and who it was that supported them to be great.

TOBY CUNLIFFE-STEEL

ROWING – WORLD SILVER MEDALIST

Toby is a prime example of how any individual can achieve phenomenal feats in the face of extraordinary adversity.  He was socially inept as a young boy with very little passion or drive until he found sport. Sport and Toby’s innate passion for it, meant he suddenly found immense joy in his life, which in turn facilitated development of a range of key life skills. Toby quickly began to develop social competency, leadership capabilities, a sense of confidence and a personal ethos that he says is fundamental to his achievements to date. But where sport was the catalyst, was Toby’s response to the numerous and significant challenges he was faced with that really fostered his drive and determination.

In 2007, just after Toby’s 15 birthday, he underwent brain surgery to have a hemangioblastoma (brain tumour) removed from his cerebellum. Toby will receive an array of testing for the rest of his life to ensure that he does not have the condition known as Von Hippel Lindau Syndrome, but by all accounts the surgery was successful and Toby did not require Chemotherapy. Toby was also faced with Osteomyelitis in his hand and foot, a break to his skull from his eye socket to the top of his jaw and scoliosis of the thoracic spine being a few of those. Toby said that instead of letting these challenges overcome him, he instead used them as both motivation and as a reminder to give every opportunity his absolute best. That way, regardless of the outcome, he can walk, hobble, or be stretchered out satisfied with his performance.

It is this attitude which led to Toby’s numerous, multidisciplinary achievements: appointed Head Prefect of Tauranga Boys’ College; selected to represent New Zealand in rowing prior to finishing high school, Toby worked his way through the various national teams up to Elite throughout 2009 through 2016, winning numerous medals both domestically and internationally; graduating with a Bachelors Degree; be partway towards a Masters Degree in Sport Management; be awarded both the Prime Ministers’ Scholarship and Massey Blues Award for 6 consecutive years and having been the one candidate selected in NZ for a leadership programme hosted by a Fortune 500 company. Through all of this, Toby expresses, “my appointment as an ambassador of the iSport Foundation, is one of my greatest achievements, because it is an opportunity to give back to the community that made my dreams a reality and to really make a difference to the lives of others”.

 

 

CAITLIN RYAN

CANOE RACING – WORLD CHAMPION GOLD MEDALIST

I believe in sportsmanship first. The sport is the game, and we are all in it together. While I am very competitive, I also want to support all the competitors, as we strive to make the sport of kayaking even better. I work every day to better myself and to most importantly, enjoy the journey.

I believe in finding balance in my life and so along with training full time I work as a dental hygienist at Belich dental.  I hope to share some insight around my crazy kayak/work/life balance.

I am the current world champion  with Lisa Carrington in the Women’s K2 500M and bronze medalist in the K4 500M.

I also competed in the Rio Olympic Games in the NZ Womens K4. This was the first Womans K4 to go to the Olympics in New Zealand ever and we placed 5th in the final, which has been seen as a large accomplishment after only being in a boat together for 18 months.  Through this breakthrough of female team boats, the female kayak programme is developing to become a more diverse sport in New Zealand, with young females becoming attracted to the sport furthering the sports’ reputation in New Zealand.

 

 

ALEX PLEDGER

ALEX PLEDGER

BASKETBALL – FROM BLENHEIM

“I’m really excited to be an Ambassador for the iSPORT Foundation. I am looking forward to getting out there and helping the amazing community groups all over our amazing country.”

JEREMY BROCKIE

JEREMY BROCKIE

FOOTBALL – FROM NELSON

“I’m very excited to be joining the iSPORT Foundation as an ambassador. I relate to what the Foundation does, as I grew up in Nelson, where sometimes being a smaller city, you can be overlooked when it comes to resources and assistance. I’m looking forward to helping some of the smaller kiwi communities make positive changes through the Foundation’s grants.”

IT'S TIME TO PASS ON THE DREAM

IT'S TIME TO PASS ON THE DREAM