This weekend in 1990 I was heading home from Auckland to Christchurch with a new mountain bike.

It was my second, a Scott Boulder, fully rigid, though still a big step up from my first one, a mid-eighties, Healing ten-speed. That was a heavy beast with beefy tubing. The Scott was much lighter and looked it in pearl white with lime green. I wish I'd kept it like most of the bikes I've owned. Even that Healing…

I'd been in Auckland to work on the Commonwealth Games and the overtime had paid for the Scott. It'd been 10 long days as one of the host broadcaster's field directors.

I was working at TVNZ in Christchurch at the time honing my skills directing What Now, live to air, every second Saturday morning since 1986. It is, without doubt, one of my favourite gigs over 35 years in the media with a brilliant team, from talented presenters to experienced and innovative crews.


The budget wasn't huge which meant our props and wardrobe crews really had to be smart with the available resources. We once did a skit based on the old black and white Flash Gordon movies. The skyscaper was black card with pin holes and a powerful studio light behind it to represent stars.

The rocket was a large soft drink bottle with a nail representing the aerial on the nose cone, washers for port holes and tail fins made from corrugated cardboard, all spray painted silver. A little bit of dry ice provided visible propulsion and it was all suspended from piano wire our lighting crew were under instruction to make as visible as possible.

That rocket stood upright on my desk in the What Now office for well over a year before the glue finally gave up and it crumbled in an unceremonious heap.

When TVNZ asked for expressions of interest for director roles for the Games, I couldn't put my hand fast enough. I've been a sports lover all my life and it was an irresistible draw card for me.

Many applied, few were called - I was totally stoked to make the short list.

Maybe not so thrilled when assignments were announced. I drew the shooting, not a sport I had much interest in. I couldn't have been more wrong. It was riveting, entertaining and hugely competitive.

The venues were about as far apart as it gets in Auckland – big bore in Mangatawhiri, south of the Bombays, small arms in Manukau and skeet shooting at the Kumeu Gun Club with home base at the broadcast centre at Mount Smart and accommodation in a motel off Khyber Pass.

Over the 10 days we put a couple of thousand kilometres on our cameraman, the late Ron Madden's 4WD Mitsubishi van. He was from Christchurch, too, and a real shooting fan which made life much easier.


Why the reminiscing? Well, on Tuesday I fly out to Apia in Samoa for seven months to work on the media team at the Pacific Games in July as part of a Volunteer Service Abroad New Zealand team.

I'll still write this column both about my experiences up there as well as what's going on in Rotorua with the help of some fantastic guest writers.

I'll leave you with a slice of our home, a photograph by Graeme Murray, part of the Ride Rotorua project.