Tama Walker was already working in a field he loved prior to studying at Otago Polytechnic. As the Dunedin Cricket Development Officer for Otago Cricket Association, Tama was invited to a seminar held at Otago Polytechnic’s Institute of Sport and Adventure. At the seminar, Tama heard a presentation from the New Zealand Rugby Union’s head analyst and that was where the idea of studying Performance Analysis was born.
“I already knew I wanted to be involved in high performance sport. I thought about coaching but the coaching pathway is quite saturated. Performance analysis is something that I knew could complement my existing skills and add to what I do in my job day-to-day. The exciting thing is that these skills I am learning are transferable from youth through to high performance.
“I chose Otago Polytechnic for several reasons. I work right next door so it was definitely convenient, but it was also really flexible. I can do most of my programme work online which suited me since I work full-time.
“The thing I was most daunted about before starting was going back to study after a 15 year break. Handing in my first assignment felt like a big achievement and relief.
“I’m really enjoying learning more and challenging myself and I can already see the benefits and results in my work setting. My programme coordinators have been very supportive as well.
“In the future I see myself leading Performance Analysis within Otago Cricket Association. After that – who knows? I can think big from
Bella James is a talented young cricketer who is a current Otago Cricket, Otago Polytechnic Scholarship holder. Last year she completed her final year at St Hilda's Collegiate where she led her team to victory at the 2017 New Zealand Secondary School Girls Tournament in which she was named the player of the tournament. Bella made her debut for the Otago Sparks in 2014 and is an exciting talent that is one to watch.
This year is Bella's first year at Otago Polytechnic in which she states " I decided to stay in Dunedin for cricket and to continue with my studies. Otago Polytechnic is the best place for me as it offers flexibility and a Sports Management and Coaching Degree which is a field of study that I am very interested in".
Bella plans to keep on top of her studies at Polytechnic to ensure she has the hours available to be able to train especially in the off season. As part of the scholarship, Bella has access to many high-performance facilities that she takes full advantage of including; Otago Cricket Performance Coaching staff, Support staff (including Strength and Conditioning, Physiotherapy and Mental Skills support) and Otago Cricket training facilities.
Providing three years of free tuition Bella insists " The scholarship will provide a platform for me to build upon. I want to continue to improve my cricket and study at the same time. This scholarship allows me to do that." Bella has high hopes of making the White Ferns Cricket team and with the head start the scholarship gives her this is well within her reach.