Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By ES­THER LAUAKI

Han­nah Barr ad­mits her ca­reer choice is not the eas­i­est to bring up at par­ties, but in­sists she loves be­ing a mor­ti­cian and is de­ter­mined to be the best.

The 20-year-old at­tended the Ro­tary Youth Lead­er­ship Awards (RYLA), a five­day lead­er­ship pro­gramme for young peo­ple hosted by Plim­mer­ton Ro­tary Club, at Sil­ver­stream Re­treat re­cently.

She says her em­ployer and men­tor Stu­art Wheeler, a Rotarian, en­cour­aged her to at­tend the pro­gramme.

‘‘ It was re­ally in­ter­est­ing. [ The pro­gramme] was about grow­ing your self con­fi­dence. What you learn there will help you build on cer­tain skills in the fu­ture.’’

Forty-four young peo­ple from all over the lower North Is­land ex­pe­ri­enced a range of ac­tiv­i­ties. They lis­tened to an ar­ray of speak­ers, par­tic­i­pated in ac­tiv­i­ties like ver­sions of The Amaz­ing Race and The Ap­pren­tice, and raised money and aware­ness for the Pa­cific Emer­gency Re­sponse Kits that Ro­tary dis­trib­utes in the South Pa­cific.

Ms Barr says she en­joyed the course and it put her in good stead to un­der­take a Na­tional Di­ploma in Em­balm­ing at WelTec which be­gins at the end of this month.

She be­gan work­ing at Guardian Fu­neral Home in Porirua straight out of high school so she could get a year’s ex­pe­ri­ence un­der her belt to qual­ify for study.

So how does one get into fu­neral di­rect­ing?

‘‘I haven’t had any­one close to me die or any­thing like that.

‘‘I’ve just al­ways been in­ter­ested in it since I was 14-years-old. I think it was just that I wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent to ev­ery­one else.

‘‘I ba­si­cally emailed and ap­proached all the fu­neral homes in Welling­ton and Guardian here in Porirua took me on.

‘‘It’s nice be­cause it’s a smaller fu­neral home so I’m able to be in­volved in ev­ery­thing. I as­sist with fu­ner­als and I do em­balm­ing. They have the time to sit down with me and teach me,’’ she says.

For in­for­ma­tion on next year’s RYLA course, con­tact Phillip Reidy at

In­di­vid­u­als are se­lected and spon­sored by each of the 60 Ro­tary clubs in the lower North Is­land.

Some­thing dif­fer­ent: Han­nah Barr said she has wanted to be a mor­ti­cian since she was 14.

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