Scholarship ‘a chance to change my life’

Scholarship recipient Tony Frith. Photo supplied

Receiving a health scholarship was the final kick one Cockle Bay resident needed to turn his life around.

A streak of bad health issues had left Tony Frith hospitalised on multiple occasions and weighed down both physically and mentally.

A motorcycle accident, a misdiagnosed broken ankle and a torn calf muscle as well as a series of lung infections left the primary school teacher struggling to get back to his active lifestyle.

Regular lung infections resulted in frequent hospitalisation and courses of antibiotics to no avail.

The culprit turned out to be mould in Mr Frith’s air conditioning unit but by then the lack of activity had taken its toll.

“I got quite overweight and lacking energy…just really not in a good health state.”

When his mother heard about a scholarship from Total Sport, Mr Frith knew it was exactly what he needed.

“When I found out I’d got the scholarship I thought this is a chance to change my life, a chance to get back on track and start meeting some of those goals that I’ve got.”

He was selected as one of 15 participants on a $1500 scholarship programme designed to help him get fit for the Partners Life DUAL Scholarship Programme.

The scholarship includes a weekly boot camp, personal trainer, nutrition advice, online support, exercise gear and the entry fee to the Partners Life DUAL event on Rangitoto and Motutapu islands next month.

Director Aaron Carter from Total Sport says that the scholarship was designed to help people who really wanted make a total lifestyle change, and get fit and healthy – both mentally and physically.

“Total Sport has a simple mission: to get more people outside and enjoying participating in more events and experiences in the wonderful locations New Zealand has to offer,” he says.
Mr Frith certainly falls into that category and takes inspiration from his active family and their outdoor pursuits.

“My mum walks marathons and I’ve got a little brother who’s doing Coast to Coast this weekend – I’d love to have a go at the two day course on that,” he said.
He has so far dropped around six kilograms which is predominantly from healthy eating and getting more sleep.
He says he’s noticed a range of positive changes so far, both mentally and physically and is working towards a goal of possibly completing the Tarawera Trail marathon towards the end of the year.

A change of mindset has also been a driving force when it comes to motivation for Mr Frith who lives in Cockle Bay but teaches year 3 at Southern Cross campus in Mangere – now not even Auckland traffic can stress him out.

“It’s not really stressful unless you make it that way, there’s no point getting angry at anyone else because what value is it, where’s the positivity in that?

“I’m a lot more positive than what I was and I hope that comes through to my family and friends and my kids at school,” he said.

“I want to be a difference maker, I want to help these kids [and] show them they have a choice, they have a chance and they can do it.

“That’s exactly what this scholarship is – it’s doing it, not making excuses.”

For more information, or to register for the event, go to