Our official friends have been chosen for their commitment to working with young people and for being identified as people whom the public holds in high regard.
Our friends work with Make-A-Wish®, meeting wish children, speaking on behalf of the charity, appearing at our signature events and being involved in wish granting.
Michael Jones made his All Black debut in the 1987 World Cup. Few players have exuded so much charisma and mystique as Michael Jones, a supremely gifted athlete who whenever he was fit and available was almost invariably one of the first names written down in any All Black team sheet.
He had pace, athleticism, ball skills and a punishing tackle which quickly won him acclaim as one of the most gifted rugby players of all time. And despite being not much more than 1.85m he was able to out jump taller forwards because of a spring honed by his years as an accomplished young basketballer.
In 2003 the International Rugby Hall of Fame Trust inducted Jones into the sport's International Halt of Fame. Jones later coached the Samoan team. His biography “Iceman-The Michael Jones Story” by Robin McConnell was published in 1994.
Sarah Ulmer is a cyclist of true World-class standing.
She has been a World and Olympic Champion and is the current owner of the World Record for the showcase track cycling event, the 3000m Women’s Individual Pursuit. Sarah was also a back-to-back Commonwealth Games Champion (1998, 2002), Commonwealth Games Record Holder and New Zealand Sportsperson of the year.
In October 2009 Sarah and her partner Brendon welcomed their daughter, Lilly into the world. Sarah has helped create lots of magic and been involved with delivering a number of wishes to children that were just thrilled to meet their sporting hero!
Shane has gained celebrity status in New Zealand for his roles in Shortland Street, So You Think You Can Dance, Outrageous Fortune, Burying Brian and for dancing his way into the hearts of the nation with Dancing with the Stars.
Shane has starred in many musicals in the West End of London and throughout the United Kingdom where he started his performance career. He returned home for the role of Dominic Warner on Shortland Street - a role the New Zealand public has not forgotten even after the character was killed off in dramatic fashion. He was the street’s longest serving villain, having played him over a two year period.
More recently, Shane danced his way into the hearts of the New Zealand public on the hit show ’Dancing With the Stars’. He and dance partner Nerida Lister shimmied their way into the final.
Shane fronts his own rock n roll band The Class of 58, which has played to sell out performances in New Zealand’s largest theatres.
Gray Bartlett MBE
Gray Bartlett has been there, done that, in New Zealand showbiz and on stages overseas. He has succeeded in business and even found time to serve as a community leader, being elected and serving on the Auckland City Council until he voluntarily decided it was time to move on in 2001. Then, even after three decades in music, and with two million album sales to his credit, he reached out and shared his wisdom by guiding the fortunes of immense rising talents, Hayley Westenra and Ben Morrison.
Gray Bartlett is fiercely independent, resourceful and determined. He is frustrated and content, young at heart, but eminently wise at the same time. His passion for his music and business really shines through and is one of the reasons he has survived and thrived for so long in a cut-throat industry. Often against the odds, he has relied on his entrepreneurial spirit to create his success.
The Funky Monkeys
Formed in 2003 as New Zealand's very own musical super-group for kids.
The Funky Monkeys are a national treasure in the national children's music scene. Their greatest hope: to help kids everywhere enjoy the magic of their childhood, which is why partnering with Make-A-Wish made so much sense to them!