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  • 100% Kiwi, I was born and raised on a farm my parents managed in Hawkes Bay.

  • During the 1993/94 summer, I moved to Central Otago chasing my dream to play cricket for NZ.

  • I represented Otago in cricket at first-class level from 1994/95 to the end of 2002/03.

  •  In the 1996/97 season, I made my break and I was selected in the NZ squad which I represented in Test and One Day International Cricket until 2000/01. 

  • I’ve been happily married since 2001 and together we have 4 busy children.

  • I retired from professional cricket in 2003 and bought a small orchard and gourmet fruit product manufacturing business in Central Otago.

  • In 2005 I was asked to help out at Trail Journeys, the original cycle tour operator on the Otago Central Rail Trail; later I was offered a full-time job as Operations Manager.

Shayne O'Connor Trail Journeys

12 ½ years with
Trail Journeys

  • I went on to become a shareholder, director and the General Manager, until I resigned in 2017.  

  • When I started with Trail Journeys there were 5 employees including myself, we owned 3 vans and 150 hire bikes.  We grew to employ 7 full time staff, 4 permanent-part time staff and during peak season, we had up to 45 staff on our pay roll in various capacities.

  • Tourist numbers dropped through the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and as we emerged from this, our competitor levels rose, so we had to manage and adapt the business accordingly.

  • We expanded by way of opening a new Branch in Nelson to operate on Tasman’s Great Taste Trail.

  • When I left we had a fleet of 400 hire bikes in Central Otago, 5 x 11 seat vans, and 3 x 20 seat buses.

  • In 2007 Trail Journeys won the Central Otago Business Excellence Award and the Tourism Business Award.

  • Trail Journeys was a finalist in the Otago Business Excellence Awards in 2006 and 2007 and in 2010 we won the Otago Business Excellence Supreme Tourism Award.

Otago Mitre 10 Cup Rugby Team

Managing the Otago rugby team

In April 2019, through a coaching seminar I delivered to a group in Balclutha earlier, I was approached and asked to manage the Otago provincial rugby team for a couple of seasons.  This was a well out of left field, but it was a privilege and a challenge I couldn’t refuse!  It was a wonderful environment to enhance my own learning about motivation, communication, leadership and performance.  I am still very grateful to all those involved for the opportunity and the way they made me feel part of the team!

Why did I decide to change my profession?

I became like many of the people I now coach… I am ambitious, I have a family, I have things I want to do, and I was working long, difficult hours running a challenging business.


While I enjoyed my work and the people I worked with, I found I was spending more of my time at work than I was doing other things I wanted, with the people I wanted, which started to wear me down.  So, something had to change.

At the time my wife had founded her own gym and every day she would bolt out the door enthusiastically looking forward to work… I was no longer doing this.  I started to question whether this was actually how I wanted to live the next 10+ years of my life, was I actually passionate about what I was doing or was I just doing a job???


The answer to this was the latter.  This work, this business, this life had run its course for me.  Now, more than ever, I felt I needed a change, I needed to feel like I was making a difference.  I want to make lasting, meaningful contributions to other people’s lives, imagine how good it would feel knowing I’ve helped other people organise their thoughts, doubts, struggles, ambitions, goals and achievements, so that they have a clearer path and they are on their way to fulfilling their lives!


I don’t try to be an expert in everything and I’m not in to forcing my opinion on others.  I enjoy being the listener in conversations, I enjoy helping people clarify and reach their goals, or find solutions to problems.  I am experienced working with and managing people in various environments from elite sport to business.
I understand the good, bad and otherwise of running a business, and a family.  I have a pragmatic approach to challenging, working and dealing with what’s in front of me.


I discovered professional coaching and knew it was what I was looking for!  I don’t have to be the expert in someone else’s field, I just have to help people work out how to identify and reach their own goals or come up with solutions to their own challenges, in their own time, in their own way.


A lot of people have done a lot for me along the way, so I enjoy putting back into my community in the following ways:

  • In 2006 I became part of a local mentoring program and took on a “Wee Buddy”.  At the time my buddy was aged 6.  While we see each other far less now, we still keep in touch.

  • In 2006 I was elected to the Board of Otago Country Cricket, I still sit on this board currently and part of my role is helping to organise cricket matches Otago play at Molyneux Park in Alexandra each festive holiday period.

  • I coached kids club rugby from age 4 up to 10 from 2008 to 2016.

  • I’ve coached kids club and representative cricket from age 4-15 since 2008 and counting.  I have also coached and advised other players at various levels on a voluntary basis.

  • I help as an administrator for the local cricket club including becoming President in 2018.

  • I am a Curler, and the past President of our Curling Club.

  • In 2010 I was elected on to the Rail Trail Operators group board, and in 2013 I was elected Chairman of the group, a position I still hold.

  • In June 2018 I was contracted, in a paid role, to facilitate the formation of the Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold cycle trails Operators Group, I have stayed with the group as a volunteer in an advisory capacity.


Southern Institute of Technology (SIT)

Diploma in Professional Coaching

Otago Chamber of Commerce

Diploma in HR Management

Otago University

Executive Education Certificates in:
•    Enhancing Leadership
•    Financial Management

Shayne O'Connor Professional Life Coach
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