Father Stories

We asked Kiwi men, including a few you'll recognise, and boys to share the life lessons from their fathers that have positively shaped their lives.

What’s the most important thing your father taught you?


My dad always told me, in one way or another, “You can do it. Just go for it. If someone else did it, you can do too.”


my father left me so i couldnt tell you what my father taught me.

Katie Hensman

My had has always told be the only constant in life is change. Its something that has helped me get through a lot of challenges in my life and is also one of the most accurate things I’ve ever heard.


That I am valuable and that I have worth. He always treated me that way. He made time for me. He also taught me to take risks and try again if I failed.

Graham Tantau

My step dad taught me fishing hunting and how to respect women as I got to see him treat my mother like a queen there is much more to being a dad/role model then blood.

Peter Hallett

“Never a borrower but a lender be”. That was drummed into me from an early age, along with “want not, need not”.

Carolyn Mathieson

My dad always told us kids, “You have to work hard to play hard.” What he meant was that in order to enjoy the fun things in life, you need to be sure you work hard on the foundation of life. Family, respect, work hard and reward yourself later – as an incentive, not an entitlement.

Harry wang

Never see my dad from when I am 3 years old. So I feel that’s very bad and sad!




My Dad pointed out to me that I often had a down-turned face. He gently explained that if I kept my face pleasant and the corners of my mouth relaxed or lifted up, I would be treated in a more friendly way by others. He was right! Just a simple tip to make me aware of how I was coming across to others. To encourage me to be more self-aware. I was 8 or 9 years old when he told me this. I’ve never forgotten it. Thanks Dad!

Mark S

My dad taught me how to fish and hunt. He taught me how to rough it. How to take the family camping. How to enjoy the outdoors.


Losing my father at 9 caused a recognition of an absence felt always. My mother gave me a picture of a hard working ambitious man and sensibly brought an uncle into the picture at a crucial time when I was bent on leaving school too early. My father’s legacy for me was his achievements in a short life through ambition and work – a belief that I could do the same.


To be true to myself and be my own person


Love is bigger than the whole wide world – respect other people and respect their property.


My dad taught me that life is supposed to be fun and filled with adventures, he taught me to always be honest and see life from a happy place with lots of curiosity! He taught me to appreciate good food and long conversations. He taught me how to love and respect myself!!! I miss him


To be brave.


My dad taught me that growing up without a dad creates resilience and independent thinking.