Today is Dad's special day. But Dad does some pretty special things every day of the year, and well-known Kiwis share some of them as we celebrate the greatest lessons our fathers taught us.


One of the main things Dad's taught me is if you want something bad enough and are willing to work hard enough you can achieve it.

It's as he always says - you get out of life what you put in and he's the perfect example of that.

He didn't have anything handed to him but he went out and did it anyway.


He's also instilled the confidence in me to go out and have a crack at things like music and going to university without worrying about what other people think.

And he's someone who knows the importance of family and treats my mum, sister and I with a huge amount of love and respect.

His diary is ridiculous - he has so many demands on his time, his days are long and he deals with some tough stuff but he makes sure he calls all the time, is there for things like birthdays and milestones and that he's home as often as possible to spend time with us.

I also admire his relationship with mum - if I can have a marriage as strong as theirs and be so committed to someone after so many years together I'll be stoked.

Comedian Dai Henwood and his father, Ray Henwood, together in an old family photo.
Comedian Dai Henwood and his father, Ray Henwood, together in an old family photo.


My father taught me to be strong. I am not talking the physical "fists up in an alley" strong, he taught me to have character.

I saw my father in different roles. As a professional actor, a teacher and rugby coach. In all of these he treated people fairly and with respect.

He would never cower when challenged and always carried himself with a smile on his face.

I learnt that kindness breeds kindness and if people laugh and want to be around you, you are an infectious human being.

I learnt people can have very similar skills but if you are easy and fun to work with, you will get the job.

My Dad has always supported me as I took on jobs from DJ'ing, bartending and telling jokes. He has always got my back as long as I was giving 100% in whatever I had decide to do.


The greatest lesson my father ever taught me was to "zig, while they zag". It was a mentality that took a little while to grasp but once I did, applied it to all aspects of my career.

It was a lesson in understanding a perspective while identifying my own in the process. Foreseeing strengths and weaknesses, learning from the successes and creating an entirely new path.

An untravelled terrain. Our label, Arch Angel Records, has managed to secure two major label signings using this mentality with my first single Don't Worry Bout It.

The official music video to DWBI was shot in Fiji on my iPhone and I edited it on the flight home. It is now charting on MTV and other major music TV channels.

I also produced, wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered the entire project myself and the track has risen to the top of most charts in NZ and recently went to GOLD status.

The budget spent on the project - $0

This is just one example of how I apply this thinking, but it has been and will remain, one of the greatest lessons my father has ever taught me.

"Zig, While they Zag".


My dad, Bruce, is now aged 95.

Before the war he started his apprenticeship at the railway workshops in Auckland as a fitter and turner.

He served in the army then the air force, training to be a pilot, before returning from the war to complete his apprenticeship.

He wanted me to be a carpenter and was a bit disappointed when I went off to University!

However my two sons are both tradesmen, one an electrician and the other a refrigeration engineer, so he feels vindicated.

What he taught me applies to politics as much as the trades. Always measure twice and cut once, not the other way round! Plan well before you execute a project.

He also taught me self-reliance, albeit by suggesting I leave home at 16! He taught me a strong work ethic.

From his own background, when his mum was widowed in 1934 and lost the family home, he taught me that decent society looks after its members by giving them a hand up when times are tough.

Happy father's day Dad.


Dad taught me the value of looking after the environment from an early age.

Things like "if you're scared of him, just imagine how scared he is of you!" leap instantly to mind every time I see a spider in my adult life because of him raising a brow and repeating this mantra to me as a kid.

Dad has a freakish love and knowledge of NZ native flora and fauna (as my name would suggest).

He instilled in me an appreciation for the environment from an early age by taking my sister and I out into the bush, or to the beach, or just into the back garden.

Every time my sister and I went outside was a chance to further our education about how the world works.

An upturned log would reveal a metropolis of Slaters, a piece of corrugated iron peeled back exposed a family of Skinks, the grass edges of a pond folded back might conceal strange translucent clumps that would turn into Frogs (and leap out of the little enclosures Dad made, only to turn up mummified down the hallway somewhere)...each of these moments was an opportunity to "look at these little critters!"

And learn about the secrets of the universe.

Dad showed me where to look for unexpected magic and beauty in the world, and that is something I will always cherish.


My father was a lovely man.

His name was Ellis George Moon and he was a stock agent in mid-Canterbury.

He died a long time ago but I think of him often and it is a privilege to be able to share some of my thoughts about him.

He taught me more than one great lesson.

He taught me about family and the unselfishness of love.

He taught me about teamwork - he loved sport.

He taught me that hard work brought about results, respect and satisfaction.

He taught me that tolerance and an open mind are vital to live a full life.

He taught me that kindness is an underestimated and important quality.

He taught me about generosity and the generosity of spirit.

He taught me about the strength of loyalty.

He taught me to have fun.

He taught me many things that have served me so well in life. My father was a remarkable father who loved life and loved us.

Louise Wallace (star of Real Housewives of Auckland) parents, Russ and Leona. Photo / supplied
Louise Wallace (star of Real Housewives of Auckland) parents, Russ and Leona. Photo / supplied


The greatest lesson my father taught me: that life is a competition and the only person who will get you far in this world is yourself.

Russ was a self-made man from a poor background. His mother deserted the family when he was 9 years old. She ran off with a sailor.

From that time, I don't think he whole-heartedly trusted women and perhaps for that reason he was very much a man's man.

Like him, I was competitive and fiercely ambitious but he was a hard act to follow.

He was hugely successful in business and was an internationally recognised yachtsman.

I was always trying to prove myself to him and live up to his standards and expectations.

He also taught me the value of financial independence - to never be reliant on anyone for money - and that's something I've tried to pass on to my kids. With all these lessons in mind, it's no wonder I'm a control freak!

When he died of leukaemia at 65, I was devastated. It took me five years to come to terms with it.

But that was the greatest lesson of all: if you don't have your health, you have nothing.

Judith Collins with her parents, Jessie and Percy, pictured in 1981 when Collins received her Bachelor of Law degree. Photo / Supplied
Judith Collins with her parents, Jessie and Percy, pictured in 1981 when Collins received her Bachelor of Law degree. Photo / Supplied


My father, Percy Collins, died 22 years ago, on Fathers' Day, Sunday 4 September.

I was a late arrival in a big family and a bit of a pet to my much older parents.

I grew up on a farm. My Dad taught me how to drive a tractor before I could drive a car.

He taught me to love history and to respect veterans. He taught me that my Mum and Dad loved me unconditionally.

He taught me to question and he taught me to stand up for myself and for others.

My Dad hated injustice and I do too. He taught me that a liar is more dangerous than a thief.

He taught me to understand that Jack really is as good as his Master and my Dad taught me that if I relied on principle in making decisions, then they'd turn out to be good decisions.

My Dad taught me to never know my place.

He taught me that everyone was equal and no one should ever be made to feel inferior to anyone else.

But the most important thing that my Dad taught me was to have confidence.

It's confidence in ourselves to make a difference, that gets us to try harder, to keep going, to get through the tough times and to know that all of us has something to offer.


I was a son of Dad's third family, his eighth (or eighth equal) child - I am a twin.

So he had plenty of experience to draw on for me and my four brothers and sisters.

Dad was an exponent of, to use the language of my present calling, fairly light-handed regulation.

Although a former army officer, his was a steady and ever-present hand, but never over-bearing.

There was order and organisation but seldom instruction or reprimand.

Trips to the mountain or the beach were conducted with military timing, the departure and return times firmly fixed to guarantee the Englishman's constitutional cup of tea at 4.30pm.

What happened in between was left to our imagination and adventure.

Dad was a man of firm opinions and convictions. But as we grew up, there was a discernible stepping back as we found our own way in the world and made up our own minds.

He was firmly National, me the opposite.

As I watch my teenage son grow up, I am conscious of the same need to create room to push boundaries, to try new and different things, to disagree.

It is my father's legacy.


Always try and do things in life (whether paid or unpaid) that you are passionate about ...

My dad was always insistent I should do what I love and what I'm passionate about and I've been incredibly lucky to be able to apply this to being an actor on Shortland Street for over seven years.

I absolutely love doing it and always have fun plus I have learned heaps from all the great people I work with.

But my parents have always wanted me to keep focusing on school as well as acting.

Sometimes that can be pretty hard especially at exam times, like when I have to learn lots of lines and do homework at the same time. So I try to do subjects at school that I really enjoy such as sciences and French and even Mandarin for a while.

I find it so much easier to keep on doing something and do well in it if I enjoy it, and especially when juggling two things it really helps to enjoy both.

My parents were always insistent on us doing a summer and winter sport and I have always tried to do sports that I'm interested in.

I play cricket in the summer and then do squad swimming in the winter and even though sometimes I still dread waking up early on Saturdays I always end up enjoying it.

So, for me, doing things that I really want to do makes it much easier to be motivated to keep doing them - so thanks Dad for the great lesson!


My Dad is a man of few words. He brought me up to believe that if you had nothing to say, don't!

He worked long hours in a factory at night, so I saw what hard work and dedication was all about.

When I told him I was gay, he pulled me in for the reassuring hug that I desperately needed at that time.

When he goes to sleep at night, he dreams of the sound of the ocean lapping at the shores of Tolaga Bay where his Mum comes from.

He's a grumpy old bugger sometimes, but the rest of the time, he'll be joking with you and having you on.

He's highly intelligent too, and has raved on at me for years about how he's forgotten more than I know.

He's a speed reader and likes that fiction-fantasy stuff with dragons and swords and kings.

He doesn't call his mum enough and smokes way too much, but that's what makes him, him.

Gerald Coffey. Father of three. Loved husband to Rangi and this year they celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.

Happy Fathers Day, Dad. We love you.

Joseph Parker kisses his dad Lalogafau Dempsey Parker. Photo / Photosport
Joseph Parker kisses his dad Lalogafau Dempsey Parker. Photo / Photosport


My father has taught me the most valuable lesson of all which is unconditional love.

He has instilled values in me from a young age that have made me the man I am today.

I am blessed and through that, I am able to bless the lives of others because of the unfailing love he has given me.