• William Pike in the outdoors he loves.
  • William Pike speaking.
  • William Pike and one of his trusty Pro Armour Prosthetics.
  • William Pike Challenge students participating in the William Pike Challenge Community Service.
  • William Pike and an appreciative audience.
  • William Pike

The inspirational William Pike

William Pike is the key note speaker for the North Harbour Club’s Business Excellence (BEN) Breakfast being held at Regatta Bar & Eatery on Tuesday 28 May. The Westlake old-boy (Westlaker) has a very interesting life-story, achieving big things as a high achieving student and sportsperson at Westlake, then doing a degree with honours at university and going on to be a teacher. His world came tumbling down as a result of being crushed in the eruption on Mt Ruapehu in 2007. Despite losing a leg William has never looked back in the 17 years since that life-changing event. He’s an inspiration. Channel Mag’s Aidan Bennett caught up with him during April.

I am looking forward immensely to William Pike’s presentation at the North Harbour Club BEN Breakfast. It is incredible how he has used the events of 25 September 2007 to inspire him in everything he does.
William is the founder and director of the William Pike Challenge, an author, and of course an inspirational speaker. He speaks at corporate events and in schools throughout New Zealand. He retells his story of surviving the freak Mount Ruapehu eruption and the importance of stepping outside of your comfort zone to experience the extraordinary.
He’s done a lot. Just after his the accident William wrote an autobiography ‘Every Day’s a Good Day’, and his more recent work , developing the prosthetic device Pro Armour is hugely interesting. William is a sought-after motivational speaker who will be  inspiring and entertaining. My advice is get in quick as this breakfast event with sell out.
I liked this quote I found by William on his William Pike Challenge website. It really does capture what he is all about.
“People often say ‘you did so well’ to overcome the challenges you faced after Ruapehu accident. On the outside, it may have almost looked easy for me to get to where I am now. But I wasn’t born that way. The truth is, from a young age, I was doing stuff that would ultimately prepare me to deal with my biggest challenge to date – Ruapehu. I was prepared for life by my involvement in team sport, pushing my physical limits, finding great mates, being encouraged to achieve my personal best. In doing so, I was building a bank of resilience, confidence and life skills that were imperative to my survival.”
“As a 22-year-old when the accident happened, it was either going to be make or break,” reflected William Pike when I asked him  about the events of 25 September nearly 14 years ago.  “I'm grateful for the experiences in my life leading up to the accident that kept me on the straight and narrow, and helped me overcome such a traumatic event. Adventures in the great outdoors, sports, and solid relationships with friends and family gave me the courage, confidence and self-identity that I needed to overcome the challenges I faced.
“Sitting in my hospital bed, I could have never imagined how this event would shape my life. Enriched and amplified are the words I would use to explain my life since. Instead of being a teacher, my job at the time of the accident, and impacting 30 students a year, I now have an impact on close to 4000 kids a year through the William Pike Challenge. Speaking on stages around the world, starting multiple businesses, and being part of experiences that money can't buy are just a few examples."
William adds that it hasn’t all been plain sailing having to deal with the challenges of being an amputee. He mentions blisters, discomfort, time spent at the artificial limb centre (which he says has been significant at times), and not being able to do some things are some of the ongoing challenges.
He then expanded on how the William Pike Challenge concept came about.
“I was fortunate to have experiences in my teenage years, such as tramping, sports, and giving back in my community that I believe prepared me to overcome big challenges and shape me into the person I am today. After returning to the classroom as a teacher, I questioned whether the students in my class were prepared to step into their world with confidence and reach their full potential. I was not convinced. So, I had a wild vision; to get students into the outdoors, into their community and trying new stuff. For about 12 months I had my 'radar' on, looking for opportunities to bring my vision to life. I ended up connected with a school in Taupo and together we collaborated on the idea. After 12 months, they asked if they could call the initiative the 'William Pike Challenge'. I initially said no, but they twisted my arm and the rest is history.”
William has developed as an inspirational and sought-after key note speaker. He explains that this has developed over time, with experience and coaching.
“My very first speech was for the Ngātea Rotary club; I sat on a chair to deliver it and I sold 30 copies of my book straight afterwards. As a youngster, and even through teachers college, I certainly was not a confident speaker. My confidence as a speaker has come with time and experience. I have had coaching along the way, a few fails, such as forgetting content, and now have about 500 presentations under my belt.”
William added that as an inspirational speaker, he believes that having a sound strategic story or 'why' and life experiences is absolutely key. He says his strategic story and successes are centred around an ability to step outside of his comfort zone. He believes it's something we can all do.
Penguin Books first approached William to write his book while he was still in hospital back in late 2007. Once he got home, while in recovery mode he had nothing to do, so he put that time to good use and wrote ‘Every Day’s a Good Day’ on his couch and in his bed immediately following the accident. It took me six months to write and has sold close to 40,000 copies and has also been turned into Braille for the sight impaired.
More recently William has moved into business with his very own product called Pro Armour. He says he wanted other amputees to experience that same level of freedom and confidence that he was experiencing as a result of developing his own prosthetics. He says on a rainy night in 2020, while Covid was causing havoc around the world, he and his wife made a bold decision to start Pro Armour (short for Prosthetic Armour) from scratch. Hi sPro Armour products are now available in most international markets around the world.
“As an amputee, one of the major challenges I faced was the collection of dirt, dust, sand and water around my prosthetic foot and components,” says William about his own journey with prosthetics. “My limb began to malfunction and I needed frequent replacements. I began to shy away from everyday environments that weren’t prosthetic friendly, like the beach, garden and bush. My mental and physical health was taking setbacks as a result. I quickly learnt that dirty prosthetics were timely, costly and really frustrating for me, prosthetists and funders. So I decided to do something about it.
“After years of trials I finally landed on something that worked perfectly. All of a sudden I had the confidence and freedom to do more. It was an absolute game changer. I saved myself a huge amount of time and hassle not having to clean debris out of my prosthetic foot. Now our Pro Armour range is helping others as well, which is hugely rewarding.”
So what else has changed in William Pike’s life between 2007 and 2024, and what does he see the future looking like?
“I'm fortunate to have an incredible wife who has supported me in every aspect of my life, from being an amputee, to going hard in the great outdoors and helping me build a business with purpose. Along the way we've had two beautiful kids who are now aged four and seven.
“I'm excited to spend time with my kids and wife, and give them the experience and benefits of the great outdoors, and introduce them to many special places. I have big goals to expand the William Pike Challenge to different audiences, and the corporate sector is one. With Pro Armour, we're focussed on building relationships and awareness of Pro Armour products in the USA market. After just finishing an amazing six day adventure in Fiordland, I've got my thinking cap on for the next adventure.”

If you’re interested in coming along to listen to William Pike speak in Takapuna on Tuesday 28 May visit northharbourclub.co.nz. For more information on William Pike visit: williampikechallenge.co.nz or pro-armour.com