Leah Friend

Leah Friend

Stage 2

Sport Business Conservation Science

Kia ora,

My name is Leah, and I am super passionate about physiotherapy, increasing accessibility to swimming education and advocating for youth voice in politics.

Currently I am in my second year of physiotherapy at the University of Otago. Studying physiotherapy has been a goal for me ever since I first applied for the Pinnacle Programme in 2019. I have always strived towards physiotherapy due to my extensive sporting background growing up with a particular focus on swimming and rugby. My study so far has been incredibly rewarding and has provided me with hands on experience working with sports teams, in hospitals and in community programmes. The ability to help others return to their pinnacle moments is an opportunity that I will never to be take for granted.

Outside of university life I spend my time working as a swimming instructor acting to find funding for free lessons for those in need and providing a judgement free zone for all to learn how to swim. In New Zealand we have an average of 103 people drowning in our waters every year. Swimming is a vital life skill and no matter your age, ability, or background everyone deserves that chance to learn how to swim and to enjoy our beautiful country to its fullest extent.

I spend a significant portion of my time further developing my work at The Hive. The Hive places a priority on finding new ways to increase youth involvement in NZ politics, aiming for New Zealand’s policies to accurately reflect the values of our rangatahi. I take pride in influencing others to take control of their future so they can help create an environment in which we all can thrive. I have had the opportunity to interview individuals from all over New Zealand and dig into what truly matters to them whilst also spending time talking to policy makers to question what they are doing to bridge the communication gap.

Being part of the Pinnacle Programme has allowed me to grow into my potential, reach long term goals and exponentially increase my confidence in leadership. Spirit of Adventure and Outward Bound challenged me in ways that made me evaluate my actions and redefine my pathway going forward. I am so thankful to be a part of the Pinnacle Programme.

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