From my early teenage years I realised that it was extremely unlikely that I would be called up to the NZ cricket team. When later the dream of being an All Black faded I realised that I needed another plan.
At high school I enjoyed Maths, Classics, and History and so my career guidance officer should hold his head in shame that I headed off to the Health Sciences and Dentistry!
Five years later I graduated from “Scarfieville” with some great memories, my degree and a huge student loan. It was time to see the world, pay off my debt, and if possible get my hands on the minister of education. I, like all my contemporaries, still hold a grudge against those who gave us telephone number like student loans.
After a couple of years working in New Zealand a friend and I travelled to the outback of Australia to become what we called the “Flying Dentists”. The name sounds a lot more exciting than it really was. We arrived in Katherine (Northern Territory) to find the town on the verge of a meltdown. The river was rising, the bottle store was almost empty (which was the bigger issue I am not completely sure) and a local told us “last time the river flooded there were crocs (salt water crocodiles) swimming down the main street”.
The waters receded, the bottle store was restocked and we went to work being flown round the red centre of Australia visiting remote Aboriginal communities. I worked in several towns in the Northern Territory and then headed on to the Queensland coast before I followed seemingly the rest of my class mates to the United Kingdom. It was here that I really learned my trade.
After several jobs and a bit of travelling I finally settled in Cambridge. I worked in the centre of the historic town where it seemed that almost every building had something of interest. Famous people had lived there, or discovered things there. The original rules of football were invented round at the park where we used to play cricket.
Cambridge not only was just an hour from London, but only 40 minutes to Stansted Airport which meant that if you left just slightly early on a Friday afternoon you could spend the weekend in a different European City.
Despite all of this I knew that this was not home. Years earlier on a trip to Gallipoli (Turkey) I had found my Great Grandfather’s grave at a cemetery overlooking the Mediterranean. He is buried a long way from home. It was there in a moment of nationalistic sentiment that I vowed I would always return to New Zealand.
After getting married to an Irish lass we returned via Africa to live in Christchurch. My days of carefree living and travel officially ended with the birth of my first son Matthew and we were lucky enough to have Adam turn up two years later. I am sure they will both play for the All Blacks- but, if they don’t quite make it then they can go and play for Ireland instead!
In my spare time I am trying to do as many activities with my boys as possible. I realise that I am about to become an embarrassment to them both, so I am enjoying it while it lasts. I am a leader in the local Cub pack and being involved with the the chaos of an evening at cubs makes even the most stressful day at work seem manageable. For some unknown reason I have entered myself in running the Queenstown marathon this year. I have also vowed that after I complete this I will never run again, and I will take up golf -like all good dentists!
I think I am lucky to live in Christchurch, after going off and seeing the world I realise that there is no place like home. Despite earthquakes, and Covid it is great to be here, Life here is good, people are friendly, and there are so many beautiful places you can get to nearby.
I realise that most people would rather be somewhere else than at the dentist. My aims are simply that I want to provide high quality, sensible dentistry, at realistic prices, with minimal discomfort.
I would welcome your business.