Joan Fountain – TUNZ Secretary 2016-2024

Joan recently resigned from her position as TUNZ Secretary.  Here’s a bit on an insight as to who Joan Fountain is, which is a very special lady and true martial artist who TUNZ is very fortunate to have involved in our organisation.

Many people know Joan through her work for the Union however I have had the pleasure of knowing her all my life.  Not only is she my mum but also one of my best friends and I feel honoured to share some of her history and achievements many people will not be aware of.

Joan was born in a very small town called Trail, nestled in the mountains and on the edge of the Hudson River in British Columbia, Canada.  After meeting David at The University of Calgary, they married and then made the move to New Zealand (as David grew up in Christchurch) to begin their lives together.  Joan worked in many interesting organisations over her long and successful career.  Beginning in secretarial roles and then moving into teaching English and Social Studies at Awatapu High School and then Physical Education and Typing at Palmerston North Girls High School.  She worked for Massey University in their English Department and tutored many students whose English was their second language.  Joan’s teaching career also took her to some unexpected places such as the Manawatu Youth Justice Prison (where she became famous for using her taekwondo blocks to deflect a hurtling chair that was thrown) and then to a role working in the first small school set up for the Plymouth Brethren Church community in the Manawatu.  Wherever she worked she was loved by her students (and well respected as a bit of a bad ass after the chair incident).  After her daughters Vivienne and Zoe had finished their secondary education Joan then reevaluated her career aspirations and decided to pursue a three-year bachelor’s degree in nursing.  Her mother had been a nurse in Canada and Joan had always respected this role as one which combined empathy and care with professional and scientific duties.  She spent time working in the Palmerston North hospital and then moved to Occupational Health with a private contracted company.  She always had a very caring nature and these roles were ultimately fulfilling for her in this way.

Outside of her working life Joan has never shied away from a situation where she could help out.  Along with David the desire to be parents took them on a path where they found themselves in the fortunate position of fostering two brothers Matthew and Stephen.  This brought a real richness to their lives that they then built on when they were able to have Vivienne and then Zoe.  The family was a strong unit who supported each other through thick and thin.  When Steve passed from a 10-year long battle with cancer in 2014, it was Joan who held the family together and even though her own grief was deep, she was their rock.

Joan and Dave had always advocated for the martial arts and when they lived in California for a time, they joined a local karate club where Dave earned his orange belt and Joan quite liked the “gorgeous instructor, Clay”!  When Dave expressed a desire to get his daughters into taekwondo at the local Ashhurst Rugby Clubrooms, Joan was truly supportive, and when they themselves started they often joked they’d be happy to just get their green belts.  31 years on and Joan has achieved her 4th Dan Black Belt and David his 3rd.

Joan’s passion for taekwondo has extended further than the training aspect as she has gone on to take up roles as Co Instructor at the Ashhurst Club, Ashhurst Club Head Instructor, TUNZ Examiner, and then with TUNZ as the long-standing Secretary and even progressing to the role as President (the first woman!) for two years.

Joan has always been a glass half full type of person who loves to bring out the best in people but who also can hold her own.  She is a truly strong woman who continues to be a role model for her children and now her grandchildren.

Thank you to the TUNZ Executive Council and wider taekwondo community for all the support and joy you have brought to Joan over these 31 years.  She holds taekwondo very close to her heart and it’s because of its member’s she has wanted to volunteer and work so hard in her roles for so long.

Going forward she and David, my dad, will still be around and involved.  Joan is always up for a good chat – as long as the chairs stay firmly planted on the floor!!

Vivienne Barrett
TUNZ Interim Secretary (and proud daughter)