When Robbie Uru looks back on her time at school, it is with very mixed feelings, but with a strong sense that the experience shaped her life to come.
Following her brothers John and Steven to St Peter’s College she always felt slightly excluded as a non-Catholic and never close to the nuns or priests. She doesn’t recall ever stepping inside the newly opened chapel.
Robbie's story continues below
One area where she did fit in however, was on the sports field and she revelled in the opportunities that the school gave her to swim and play softball, basketball and netball. The other thing of value that she gained from school was good study habits and she did well in her courses and rose to be Deputy Head Girl. Unfortunately during her final year, she felt that the subjects available for her to take were limited and she struggled with the lack of a sympathetic mentor to provide support. In those days young people didn’t have a “voice” or a ready means of expressing their concerns and half way through her final year, Robbie left school. No one stopped her. There was no-one to provide support to figure out how to stay.
A move to Invercargill, a series of jobs, marriage to Bill and the birth of two sons, occupied the years that followed. Her longstanding love of the outdoor life translated into tramping and activities on the sea. At one point Robbie and Bill ran a scuba diving school and sons Storm and Jade were introduced to water based activities at an early age. They have both gone on to gain University degrees and to become Olympic rowers. Storm gained a bronze Olympic medal in rowing and was recently a crew member of the winning team in the prestigous Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, while doing an MBA at Oxford University, London.
Having a period of challenges with her health, Robbie became interested in natural healing and the part played by the mind and emotions in the healing process. When her sons left home, Robbie realised it was time to achieve her dream of a university degree, which she will complete this year after 7 years of part-time/working study culminating in a Bachelor of Social Services and Counselling.
Remembering the lack of support that she felt as a teenager, she has also worked as a Counsellor at Aurora College and Menzies College. Today, young people have a much greater chance of receiving that vital support when they need it.
Robbie now manages Soul Time Cottage a Natural Health Centre where she works as a Counsellor in private practice in Invercargill, works part time as a Counsellor at Menzies College and as an educator and Counsellor for The Cancer Society. Spends her leisure time up in the mountains or out on the sea and travelling on adventures overseas. She also supports her high achieving sons and believes being a Mum her hardest earned and most rewarding qualification so far, though she will rate her counselling degree a pretty close second.