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Meet our new Aquatics Manager

Wednesday 30 November, 2022

Campbell Macgregor, 50, is the new Aquatics Manager for Kiwa Pools.

He’s excited about the opportunity to lead a highly functioning team in this region’s brand-new $46 million complex which opens next year.

Campbell is a dad of two who’s always had a strong passion for water safety. Coincidentally one of his first jobs while at high school was as a lifeguard.

In this new role, he wants to grow and develop the staff who work beside him while making sure Kiwa Pools is a destination for our community that is accessible and brings a high-value experience for everyone who visits.

“We want to ensure we look after our long-term users of the pool complex in Gisborne and have a fair, transparent, and equitable approach in everything we do.

“This building forms the foundation of Kiwa Pools complex, however, it’s the story within the building, the opportunities we give our people who work in it, and the pathway for them to use their knowledge.

“For example, if we have our summer lifeguards returning from their studies, it’d be great to align their studies with a job at Council when they finish. We will have a development plan for our staff.”

One of Campbell’s 10-year goals is that 50 per cent of Council staff would have started out by working at Kiwa Pools.

His philosophy in life aligns with his favourite movie,  Remember the Titans. It’s about being disadvantaged but having opportunities and the right level of support.

“The movie shows that together as a team people can accomplish a goal together because everyone brings a skill set to the table.

“If I had ten people like myself in a team and we were trying to engage another group of people, they might not like our approach. But with different people on a team, through diversity, we can build and grow connections.”

Campbell is Ngāi Tahu iwi and says he’s always had an innate sense of fairness in him.

“In everything I do, I like to enhance someone’s mana, and I have a dedication to lifelong learning and artful leadership.”

Artful leadership is about listening and understanding the needs of those who want to be led. It’s also about celebrating diversity, he says.

As far as lifelong learning goes, Campbell has completed a Masters and is partway through his PhD.

He was born in Wellington and grew up in Johnsonville where he attended Onslow College, taking a job as a lifeguard at Keith Spry pools in Johnsonville.

From there he went to Otago University where he got a PE degree as well as a Bachelor of Science in Physiology. His ability to relate with people and relay information was picked up early and his university job became teaching labs to first-year medical students. This led to him teaching other students to lead these labs and was his early entry into vocational education.

Campbell then worked for a few years at the Central Institute of Technology before he moved to Australia. Across the ditch, he managed stadiums and swimming pools for Logan City Council in Queensland.

In 2010, at 38, Campbell says he had a mid-life crisis. He was managing people across different stadiums, gyms and pools that had up to a two-hour commute between each facility.

Instead of buying a sports car, Campbell applied successfully for a scholarship at a central Queensland university so he could do his Masters degree in, “Training habits of masters track cyclists”. Masters are those who are 60 and over.

Cycling is something Campbell enjoys doing but the main reason he picked this topic is that no one had done a study on it before.

In 2013, his abstract (condensed) thesis won him the International Clinical Scholarship Award.

From there he started a PhD on bone health and was trained in how to use a machine that could read bone density in people. It turned out he was quite good at it.

The PhD took a back seat while he hopped in a plane and visited remote regions in Australia. The machine enabled early diagnosis of osteoporosis, which meant it could prevent fractures in his elderly patients.

But it did mean he was away from home Monday to Friday and after three years – it was time to come home to New Zealand.

Campbell became the Principal Academic Staff Member and an academic lead at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology/Te Pūkenga in Tauranga.

With an interest in incorporating Mātauranga Māori and cultural responsiveness into what he practices, Campbell has presented nationally and internationally on topics ranging from using traditional Māori tools safely, through to how COVID-19 has affected vocational students.

This month he’s off to South Africa to run workshops at the 2022 Digital2K conference.

Campbell’s sporting interests include basketball, kayaking, and cycling, and is looking forward to being an active member of our community.

This new opportunity is a strategic move in his life, he says.

Campbell has two children - a daughter Riley, 11, who lives in Australia and Tobias, 6, his son who lives in Papamoa but will spend a lot of time with his Dad in Gisborne.

Before deciding to live here Campbell had been for holidays only.

Campbell started his job on 15 November in a part-time role to get up to speed with the project.

On December 19 he will go full-time and can’t wait to open the doors to Kiwa Pools and watch the community and staff enjoy the new facilities next year.

Campbell Macgregor