Six years ago a young man’s life changed forever. His love for the outdoors and being active found him mountaineering on Mt. Ruapehu when it erupted on the evening of 25 September 2007. His legs were severely crushed by rocks and mud, and due to snow he became critically hypothermic. Among other life-threatening injuries, his right leg was amputated below the knee and doctors and rescue authorities noted his survival as ‘a miracle’. This extraordinary tale of survival is the story of Westlaker William Pike. Through extensive recovery and rehabilitation supported with love and friendship he adopted a positive attitude towards his new life. Nowadays he is a well-known Kiwi, a sought-after motivational speaker and an accessible role model for young people.
William was a student at Westlake from 1998 to 2002 and the school’s Outdoor Education programme helped to develop his passion for the outdoors. He was part of the Premier Waterpolo team from 2000-2002, winning the National Champs for three years in a row and dabbled in other sports such as multi-sport, triathlon and swimming. In his final year at Westlake William served as a Prefect and remembers Westlake being a major highlight of his life to date. The school taught him life skills, good morals, discipline and gave him a great start to his life.
In 2006 William graduated from Teachers College with a Bachelor of Education with First Class Honours. His life changing experience on Mt. Ruapehu prompted him to write an autobiography “Every Day’s A Good Day” in which he shares his story of beating the odds. He was a teacher at Murrays Bay Primary School for four years and in 2010 he launched the William Pike Challenge Award initiative, an outdoor activity based challenge programme for students aged 11 upwards.
William has never lost his passion for the outdoors. He enjoys kayaking, bush walking, mountaineering, hunting and exploring New Zealand’s beautiful backcountry, taking some amazing photos during his trips. He enjoys his motivational speaking engagements in schools and businesses and his mission is to turn the William Pike Challenge Award into New Zealand’s most popular Intermediate and Middle School outdoor education programme.
William still catches up regularly with many of his school mates, reminiscing over the good times, sport, teachers and funny moments. Keep an eye out for the Channel Magazine as William becomes a monthly columnist from December onwards. If you would like to find out more about the William Pike Challenge Award please click here.
If you hear any news of Westlake Old Boys or former staff or if you are interested in supporting Westlakers events and activities, please contact Mrs Christine O’Dowd at school on 09 410 8667 or by email [email protected]