“I like pina colada’s and walks in the rain.” Kidding…I HATE pina colada’s. Ever since a friend’s 20th birthday party in a cold Dunedin student flat almost…20 years ago (thanks Ben). Anyway I digress.
I am based in Auckland, New Zealand. Yes, way down here at the bottom of the planet. I was born and grew up in Auckland and studied Law and History and beer at Otago University in Dunedin. At the end of my studies I secured a job as a law clerk in the Wellington office of a national law firm where I cut my teeth in commercial civil litigation. I was fortunate enough to work for and be mentored by some truly talented lawyers and to them I am ever grateful (Michael and Terry especially). I also learned from other members of the team how NOT to lead a practice or manage staff, lessons which served me well further down the track. It was in Wellington where I first met my wife Lynn. Good times.
After the usual three or so years of life as a junior barrister/solicitor I moved to London where I hoped to secure a reasonable series of contracts and then a full time position in a corporate or firm which would allow me to indulge my passion for travel and history (hey that BA. has to count for something right?). I mostly managed to succeed with my plan, working in a number of large financial institutions, but for the events of 9/11. On holiday in Portugal at the time, having just managed to make myself redundant when the reverse take-over of the Company I worked for went through (a deal which I worked on incidentally – oh the irony), my phone started ringing on 9/12 cancelling all the job interviews I had lined up for my return to London.
So that was the end of that adventure and in December that year I returned home to Auckland to start anew. After a year in a fledgling legal practice formed as part of a worldwide accountancy firm (why I thought that would work I’m not sure as lawyers and accountants are VERY different creatures), I moved to a global player in the insurance sector, eventually leaving some five years later as the Deputy General Counsel. It was then onto a leading New Zealand Bank that is part of an Australasian group and which included a local insurer in the life and health sector, where I was the Senior Counsel responsible for legal advice to the Insurance and Investments arms of the business and then on a part time basis as an analyst in the Regulatory Affairs team until I was forced by my illness to “retire hurt” as they say in Cricket.
At the time I was diagnosed with Young Onset (or “Early Onset” as it is more generally called in my part of the world) Parkinson’s Disease I was 35 years old. Lynn and I were married with a two year old and she was pregnant with our second. It came as a bolt out of the blue for us both, especially Lynn from whom I had managed to hide many of my initial difficulties. Since then my disease has progressed rapidly, and we have been forced to make major changes to our lives as a result.
I am fortunate to be supported by a group of amazing mates and their families, my own extended family and of course my wonderful, patient, loving, supportive, funny, caring and beautiful wife Lynn and our two awesome kids. I have every reason to try my utmost best to live well with Parkinson’s, for them as much as for myself.