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 Post subject: CV !
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2024 8:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 6:46 pm
Posts: 2081
Location: Masterton New Zealand
Change of Direction.
Two years at the Government Tourist Bureau in Auckland, after I left Takapuna Grammar school, had been fun and it had inspired me to take up photography enthusiastically, after being a junior helper for the likes of Marti Freidlander and Brian Brake who had short term contracts with the Bureau’s publicity productions. In taking it more and more seriously, and between being courier of tour buses full of mostly Americans and a short , boring time selling railway tickets, I had attended the ELAM school of art in Auckland part time before setting off on my overseas experience. First Australia for nearly a year then to England to work in London for a company called “B.Bennett & Sons Ltd” , who had branches all over Britain, the shop I worked in was in in Oxford Street. An interesting aside to this the fact that on our letter head paper it stated Michael Bennett, Co- Chairman of Directors! Our shop manager used this useful asset to deal with complaint letters and getting me to sign them. Surely if it was signed by the Co-Chairman of directors, they could go no further. During this time I attended Hammersmith Polytechnic learning mostly about the technical as opposed to art side of photography on a night school basis for about one year. Later, when I moved to Brighton I completed a 3 months course on the more ‘arty’ side of photography at the University of the South, as it was then known, before becoming Brighton University.
Now carrying a posh looking diploma and the contact for a photo agency called “Paul Popper Ltd” based in England, which would no doubt ensure my financial success, I took off for the European continent.
Sadly unknown free lance photographers are only paid on publication , which could be anything up to 2 years after submitting . The bank balance deteriorated considerably but one night while sitting in a taverna in Setubal, just south of Lisbon, supping pensively on a vino verde, I was approached by an elderly lady who asked “Boa noite. Você da Inglaterra?”
To which I replied, “Não estou a partir de Nova Zelândia.” At this point due to my terrible Portuguese accent, a younger lady appeared beside her. “My mother is very interested in young travellers as she had a Pensao nearby”. This quickly turned into a conversation as they had met only one person from New Zealand before and they had obviously set a good example and before I knew it I was staying at her Pensao. An added advantage was that her daughter was very attractive.
Her husband was a winegrower for a large wine company called Barros Almeido and after conversation with him I found myself pruning and training grapes on his vineyard. I worked for about 2 months for board and lodgings and frequent bottles of wine with this delightful man who was a pleasure to work for. Somewhere along the way we visited the winery he supplied and I was fascinated by what went on there and ended up working for real money , (escudos in those days) at the winery. At that time Mateus Rose was the biggest selling wine into the USA and several wineries input to Mateus to keep up with the demand. Luckily most of the office staff spoke good English so they interpreted for my minimal Portuguese. Somewhere during that 6 months, photography became a hobby and winemaking a passion.
Upon my return to New Zealand, there was very little wine being produced in New Zealand except for sweet sherries and low grade ports. Generally known as the quickest and cheapest way known to man of falling down, but after a 3 year stint on a Central Hawkes Bay farm as a shepherd general, things started to look better in the wine scene. Eventually it was time to return to winemaking and I applied for an assistant winemaker’s job with Villa Maria wines in Auckland. The interview with the owner , George Fistonich, was fraught with concern as he asked me where I got my diploma. I said Brighton University. Fortunately he did not ask me what it was for, “Photochemistry & Optics” would not have impressed him.
Villa Maria was the start then they moved us (my wife and I) to Vidals Winery in Hastings, myself as winery manager and Jill as function organiser. After a year or two I was tempted by John Buck to move to Te Mata Estate where we won the THC Trophy for the best wine in show in 1982. Then came a burning ambition to start my own winery in partnership with a long standing friend and we founded St Georges Winery on the Havelock road. Sadly after 10 years we decided to part as soon we would no longer be able to laugh at each others jokes . Slightly out of context I then spent 5 years setting up the Ballydooly cider company facility in Meeanee for my accountant, Paddy Donovan, who owned an orchard.
Finally Pukeora winery, situated at what was once the Pukeora Sanitorium for soldiers returning from WW1 who had been gassed and later as a TB treatment hospital, was my last effort, setting up their winery and vineyards and showing the owner Max Annabel how to take over the winemaking after 5 years.
Only one thing I look back on with some regret was that each new job got me so excited that I forgot to ask how much I was going to be paid! Hence I am not rich!

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Civilisation is a veneer- easily soluble in alcohol!


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