Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Over the years I've talked a lot about life-long learning. For the most part a lot of that learning is informal. It doesn't get letters after your name and sometimes that is not a bad thing. Other times things crop up and one lacks credibility because there are no letters or certificate or piece of paper to validate that one has the skills in question.

I am self taught in many things. Skills have been fined and honed with practice and along lifes pathway I'm become quite accomplished in a few different fields.

This year I have taken an opportunity to do some extra study. Quite apart from the fact that the manager on my day job was encouraging it, I got annoyed at a few people doubting, undermining and ridiculing what I had to offer. So over the next year or two I've decided to see what I can do to get a few more letters.

It turns out that I can quite likely get a number of credits in "Recognition of Prior Learning". That will equate to about half of a graduate diploma. Isn't that nice? Being self taught has some rewards after all, a real cost saving.

I'll only get through a couple of papers this year. It will be a juggling act. I've just been asked to coach and/or manage a rugby team. There is a restructure going on at work and this year more than any others my sons might need some extra support because of their involvement in various sporting and cultural events.

Actually, it is hard to believe we are 3 months into the year already. If I don't blog again for a while it is because I got overtaken with all the "to dos".

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Greetings One and All,

What a year 2011 was. The economic recession made for a quiet motel year.
The death of my father was a time for some self reflection.
The year had a number of other heartbreaks, setbacks and tragedies, but as they say; "That's Life!"

We all have things that dent our confidence and make us wonder why things happen.
I'm not going to be all philosophical and pontificate on the reasons. I am not one for making New Year resolutions, which are usually forgotten before the end of January anyway. I have however decided that I want to try and do a few things better, nothing in particular, but just be more committed to doing well those things that are the stuff of life.

So here's to 2012, a chance to make good and work towards enhancing and improving performance in all areas and involvements.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Time for an update

I just posted on our relaunched Waitomo Creative blog ( )that I have this personal blog here that I don't update too often.

My critical self-appraisal is that my posts here so far have probably been way too long.
They started out with a single or simple idea and grew as I went.
So I'm going to try to make shorter more meaningful, more frequent and focussed posts.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Living in Tiki Street

I purchased some product from an Etsy Vendor recently and in the response to my packaging request she said: "I have to say, I wish I lived in Tiki Street in New Zealand! Sounds wonderful."

So, What is a tiki and why is the street called Tiki Street?

In the Māori language, the word 'tiki' was the name given to large wooden carvings in roughly human shape, although this is a somewhat archaic usage. The modern term tiki actually refers to hei-tiki and is an ornamental neck pendant of the Maori which also represents a humanoid figure. Hei-tiki are usually made of greenstone (nephrite jade) and worn around the neck. The street is so named because it is the site where a tiki was once given to honour Maniapoto the great chief whose decendants still live in the area. The story of Hangatiki is told in an earlier blog "The Tiki That Was Made"

What do you see at Tiki Street that sounds or looks wonderful?

Hangatiki is the gateway to Waitomo Caves village and the world famous Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, which gets close to a million tourist visitors every year. It is close to the Main Trunk line, the rail line that runs from the far north down through the island to the southern tip. So on the negative side, this small rural area does have periods of time when traffic noise can be heard and the train as it passes through.

There are frequent occasions when a rainbow appears in the sky, the promise of hope and life.

My property has a number of trees and at the right time of the year we are visited by tui and kereru. They are truly beautiful.

The neighbours have a minagery of animals a petting zoo in fact. The donkeys and miniature horses are periodically grazed on my land; A very efficient lawn mowing service indeed.

I don't like the close confines of living in town. I like my rural setting at Tiki Street in Hangatiki.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lest We Forget

April 25, is the day that Australians and New Zealanders commemorate the fallen and those who served in the armed forces to defend our countries and those of our allies.

It was 95 years ago that the ANZACs landed at a cove in Gallipoli that now bears their name. It was the first time that our nations had engaged in War as independant colonies and through that and subsequent campaigns ANZAC troops carved for themselves an international reputation that stands even today as some of the world's best soldiers.

As a younger man I didn't really have much appreciation of the significant of the sacrifice made. However now, as a father of my own children and different perspective, I have a gratitude and appreciation. I live in a country that enjoys peace. We have liberty to determine much of our own path in life.

My Grandfather, who I never knew, fought at Flanders Fields in the British Army during the First World War. My Father, too young to serve in Europe, joined the RNZAF in 1942 and served in the Pacific during the later years of World War II. The both returned from war and in time started families.

We owe a debt of gratitude to those that fought and to those that died, Their death and sacrifice brought for us the freedom that we enjoy today. Wars are tragic and sad, but when we appreciate oour freedom we have and the ideals of those went, we must never forget.

Thanks Grandad. Thanks Dad.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hangatiki - The tiki that was made.

For some time I have contended that when there are stories to go with an experience, it adds meaning and significance to the experience. Historical and cultural landmarks can become memorable if there is a story to go with it.

A few years ago, I was told the story of the tiki that was built, but the details were sketchy. I figured that where I live and my motel site is arguably pretty close to the place of the story, although I had some doubts because of the location of a cave referred to.

I recently visited a kaumatua (elder), who confirmed for me that my motel, at the foot of Pukeroa, is in fact the place where the event took place.

The following story was recounted to me by Walter Anderson:

As Maniapoto (The ancestor after whom the Ngati Maniapoto tribe is named) got into his twilight years he made a shift from Hikurangi to Te Ana Ureure at Pukeraro between Hangatiki and Te Korapatu Marae.

Te Ana a Ureure, where Manaipoto lived
He lived for sometime here, before moving to Kauae, now known as Hangatiki. The maunga (mountain/hill) here is Pukeroa and on its slopes, was where Maniapoto handed the mauri (essence/mantle) of leadership over to his son Te Kawairirangi. When he sensed his time was near, Maniapoto asked his brother in-law Tuirirangi, to call the tribe together. He was worried that if he called the hui himself, the people would think it was a call to war.

After speaking to the assembly, Maniapoto called on different groups to perform the haka. The last group to perform, included his son Te Kawairirangi who performed the haka Tuwaewae. It was so terrifying, it gladdened Maniapoto’s heart.

It was from this hui that the Maniapoto whakatauaki (saying) came about;
‘Kia mau tena, kia mau ki te kawau maro.’ (In unity there is strength)

Maniapoto died shortly after, surrounded by his people and a "hei tiki" was carved by Pohoroa to commemorate his death and the area was renamed Hangatiki (the tiki that was made).

This is not the carving referred to in the story above. However is is a depiction of Maniapoto in his cave. This carving is found in Te Kohaarua, the ancestral meeting house at Maniaroa.
A further note about the whakatauki referred to above;
The more literal translation is: Hold fast to this, Hold fast to the swoop of the cormorant.
The kawau maro or cormorant bird (shag) was a military term and metaphor a for trianguilar formation, the shape the shag makes when it dives into the sea.
Maniapoto was expressing his wish that his people would continue to be a tribe of warriors.
These were his last words in public. Before the people dispersed Maniapoto passed away.

Friday, February 26, 2010

My Hats

Periodically, even frequently I'm asked by people in their effort to pigeon hole me and/or make connections; "Who are you?", What are you?" and "What do you do?".

We are often defined by and measured against the the various things we do or the roles we hold. I guess for some of us we are so busy being busy and doing whatever our roles require that they become the defining things. What about the real me or the real you? Are those entities different to the one defined by a specific role?

Vocationally I have three hats. By day I work as a mobile tutor for a polytechnic, which some readers my better understand as a community college. Having spent a number of years as a primary/elementary school teacher and principal, I made a change and moved into adult education.

Now in my 5th year I visit locations in a 10,000 sq km region with laptop computers and a trailer equipped with a satellite dish for internet access, and deliver online computing programs or day workshops to help people in rural and remote places have access to technology and the opportunity to upskill. I built a site dedicated to this work to show where when and how we are making a difference in the rural heartland of New Zealand.

My wife and I own a motel near the world famous Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and when I am not on the road I'm at home wearing my motellier hat trying to keep the motel in good order and repair.

My third hat is probably my greatest passion at the present time. I run another business entity called Waitomo IT Solutions. It earns me the least amount of money but gives me the greatest amount of satisfaction. For a number of years, I was the person friends and neighbours called on to fix their computers. Ususally all I got was a word of thanks but now days I am less inclined to do things because a friend of a friend said that I could and would. My chargeout rate is cheaper than the technicians in town but my time is valuable and nothing is free.

The area of this business that I am developing though, is the web development and hosting side of things. I have a number of clients in 3 different countries and the sites range from the simple brochure advert to full content management systems. Artwork was always an area that I wasn't so confident with. Recently, however, I have begun working in partnership with Raven Muse to provide quality original artwork, headers and logos for my clients.

While sometimes it seems that I am all about work, there are other roles and interests that contribute to the definition of who I am. I am the father of four, 2 girls 18 and 16, and 2 boys 14 and 12. They are good kids. I'm proud of each of them (No recent photo though I'm afraid).

Over the years I have been involved in numerous community activities and groups. In the past I have held leadership roles in churches and trade union branch committees. I am currently the secretary of the Waitomo Axe and Gun Club and Otorohanga Axeman's Association. I am the vice President of the Otorohanga County Fair Association, but that committee is in recess at the present time. I'm also on the Waitomo Caves Sports Day committee. Last year I managed the provicincial representative rugby team that my son was selected for.

It is a bit of a struggle to say "No" sometimes. That can, on ocassion, cause a bit of conflict when those at home think they should take precedence over the here and now of the group or activity I'm involved in. While involvement in these activities does meet a social need for me, the clay bird shooting, chopping and rugby are also the interests and sporting activities of my son. So for the most part, my current continued involvement is primarily to give him opportunities and support that he might otherwise not have.

I guess one could say that I'm given to serving others. I do try and hopefully with the right motivation and for the right reasons. One of the greatest joys and rewarding experiences I think one can have is knowing you have helped someone and made a difference.