Every Monday the Chronicle fires 10 questions at a local. This week Whanganui returnee Henry Newrick tells Laurel Stowell about his exciting life as an entrepreneur and his dabbles in backgammon and the priesthood.
What do you call yourself - publisher, art dealer, treasure hunter, entrepreneur?
I call myself an entrepreneur. If I see something that interests me and is a bit of a challenge, I enjoy doing it. I'm not really motivated by money. It's just starting and creating things.
What's your latest venture?
I'm starting Heritage Auctions, a quarterly lower North Island art auction for works from the 19th and early 20th century. I have more than 600 to put up for the first auction in September. People are amazed that I'm starting a new business at 75. I'm going to die in harness.
What other businesses have you been involved with?
I had the Inferno disco in Wellington and I owned an art gallery there in the late 1970s. I raised US$750,000 for an expedition to look for gold from the HMS Lutine, which sank near a German port in 1799. The expedition wasn't very successful. It found cannons, but no gold. I published a book on New Zealand art auction records, and I have an update on that under way. I own Painaway NZ Limited, which sells possum fur belts and other possum products for pain relief.
What's your biggest achievement?
I started the National Business Review (NBR) in 1970, at the age of 23. I worked in it for four years. It's online now, but it's still going. Very few publications in New Zealand last that long.
How did you get interested in art?
My grandfather, Harry Newrick, ran the Sarjeant Gallery from 1926 to 1950, when it was in a real growth period. My grandfather and my father had big collections of early 1800s to 1900s art.
What do you do in your spare time?
I read nonfiction, and I like to walk around Virginia Lake. I used to play a lot of backgammon, and I ran backgammon championships in the early 1980s.
What is your connection to Whanganui?
I lived here from the age of one and a half until I left for university in 1965. We lived in Argyle St, and I went to Catholic schools. It was a simple life, and I liked it.
When did you return here, and why?
When I was growing up, most kids said "Goodbye and good riddance. I am never going to come back." I knew I would come back, and I did, about 50 years later, and after 23 years in the United Kingdom. I have always loved Whanganui. It's had some bad press but it's going through a renaissance now. I published the book From the Mountains to the Sea, because I love Whanganui.
Where do you live now?
I live in Springvale/Tawhero, and I have two children in tertiary education.
What can you tell us about yourself that might surprise us?
When I was 15 I decided to train as a Marist brother, and I studied for a year at Tuakau. One day I looked up at the sky and I thought "It's a big world out there and I will never get to see it as a Marist brother." I decided I wanted out.