Me

Family history has it 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 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 do not know 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 my parents struggled 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 embarked 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). From early retirement in 1996, I contracted as a public affairs consultant to the Sable Offshore Energy Project and Maritimes and North East Pipeline in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I followed these assignments as a communications consultant in Calgary for the early Mackenzie Pipeline Project and Westside Kings Church.

At 61 I entered the business world and bought a Calgary digital and offset print shop. I sold that after 10 years and returned to writing.

Everything I have done has been an adventure, something born in that small city where I grew up. Global adventuring followed my six-month Antarctic adventure as information officer/photographer with the New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme in 1968-69. Almost two years followed in the Fiji Island’s 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, enjoyed wilderness camping with my family, and took part in multi-day cross-country ski tours across northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Multi-day and one-day solo bike touring in New Zealand and Canada were challenging summer activities.

Among the things I’ve achieved 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 58 years. 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 two great-grandsons, and a great-granddaughter.