Extreme Adventurer at Boys' School Father and Son Breakfast

September 01, 2015 at 10:15 AM

Over two consecutive mornings, the alarm clock went off at 4am for a hardy group of parents who had volunteered to put breakfast on the table by 7am. This was no ordinary family breakfast though. When the extended Saint Kentigern family comes together, there are a fair few logistics involved, especially where the food is concerned!

There were tables to collect from the College, chairs to deliver to the hall, and crockery, cutlery, glassware and table cloths to sort. The catering included 585 pieces of homemade bacon and egg pie – with an  extra 45 pieces of gluten free and 15 pieces of vegetarian pie -  88 litres of milk, 42 cans of ‘squirty’ cream for 800 pancakes, 40 kilos of bacon, 760 juice bottles, 65 large boxes of cereal, 500 muffins and 40 kg of fresh fruit salad! Of course there was also coffee and tea flowing both mornings for the sell-out event! What no-one could plan for was the torrential rain!

On behalf of the Parents and Friends, Mr Simon Ward and Mrs Laura Lane welcomed the boys, their fathers, and the special guest speaker for the morning, extreme adventurer, Mr Kevin Biggar. Each year, without fail, the parents who take on the organisation for this event have found a speaker who is able to engage both the boys and their fathers. This year’s speaker was no exception as he launched into a fascinating insight of his personal life and the things that motivate him.

If you ever thought you ‘couldn’t do it,’ Kevin’s approach to life may get you reappraising your goals! He is living proof of ‘whatever the mind can believe, it can achieve.’

Kevin has a physics degree from Auckland University and a Masters degree in Environment & Development from the University of Cambridge. He has worked at The Treasury and as a strategy consultant with The Boston Consulting Group and Telecom. He has also worked as the CEO of a small software start-up. But to most, he is best known as the recent host of the TVNZ series ‘First Crossings’ which recreated historic adventures in NZ. 

Kevin first left the corporate world to join Jamie Fitzgerald to take on the world’s toughest test of endurance - the trans-Atlantic Rowing race; a 5000km epic between the Canary Islands and Barbados in a 7m plywood dinghy! An unusual choice for anyone - but particularly someone who hadn’t rowed before and was prone to sea-sickness!

Nevertheless, applying the same skills from his business career he took on the challenge and over two years transformed himself into a world record beating endurance athlete. Along with Jamie, the pair then went on to achieve a much tougher challenge in 2007, as the first ever Kiwi team to complete an unsupported trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole – a 52 day, 1,200km journey on foot, towing 160kg sleds in temperatures as cold as -40 degrees C! The perennial question from boys is always, ‘In those conditions, how do you go to the loo?’ Fast is the answer! Principal, Mr Peter Cassie was called on to attempt to zip up a polar jacket in 10 seconds, wearing gloves – while being ‘wind buffeted’ by two boys. He failed!

Using hilarious stories and photos from his adventures, Kevin talked passionately about goal setting and teamwork. Kevin has written two books about his exploits; the award-winning ‘Oarsome Adventures of a Fat Boy Rower’ and ‘Escape to the Pole’.  This was a morning enjoyed by all and there was a great line up at the end of each morning for Kevin to sign copies of his book.

A special thank you to our parents and sponsors

A special thank you to parent, Mrs Cath Costello for taking on the organisation of the morning along with her team of volunteers including Kirsten Falconer, Roz McLachlan, Jo Rowntree, Denise Pollard

Tamara Willis, Rebecca McLeod and special guest chef on the bacon - Sally Barkman! in addition there were scores of mothers who came during the course of the morning to prepare, serve, then clean up -  a fantastic team effort, thank you!

Our thanks to our extraordinary speaker, Mr Kevin Biggar for generously supplying his time and talent at no charge. Also to Mr David Burton (a former student) from Jacks Coffee for supplying the ever-important first morning coffee; the Bason Family for helping with transportation logistics; Pacific Linen for offering a 50% discount on the hiring of the tablecloths; Gattings Catering for kindly loaning us cooking equipment and generous support of our school families for donations for the breakfast feast.

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