Kia ora Whakatōhea whānau, my name is Bex Walker.

My family shifted from Canterbury to Ōpōtiki in 1994. Our mother wanted us all to experience life with our whānau. I attended St Joseph’s Primary School and then Ōpōtiki College.

My career began after I was awarded a 33 day scholarship when I was at Ōpōtiki College to attend Outward bound in Anakiwa. I decided the outdoors was meant for me so I completed a 3 year double diploma in
Outdoor Education teaching and learning at Aoraki Polytechnic. I then moved to Australia where I worked for the Outdoor Education Group and became a specialist instructor in white water rafting. I managed a rafting company for two summers in British Columbia Canada.

I returned to Australia and not long after joined Victoria Police where I completed a Diploma in Policing. I am now in a specialist role currently at the Highway Patrol unit where my job is to investigate anything to do with Road Policing including all road trauma related incidents. I aspire to develop my confidence around road trauma and try to develop a strategy that I can teach to the younger generation about driving privileges. I believe this is the link to bringing road related deaths to a minimum.

I would then love nothing more than to move into the Water Police Squad which specializes in everything water related. This enables me to bring my Outdoor background into my newly developed career of being a Police officer.

I started playing rugby at Ōpōtiki College at the age of 13. For 4 consecutive years I was picked and played for the Bay of Plenty where we took out the title every year. During my last year of rugby with Opotiki College and the Bay of Plenty I was selected for the Northern Regions team. At this stage I had to choose between education or a path in becoming an athlete. I chose education and went to Aoraki.

I took 12 years off playing any kind of sport and focused on the Outdoors and becoming the best instructor I could in a very male dominated industry.

In 2015 I started playing rugby again for a club team in Australia called the Melbourne Unicorns. In my second season (2016) I was selected for the Melbourne Rebels women’s state team where I was also a part of the leadership group. During the off season the same year I was selected for the Melbourne Rebels women’s state sevens Team where I co-captained the side.

Now in 2017, I have changed club teams and am now currently still playing rugby but for Powerhouse located in Albert Park Melbourne and just recently got re-selected for the Melbourne Rebels women’s state team. We head to the Gold Coast in May to compete in the Nationals competition.

I owe all my success to my very supportive family who have done nothing but encouraged me and supported me in every decision I made along the way.

It’s important to stay grounded and remember where you came from. The things I learnt, experienced and saw in Ōpōtiki has given me the knowledge I use every day in my chosen fields of work.

I would love to see Whakatōhea develop a youth program that allows the younger generation the opportunity to experience what I got to and put together an outdoor Education program. I truly believe it is through this medium I am who I am today and was a big part of achieving all I have. Using the outdoors as a medium for teaching has been proven time and time again for its many benefits. The culture of Ōpōtiki and the way we were brought up I can see it putting many kids onto the right path and making good choices later on in life. It allows them a chance to succeed at something, feel good about themselves and lets them see there are many opportunities out there even I wasn’t aware of.