Hannah Orchard

'I'm living the dream...'

  • Hannah Orchard

Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Chemical and Process Engineering

Continuous Process Improvement Engineer, Winstone Wallboards Ltd

UC Chemical and Process Engineering student, Hannah Orchard, is one of New Zealand's top sporting talents, representing New Zealand at the 25th World Universiade in Turkey against some of the world's best, and coming in 9th in Bordercross.

She also took home gold medals in four events in the 66th annual NZ Uni Snow Games held in Wanaka and was awarded the overall female snowboarder of the Games, attended by more than 150 competitors.

After attending Taupo-nui-a-Tia College, Hannah decided to enrol at the University of Canterbury. It's a major challenge for Hannah to fit in her snowboarding with a demanding Engineering degree, but she is passionate about both chemistry and snowboarding so finds time for both.

'I chose Canterbury because of the great Chemical and Process Engineering Department and also because it's the closest university to the mountains,' she says.

'Studying Engineering limits you to two universities pretty much, and who wants to live in Auckland? I've spent two years living on campus and I really enjoy the campus life. The clubs here are awesome and definitely make life more interesting. UC is an awesome place to study.'

Hannah says that she has always had an interest in maths and science, but it wasn't until she was in Year 10 and a family friend who was doing this degree lived with her for a few months that she was 'inspired to want to do the same'.

'I always wanted to do something chemistry-related, so it was either this or become a forensic scientist, like in CSI. But Engineering seemed like the more realistic degree to go for, with better long-term career prospects.

'I love competing, but my university studies come first, so I love the chance to get out and snowboard with other people. How many times I get up very much depends on how my timetable works out, but I always manage to get at least one day a week. I never go home to Taupo in the holidays and just spend my time down here riding the local mountains.'

Skiing from the age of four and racing while at primary school, Hannah began snowboarding when she started secondary school and has never looked back.

'I like speed, love the freedom that snowboarding gives you and the variety of terrain it can take you to. I love the fact that it can be social, competitive and individually challenging, all in one day,' she says.

Hannah hopes to defend her titles at the next NZ Uni Winter Games, and then represent New Zealand at the 26th Winter Universiade in Slovenia in 2013.

When Hannah graduates from Canterbury she hopes to find a graduate engineering position 'near the snow and continue to balance my work and snowboarding lifestyle'.

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