Life is what you make it
Iwas born in Auckland, but in my late teens we used to come on road trips up north. Every year we would go camping at Pinetree Lodge in Ahipara, and became good friends with the Tatnells, who ran the campground back then. We got on really well with this family. We would spend our days on adventures around the reef, and have a whale of a time all day.
I formed a lasting relationship with Ahipara, and about 20 years ago we bought our house here. We still go back and forth to Auckland for work, but spend all our summers up here.
What I love about Ahipara is the beach. I can get out in my Explorer wheelchair and go down the beach. It’s perfect when the tide’s out and the sand is hard; there aren’t really many places where you can go like that in a wheelchair.
In 2006 I helped start the Ahipara Gamefish Club. Ginty Morrogh and I were talking about marlin fishing, and the Houhora competitions, and that we should start our own club. We asked around and all the hands went up; we realised we had quite a few keen guys here. I really enjoy their company.
When you’re out fishing, you never know what you are going to catch. It might be a big monster, a dirty old shark or a trophy fish. That’s the fun of it. I caught my first marlin in 2003, and it was awesome seeing the fish weigh in at 91.3 kilograms. It was like looking at a horse for me back then.
I’ve been fishing both here and overseas. Fishing in the North is awesome. It is relatively untouched, and not many people fish off the west coast. Our tournaments only scratch the surface.
I’m going to be spending this summer fishing and out on the beach in my Ripchair. I have a little company that builds the 6X6 Explorer All Terrain wheelchairs, but then I saw a documentary about Howe and Howe technologies, based in America. They specialise in military equipment, and they started making specialty wheelchairs when they saw the veterans coming back from Iraq with amputations. They designed the Ripchair so these guys can get out and have some fun. Now I’ve got one too.
I’m pretty easy going, I go with the flow, and think life is what you make it. I’ve travelled the world and done a lot, but I’ve still got a lot more to do. Life has been great to me.