280617 JP 022 sophie adams ashlee strawbridge 300x280Sophie Adams (left) and Ashlee Strawbridge will join Riley Sa and Sammy Arnold will be hoping to nail spots in New Zealand teams this weekend. Photo supplied.Two of Basketball Mid Canterbury’s rising stars are off to Auckland this weekend to vie for selection into national teams.

New Zealand’s top young basketball talent will assemble at Auckland’s Pulman Arena for the Basketball New Zealand under-15 and under-17 national team selection camps and among them would be Ashburton’s Riley Sa and Sophie Adams.

Sa and Adams are both Ashburton College students, while Ashlee Strawbridge and Samantha Arnold – two Ashburton girls now attending school in Christchurch – are also taking part in the camp.

Sa is one of 26 under-15 boys selected, while Adams, Arnold and Strawbridge are among 24 under-17 girls selected.

For the under-15 squad members the camp is the final selection camp for the team that will travel to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea to compete in the FIBA Oceania Championships in December. A team of 12 boys and 12 girls will be selected for the Kiwi teams, and the top two teams at the tournament will qualify for next year’s Under-16 Asian Championships.

For those selected for the under-17 squad this year, the camps are the start of the preparation for next year’s FIBA Oceania Championships which will be held in Noumea, New Caledonia, in August.

The national structured camps focus on player monitoring, support and reporting to help monitor athletes, and to develop the new Basketball New Zealand national style of play.

The new development system consisted of three major annual camps: early February, April school holidays and in October over Labour weekend.

High performance director Leonard King said the camps had a more targeted approach, providing athletes with a competitive and challenging environment that allowed development at the highest level possible.

“In years gone by we had some very good people working with the teams, but collectively it was in an unco-ordinated fashion,” King said.

King said the way the camps were managed now allowed progressive teaching layers from under-13 right through to under-19.It wasn’t only New Zealand coaches that were keeping an eye on the national junior teams, either. Globally, the New Zealand age-group teams were getting more global exposure than ever before with New Zealand’s inclusion in the FIBA Asia Zone.

Recently a number of scouts who attended the Schick Championships in Palmerston North stated that the FIBA Oceania Championships, Asia Championships and World Championships were well-followed by US colleges.

Coach Aaron Fearne, who was now with University of North Carolina Charlotte, was one of those coaches.

“We watch tournaments like the FIBA Under 17 Worlds, the Under 19 Worlds, the Asia Qualifying games for the age-groups, and you get to see [players compete] against the Australian kids. A few of those kids on that team are playing some pretty high-level division one programmes, so you get a bit of a comparison there and see how they go against that type of talent,” Ferne said.

Basketball New Zealand would also be hosting Custom College Recruiting for one of the sessions this weekend, to help explain the US college pathway, should players be interested.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 18 October 2018

Ashburton College. When we hear these two words, its three core values certainly come to mind; achieve quality, show pride, have respect.

These are the three undermining values that our school is based around. Ashburton College, behind open doors is a ladder of opportunity, led upon it by open arms.

Ashburton College, described by us in three words as welcoming, supportive and engaging.

At Ashburton College, there are plenty of various opportunities for students.

All students have equal chances to take part in these opportunities.

As an example, we are two completely different people in terms of our background, culture and interests.

My name is Matthew Clough, I am a very sporty and academic European male.

I am the Deputy Head Boy at Ashburton College this year.

I’m Uati Saofai, I am from Samoa.

My family and I migrated from Samoa almost seven years ago. I am an academic individual who is into performing arts and cultural activities.

I am the Deputy Head Girl at Ashburton College this year.

As you can see, we are two completely different people from different backgrounds and cultures.

It certainly proves that no matter where you come from or how much knowledge you have, there is always an opportunity for you. We may be two different people, but we have both been granted with amazing opportunities at Ashburton College.

Through the open doors at Ashburton College lie an amazing group of supportive people who are dedicated to bring out the best in each student.

There are equal chances for all students to walk through one of the many open doors of opportunities.

Uati Saofai



“Being a leader never really crossed my mind in the past, simply because I used to be someone that prefers to be in the background.

“As a student of Ashburton College since Year 9, I have gained personal growth and improvements as an individual.

“It has been possible not because of my effort alone, but the amazing support of my teachers and the college.

“Support and encouragements at Ashburton College is incomparable.

“Almost five years ago, I didn’t think I was capable enough to become one of the leaders at Ashburton College, let alone represent the college at any events. I have certainly proved myself wrong.”

Uati Saofai








Matthew Clough web 199x300

“I have always loved leadership and have taken a lot of leadership opportunities in the past.

“Through sport and school activities, I have always put my hand up to be a leader.

“Ashburton College is very supportive of all of its students and offers many opportunities.

“These are made available by the college in allowance for students to try many different activities and to step up, including leadership opportunities.

“I believe that if I had not stepped up and taken opportunities in the sporting field, I would have not learnt the qualities of a great leader.

“Ashburton College offered me so many opportunities, but if it wasn’t for the support and encouragement that came with it, I don’t believe I would be in the place that I am now.”

Matthew Clough

© The Ashburton Guardian - 14 October 2018

Donna Favel 2018 webAshburton Mayor Donna Favel is planning on a good strong run for the next 12 months. Photo supplied.With one year to run in her first term in the mayoral chair, Donna Favel says it’s likely she’ll be seeking a second term in office.

While stopping one step short of making a binding commitment to seek another term, Favel said she believed she had more to offer the district.

Deciding whether or not to seek a second term was like any decision, the pros and cons had to be carefully weighed up, she said.

“The first two years have definitely been more challenging than I expected and there have been obstacles and personal challenges, but not standing again is like leaving a job half done.”

“While I feel I can keep adding value to the community I’ll keep offering my services to the community.”

Over the past two years both she and seven first-time councillors had been on a huge learning curve, she said and while she had seen her role, initially as supporting and growing those councillors, she had now pulled back to focus her energies on her mayoral responsibilities.

There had also been significant change within council with one chief executive leaving and a several month vacancy before new chief executive Hamish Riach arrived, she said.

“I am excited to now have Hamish in place and we’re looking to have a good, strong run for the next 12 months.

“There’s a lot we can get done in those months and then I can definitely make my decision for the future with my eyes wide open.”

Favel believes she has now developed her own mayoral style.

“I believe I’m a leader who is flexible, adaptive and responsive.

“The world is changing very quickly and we need to respond quickly to events and situations.

“It will be nice to get to the point as a council where we can be agile and pro-active rather than reactive.”

The past two years had been years of challenge and change for the community, too, she said.

While the council had initially been in clean-up mode inheriting partially completed projects from the previous council, Favel said it was now time for the team to move forward.

“I like my foot on the accelerator hard, I like to be moving.

“I believe we’ve planted the seeds over the last two years and we will harvest over the next 12 months.

“We all need to be moving forward.”

It is her goal to have elected members working in the best possible way for the wider community.

“I want to see us putting our best foot forward – every time.”

The job of a mayor was not easy and the reality of the position, she said, could be summed up in a piece of advice from another politician –“if it was easy it would have been sorted out before it got here …”

By Sue Newman © The Ashburton Guardian - 13 October 2018