Lisa Tamati - Te Atiawa & Ngati Ruakawa

Lisa Tamati - Te Atiawa & Ngati Ruakawa

She’s overcome a broken back to run some of the toughest endurance events on Earth.  She’s published two best-selling books, and she’s an ambassador for Asthma NZ because she also has severe asthma.  She’s the consummate multi-tasker (she’s getting her hair cut as I interview her over the phone) … yet Lisa Tamati felt like she needed more! 

“I felt like I’d let myself down by not finishing my tertiary studies when I was young.  I always regretted that, and wanted to rectify it.”

So Lisa enrolled with Capable NZ at Otago Polytechnic to complete a Bachelor of Applied Management. 

“For me, the Capable NZ programme was exactly what I needed – a formal qualification and the recognition of my knowledge, without having to start back at the beginning.”

Lisa Tamati is an entrepreneur.  She has run her own jewellery and coaching businesses and her own brand.

“The skill-set I’ve learnt in my running is directly transferable to business.  I’ve had to market myself, show resilience, be incredibly organised and overcome barriers”

And then there’s finding financial backers.

“An ultra-marathon can cost between $50,000-$70,000.  I had to talk people into sponsoring me so I could compete in my sport.  It’s like training for the Olympics, and building the stadium at the same time!” she quips.

Lisa gained her degree via distance learning.  She had to study various management theories, and showcase how she has applied them in her life.

“I absolutely recommend this programme, especially to mature people who don’t want to go back to school, but want recognition for what they’ve already achieved.  This is the answer - this will benefit you in your career.”

In 2017, Lisa was named an Otago Polytechnic Distinguished Alumni.

Read more about Lisa on her websites: and

Read more about Capable NZ’s Bachelor of Applied Management.

See all the 2017 Otago Polytechnic Distinguished Alumni.