My Story So Far

The following is a brief outline of some of the interesting things that I have got up to in my life.

1979:

  • Born at Kew Hospital in Invercargill
  • My dad was a Dairy Farmer in partnership with my Grandpa running the family farm in Mataura Island.
  • Mum stayed at home and looked after me and my older sister Katrina who was 18 months old at the time.

1981:

  • My parents took over the family farm and my grandparents enjoy a semi-retired life.

Me at 2 years old
Me at 2 years old

1982:

  • My younger sister Neroli was born

1984:

  • Started school at Mataura Island Primary School
  • This was also the year my parents bought their very first colour TV, we were one of the last families in Mataura Island to get a colour TV but one of the first to get a VCR a year later.

Me at Age 5
Jumping on the trampoline at the camping grounds in TeAnau when I was 5 years old. Taken by my Grandpa.

1986:

  • Spent six weeks at Roxburgh Health Camp because I wouldn't eat my vegies. While I was at the camp I learnt how to ride a bike and was in the parade at the Alexandra Blossom Festival, dressed up as a playing card.

Me at 9 years old
When I was 9 years old.

Me at 10 years old
This is me with my cat James he was about 18 months old when this photo was taken. Our neighbours let us take James home just for an afernoon in October 1987 when he was a kitten we still had him up to 2003 when he died.

1990:

  • Grandpa died in January at the age of 66 years old and then my Granddad on my mothers side died in May

1991:

  • Started Form 1 at Menzies College (that's Year 7 for you younger and overseas people)

Me at age 12
Feeding a giraffe a Orana Park when I was 12.

1992 - 1993:

A painting I did in Form 2 Art was exhibited in a Primary School Art Exhibition in Wellington. My teacher chose 3 students paintings (the students that finished last so the teacher would not have to remove any of the other students paintings from the wall) to be in the exhibition. My painting was then printed onto postcards after the exhibition and then displayed in other exhibitions in Tahiti and France. I never had the original painting returned to me.

Ensign Photo
Ensign Article
The article and photo published in the Gore Ensign in September 1992.

Newslink Article
The article published in the Wyndham Newslink on Tuesday 2nd March 1993.

The Postcard that went around the world
The painting that went all around the world. This is a scan of one of the postcards the image was printed onto, I have no idea where the original image is today.
I actually saw my postcard being sold in a gift shop at the musuem in Wellington during 1993.

1995:

  • Got my Learner Licence and learned how to drive.

1996:

  • Katrina moved out of home (Yay) to study at Teachers College in Dunedin.
  • Left New Zealand for the first time in my life, I went to Los Angeles with the family and spent two weeks visiting theme parks such as Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, Sea World and Magic Mountain.

Me with Winnie the Pooh
Thats me with Winnie the Pooh at Disneyland

  • I passed my Restricted Licence and gained heaps of independence when I could start driving myself everywhere.
  • My Auntie Lois died in October. Auntie Lois had been doing a very long OE like for 17 years, she spent most of the eighties based in the UK and everytime she had saved up a bit of money she would travel the world and came home to New Zealand twice in that time. In August of 1996 Auntie Lois was living in Taiwan when she ended up in hospital with liver problems, Mum and Nana flew over as soon as they could and managed to get auntie Lois back to New Zealand and days later was flown to Sydney once it was revealed she would not survive without a transplant. The transplant was sucessful but other complications meant Lois only survived a month after the surgery.
  • Completed Sixth Form Certificate passing 4 subjects and was top student in Computer Studies.
  • Mum and Dad sold the family farm since neither myself nor my sisters were interested in carrying on the farm and my parents decided it was time for a change.

The Family Home
This is the house that not only I grew up in but also my father and two sisters grew up in. This was taken at Christmas 1996, 5 months before we left

The Family Farm
The family farm taken from the neighbours hill.

Me at Age 17
Driving the farm tractor

1997:

  • Walked the Greenstone-Caples track.
  • Moved to Invercargill where Mum and Dad bought a garden business.
  • My parents bought me my first car a 1985 Honda Civic and I got my Full Licence.
  • I continued my 7th Form year at Menzies College driving between Invercargill and Wyndham every day.
  • I was once again top student in Computer Studies and Communication English, I also played Rugby in the 1st XV not that I was any good at Rugby.
  • I travelled to Canada and the USA as part of a student exchange when I left school for 7 weeks, this was organised by the Lions Club. I spent my first week in Washington State USA where I cruised around the Canadian Islands and spent a day in Seattle where I saw the Space Needle, Microsoft Campus and I would have gone to the Boeing Factory had it been open. I then spent 5 weeks in Ontario Canada where I saw Niagara and would have gone up the CN Tower if the weather had of been better. The final week I spent in Los Angeles where I visited Disneyland, Universal Studios, Knottsberry Farm and SeaWorld for the second time in my life.

Next to Mounties
I actually had the oportunity to be photographed next to two Royal Canadian Mountain Police.

Shoveling Snow
It snowed heaps in Canada so I had the pleasure of shoveling the snow off the driveway.

Universal Studios
Some of the group from New Zealand I travelled with at Universal Studios.

1998:

  • After returning from my trip to Canada I started studying for a Certificate in Business Computing at Southland Polytechnic completing 14 out of 18 modules.

1999:

  • I took on a part time job at BP while continuing with my studies.
  • I completed the Certificate in Business Computing and started studying towards a Diploma in Business Computing completing all 16 modules that I studied that year.

2000:

  • I travelled overseas again this time to Surfers Paradise in Australia and visited the theme parks.
  • Neroli moved out of home and went to Christchurch.
  • My Nana died after a 7 year battle with cancer. A service was held in Invercargill, Nana was then buried in Christchurch her home town.
  • I was supposed to finish my Diploma in Business Computing this year but came 2 modules short of this mainly because this year I was left with all the harder modules and tutors stuffing me around all year changing the timetable so I couldn't turn up to class and work as well.

2001:

  • Completed my Diploma in Business Computing. Considered returning to Polytech in 2002 to do a Bachelor of Information Technology but decided against it when I decided I had enough of being a student and just wanted to work for a while.

Graduation from SIT in 2001
My Graduation from SIT in 2001, thats me at home with Mum and Dad.

2002:

  • Finally moved out of home about 3 to 4 years later than what I should have.
  • Went to court for hopefully the only time in my life when I did Jury Service. Actually I ended up being called for Jury Duty again in 2008 but this time was unable to serve since I knew the person being accused.

2003:

  • After being unable to find any computer related jobs in Southland I quickly came to realise that I would need to go back and further my studies or get out of Southland. As I wasn't exactly making much at BP I moved onto the graveyard shift so I could pay off my car quickly and then go back and study.
  • After conditions at BP started getting bad I made a decision to quit and work at the Freezing Works for a season with the hope of being able to study once I finished the season.

2004:

  • I ended up returning to BP in 2004 as a casual as I needed to continue working through 2004, I found most of those stories you hear about making lots of money from the Freezing Works were really just stories as I only really made slightly more than what I would have made from BP if I was there all year round
  • I was diagnosed with cancer on December 23rd, I was forced to stop working only days after returning to my second season at the freezing works.

Me with Mike and Matt
This is me (left) with my friends Mike (center) and Matt (center). During 2004 I lived and worked with these guys.

2005:

  • I Spent the entire year having treatment for cancer.
  • Bought my own home. Rented the place out until the middle of 2006 as I was in no state to do a lot of things for myself while having treatment.

My 26th Birthday
My 26th Birthday now minus my hair, 2 months into my treatment.

2006:

  • Returned to work at the Freezing Works sooner than intended and full time too and managed to work an entire six months without taking a day off, something most of my workmates that haven't had any serious illness aren't able to do.
  • Moved into my house at the middle of the year.

2007:

  • Neroli was married to Paul after a long engagement going back as far as 2002, the whole family flew to Auckland for the wedding.

Me at Christmas 2008
At my parents place Christmas 2008

2009:

  • After nearly 8 years since I completed my Diploma in Business Computing I returned to Polytech to do the Bachelor of Information Technology. I have gone straight into the second year as most of the first and second year paper have been cross credited from my previous course.
  • Became a member of Southern Pride Invercargill New Century Lions Club, a Lions Club for members aged between 18 and 35.
  • Began constructing a website for the Lions Club for my second year project in the BIT, the first website I have ever constructed for someone else.

2010:

  • Continued with the BIT degree now in Year 3, at the same time I worked the first half of the year and studied part time, passed all papers and some with A+ grades.

2011:

  • In April I became an uncle after Katrina and her new partner Dave had a baby girl, Amelie
  • Continued at the freezing works and course until April when I received a job offer from Gen-i as a Service Desk Engineer. Spent my first 3 months on the job doing various jobs for the clients we support before the newly establish Service Desk went live on August 1st 2011.

2013:

  • In August I finally did the trip I had been wanting to do for the past 17 years, I drove all the way up to Auckland from Invercargill to spend a week with Neroli and take a good chance to see the North Island as previously I had only ever seen Auckland and Wellington in the North Island.

2014:

  • Katrina and Dave had twins, Eloise and Aria.

On Howden Street in TeAnau
Me on Howden Street in Te Anau.

2015:

  • I met Abi and we started going out in May, we were together for just over 4 years.

Abi and I together at her place.
Abi and I together in 2015.

  • Katrina and Dave married on Christmas Day

2016:

  • Neroli and Paul had their first baby together, Shyla
  • Abi and I found out in we will be having a baby girl together. For the past ten years I believed I would never be able to have children due to the cancer treatment I had in 2005.
  • Samantha-Hazel Howden (Hazel) was born in September 2016, 6lbs 6oz and 49cm. We chose the name Hazel in memory of my nana who was also like an auntie to Abi when she was child.

Myself with my daughter Hazel
Myself with Hazel just days after she was born.

2017:

  • Began working at Focus as a Systems Engineer
  • Grandma celebrated her 90th birthday

2018:

  • Grandma passed away just weeks before her 91st birthday
  • Began working at H & J Smith Department Store as a Computer Technician