I am 65 years old and I live in Bucklands Beach in Auckland, New Zealand. My wife Dianne, who used to be a famous hurdler, works as a librarian at Tangaroa College. I have three children who are not children any more, and four grandchildren who are.
Here is a photo of me:
I don’t look like this any more but I like the photo because it makes me look younger.
I was born in Hastings (New Zealand) one year after Sir Edmund Hillary climbed Mount Everest and forty four years before Lorde started kindergarten.
It was a time before television and bike helmets. In those days “the net” and “online” were things that only the fish had to worry about.
My Dad was a “grocer”, my Mum was a “housewife”, everyone knew what those two strange words meant. I had two brothers, three sisters and one pair of shoes that I only wore when I was riding donkeys at the Hawkes Bay A&P Show.
As a child I was very shy. I was so shy that if they had an Olympic Games for shy people I would have won a gold medal, even though I would have been too shy to go up and get it.
I’m not shy any more. As I grew older my shyness was completely replaced by grey hair.
When I grew up I became a teacher at a high school in Hamilton. While I was there I wrote lots of funny poems. Here is a short one I wrote about living in Hamilton.
Some of the poems were very long ones about the other teachers at my school. They enjoyed them so much that I began to think that one day I could be a writer.
Here is a photo of me reading one of those poems to the teachers. The photo must have been taken at the start of the poem because it was so long that my hair was grey by the time I finished it.
In 1986 my family and I moved to the seaside town of Whangamata. I worked at the school as a teacher-librarian for ten years.
I did lots of writing and cartooning while I was there. I also learned to speak “Surf Lingo” almost as well as the locals. Here is a “Surf Lingo” rap that was published after I left Whangamata:
In 1996 I invented a new sport called “static surfing”. Instead of a surfboard I used an ironing board. I thought it was going to be the “next big thing” but my teenage children were so embarrassed that we had to leave Whangamata and move to Auckland.
For the next twenty years I worked as a writer for Sunshine Books. I wrote lots of books, poems and plays as well of plenty of games and interactive learning activities.
Now I work for myself. I write books, draw cartoons, visit schools, and perform comedy shows for adults and for children. Sometimes I even work as an “extra” on TV shows and movies. Once I had a liver transplant operation on Shortland Street! (I’m very good at lying down and pretending to be asleep.)
Performing stand-up comedy is my favourite hobby and playing with my grandchildren is my favourite fitness activity. I have just invented a new sport called Boomfa Ballooning and it is almost as much fun as static surfing. It is designed to keep old people cool and young people laughing. Here is a video of my first Boomfa Balloon experience.
You should encourage your grandparents and your school principals to try boomfa ballooning. Just make sure they pick up all the broken boomfa balloon bits afterwards, so they don’t do harm to the environment. I know about this because I recently wrote a story about it that will be coming to your school this year. Keep your eye out for a book that looks like the picture below.
You can find out even more about me in the link below: