Kayaker navigates Nayland’s sciences


Hilary Hurst loves a challenge, whether that be a difficult student, or navigating her way through harsh rapids. Mrs. Hurst enjoys teaching science, but she also seeks a “low key” adrenaline rush time to time.

She does this via whitewater kayaking and other outdoor activities. “That’s my bit that keeps me sane sometimes,” she said.

Mrs. Hurst was born and bred in Christchurch, then lived and taught in Palmerston North, but it wasn’t until attending Canterbury University that she discovered her love for kayaking, when she joined a kayaking club.

“I love the short achievable goals of ‘oh my gosh, it’s a rapid, how’s that going to pan out? I think I’ve got a plan’ and then the plan works.”

Mrs. Hurst also finds this rush when teaching science and she particularly enjoys chemistry experiments.

Hilary Hurst taught in Rotorua before she came down here to teach at Nayland at the beginning of this year. She says she became a teacher because she wants to “make a little difference in someone’s world.” 

She wants to help students learn and succeed in science. “My favourite thing about teaching is when someone finally gets it and the big smile of when something’s really good.”

Hilary Hurst likes to spend her free time mountain biking, paddle boarding, going to the beach, reading, spending time with her friends, and of course, kayaking. She even trains people who want to kayak in the Coast to Coast race. “It’s all about the person’s relationship with the river,” she said. As you can see, Mrs Hurst is a very outdoorsy person who is up for a challenge! 

Sadly, Hilary Hurst is leaving at the end of this term to pursue kayaking and spend more time with her family. She will have only been here two terms, but she has been welcomed into the school and will be remembered by students and staff.  She has quite literally had a blast (in chemistry!). 

Farewell Mrs Hurst and good luck.

By student reporter Oscar McLean