Bernadine’s Story

Sport was my happy place

Bernadine Oliver-Kerby, radio host, newsreader, proud mother and former Sacred Heart Student talks about her time, and fond memories of the school. Take a look.

Born 14 June 1971, Bernadine grew up in Hamilton and attended Sacred Heart from 1985-1989. Reflecting on her years at Sacred Heart, she remembers finding her passion for sport, realising she would never be a mathematician and developing a flair for English.

Bernadine, who covers all sports on Sky Sport, was a good student, and figured out early on what subjects she liked and wasn’t too fond of.

“I remember dreading maths... not helped by my maths teacher announcing in front of the class that I wasn’t going to pass! So naturally the challenge was on and I managed to pass, but it confirmed that maths wasn’t going to be pursued any further than the classroom!

“There were so many other classes that I adored though, and that was largely due to the teachers of those classes. The subjects I looked forward to were always those with great teachers. They treated me like a young adult and challenged me rather than just going through the motions. My love of English and writing blossomed under Mr Boyce who was an outstanding educator, and this was the beginning of a love affair with words and career using them,” says Bernadine.

Bernadine was always sporty and she signed up for every sport on offer.

“I spent hours and hours in the brand-new gym and under Teresa Cargo it felt like a safe place to be, a real refuge.

I have great memories of travelling to Wellington with the open grade netball team to compete for the Mission Cup. I loved basketball, and our team won the national title during my time at the school. Sport was my happy place.

When Bernadine wasn’t playing sport, she immersed herself in her classes and school productions including Godspell and Annie. She reflects on loving taking part in anything that showed off the Sacred Heart spirit and still belts out the Sacred Heart song when catching up with former students.

“I loved the camaraderie among the pupils and the pride in saying that you went to Sacred Heart. I was proud to wear the uniform – even the slave sandals! Sacred Heart Day was always a special occasion, a chance for all students and teachers to get creative, bond and celebrate our school.”

When asked if she knew what she wanted to do when she left school, Bernadine said she wasn’t quite sure.

“And that was purely because at the time there wasn’t a direct avenue to get into television.

“I was considering nursing and spent work experience with a rural vet where we de-horned stags and herd tested cows which were in-calf. I was already living on a farm and while I enjoyed that life but couldn’t see it as a serious option. Blood and guts wasn’t for me after all!

“At the time there were no avenues for work experience at a television or radio station and as it wasn’t a mainstream field then it was probably tricky for the school to organise.

“But I loved writing, sport and theatre, so I guess in the end I married all those loves into becoming a reporter/journalist and working on sports, news, kids’ TV and later in my career, writing opinion pieces for the NZHerald,” says Bernadine.

And Bernadine has a piece of advice for students today: “Be yourself. Be enthusiastic and create your own opportunities – don’t sit around waiting for one. Time really does fly, the good news is – you’re the pilot!”