Master­ton to Ore­gon story

Wairarapa News - - CONVERSATIONS -

A Stuff Q&A se­ries looks at ex­pat lives. An 18-month ca­reer op­por­tu­nity for a for­mer Master­ton boy turned into a 22-year ad­ven­ture for Barry Clay­ton and fam­ily.

Where are you from?

I was born in West­port, grew up in Master­ton and played rugby for Wairarapa Bush un­der the great coach­ing of Sir Brian Lo­chore. My wife Jo, three sons and I moved to Sydney in 1993 and then to Port­land, Ore­gon, US in 1995 with a fourth son born in Aus­tralia (bug­ger). My claim: I be­lieve I am the only Kiwi dad to have four boys all play for New Zealand in in­ter­na­tional matches and all on the field to­gether (in the New Zealand men’s lacrosse at the world cup). My sons are Richard, Michael, An­drew and John.

What in­spired your move, and how long have you been there?

There was an op­por­tu­nity in the bak­ery in­gre­di­ents busi­ness and it was planned as an 18-month op­por­tu­nity. We have been in Lake Oswego, Ore­gon, for 22 years.

What do you do there?

I was a found­ing part­ner in an en­zyme tech­nol­ogy com­pany that even­tu­ally sold to As­so­ci­ated Bri­tish Foods and be­came part of the AB Mauri divi­sion serv­ing the bak­ing in­dus­try. I am cur­rently man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for bak­ery in­gre­di­ents re­spon­si­ble for three fa­cil­i­ties: one in Greenville, Texas; one in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and the fa­cil­ity we founded in Wil­sonville, Ore­gon.

What are the great­est ad­van­tages to liv­ing there?

Ore­gon is very sim­i­lar to New Zealand with trees, moun­tains and rivers. We are very for­tu­nate to live on a mag­nif­i­cent lake where we can boat down­town, en­joy the restau­rants and safely boat home. The scenery is spec­tac­u­lar and does not have the pop­u­la­tion of Cal­i­for­nia! Ore­gon also has spec­tac­u­lar winer­ies and they do not at­tract the large crowds of Cal­i­for­nia.


The dis­ad­van­tages are the lack of rugby and cricket cov­er­age. Plus we miss the down-to-earth Kiwi cul­ture.

How ex­pen­sive is it com­pared to New Zealand?

Ore­gon has the ad­van­tage of no sales tax, al­though we do have a 10 per cent state in­come tax. Over­all the cost of liv­ing to raise four boys is sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper than in New Zealand on a day-to-day ba­sis but is off­set by crazy univer­sity costs and health­care costs later in life. Beer is cheap – $3 for a six pack – and Ore­gon has nu­mer­ous mi­cro-brew­eries. Port­land is known to have one of the best di­verse food cul­tures in the United States.

What do you do in your spare time?

I en­joy rid­ing my BMW RT 1200 motorbike.

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