Family history has it that I fell out of a five-ton truck when I was three years old, maybe four. This is not something I’m not all that familiar with but I do recall standing in the truck, one of those cab over things of the early 1940s. I think my elder brother and sister were sitting in the middle of the bench seat, my mother had my younger brother on her knee, my Dad was driving and I was kinda wedged in the corner between the windshield and the door which had one of those old fashioned unprotected left to right levers to open. Nothing else comes to mind except being in hospital and being with kids racing around on a tricycle. I have no idea of the injuries that put me there.
I was born in Masterton, New Zealand, in 1940 and the family moved soon after that to New Plymouth where my Dad found new work. We stayed in that coastal place and mostly grew, played, schooled, and enjoyed an awesome mountain at the back door, native bush, lakes, rivers, homemade tin canoes, bicycles, dairy farms, Jersey cows and amazing surf and warm sandy beaches. Another brother and sister came along and rounded out our large family. Against this backdrop there were volatile years of heartache and pain as my mother fought cancer and as my parents fought to hold a family together. We survived. Family picnics and days at the beach were precious.
I quit high school on my terms and with the support of my english teacher and the careers counsellor found myself embarking on a writing career as a 17 year old reporter at the local evening daily newspaper, the Taranaki Herald, known as the best training ground in the country and the oldest newspaper.
So began my life with words.
Curiosity and adventure took me to the Daily Telegraph (Napier), New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, Antarctica, (New Zealand Press Association), Fiji Times and Herald, Daily Herald Tribune (Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada), Whitehorse Star (Editor), Ashburton Guardian (Editor, NZ), Fort McMurray TODAY (publisher), New Zealand Synthetic Fuels Corporation (manager, public affairs) Mobil Oil New Zealand (manager, public affairs), Mobil Oil Canada (manager, public affairs), Mobil Corporation (international public affairs advisor, (Fairfax, Virginia, US). I took early retirement and went under under contract as public affairs consultant to the Sable Offshore Energy Project and Maritimes and North East Pipeline in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and followed these assignments as a communications consultant in Calgary for the early Mackenzie Pipeline Project and Westside Kings Church.
At 61 I thought I’d try the business world and bought a Calgary digital and offset print shop. I sold that after 10 years and returned to writing.
My view is that everything I have done has been an adventure, something born in that small city I grew up in. Global adventuring began following my six month Antarctic adventure as information officer and photographer with the New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme in 1968-69. Almost two years followed in the Fiji Islands capital of Suva and then it was to a new life in western Canada. I raced a dog team in the 1972 three day Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous, took my family wilderness camping, took part in multi-day cross country skiing tours across northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, solo bike touring in New Zealand and Canada.
One of the first books I read was A.A. Milne’s Winnie-The Pooh and the bear-of-very-little-brain still occupies a corner of my writing space. Among the things I’ve done is helping to lay the foundation for the TransTasman solo yacht race in New Plymouth, New Zealand, developing cross country skiing in Grande Prairie, Alberta, and forming the Wapiti Cross Country Ski Club, forming a charitable society in the late 70s in Fort McMurray to assist the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees, helping to complete a church and buildings in Loncoche, Chile, and supporting three children through World Vision over the past 20 years.
My life now is in Calgary with Lois, an accomplished artist who has stuck by me for almost 55 years now. Two of our daughters live nearby and our eldest daughter returned a few years ago with her children to the city of her birth, New Plymouth. We have eight grandchildren and one great grandson.
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