Kate, a Bachelor of Nursing graduand, has booked the gown and mortarboard and reserved seats in Napier’s Municipal Theatre for family who will see her conferred with her degree in a ceremony steeped in tradition.
The 20-year-old is looking forward to the formal rite of passage. She is also savouring all the tangible indicators that mark her transition into a professional career.
“This is the first job I’ve had,” she says of nursing in Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s acute assessment unit. “I had heaps of photos taken in uniform on my first day of work and I’m enjoying signing RN now instead of EIT student nurse.”
While golf took second-place to degree studies over the past three years, Kate has managed to maintain her scratch handicap.
Hawke’s Bay-Poverty Bay’s No 1 woman player, she has claimed New Zealand Maori golf titles in three of the last four consecutive years. Kate says that would have made her late grandfather, Pat Chadwick – from whom she traces Ngati Kahungunu descent – “so proud”.
Winning the matchplay segment at this year’s inter-provincials qualified her for the New Zealand Open Women’s tournament held recently in Christchurch. It was a challenge she relished, footing it against mainly professional golfers including a strong contingent of players from overseas.
Her form has triggered speculation about plans she may have for going professional, but Kate says her focus is definitely on her nursing for now.
“I’m assigned to work in AAU for a year and I’m quite happy with that. I can get a solid routine down.”
In the course of her job, she often sees her mother Llesley, (correct spelling) a nurse in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
“I think I always wanted to be a nurse after seeing Mum coming home tired from caring for people,” Kate says. “I thought nursing was a cool thing to do.”
Her father Fred, now an electrician, was also a nurse – “that’s how they met”. Both parents are very involved in golf and, growing up in a sports-loving family culture, so too is their son, 17-year-old Sam.
“My parents are my golfing idols,” Kate enthuses. “Dad has always been my coach and Mum is my caddy now. They probably know my game better than I do.”
A prefect at Napier Girls’ High School, Kate never considered leaving Hawke’s Bay to study anywhere else.
“Here I have golf and EIT in my own backyard. The campus is five minutes away from home and the golf course is just down the road,” she says of Napier Golf Club. “I know people and I could do things with my family. Why would I want to leave that?”
A Year 13 Degree Study Grant allowed her to study fees-free for one and a half years and she was also supported for each of her three years degree study with a Sport Hawke’s Bay and EIT Elite Sports Scholarship. So she’s accrued just a small student loan.
Excited to be in a paying job, she is already setting money aside for a family trip to Australia later in the year.
“I’m materialistic,” Kate says with a laugh. “It’s going to be a trip to Sydney, and I’ll be shopping for make-up and clothes.”