Malcolm Hore is a father of three and has been married for 32 years.

He has owned and managed computer businesses, is a practising pastor, and is completing postgraduate study with Otago University.

He also has autism, which comes with both strengths and struggles.

"I am well above average intelligence. So, for me, it comes with a real annoyance because I cannot stop thinking. I can't stop pondering... So I don't have rest," he told the Rotorua Daily Post.


Today is Autistic Pride Day, celebrating the neurodiversity of people on the autism spectrum.

According to his medical files, Hore is an "extraordinarily highly functioning autistic".

"Everyone experiences it [autism] quite differently. I look after an autistic person who is locked-in autistic. They cannot communicate with words. They cannot communicate socially, correctly," he said.

Hore has lived in Rotorua for 20 years because it gives him "lots of space".

"It has got hills. I love hills. It has got beautiful, brilliant walkways. I have lived in places from Invercargill right up to Hamilton in my time and Rotorua is one of the most beautiful."

Hore has already walked 4.5 million steps this year, and counting.

"I walk pretty much the same spots every time. Patterns make me feel secure. When I find something I like, I tend to stick with it."

He said it was hard for a city to meet everybody's needs but Rotorua worked well for him.


"A city should represent all its people, not one group... But if we demand that everybody's needs are met, nobody's needs are met because everything's being poured in every direction."

Malcolm Hore at home in Rotorua. Photo/Ben Fraser
Malcolm Hore at home in Rotorua. Photo/Ben Fraser

Hore is 53 but he did not have a final autism diagnosis until 2010.

"It is a process, and a number of years ago I even had electric shock therapy because of the depression I was in. So it impacts your life and there's never one thing, there's always associated issues with autism.

"l struggle with a lot of social settings. I was at a meeting on Thursday with about 50 people, the majority of whom I had never seen in my life, and I had a panic attack because it was too much for me.

"I struggle with understanding relationship dynamics, I really do not understand all the rules. I get very confused with norms and I get very unsure of the hidden stuff. So I like things out in the open. I like people saying what they mean and meaning what they say because innuendo, to me, is extraordinarily complicated."

Hore said he felt "very connected to everything".

"I am always slightly overwhelmed by everything. I don't have the filters so noise, colour, light, sounds and movement, when I'm not in a good place, become extraordinarily overwhelming."

He credits "good people" with helping him become a businessman.

"You are who you hang around. You will be defined by who you let into your life, who you let inspire you and who you get your thinking from.

In my sense, I also hang around with my God. I also try to hang around safe people, because people that do not understand me can mess up my life. So the biggest thing I have learned in life is to be careful who you hang around."

Hore said the only thing that constantly bugged him was the constant pressure to conform.

"Life's hard enough as it is.

"Who cares if someone goes around twiddling their thumbs or shaking their head a little bit as they try and comfort themselves because they're feeling out of control? Who cares if somebody all of a sudden bursts out and yells something quickly because it is the only way they can calm themselves down? Who cares if there is somebody who cannot look at you straight in the eye because it feels overwhelming?

"All of these superficial things we demand of each other just make things too difficult."