Matthew Hayden is well remembered for his cricketing exploits. The burly left-hander bludgeoned many an attack and his score of 380 is still the second highest ever at Test level. Most recently, he was recognised for these exploits with his induction into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
However, Hayden’s work after cricket may well surpass his sporting exploits. And that is not to demean his cricketing achievements. It is just that Hayden is doing so much good in the community.
“Playing international cricket is a very structured life – and I did that for a long time. After I finished cricket I wanted to have a bit of fun and to follow my passions,” he says. Hayden has been to many schools to preach a simple concept – plant the produce, grow it, harvest it and then cook it. Hayden has donated many gardens – and helped build most of them.
Hayden saw how well this worked in schools and was out fishing with a good mate Guy Reynolds, who is a Macquarie Bank executive. “We talked about how we might take this to concept to Aboriginal communities as we thought that was where we may be able to make the biggest difference.” Today, the Hayden Reynolds Tiwi College Project is a thriving community helping to improve the well being of youth on the Tiwi Islands, located 80 kilometres north of Darwin.
“I think this is my most significant achievement outside of cricket,” Hayden says.
Hayden and Reynolds looked at the Tiwi Islands to set up their program because among the population of just 2,500 people, the suicide rate is four times that of the rest of the country and when they arrived three years ago there was just one person under 25 employed on the islands.
The program now employs seven full-time graduating Tiwi College students under its apprenticeship program who are responsible for looking after various operational and social responsibilities of the college community.
There are several ongoing fund-raising mechanisms in place which have continued to grow and fund the Hayden Reynolds Tiwi College Project now in its 8th year.
Macquarie Bank has lead the charge under its Macquarie Group Foundation, sending up to seven groups of five staff annually – all of whom stay in hospitality facilities purpose built onsite.
‘It is a cultural emersion program for Macquarie Group where staff work in the class room, on the garden, learn to fish, dance and gather an overall understanding of Tiwi people’s lives. It has created a great opportunity for those who work in corporate Australia and everyone that comes here loves it.”
This is supplemented by celebrity fishing challenges hosted by Hayden annually along with a Sport and Cultural Celebration event another popular activity in the HRTCP calendar.
“I’ve always said that actions speak louder than words and you have to have a go at these things,” says Hayden. “I’m blessed to have strong friendships and great relationships around me which empowers me to make a difference.”
Hayden said that cricket taught him a lot about business – more specifically how to engage an audience “cricketers are entertainers and let’s face it who doesn’t like a good game or idea for that matter?” To this end, he has created a content solutions business called the Get Outside Group.
“My business is boutique, all about building on great ideas with the right partner and always with high end production and talent executions in play.” A typical day for Hayden is now geared around “the health and well-being of myself and of my family”. “Most mornings I get up and feed the chooks.
This morning I did a 55 kilometre bike ride, yesterday I did a run. If the weather is good I will go for a surf. Today, I will pick up my daughter after school and take her to her physio appointment. I have set up a home office (the home is his wife’s original family home). I usually have a series of calls or meetings but I try to make sure I do school pick up where possible. I try to be home for homework, cooking and bed.”
The day before our call, Hayden had spent the day on a full-day shoot for Century Yuasa Batteries, where he is an ambassador. He also works for NT Tourism where his company is the official content supplier for the Million Dollar Fish Campaign and Family Drive Campaign as well as being a Director in Australia for Indian car manufacturer Mahindra Automotive.
Hayden has been able to leverage his high profile combined with his ability to provide unique and interesting content. Hayden says he doesn’t want for much which he attributes to his upbringing on the family farm in Kingaroy which is 210 kilometres inland from Brisbane. His typical day would be the envy of those in the corporate world.
But what Hayden has been able to do is use his cricket profile to monetise his passions – multimedia content and lifestyle. Over the years and almost by stealth, Hayden has created a suite of media assets in the authentic media landscape that have inspired watchers and listeners all over the world.
Properties such as Matthew Hayden’s Home Ground on the Lifestyle channel or Willow Talk on the MMM Network has enabled us to see a different side of the burley cricketer we loved watching bludgeon opposition bowling attacks whilst we tucked into our Christmas Ham over the summer.
Hayden retired from Australian cricket in January 2009 the same year the Indian IPL launched. “Of course, lucrative contracts around the IPL towards the end of my career were an enormous bonus but the real value was not in the pay day but in the benefit of holding a significant and sustainable relationship with the Indian Cricketing community” Hayden says.
The fact is Australia’s losing series of India in 2001 where Hayden played a leading hand was just the tip of the iceberg. “My affinity with the people of India started from the day I arrived in Mumbai and it is no surprise this genuine connection has resulted in spending up to three months in the year working on various projects including broadcasting on the IPL,” said Hayden.
“At 45 I am 100% where I want to be. I have a diverse and interesting life and spend the majority of time with my family.”