From time to time I get asked a little about myself and my background.
So at the risk of boring you - here is the "life story".
I was born in November 1959 to Tom and Isbabella Pratt (nee Mortensen).
Dad was born in 1926, the 7th child in a family of 14. Mum was born in 1929, she was the 8th child in a family of 11. Both ere born in Wanganui.
Dad was forced to leave school at 13 as the family simply couldn't afford to make ends meet. Even though the worst of the depression had passed - feeding 14 kids (including 2 sets of twins) was an expensive job. My grandfather worked on the wharves in Wanganui (at that time it was thriving port), and Dad got a job as a delivery boy working for the local biscuit factory - a job he lost 2 years later when he "rolled the van" swerving to miss a pedestrian that have stepped on to the road without looking. From 15 mum worked for a local bookbinder in Wanganui where she served a bookbinding apprenticeship.
Despite lying about his age Dad missed being drafted for the Army. He joined the ATC when he was 16 and was promoted to Flight Seargent in 1942. He spent two years running PT courses for ATC cadets in Wanganui. He finally got the "call up" late in 1944 - but by then it was too late and so he never saw active service.
He joined a local timber mill in Wanganui and was quickly promoted to "dresser out". He met mum at a dance that year and they got married in 1947. Desperate for a 'company' house he joined the railways and moved around a number of locations in the central north island. My sister Jenny was born in 1950 and my brother Stephen 2 years later in 1952. They were basically on the "bones of their bum"; mum would look after "rich kids" after school to earn a few extra dollars and Dad would trap possums at night, clearing the traps early in the morning before going to work. It was enough to enable them to save for their first car.
In the early 1950's the dairy industry was beggining to boom; and the pay was better than the railways - and included a company house. Dad studied by correspondence to get his "boiler ticket" - as he'd been told by the local dairy factory in Rata that if he had his boiler ticket they could take him on as a "First Assistant". He started at the Rata Dairy factory in 1957.
In 1959 when I came along they were still living in Rata. The car Dad had bought had turned out to be a bit of a lemon and he found out that there was a crack in the distributor cap. Apparently he'd found a work around - but sadly it turned to custard the day that mum went into labour with me. The trip from Rata to Hunterville is only a few kilometres but with Dad having to stop every few hundred metres it took 3 hours to get there. They finally arrived at 10.30pm at night, and I was born in the early hours of the following morning.
Early in 1960 Dad applied for a job as "butter maker" at the Moa dairy factory in Inglewood. He got the job, so 79 Rata Street, Inglewood was to be the family home until 1966. I went to the Inglewood Kindergarten; and then Inglewood Primary; while Jenny and Stephen went to Inglewood High School. It was here that Dad joined the Craft. He was initiated into the Moa Lodge on 18 February, 1963.
In 1966 Dad succesfully applied for the Manager's job at the Featherston Dairy factory - so we again moved; this time to the Manager's house in Featherston. From the time I was 6 until I started Kuranui College in Greytown in 1973, I attended the South Featherston Primary School. I have vivid recollections of crossing the paddocks to get to school and then repeating the same exercise on the way home. They were very happy days.
After 5 years at Kuranui College I was all set to head off to Massey University where I had been accepted to do a degree in Food Science. On a whim our local BNZ Bank Manager offered me a job at the Featherston Branch which I accepted. At that time they were looking for male staff in Wellington Branches so with the lure of 2% housing loan I bought my first house in Johnsonville and worked at the BNZ North End.
While I was at the BNZ I completed my Bankers Institute of New Zealand exams; and they funded my part-time Bachelor of Commerce Degree at Victoria (with a Political Science major).
In 1981 I got married and had two children - Rebecca born in 1990 and Jordan in 1991.
An opportunity to join the Post Office in 1983 was simply too good to refuse; and after spending a couple of years at their Johnsonville Branch I was promoted to their "Field Operations Division" in Head Office on Waterloo Quay. They say life is all about "timing" and it was in early 1986 that Mason and Morris published their review into the New Zealand Post Office. I was lucky enough to be picked to work in the team that created "New Zealand Post". Once the new structure was announced I was promoted to District Operations Manager in 1987 - and National Sales Manager in 1988. It was in this role that I developed my love of technology. I couldn't get enough of it, so decided in 1990 to leave New Zealand Post to work for a computer chain store that was opening in Wellington as their Regional Manager. In 1992 I saw an opportunity to start a Shareware distribution company - and so moved to Masterton to set up shop there. We were the first company in the world to perfect the download of software over an 0900 service - which provided the funding to set up offices in Australia and Bath (England).
All good things must come to an end - and in 1994 I developed serious recurring bouts of ulcerative colitis. These became so serious that I was receiving twice weekly blood transfusions at Masterton Hospital. The situation became dire in early 1996 when I was told the condition had irretrievably worsened and that the outlook was bleak. The condition had taken its toll and in February of that year my marriage ended.
I was very fortunate that my Masterton doctor petitioned to have funding released from Masterton Hospital in order for major surgery to be undertaken in Auckland by Professor Hill who was a recognised global expert in bowel surgery. In June 1996 I flew to Auckland, had the surgery and stayed in Auckland Public Hospital for 26 days. I returned to Masterton but against Dr's orders resumed work way too quickly and within a few weeks was rehospitalised with complications. I made the concious effort to liquidate the businesses and I then took 18 months off to recover completely. Early in 1997 I returned to Auckland hospital for the 'reversal' surgery which required another 10 days in hospital.
I decided late in 1998 to return to "consulting" and had several contracts including Y2K gigs in the UK. I returned to New Zealand in 1999 where I took up contract work with the Wellington City Council.
In 2000 I met Tania who had 4 kids from a previous marriage. In 2002 we married and became the Bradybunch! Rebecca and Jordan came to live with us in 2005 so we purchased a lifestyle block in Tawa to give the 6 kids lots of outdoor space to run around. We sold the farm in 2015 and purchased our current property in Paremata where we have been ever since.
Since 1999 I have specialised in managing gnarly and complex IT projects. In that time I have worked for numerous Government Departments and computer vendors. In 2017 I accepted a permanent opportunity working for the Department of Internal Affairs as an Account Manager driving uptake of All of Government IT solutions. It is the best job in government. I love it!
In 2009 We built our first Subway Restaurant in Tawa. 2 years later we purchased the Johnsonville Subway and a year later built the Miramar store. We subsequently sold Johnsonville and Miramar and now Tania runs our Tawa store.
Tania and I are both marriage celebrants, something we love and are looking forward to doing more of it as we get closer to retirement.
Rebecca turned 30 this year and has a successful beauty business in Invercargill. She is married to Keegan and produced our first grandson Crue nearly 9 years ago. Keegan's work involves building large tanks for holding effluent. Our second eldest Brittany works for an accountant in Palmerston North; her husband Matt is a helicopter pilot for the Airforce at Ohakea. They produced our first grand daughter (Macie) 4 weeks ago - and due to the lockdown - we are still to meet her face to face.
Jordan is our eldest boy. He travels the world with the military. He is currently based at both Trentham and Linton.
Kendall, our 3rd eldest daughter is married to Jose (Zeh). Kendall is a flight attendant for Air New Zealand; and her Brazillian-born husband Zeh manages the Wellington Hospital Gym as well as being a Personal Trainer. They were responsible for our second grandson, Lucas - who turns 1 in May!
Our fourth daughter Bailey is an Executive Assistant for a businessman in Melbourne who owns a number of Wall Climbing Gymnasiums; and our youngest son Johnson is based in Wellington and has his own carpet laying business.
Mum and Dad retired to Wanganui in the early-1980's. Mum passed away in 2003 and Dad died in 2013. My sister Jenny held the lease on the Marinoto Rest Home in Inglewood for a number of years. She passed in 2017 and my brother Stephen is self employed and lives in Wanganui.
You can read more about my masonic journey by clicking here. My hobbies and interests are wide and varied and include 3d printing, laser cutting, fine art printing, and web site development. I am also way too fond of good single malts. Tania and I both love to travel and have been fortunate to see most of the world. There are still a few destinations on the bucket list though.
So there you have it - everything you ever wanted to know - but were too afraid to ask!