Jenny’s Story

Jenny’s Story

I grew up in a small central North Island country town in New Zealand. My mother was mum to 5 and a wonderful teacher, homemaker and cook, whilst my father worked hard, grew an amazing array of vegetables in his organic garden and home-killed the animals we ate (even though it always hurt his heart to do so).  He was one of the original recyclers, cleaning and separating our rubbish into paper, glass and plastic and reusing wherever possible, always taking care to look after planet earth.


When I graduated from High School I had no idea what I wanted to be so I traveled and worked in South East Asia and Australia, and always loved meeting people and getting to know about their lives.  One day an opportunity arose to work in the Australian Gibson Desert on a Seismic Exploration crew and I jumped at the chance for an adventure in the wilderness.  The Australian Red Centre is such a special place, with big dragon-like lizards that stand up on their back legs and run fast, loads of water, but its all under the ground, and as luck would have it, a wonderful red haired man called Blue (go figure) who swept me off my feet.


We married and had two gorgeous kids, and we lived in Australia, NZ and then moved back to Australia.  We bought land and built our own home and I continued to work in retail.  It seemed every job I had I was good at, and they were all exciting and rewarding for a little bit, but when the novelty wore off there was no real satisfaction in what I was doing.


In my mid thirties I realized what the problem was; I wanted to help people in a meaningful way but I didn’t have the qualifications enabling me to do that. My life experience to date had molded me into a nature loving, environmentally conscious adventurer with a love of physical fitness, tasty wholefood cooking, country living and most of all PEOPLE.


So … at 39 years old, I launched myself into a 4-year full-time Bachelor of Health Science program for Complementary Medicine.  It was a long hard slog, it took 8 years and $50K, but I eventually popped out the other end – with the degree (I even got a distinction) plus 3 advanced diplomas AND best of all I promptly won a ‘helping people’ job, LIFESTYLE ADVISOR in the $24M, ground breaking, Do It For Life (DIFL) program with South Australian Health in Port Augusta.


DIFL is a prevention program introduced by South Australian Health to reduce the incidence of diabetes and heart disease and thereby the cost burden on the health budget. It was a wonderful opportunity and I learned a lot in 3 years, about working with people to self-manage their health, and working with individuals and community groups to create positive change.


In 2011 we decided to move again and, after 5 complete moves across the Tasman, have finally come to rest in the beautiful Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.  Our children are following their hearts and dreams and my long-time dream to start my own business and help people live happier healthier lives through lifestyle & behaviour change and nutritional medicine has been realized with the birth of Upbeat Health Limited in Katikati, New Zealand.