A child of the late 1950s I grew up on Wellington, New Zealand. Took an interest in cycling and walking from an early age doing countless accents of Mt Kaukau near my home in Kandallah, Wellington, New Zealand. At 12 or 13yrs I restored my father’s old bicycle after many years of gathering dust and use by my older brother.
In my secondary school years, I became interested in technical pursuits. Technical drawing, Science and polyhedron Models.
In the later years of secondary school, I took up audio electronics with the encouragement and help of my good friend Tim Homes. Building my first Stereo at 17-18years old and with Tim and Ian Hay building a small-scale wind turbine sited in Johnsonville in the late 1970’s.
I had ambitions of Architecture; however, my academic achievements were not able to take me there and I completed a Bsc in Physics in 1980. Also, during this time completing two more amplifiers and transmission line speakers.
After completing my BSc I was I feel extremely fortunate to have applied for and got a job at Zetka Industries (Paul McLaren and David Berger were the directors). I remember this time of my life being intense with full weeks at work on Audio (into the evenings often) and hard weekends in the hills after joining the Tararua tramping club combining a love of the outdoors with an interest in photography around Wellington and further afield on long weekends and Christmas.
I purchased a house in 1985 in Johnsonville and in order to make this affordable on one income I gathered flatmates the majority of whom were Tararua tramping club members. This further intensified the weekends away with as many a six in a row at times and a decade (1981-1991) in which I was in the mountains and bush over 365 days. I was also cycling 15km each way to work around three days a week keeping me extremely fit.
In 1989 two of the flatmates departed for the UK which led me to follow suit, taking a 6-month sabbatical to attend two weddings (overseas) and cycle around the UK and Europe, spend about four weeks in Toronto on the way back. There was an ambition to live and work in Europe and to this end I applied for a few jobs, I only got one interview with Naim Audio. Who could only offer me a repair position at considerably less than what I had been earning in New Zealand. Needless to say, the offer was refused.
On my return I returned to my position with Zetka Industries and re-established my life in my house. Spending time in the mountains and supporting a flatmate in the “Xerox Challenge” a multisport race from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
In a little over one-year Zetka went into liquidation. The major cause being the share market collapse of 1987. In 1991 I started Amplifier Consultants and purchased McLaren Audio from Zetkas receivers and equipped the required workshop to continue with the brand. I continued to manufacture and design soon realising that the New Zealand industry was changing such that local brands were no longer supported by retailers unless they had an international aspect and even then, less so than imported product.
I adapted by providing CD player upgrades and then moved into upgrading McLaren and other brand amplifiers. A process which I believe should have a huge following as we can no longer afford throw away products and the planetary destruction the goes along with this.
1998 brought a son and a move to Taiwan for three and half years. The first two and a half I spent looking after my first son Jason. It was at this point in early 1998 a decision was made to no longer produce new McLaren equipment, sales were slow and purchasers seemed more interested more in the boasting rights of the systems than how they sounded. For the last Year of my stay in Taiwan I work with Multistar industries on design of subwoofer amplifiers with no reference to my McLaren Intellectual property.
On my return I found a job with a Crown research Institute. First on contract for a three-month trial. Then interviewed for a full-time position which I secured. This job has evolved over the time (21yrs). Initially building and installing an instrument measuring the density of sawn logs in timber mills. As the number of installs declined, I moved over to ongoing design construction and support for scientific equipment and other portable gauges, acquiring the required skills and expertise as things progressed. Working around science related to carbon dating, new materials science, climate change science and geology.
My second son Alexander was born in 2002 after our return from Taiwan.
In 2012 I separated from my first wife moving to a small somewhat run-down house in Johnsonville, providing me with much greater freedom to pursue my interests and passions. I returned to cycling and tramping as well as revisiting audio design work along with a lot of DIY projects.
I remarried to Joan in 2015 while living in the Johnsonville house and continued with Joan to tramp cycle and complete DIY projects including a 10 square meter shed which became a dedicated electronics workshop.
In 2020 we moved to a lifestyle block near Wellington. This has curbed some of the tramping. But we are enjoying a quieter environment and having the space to do things that are not possible in a city and enjoying a wonderful garden left by the previous owners which I understand was a 27+ year project. We are now keeping bees and have seven dorking hens and one cat.
Climate change (Global Warming) and the Ecological collapse have become very important issues and we are making our contribution by restoring a floodplain swamp on the lower part of the property and also trying to find a contractor who will take on fencing the top part of the property so we can replant with native trees. As well as having made a huge reduction in our direct consumption fossil fuel.