Gemma McCaw has given an insight into how she copes with life's ups and downs at a fundraising breakfast held in Tauranga today.

Two hundred people gathered at Tauranga Racecourse as part of the Life Education Breakfast to hear the former Black Stick, Barter Barber Sam Dowdall and GP Anna Rolleston speak about mental and physical wellbeing.

The breakfast included a Q&A session with each speaker sharing their thoughts on what "wellbeing" meant to them.

McCaw said it was "feeling good and functioning well".


"It is being able to get through those ups and downs in life but remaining and enjoying the ups and having the skills and resilience to get through the downs," she said.

"Healthy is an outfit that looks different on everyone."

McCaw, who is studying psychology, was asked by MC Brendon Weatherley about the power of positive thinking.

"It's about how people be the best version of themselves," McCaw said.

McCaw prompted a few tears from the audience when she was asked who her role models were.

The former Black Stick who won 246 caps said she is inspired by her family - "and if I can be like them, I'm on the right track".

"I take lessons from everybody, I take inspiration from each person I meet."

McCaw, who attended with her mother and grandmother, said family was important to both her and her husband, former All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw.


The breakfast was held to raise money and awareness for Life Education Trust.

The trust delivers a health programme to 12,000 Bay of Plenty school children without government funding.

McCaw grew up in Tauranga and fondly remembered Life Education classes and its mascot Harold the Giraffe at Tauranga Intermediate school, where her mother now teaches.