Sir John Kirwan (JK) is one of New Zealand’s favourite former All Blacks. He played for the national team for a decade and holds the New Zealand record for most first class rugby tries.
Since retiring from professional sport he has opened up to New Zealand and shared his personal story of depression, resilience and hope. His journey has led him to an active involvement with mental health awareness campaigns in New Zealand where he speaks openly about his battle.
Together, JK and Westpac help kiwis understand mental illness and encourage open lines of communication and build supportive networks. Through Westpac’s regional tours JK has spoken to more than 25,000 New Zealanders in provincial communities about recognising the signs of mental illness, and where to turn for help. The energy and enthusiasm he brings to his sessions draws in crowds from far and wide.
JK is passionate about putting an end to youth suicide and helps thousands of school students a year in his role as a Westpac Ambassador.
JK’s willingness to share his story and his dedication the cause has gone a long way to removing the stigma that surrounds depression in New Zealand.
Join a JK Event
Sir John Kirwan travels around NZ to speak to local communities about his personal story and messages around depression, hope, and mental wellness.
The Westpac Ambassador opens up about his own experiences, and focus on resilience and well-being.
“I just tell my story. Why would I be depressed? I had the perfect world. I was an All Black living a great life. And often that’s the first question you’d say to yourself, you know”.
“There are a couple of things that are really important for me. Firstly, depression, it’s an illness, not a weakness.”
He says one of the most important things is continuing to talk about the issues.
“I don’t pretend to know exactly what people are going through or what’s pushed them to be unwell, but what I do know is I’ve been there and done that, and a lot of the symptoms are the same and a lot of the recovery you can do is the same.”
JK says the idea is to stand up, be real, and have an honest, open conversation.
- No events scheduled currently