In 2007, Keri Hayden stood at the front of assembly each week and addressed the school assembly as Head of Sport. While she has gone on to represent New Zealand on the sports field, it is her role as live-in aide-de-camp, a military expression for a personal assistant or secretary to a person of high rank, that has seen her hitting headlines and making us all envious of her "modern-day Downton Abbey life."
Keri Hayden joined the navy in 2008 after "falling in love" with the navy band when it visited Nga Tawa. She contacted a recruiter soon after to find out more.
After five years as an officer she left to complete a degree, but kept the door open by remaining a navy reservist, allowing her to perform full-time active duty despite studying.
However, after coming across a job opportunity for a military officer to work with the Governor General her heart was set. She had always had it in the back of her mind and went after her dream role where she gets to travel the world and meet impressive world leaders.
The demand on Keri's time is high, with not much time off. It is a year-long post and she calls Government House home. She meets with Dame Patsy each day to discuss her schedule and also liaises with event managers, arranges travel, organises appointments, speeches and correspondence.
"This job, the Governor General, is your No.1 priority. They made that clear from the first moment," she says.
In just five short months Keri's seen and experienced a lot and she has developed a passion for travel. Last week she was in Vanuatu. Two weeks before she was in Belgium and England for the Messines commemoration. At the start of the year she went to Niue and the Cook Islands for Dame Patsy's first international travel.
One thing is for sure, she's taking this once in a lifetime opportunity with both hands.