• All Black great to deliver timely message at Sacred Heart College event

All Black great to deliver timely message at Sacred Heart College event

Former All Black great Sir John Kirwan, who has become a leading mental health advocate, will speak at a Sacred Heart College event in Napier later this month.

Hosted by the Sacred Heart College Parent Teacher Association (PTA), ‘An Evening with Sir John Kirwan’ will be held on October 28, pending alert level changes.

Principal Maria Neville-Foster says it is a privilege to have someone of Sir John’s calibre willing to speak to their school community.

“It is going to be really powerful to have Sir John here as he is not only well known in New Zealand but comfortable to talk about his experience and give us tips on how to manage our wellbeing, so we don't get to the point where we need professional help.”

As a Catholic, she says he is able to bring a well-rounded perspective. “I know that he's a really good speaker who engages audiences and speaks the truth.”

The event has been several years in the making, but Mrs Neville-Foster says given the current climate with COVID-19, it couldn’t be timelier.

“It will be a really valuable evening to help build our resilience for what we’re having to deal with around the pandemic – the unsettled nature of it all and lockdown fatigue.

She hopes people will gain skills to manage their wellbeing during these difficult times. In particular, she hopes his message will resonate with young people.

“We're very lucky to have him for two days to speak with our girls and give them some skills to help manage their wellbeing as they enter into adulthood.”

While the evening is a fundraiser for the school, she says the main driver behind it is to help the community.

“It’s just the nature of who we are at Sacred Heart that we want to offer this opportunity to not just the school community but the wider Napier and Hawke’s Bay community – everyone and anyone is invited.”

PTA Chairperson Anne-Marie Rae says he is able to make people stand up and listen and break down stigma around mental health.

“He has shown the country how he dealt with his experience with depression and anxiety, so for him to offer his services, to come down and to speak to our students, it's wonderful.”

They thanked Father Barry Scannell, Parish Priest to The Catholic Parish of Napier and sponsors; the Napier City Council, Colgan Foundation, Taylor Corp and Gemco Construction for their support. 

For more information and to purchase tickets click here