The late Jo La Grouw snr - co-creator of the iconic Lockwood Homes - was an inspiration to his family. His grandson Brooke La Grouw speaks to The Daily Post about his favourite memories of his Opa and the lessons he learnt from him.
How would you describe your grandfather?
Opa was my mentor, and as long as I live I will look up to him. He set the standard for highest achievement in all
areas of his life and had a passion for life itself.
What are some of your favourite memories?
My sisters and I would visit Opa and Oma regularly and we would go swimming and walking in the redwoods. I always remember going into his workshop and there would always be a project on the go, such as a bridge for his pool, or one of his many beautiful wooden tables that he used to make. It was here that I learned to plane wood with one of his old wooden planes, and bang in nails, a skill that I have used ever since.
What influence did he have on you growing up?
I am where I am today because of Opa. It was my opinion that if Opa (and my father Corgi La Grouw) could
achieve such success that I could also. Opa was a perfectionist and this has definitely rubbed off on me.
Did his successes inspire your achievements?
Opa's success inspired me to follow in his footsteps, but they have been pretty big boots to fill. Seeing what Opa
had done I chose to become a builder and an architectural designer, and starting from the ground floor and
working up I now successfully operate (alongside my father Corgi and family friend Ivan Scott) solid wood housing company Touchwood.
What was the most important lesson he taught you?
Almost every time I'd see Opa I would question him about how he did this and that in his business and would
always walk away feeling happy that I was now on the right track after consulting with him; and every time he
would say that the most important thing is ``not to give up'' he would say ``sometimes things don't go the way
you want, but don't give up, you have to keep going''.
How will the family carry his legacy on?
I think in Opa's last years he was happy knowing that his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren
were achieving greatness in their own lives. I can't think of a better legacy than that.
Jo La Grouw snr had a large extended family who have all experienced successes in their chosen professions. His grandson Brooke La Grouw talks about some of their achievements that were inspired by his grandfather.
Jo La Grouw (junior) - is the current owner of Lockwood Homes. His son Andrew has a franchise in Nelson which he runs this with his partner Sophia Burton. Daughter Denise is well known for creating the Community Recreation Trust which centres around the creating and maintaining a sustainable environment. Step-son
Darren, son of Jo's wife Jo-Anne La Grouw, has a strong career as an architectural designer.
Tjeed La Grouw _ has a degree BE (Civil) Hons in Engineering from the University of Auckland. Since moving to Australia Tjeed has become a well known and respected property developer in Sydney.
Corgi La Grouw - was a half owner in Lockwood until 1998 when he sold his shareholding to Joe jnr. He was a major driver and contributor to the company's success during his involvement. Corgi, along with his sisters, has a majority shareholding in Pacific Pine Limited, a successful timber mill in Putararu, and is a co- founder of Touchwood, a successful patented solid wood housing system inspired by Jo snr.
Daughter Jodi is a successful designer and artist with a Degree from Whitecliffe Art School. Daughter Tracie is a mother of two and is also an artist.
Maria Ellis and husband Rick are both highly successful entrepreneurs and patrons within New Zealand and
proud parents to Sjaan and Kate. Sjaan has a successful career in marketing and management. Youngest daughter Kate is a designer living in London, and is involved in the presentation and marketing of two very well known brands Dior and Channel.
Ineke Treloar - wife of the former Kerry Treloar and proud mother of Michelle and Michael. Michael is a talented photographer who was recently awarded the prestigious Laurie Thomas Landscape Salon for 2011 award. Daughter Michelle has a successful career in marine biology with a doctorate in her field now also in