Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Kiwi among London Olympic torch bearers

University lecturer Will Katene proudly contributed on day three of the torch's 12,895km journey.
University lecturer Will Katene proudly contributed on day three of the torch's 12,895km journey.

A Hamilton man now living in England was one of 8000 torch bearers for the London Olympic Games.

University lecturer William Katene said he was chosen to take part in the torch relay because of his work at Exeter University's school of education, where he is head of the postgraduate physical education programme, training students to become PE teachers.

He carried the torch on Tuesday - day three of the 70-day Olympic torch relay.

"It's really one of the greatest moments of my life," he said.

"To be nominated to be involved with it was exciting ... particularly as a New Zealander, as I don't think there are many of us who are torch bearers," said Mr Katene.

"It was about all the wonderful teachers in primary and secondary schools who enthuse, inspire and inform many of our young people to be physically active and to be healthy."

Mr Katene, who lives with his wife Nicky and children Jack and Merania, said his mother was very proud of his achievement.

"She still lives at home [New Zealand] and was thrilled to bits."

The lecturer, who moved to the United Kingdom in the early 1990s, was the fifth torch carrier on the day and was cheered on by his family and students who lined the streets.

"I had many of my students - they took time off school to come and see me."

"It was only 300m and I milked it. It was a very slow jog so I could take it all in."

Unlike some of his fellow torch carriers, Mr Katene will not be taking advantage of his moment in the spotlight by trying to sell his relay memorabilia.

He said he was shocked when he found out some relay participants had been auctioning their torches and uniforms on eBay.

One torch is reported to have been sold for more than £150,000 ($310,450).

"Apart from those trying to raise money for charity ... it's really not in the Olympic spirit.

"I'm sending mine [memorabilia] to primary and secondary schools because I want them to know why I was nominated."

- NZ Herald

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