Rob Hamill


Marathon rowing champion Rob Hamill brings his greatest triumph to TEDxChCh – enlightened compassion Rob Hamill made sporting history as a New Zealand International rowing representative for 16 years, with accomplishments that include World Championship silver, Commonwealth gold, and a world record on the indoor rowing machine. At TEDxChCh, however, he’ll be speaking about something altogether different.

In 1978, a charter yacht under the command of Rob’s “brother number one” Kerry strayed into Cambodian waters. Kerry was subsequently imprisoned, tortured, and executed by the Khmer Rouge. Rob has since travelled to Cambodia to find answers for his family and, reaching beyond personal pain, for Cambodia. In July this year he watched as his brother’s jailor was sentenced to 35 years in prison. “I just want to understand him”, says Rob.

Rob consistently demonstrates discipline and mental focus; he represented New Zealand at the Atlanta Olympics and published ‘The Naked Rower’ on how he and Phil Stubbs captured headlines around the world winning the gruelling and inaugural Atlantic Rowing Race in 41 days. Sir Peter Blake described their incredible achievement as “an extraordinary mental and physical effort – something very, very special.” Rob went on to lead successful defences of the title in 2001 and 2003 and helped the 2005 entry that withdrew after a shark attack and boat capsize.

He is co-organiser of ‘The Great Race’, an annual rowing 8s clash between Waikato and Cambridge/Oxford/Harvard/Washington Universities on the Waikato River, and he recently put together the rematch between Mahe Drysdale and Beijing Olympic champion Olaf Tufte. His latest project is a rowing race across the Tasman Sea.