About John



John spent his formative years growing up in the rural back blocks of West Auckland with his 7 younger siblings. Despite struggling with dyslexia, he attained modest academic success,

As a teen John volunteered as a junior lifeguard and eventually worked up the ranks to become a Patrol Captain. After 30 years of active patrolling, instructing and competing, John was made an honorary life member of the Bethells Beach Surf Lifesaving Patrol in recognition of his dedication and contribution. Bethells Beach is a notoriously dangerous surf beach between Piha and Muriwai on Auckland’s rugged West coast.

John’s years at Bethells Beach have shaped an appreciation for the beauty and power of nature, the tenacity and fragility of life, of comradeship, and perseverance. 

While a surf club member and with support of the club, John conceived, and developed a new competition surf canoe for the club. During the next 3 years, the crews paddling this canoe consistently won all the National open surf canoe titles. At the 1980 NZSLS Championships. Kare Kare and Bethell’s Beach, the only crews paddling the new canoes. They came 1st and 2nd respectively. John is second from left.

John has been a whole blood donor since secondary school and is now a member of the 100+ donations club. He is a regular presenter at secondary school careers evening promoting professional engineering as a career. He is enthusiastic about the positive impact future engineering development will have on society and on the natural environment.

John is a husband and proud father of four children: Katie (27), Ben (20), and Thomas and Matthew (16). Ben is following in John’s footsteps and is studying engineering.


  • A member of the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand
  •  A member of the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association.
  • Regular Auckland half marathon entrant and Auckland harbour ocean swimmer
  • Design and development of novel 3D printed mechanical prototypes
  • TED Talks –“The power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately the world”