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Selwyn Times: February 07, 2017

12 Tuesday

12 Tuesday February 7 2017 Our People SELWYN TIMES Wilton Atkins Developing young talent and Tennis player and coach Wilton Atkins of Rolleston, spoke to Tom Doudney about working with promising young players, competing on the university tennis circuit in the United States and his career in real estate ON A ROLL: Wilton Atkins has won the Ellesmere singles championships title three times in a row. PHOTOS: GEOFF SLOAN Before you became a real estate agent had you had anything else in the way of a career? I spent four and a half years in America playing tennis and going to university over there in my early 20s. I studied kinesiology (study of body movement) in sports medicine and was there playing university tennis throughout the US. That must have been pretty cool? It was a really great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. Did you get over there on a tennis scholarship? Yes, that was over in New Mexico and we travelled all over the state. I take it you must have been a pretty promising junior to get picked up for that? Yeah, I was okay. I wasn’t a superstar, but I was good enough to get a scholarship at a pretty decent university. Before that, had you done anything like winning a title or anything like that? I was ranked in the top 10 for New Zealand under-18s and we sent YOUNG GUN: Promising 13-year-old Nathan McKenzie is coached by Wilton Atkins. video footage of me playing a match to the coaches in the US and that got me the scholarship. But no, I didn’t win any national titles or anything like that. Did you have ambitions to play at a really high level in New Zealand tennis? I did, definitely. That was the goal, but it just didn’t quite get to that level. It’s a very competitive sport. The highest I got was division two tennis over in the US. I came back and just do some coaching these days. I’ve got a couple of young fellows in Ellesmere (Nathan McKenzie, of Southbridge, and Ben Smith, of Irwell) that I coach and mentor who are playing a lot better at that level than I did at their age. So they are on a pathway that is ahead of what mine was. So at the moment, I am just trying to give them the opportunities that they might want to take in the future. So you reckon that these guys could be even more promising than you were? Yes – at their age they are a lot further ahead than what I was technically and skill-wise. How far do you think they could go? They could get a division one scholarship in US, if that’s what they want to do. It depends how they develop, but you never know, they could have a crack at professional tennis, but it’s too early to tell, they’re just 12 and 13 at the moment. In terms of your own game, where do you play your tennis these days? I don’t play much at all but I do go out and do the Ellesmere singles championships once a year, just to defend the title. Congratulations to the Establishment Board of Trustees and staff on the opening of Lemonwood Grove Primary School. We thank you and your community for the valuable contribution you have made supporting this development. Welcome to the Canterbury Education Network. MOE/J006125/LW

SELWYN TIMES Tuesday February 7 2017 13 selling real estate I won that the last three years in a row. I play a bit of social doubles in Selwyn as well on Tuesday nights. So I just play for fun now which is great. Will you just keep playing the Ellesmere singles championships until someone beats you for the title? Yes, I think it’s a good tournament to play just for the fact that it has been going since pre-World War 2 so you have got to honour those sort of trophies. But I would like to keep playing, I’m definitely not going to keep winning it, there are a lot of good kids that will come up and take me out. I know Nathan McKenzie has been going well playing guys much older than him and beating them. Have you ever met him in a match? I have never met him. I actually played doubles with him in the Ellesmere doubles championships this year and we made it to the final, which we lost to a Springston and Rolleston pair. How did you get into coaching McKenzie and Smith? I was writing an article about tennis tips and then they called me up. How long have you been in the real estate business? Three years. What type of properties do you sell? It’s not really the type of properties, it’s more the location. I focus on the Selwyn district and I can market anything through from a house, lifestyle block, to a farm. How did you get into the real estate business? I actually got offered a scholarship with PGG Wrightson three years ago and I’ve been with them ever since. The reason I chose it was that I enjoy helping people and I think my skills align well with that. In real estate, they need someone who can talk to people straight and that’s how I operate and what I try to do. So is developing that trust and being straight up with people important for you? Yes it is, definitely in an area like Selwyn. The people aren’t going to respond to a salesy salesman and a lot of my clients really like the fact that it’s not like talking to a salesman, it’s more like an open discussion and that’s why I enjoy doing it and it seems to be paying off. COMPETITION: Wilton Atkins played university tennis in the US for four and a half years. Valu Fa was his doubles partner. How did you get the scholarship with PGG Wrightson? It was a nationwide scholarship and I saw it advertised so I thought I’d give it a shot and went through an interview process. What were you doing when you applied for the scholarship? I was a farmer working on our family dairy and sheep and beef farm in Palmerston North and I was also a tennis coach on the side as well. Has it been an easy or hard transition to make? It’s a slow burn. You need to build your reputation and it doesn’t happen over night. I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but I would say it’s going well. You need to be patient. Do you know how many people applied for the scholarship you got? There would have been about 100 nationwide and four people across the country got one. Do you have a wife and kids? I have a wife, Merryn, and we just had a baby, Thatcher, who is three-months-old. What inspired you to call him Thatcher? We both just liked it and it’s a little bit different and we both have slightly different names ourselves. Apart from tennis, do you have any other hobbies or interests you are into at the moment? Actually, Merryn and I have an online TV channel that we do. It’s called Selwyn TV. We have a website – www.selwyntv. co.nz – and it’s got a Facebook page. What we do is we talk to people about community interest stories in the Selwyn district. We are speaking to people like nonprofit charities, non-sporting people that are doing really cool stuff in Selwyn. So that’s a bit of a hobby for us. We get some of our content from your articles. How long has that been going and how did it start? It has only been going for two or three weeks and the idea behind that was that we want to raise Thatcher in a close knit community, where people know what is going on because we are both from small towns ourselves. We are interested in the people we are talking to and we want to help promote them. ALL SECTIONS COME FULLY FENCED WITH FIBRE TO YOUR BOUNDARY AND FREE, SITE-SPECIFIC GEOTECH REPORTS! BALANCE DUE JUNE 2017 To secure your section call Deane on 0274 352 384 or visit our Sales Office 37 Vernon Drive, turn off Gerald Street by the New World. Open 12-4pm Weds-Sun. liveinlincoln.co.nz Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – For us and our children after us