1987 – / Property Assistant, Property Manager (Henderson Campus)
I was involved in musicals through Source Theatre with BCNZ’s Property Manager, John Blaiklock, when he asked if I would work for the College, undertaking cabinet making and maintenance. When I came to look at the campus, I knew this is where God wanted me to be.
I thought I would only be in the role for a year, but May 2023 marks my 35th anniversary with the College! Before I started, I was asked how much I would need to earn to survive. When I mentioned a figure, I was told the College couldn’t afford that. I was married to Robin, with a mortgage, and it was the height of high interest rates. I was fulltime at BCNZ and, for a period, worked as a timber yardsman on Saturday mornings, and cleaned two nights a week and on Saturday afternoons.
At the time I started there was John Blaiklock and Des Worrall, the groundsman, on the Property Team. We relied heavily on students on weekly duties to maintain the College. When duties were phased out in the 2000s, we employed more staff on the team.
I have worked under seven Principals, with Ian Kemp the Acting Principal when I started. When John Blaiklock left in 1999, I took on the role of Property Manager and have developed an intimate knowledge of the Henderson campus! At one point we were maintaining 40 flats and houses on campus, a Halls of Residence, and houses offsite in the local area.
I’ve been involved in more than Property work over the years. My experience with Source Theatre found me sorting logistics and transport for the College’s “Catch the Fire” musical. I’ve helped cook for College teams at Parachute Music Festivals, and have managed the sound desk for College events.
As I reflect on 35 years of service, it’s been the interactions with people I have enjoyed the most. The work has been more a ministry than a job. My wife jokes that I have a sign on my head saying, “I’m an easy listener” as I’ve had countless pastoral chats with students, staff, and contractors. I think my role is a non-threatening one and people open up to me. I’ve dealt with all kinds of personalities! When the College had an orchard, I’d often be the first to notice relationships developing among students as they wandered around the fruit trees. Then I would see them sitting outside the Principal’s office and think, “Oh here we go”. Now, I’m often seen as “Dad #2” to the young students living away from home.
I can only do what I can because of the support of my wife and children, Emily, and Jeremy. I am grateful for Robin’s patience in enduring my absences from home and call-outs at all hours of the night.
John’s son, Jeremy, completed his Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) at Laidlaw College in 2018.