Lewis wants to provide pupils with opportunities

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Netball, basketball, touch rugby, marathons, endurance racing – you name the sport, Mel Lewis has probably played it.

Now she is trying her hand at something new, starting work as Waitaki Boys’ High School’s sports co-ordinator last week.

Lewis, who grew up in Oamaru, is no stranger to the school, having worked at the uniform shop, and her sons Toby (16) and Baxter (15) are also pupils. Since 2018, she had been coaching both junior and senior basketball teams as well.

Moving into her new role was exciting, and the school staff and pupils had made it a fantastic first couple of weeks.

If there was one thing she was determined to do at Waitaki Boys’, it was to create opportunities.

“I’ve got an interest in [the] school and in sport. It’s about giving the boys the opportunities to play at whatever level they want and making sure that everybody is involved,” Lewis said.

Waitaki Boys’ offered about 20 sports for pupils to choose from, with a large contingent taking part in the 11 social and competitive basketball teams this year.

Lewis grew up playing touch rugby, netball and basketball during her time at Waitaki Girls’ High School. She played school-aged representative netball, made the New Zealand under-21 netball team in 1999 and 2000, and went on to play for the Otago Rebels in 2000.

North Otago netball legend Georgie Salter took Lewis “under her wing” and crafted her court work.

Fitness and sport had always been a huge part of her life – she also owns the Fitness 24 gym in Oamaru – and she was determined to pass on her knowledge from her experiences

Recently, she completed the Coast to Coast, the Wanaka Challenge and her first 10km race.

“I always like to be doing something and having a goal to work towards, and I think that’s really important for everybody – the kids as well.”