I grew up on the banks of the Whanganui River in Putiki and Kaiwhaiki Marae.

All my schooling was in Whanganui, and after I left St Augustines College, I moved to Sydney, Australia where I worked as a scaffolder and to pursue a potential career in rugby league.

As a result of a permanent brachial plexus (nerve) injury to my dominate right arm while making a tackle, my league aspirations were cut short.

I met my wife Mellissa, a Registered Nurse, shortly after I returned home to New Zealand and we have two adult sons, one of which now plays bowls.  In 2004, I joined the Department of Corrections at Whanganui Prison, where I worked as a custodial unit supervisor, then manager, responsible for the daily operational activities and security of the unit, prisoners, and it’s staff.

In June 2020, I resigned from Corrections to pursue a long held personal interest in Renewable Energy and to help Māori play a part in Aotearoa’s transition to a zero carbon economy.  I then initiated contact with Hiringa Energy Ltd to commence development of a potentially significant Renewable Energy project with my Iwi, Nga Wairiki/Ngati Apa and are currently contracted as the Renewable Energy lead on that project.

I am also doing contract work with Tupoho Investments Ltd, as a housing development co-ordinator.  We are currently working with Kainga Ora and HUD to provide affordable housing, and rental property solutions, to help address the serious shortage of those housing and rental options in the Whanganui Rohe.

In 2016, I was introduced to the game of bowls by my former work colleague and good friend, Bruce Winterburn from the Durie Hill Bowling Club.  In 2018, after watching the Para Bowls gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games, I was so inspired by Mark Noble, Barry Winks and Bruce Wakefield, I made inquiries to see if I was eligible to play disability bowls.

From those inquiries I was invited to attend the 2018 NZDLBA Nationals in Wellington, where I was classified as a category B8 disabled bowler and won the NZDLBA National Disabled Pairs title with Mark Noble.  In 2020, I then won the first, Bowls New Zealand National Disabled Pairs title with partner Bruce Sayers, beating Parajacks, Bruce Wakefield and Carolyn Crawford in the final.

In 2019, I became an executive board member of the NZDLBA, and in August this year, after being nominated by the NZDLBA, I was appointed to the International Bowlers with a Disability (IBD) board.  Also, in May this year, I was asked by Bowls New Zealand, if I would consider standing for Vice President and after some serious deliberation, I decided to stand.

The defining moment in that decision was Bowls NZ’s strategic plan and vision for the future of the game, and CEO Mark Cameron’s commitment to establish a culture of diversity and inclusivity within the organisation.  I also believed I could provide a different skill set to the board outside the normal corporate and financial management background of our board members.

But the most important reason was, as a board member and my affiliation to the Disabled and Māori bowls communities, I would have the opportunity to grow the relationship between our organisations with the goal to collaborate on viable solutions to help grow the game of bowls, not only in those communities, but our smaller centres, schools and at club level throughout Aotearoa.

I am truly honoured to be the Vice President of Bowls New Zealand and are genuinely excited by what the future holds under the direction of our current board and CEO and look forward to seeing many of you out on the greens at some time.

Nga mihi kia koutou.

Phillip Huwyler

Vice President Bowls New Zealand