Meet our ambassadors

Maude Morris, musician

Maude is one of New Zealand’s budding young musicians; the singer/song-writer recently completed a Diploma in Contemporary Music Performance and is out to showcase her talent. Maude is the artist who wrote our new theme song, “We’ll be around.” You can watch it on YouTube.

We asked Maude to tell us what it was like for her growing up and a bit about her passion for music.

Maude Morris What's Up ambassador

Did you face any problems/issues as a child? How did you overcome them?

Everyone has problems, no matter how small they seem to someone else, if it’s big to you, it’s big. I was quite shy as a child. Well. Not shy. I was actually really weird and outgoing but I was a total social misfit! I wanted to be cool, as all kids do but I found it really hard to make friends. And when I did they were more like acquaintances. I had a few good friends, and only one was imaginary, but there always seemed to be something getting in the way. They’d move away or I’d move away, nothing worked out. But when I did find someone who clicked with me it was easy as pie. Once I stopped trying and found people who just liked me I was happy! I’m still a social misfit really, and the company of my cat is great, but I have people to be social misfits with me. I’ve found people who want to do the same things as me, which is all anyone needs in a friend!

Did you face any problems at school? How did you overcome them?

At primary and intermediate I had huge trouble with reading, writing and spelling. I used to throw tantrums every Thursday night because I didn’t want to do my spelling which was due on a Friday. I got tested for dyslexia and had to take special classes, which at the time I hated because it took up art time, but looking back it was good for me. I definitely got better as I got older. I still had trouble during high school too, and there were more essays then I would have liked. But the great thing was that I got to choose my subjects. I did have to take English every year, except year 13, but other than that it was all music, drama, art and media. I figured out what worked for me and rolled with it!

What's the best advice you've been given?

I’ve had a few deep and meaningful things said to me but when it comes down to it I think the best advice I’ve received is simple – Keep going. I didn’t receive it personally but through a YouTube video of one of my favourite people in world, Grace Helbig. It just stuck with me for some reason. I think in the entertainment industry (and in life) you just have to keep going, no matter what happens. If you have a bad experience, if something goes wrong or no one wants to listen to you or watch what you’re doing just keep going eventually someone will notice you. You’ll reach one person. I always hope that just one person likes my song (thanks Mum).

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

When I was 16 my dad passed away. It’s such an emotionally challenging thing to deal with and definitely changed me as a person then and changed how I am now. I don’t really have much else to say about it except that I had lots of support and that helped a lot.

How do you deal with your frustrations?

I’m really lucky because I have a lot of time on my hands. So when I get frustrated I just take a break. Do something else to take my mind of the problem and come back to it with a clear head. It’s also surprising how much just a deep breath helps. I have a terrible habit of over thinking things and going to the worst case scenario and in those situations all I need is someone to tell me I’m being stupid or just sleep it off. The brain does this magical thing when you sleep.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Right now I really like having my own schedule. Well mostly anyway. I like being able to fill my days with what I want to do. And I love the fact that what I do doesn’t feel like work. When I’m sitting here recording a song or practising for my next gig it doesn’t feel like work because if it wasn’t work I’d probably be doing it anyway.

Who is your favourite musician and why?

I have so many! I’m pretty sure the first the first album I bought was ‘What To Do With Daylight’ by Brooke Fraser. I still listen to it that album and her other albums quite frequently now so she’s the one who I loved for the longest and definitely up there on the favourites list. Then I got slightly older and had my pre teen girl phase and listened to The Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montanna. Just a phase though, but come on who didn’t want to be Hannah Montana. Right now Kimbra is a big one, because her song writing, producing and performances are so good. Also Lorde and Joel Little (her producer) have become big ones too, especially since she is a young New Zealander (like me!) making it HUGE in the world. Another massive inspiration and hero has been Ed Sheeran. I think I know how to play every single one of his songs, and I never get sick of playing them or listening to them. I’m also really into Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the moment too. Ryan Lewis’ work is brilliant and Macklemore is a great song writer. Also Imagine Dragons, and A Great Big World. Oh and Passenger, and so many more!

What is your ultimate ambition? And how do you plan to achieve it?

To become super rich and famous and marry Ed Sheeran. Just kidding! …kind of. But seriously I have no idea what my ultimate ambition is. I’m just living by the philosophy of saying yes to things. I never thought I’d be a What’s Up ambassador but here I am! I don’t have a one year plan or a five year plan or anything like that. I know people who do and it works great for them. I know people who have their whole life planned out and that’s great too! But for me I don’t want to be stuck on one path. I don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity just because it doesn’t fit into my life plan. I’m just saying yes to things that make sense and hoping for the best!

Do you remember your parents recording the original What’s Up song?

I remember bits of it. I think they did most of the recording while I was at school because Dad had his studio in the downstairs part of our house. What I do remember is that song being played over and over when it was being mixed and mastered and my Mum singing it round the house because it was stuck in her head.

What inspired you to write “We’ll be around”?

The lyrics in the chorus come from the original song. I thought they were great and had good meaning and didn’t need to be changed that much. As for the rest I kind of looked at the old song, got key elements from it and wrote around them like the “What’s Up is listening” part which I was a huge part in the last song and very important

Do you feel like you have a connection to the song?

Yeah! I have a big connection since my parents’ wrote/recorded/performed the original song. I think it’s awesome that we can keep it in the family.

How did you discover your passion for music?

I’ve always had it I think. But it didn’t really hit me fully until high school. I used to sing in choirs at primary school and intermediate and loved it (I’d always want the solos) But that was really it. I took piano lessons when I was about 7 but hated it and gave up, which I really regret now. My Dad was great at documenting out lives so there are home videos of me and my sister singing and bashing drums and pianos when we are so young. There are recordings of us forcing dad to record us singing songs from school. So it’s always been in my life. But when I got to high school I didn’t really get into the music scene until I took music theory as an option and met the music teacher, Mrs Pierard, who convinced me to join the choir. From there my Dad helped me learn to play the guitar and heaps of other instruments and taught me about the world of music. Then I started to take it more seriously. Dad used to get us a spot to perform at The Cabana once a month which I loved doing.

What does music mean to you?

Music has always been a huge part of my life ever since I was born. I grew up around it and my parents lived by it. I think music really connects people. And it lasts forever so I can still have a connection to my Dad through his music. I really don’t know what I would be doing without music. I wouldn’t have any direction and my days would be so boring. It’s also the best way to meet people. A lot of my best friends I have met through music it’s a great way to bond.

What advice would you give to all the budding young musicians out there?

I think the main thing is practice, it’s the only way to get better. Also always keep an open mind about things, learn about heaps of different types of music, even if it’s not your style it could always influence your style to become more unique and awesome. Never miss a good opportunity either, enter Rock Quest and Play it Strange and stuff like that!

Check out what Maude’s up to and hear her latest music on Facebook, Soundcloud , YouTube and Twitter.

Luuka Jones, Olympic kayaker

Luuka is a Tauranga-raised fulltime canoe slalom athlete, part of the NZ Canoe Slalom team, 2 X olympian and 5 X National Champion.

We asked Luuka to tell us what it was like for her growing up and a bit about white water kayaking.

How did you discover your passion for paddling?

I started kayaking at a kayak school/adventure park down the road from where I lived. Growing up it was the only thing I wanted to do in my spare time, it gave me a sense of freedom and kept challenging me to be better. It was addictive!

Who are your heroes/inspirations?

I get inspiration from people who work hard and put a lot on the line to achieve something great. There are people who do amazing things and overcome a lot in the pursuit of their goals and I have a lot of respect for the determination and perseverance it takes to do this. I have quite a few sporting heroes who I look up to, not only for being great athletes but great people too. Barbara Kendall and Mahe Drysdale are some of those people and I find them very inspirational. 

You must have a lot of determination to have come as far as you have. How do you stay motivated when it gets tough?

I am driven by my passion for sport and a strong desire to be the best that I can be. Canoe Slalom is my favourite thing to do and I am lucky enough to be able to do that every day. I do have times where it is tough to be motivated when I am tired, stressed out or homesick. I find in these times it is important to be proactive in doing things to get the motivation back. Sometimes I listen to a few songs that I know get me amped, surround myself with highly motivated people or sometimes I do something completely different to take my mind of canoe slalom for a bit. I find the best thing is to talk to someone about how I feel and why I may be feeling that way, even though this is really hard to do sometimes it really helps. 

Did you face any problems/issues as a child? How did you overcome them?

I was really shy as a child and didn't stand up for myself very much. I would often shy away from problems and let them get to me rather than confronting them in order to make a situation better. It took me a long time to get the confidence to stick up for myself and to speak my mind or to be brave enough to address issues that were getting me down. I became more confident by surrounding myself with confident people. In my sporting career I've experienced that its always better to talk about things with someone who you trust or know will give you good advice. Ive realised that more often than not, people really want to help!

What's the best advice you've been given?

That if you want something you have to go out and get it. It is easy to sit back and wait for somebody else to do something for you or shying away from challenges because they are  too hard or really daunting, but this doesn't get you far. It feels good to challenge yourself and work hard toward something and more often than not you end up surprising yourself with what you can actually do. Nobody is going to get me out of bed each morning to go training and giving my all, I know that this is what is required if I want to be the best. There are people who help me and I have a great team but at the end of the day its up to me to decide what I want and how I am going to get it. 

What advice would you give to all the budding young sportspeople out there?

Enjoy it!! Sport is amazing in the way it can challenge you, make you feel excited, happy, angry or disappointed all in one day! Whether you do it for fun or at a more competitive level, you will learn a lot. It is up to you to decide how far you want go and how hard you want to work to get there. 

Making it to the Olympics was an awesome achievement. How did it make you feel/what was the experience like?

It was amazing to be a part of the Olympic games and to represent New Zealand at this pinnacle sporting event. I was extremely proud to be there and it was the best experience of my life. It was amazing meeting people from all over the world, cheering on fellow New Zealanders and seeing everyone putting it all on the line to be the best they could be in their competitions. 

You moved to the UK to improve your canoeing. What was that time like? Was it challenging to be so far from home, and how did you cope with this?

This is one of my biggest achievements and was extremely daunting as 18 year old moving so far from home. I just really wanted to be good at canoeing and I knew doing this would make me better. I had to work three jobs and over 50 hours a week to save up enough to go over which was exhausting. I am glad I did it though, it turned out to be the best decision I could have made. 

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

The places I get to go and all the great people I have met. I really enjoy competing, the thrill of racing under pressure and pushing myself physically and mentally in training to gain improvements. I find paddling on white water exciting and I really just love my sport. 

What is your ultimate ambition? And how do you plan to achieve it?

My ultimate ambition is to be the best Canoe Slalom paddler in the world. Winning the world championships and Olympic games are what I am striving to achieve. In order to do this, I must do everything possible to be the best I can be every day in training. This involves gym work to be strong, being good with my nutrition to ensure I have enough energy for training and recovery afterwards. I must be strong mentally to deal with the every day challenges of training and the pressure of competition and work really hard on my white water canoe slalom skills. Ive a lot of work ahead of me but am excited about the challenge!

Check out what Luuka's up to on her facebook page, twitter, website, instagram, youtube channel or her blog.


Chris Tempest, actor

Chris is an English-born actor who’s lived in New Zealand since he was 16. He’s currently starring in Shortland Street as Dr Josh Gallagher.

We asked Chris to tell us what it was like for him growing up and a bit about acting, including what it's like being on Shorty.

What problems did you face when you were a kid?

I was bullied and made fun of because I had quite sticky-out ears. At high school it got pretty bad and I got a lot of flak. I felt terrible and I wanted to change them, so I had an operation when I was 13. I was really lucky to have someone to talk to through those times – my mum, who is very supportive, and is a nurse too so had a lot of knowledge and made me feel at ease. But lots of kids don’t have anyone to talk to, and if I hadn’t, I know it would have been a downward spiral for me.

Your family moved around a lot when you were a kid – how did that affect you?

Moving around was mainly enjoyable – by the time I was 15 we’d moved house 14 times! There was a big move from England to Jersey (one of the Channel Islands), and that was a tough time as it was so completely different from where we were in England. But luckily I was just at the age to start school, so it was easy because everyone was just starting out and making new friends.

What about the move from Jersey to New Zealand when you were a teenager?

That was a different story – I had to leave the group of friends I’d had for 10 years, and at 16 your friends are everything. We moved to Hokianga, which is beautiful, but there’s not much there, and that was tough! Luckily, an older cousin of mine moved over with us, and we could really relate to each other and became close friends. We hung out and did stuff together, which was great.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

It doesn’t matter what people think of you, so long as you are happy and trying to be a good person. Don’t be ashamed of who you are. This was implanted in me from a really early age by my mum, who’s a free spirit and a caring person, always looking out for everyone else.

What’s your advice to any young wannabe actors out there?

Well, it’s a hugely difficult industry to make a living in, so you should never go into it to be a ‘star’. Right now I’m doing well, but before that I was working in a night club just to make ends meet while I did theatre acting, and I will probably end up doing that again. Basically, chances are you’ll have lots of times when you’re making very little money!

So what makes it worthwhile?

I love acting because it’s never the same. Even if you’re playing the same character for a long time, there’s always something new and something deeper to develop. I’ve done so many repetitive jobs in the past – the same tasks in the same room – and my main reason for going into acting was the variety.

How did you get the role of Dr Josh?

I went to the UNITEC acting school in Auckland, and after that did lots of theatre with the Outfit Theatre Company, making our own works. Anthea, the Shortland Street casting director came to see us, and I got called in for a couple of auditions. The first one was a long time ago and I didn’t get called back, but the second time I got called back and a couple of weeks later got a phone call to say I was going to be Dr Josh Gallagher. I was surprised because I didn’t think the audition went particularly well!

What’s it like working on Shorty?

It was a massive adjustment for me, as film is so different from theatre. The turnaround on Shortland Street is so fast – just 20-25 minutes to shoot each scene – and there are lots of lines to learn. At first it was really tough, but the brain is a muscle, and it begins to get easier as you recognise the patterns in your character’s speech. It comes naturally now, but it took a while to feel comfortable, and I was anxious at first.

Who are your acting heroes?

I love Jim Carrey, and the story of how he started as a kid alone in his room pulling faces in the mirror and just working on things. Then he went into stand up comedy, got some bit parts, and finally landed Ace Venture. He made that film – it would have been nothing without him, but he brought his unique brand of comedy to it. And more recently, he’s done serious films really well and very convincingly. I also love Philip Seymour Hoffman. He’s amazing in everything he does, and you really feel for him.

Terenzo Bozzone, professional triathlete and five time world champion

Terenzo became an ambassador for 0800 What’s Up when he was still in high school - we asked him to tell us more about his life and how he deals with challenges.

What problems did you face as a kid?

I was really lucky. I had a great upbringing and my parents did everything for my brother and me. Our home life was very open, and my parents were really understanding. There was nothing we couldn’t talk about. But I’m aware that, even in very loving families, there are lots of people who can’t open up to their parents or other family members about what’s worrying them. And you can’t bottle these things up. If there’s something you can’t speak to your family, friends or teachers about, you really need to be able to pick up the phone and talk to someone who can help.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

Just to have fun with life. Of course there will be situations that stress you out, but it’s never the end of the world. Embrace the challenges, and you’ll come out the other end a better person for it.

Who are your heroes?

There are lots of people I admire, and they’re people who have changed things for the better and defined their industries or sports – people like Apple founder Steve Jobs, Formula One driver Michael Schumacher and basketball player Michael Jordan. It’s my ambition to do a similar thing for triathlon.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

The biggest challenges I face in my life are injuries – they slow me down so I can’t train, and it can be very frustrating. Luckily, this has only happened a few times. At the moment for example I’m struggling with a concussion, and it’s one step forward and two steps back. Emotionally, it’s very hard to deal with. You don’t want to let down all the people around you who believe in you and support you. You want to be out there winning races.

How do you deal with this frustration?

I’m really fortunate to have such good people around me – not only my parents and my wife, but also my coach Jon Ackland. He’s one of my biggest mentors, and there’s no problem he can’t help me solve when it comes to my body and my training!

What do you enjoy most about being a professional athlete?

The thing I enjoy most about my career is the travel, but it’s also the thing I enjoy least! At the start of the season I can’t wait to hop on the plane, but living out of a suitcase and flying every week gets a bit average after a while. I also really enjoy the competitiveness of what I do – striving to give that extra one or two per cent to achieve your goal.

What’s your advice for all the budding young athletes out there?

When you find something you enjoy and think you can make a career of it, go for it. Do a lot of everything – at school I played all sorts of sports, and worked hard to keep my grades up too. When I went professional and stopped studying, I was confident that triathlon would be my career for the next ten to 15 years. This was the only reason I put study aside. As a sports person you never know what the future holds, so it’s important to get those grades too, and make sure your brain is working as well as your body!

Check out what Terenzo's up to on his facebook page, twitter or his blog