Ask Diana Dobson what her favourite animal is and the reply would be instantaneous . . . her beloved English bull terrier dog Louie. No question.
But her love of our furry friends extends beyond the canine and deep into the equine world – a passion dating back to her childhood and continuing into what has become a colourful and successful media, communications and photographic career.
From riding horses at Nga Tawa to having shares in race horses, Gisborne-based Diana, or Dobbie as most know her, has had an almost life-long involvement in the industry.
This will continue at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, with Dobbie in the role of media liaison for a classy New Zealand team. It’s a role with which the mother of a teenager (Hamish) is familiar. This will be her third WEG and she is as excited about it as she was attending her first.
“I often ask the riders which do they prefer – WEG or the Olympic Games?” says Dobbie, who has experienced both in her media role. “For me, I love both – WEG for everything horsey and the Olympics for the massive dose of elite sport I have gotten to enjoy.”
Dobbie, who has been involved with Equestrian Sports New Zealand for many years, feels honoured and fortunate to get the opportunity to be up close and personal at one of the pinnacle events in international equestrian.
But fortune suggests luck. And while luck certainly helps, Dobbie’s career journey has been underpinned by two far more essential qualities – talent and good old-fashioned, roll up the sleeves, grease the elbows hard work.
From her beginnings as a cadet reporter at The Gisborne Herald to creating a reputable photography and communications business (The Black Balloon) to “a dream come true” job as press attache’ for the equestrian and kayaking teams at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Dobbie has always injected 100 percent into whatever task is at hand.
And there has been plenty. Her journalism career threw her headfirst into myriad of stories ranging from sport to local body; from hard news to feature writing; from advertorial to reviews.
It gave her an essential grounding over a broad spectrum, opening her horizons to a plethora of options.
She moved into public relations while maintaining journalist connections. On top of this, she continued to run her photographic business, earning respect and praise for not just the quality of her work but her organisation skills – a key ingredient in such a busy life.
Her friends would probably agree she’s borderline workaholic. But it’s this consumption and drive to do a good job that inspires her.
Career highlight so far? It would have to be the Rio Olympics, which she aptly described as “everything you imagine it to be times one million percent”.
She recently followed that up with a similar media liaison role for the New Zealand weightlifting and lawn bowls teams and others at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast – clearly an acknowledgement of how she performed at Rio.
Loving your job helps. “It’s the best job on the planet,” she said of her Games experiences.
So too does getting on with and having the general respect of those around you.
“I love working alongside them all,” she says of a New Zealand equestrian squad, who will carry high hopes into the WEG.
Away from work, Dobbie enjoys time with her family, partner Collin and Louie, of course. She loves to read, walk on the beach, travel, catch up with mates and cook.
And she gets to do it all from her little house by the beach in Gisborne. “I feel very lucky to be able to do what I love.”
By Chris Taewa
Photo credit is Paul Rickard/The Gisborne Herald