Yesterday Troy Tararo-Ruhe spoke to a gathering of Year 10-Year 13 students about his journey from high school to university and later becoming a physical activity coach.
Troy, whose younger sister Poe Tiare is in her final year of study at Tereora, said he aimed to “give back” to Cook Islands youth with regard to their physical wellbeing.
“It has always been the plan to come here once I finish with my studies and start to implement some of my community programmes.
“I didn’t expect the turnout I got today and seeing some of the kids responding to what I was talking about was just awesome, I’m still buzzing about it.”
An important message he gave the students was that it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t know what you want to do once you finish school.
“After being one of the top students at high school (Wellington High School) it was just assumed by everyone that I would go straight into university. Problem was, when I finished, I didn’t know what I wanted to study so I opted for a gap year,” he said.
“I spent my entire gap year just working and making sure that unlike the majority of students, I would be able to survive and not end up living in a cold flat and living of two-minute noodles.”
Growing up, like most children in New Zealand, Troy played rugby. He spoke of the tough decision to walk away from the game when he questioned his enjoyment levels.
“I played from when I was about six and just seemed to have the physical attributes that meant I climbed the ladder of rep teams pretty quickly. I played a lot of my rugby alongside (All Black) Ardie Savea and we were both pinpointed from a young age to have a big future in the game.
“However, I realised one day that I was playing more because it was easy, rather than enjoying it. So I stopped.”
Tereora College careers advisor Amy Wildash said having a young person like Troy as a guest speaker was “huge” for the school.
“The opportunity to have people that really know their chosen field, to come in and talk to the students is a great way to give them more knowledge about life after Tereora”.
After implementing exercise programmes in Dunedin, New Zealand, specifically for the Pacific Islands community, Troy said he will be back next year to do the same here in Rarotonga - and he’s looking forward to continuing to engage with local youth.