Hockey player Greg Webster is enjoying being back in North Otago, and hopes to help Tainui have a strong finish to the season. He talks to Hayden Meikle
Q: How old are you, Greg?
What year is it – 2017? I must be 35.
Q: What’s your hockey background? Did you pass through the Tosh McIntosh school of excellence at Waitaki Boys’?
Yeah, I did. My last year there was 1999. I played in the First XI from the fourth form, and enjoyed playing for Tosh. We had a few guys who are still playing in Oamaru, actually – Richard Knight, Jared Ovens, Nick MacDonald.
Q: Did you carry on with the sport after leaving school?
Yeah, I went down to Dunedin and played for University Blue for four years. We won the competition a few times. Then I went to Auckland and lived there for about four years and played some premier hockey up there. We had a few Black Sticks in our team. It made you improve a lot. You had to, or you couldn’t keep up. We had Simon Child and his younger brother, and Dean Cousins, and Wayne McIndoe. It was a really good experience to train and play with those guys.
Q: And after that?
I went to London but I didn’t play any hockey. I was too busy travelling and enjoying life. I came back to New Zealand in 2013 and lived near the beach at Mount Maunganui for a while. I was working in sales for the family business and just playing some social hockey on a Thursday night. Then we came back here a year ago and I got roped in to play for Tainui and North Otago. I’m away a fair bit with work, so I’ve missed quite a few games.
Q: Fair to say it’s been a bit of a frustrating season for Tainui?
A bit up and down, yeah. We’ve struggled to get the same players turning up every week, which makes it hard to get combinations going. If we can finish in the top four, we’ve still got a shot, but we’d need to start playing a bit better. There are a couple of pretty good teams in the competition.
Q: What keeps you busy outside hockey?
Mainly work, these days. And we’ve got two kids, 5 and 2, and a third due in September.
Q: What’s your role at Topflite, the family’s bird and small animal feed business?
I’m general manager. My father, Jock, is still involved but he’s doing a few other things. We’re moving out to a new warehouse and office at the North End Business Park, which is quite exciting.
Q: Did you always think you’d end up going into the family business?
I guess it was always a possibility, but it wasn’t set in stone. I studied business at university, and trained as an accountant when I was in Auckland. After I came back from London, having been in the corporate world for five or 10 years, working for yourself seemed like a pretty good opportunity. It’s quite cool to be involved with the family. My brother Nick is focusing on the farming side of things, and I’m in the wholesale and marketing business.