Translated from 30/11/2013 Chinese Herald page C1

From knowing Andrew Patterson’s story to

thinking about “mentor”


When Tristan Met Andrew Patterson

 In 2011, nine-year-old Tristan taught himself IGCSE mathematics and challenged the 15-16 year-old candidates. In the Cambridge International Examination, he received the highest grade A* and scored 97 percent. The news of his remarkable achievement spread from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere. The media followed this IQ163 maths genius’s progress with great interest. The New Zealand Herald and Chinese Herald reported Tristan achievements, his family background and the story of his upbringing on 2nd of March and 24th   of March 2012.

In September 2013, he was recognised at the NIWA Auckland City Science and Technology Fair with his awarded project “Triple Layer Milk Bottle – is it effective?”. This put claims behind Fonterra’s new light-proof milk bottles to the test. Again there were reports on Tristan in the New Zealand Herald (10th of September) and Chinese Herald (12th of September). His excellent performance attracted TEDx Youth Auckland, which invited him to be the speaker at their 26th October TED conference at the Auckland Museum. Tristan was the youngest TEDx speaker in New Zealand.

TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It started in 1984 with its headquarters in New York and Vancouver. The conferences bring people from three categories: Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED conferences bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives. Their talks are interspersed with shorter presentations with some artists [u4] or musicians. A TED speaker or TED Master of Ceremonies is a passionate individual whose profession and presentation skills are highly affirmed.

Andrew Patterson is one of New Zealand’s most famous broadcasters and public speakers. He was the public speaking coach and Master of Ceremonies at the TED conference. Tristan met Mr Patterson during rehearsals and speech coaching sessions; this was also Tristan’s chances to meet his first mentor in life.

 Andrew Patterson – looking for the meaning and value of life beyond his profession

 Andrew Patterson graduated with a Commerce degree from the University of Auckland majoring in business strategy, marketing, and economics. After working in the banking and tourism sectors, Mr Patterson switched to a career in media in 1995. He was a business presenter with NewsRadio in Sydney for six years. In 2006, Mr Patterson returned to New Zealand to join RadioLIVE as a business editor. The media dubbed him as the most hard-working radio broadcaster in New Zealand. He has worked six days a week, including a “Sunday Business” programme at RadioLIVE, for more than six years.

During the course of his media career, Mr Patterson has travelled to more than 50 countries. He is an in-demand speaker and master of ceremonies at conferences and events. He also writes in the business review column. He is a voracious reader of business and economic literature and a close follower of global business trends, particularly around innovation and entrepreneurship. He also maintains an active interest in international politics, global financial markets and social justice issues.

He is busy and successful with a very positive and professional public image. It is hard to imagine that he always shows his concerns about a primary school that is in one of the poorest areas in Auckland: Point England School.

Point England School is a Decile 1 (lowest socio-economic communities) year 1 to year 8 school. Mr Patterson unconditionally lends his support to this school, which successfully received a sponsorship from Google for notebook computers for all students. Point England School is one of the four schools in the world that Google is using as a pilot to try out new tools within its Google Education suite. Although the sponsorship project is done, Mr Patterson is still following up the progress of the school and students, while the school always invites him to attend their major events.

Bailey is a 13-year-old boy who lives in South Auckland. Bailey participated in a confidence course run by Mr Patterson as he had very poor self-confidence and had never have the courage to speak in front of his class. When Bailey finished the course, he transformed into a different person – a person who is hard working and confident, and he even starts setting goals for himself. Bailey wrote to thank Mr Patterson; at the end of the letter, he said: “…I’d like to make you a promise. When I’m older I will get a great job and buy you a Lamborghini.”

Geniuses like Tristan have the dimension of seeing things that may be more comprehensive and in depth than the average child. It is more difficult for him to be convinced. However, Tristan strongly felt that in addition to teaching him the skills of public speaking, Mr Patterson is full of enthusiasm and dedication to young people. He is a very knowledgeable, convincing and reliable person. He can work effectively and efficiently and can pay attention to every detail. Tristan said, “Mr Patterson is my mentor!”

I told Tristan’s mum, Elaine, “Before Andrew Patterson coaches or guides anyone, he must have tried to understand and study the person first. This is my turn to explore his inner world.” Andrew Patterson’s life seems perfect. He has been seeking meaning and value beyond his profession. I believe he must have pursued the joy from his dedication and thanksgiving.

Having found a mentor – a wisdom and a gift

 In Greek mythology, Odysseus is about to set off for the Trojan War and he entrusts his son Telemachus to Mentor. Mentor is always dedicated to the care and guidance to Telemachus. Thereafter, Mentor became synonymous with mentor, meaning someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with less experienced people.

Mentors enlighten positive thinking and behaviour. He or she does not have to have a high qualification or substantial wealth, but he or she needs to understand the philosophy of life. In many cases, a book, a speech, an incident can become an abstract mentor. The current South Korean President Park Geun-hye has published “Meet the lighthouse in my life – Eastern philosophy”. She mentioned that she was inspired by lan’s “History of Chinese Philosophy”. She believed this book is her mentor.

My old classmate Jennifer told me, “I am close to the heart of the children, I always hope that they can create their own prosperous future at their best. I am pleased to be their mentor rather than knowing them going to the Ivy League.” I myself always reflect on why should we push the children to a prestige education institution? We should help the children look for a mentor instead.

If a person can find a mentor, it is due to his or her own wisdom; it is also a gift and a blessing. Arrogance and prejudice will scare a mentor away. I wish everyone could find a mentor in the new year of 2014.