I was born in Lisburn just outside Belfast and grew up in Andersonstown (Falls Rd) through the start of the Troubles. My family then moved to Ballymena and I went to St MacNissi’s College, Garron Tower (originally a castle belonging to Lady Londonderry and later Winston Churchill then a school) as a boarder. I worked for Winemark and Guinness in Belfast then migrated to New Zealand in 1993 with my wife, Mary who is also from Belfast (Turf Lodge) to get away from the ongoing troubles. In June this year (2018) we celebrated 25 years in New Zealand). I’ve worked for wine companies and educational organisations since then. Mary is a midwife, working at Christchurch Women’s Hospital in Fetal Medicine. We have three sons, one is living in Wellington, one in Adelaide and one is still at home with us.
As I was adopted I have researched both my adopted family, my mother being one of 12 and my birth family where my birth mother was one of 11 and my birth father also one of 11. My adopted mother was from Tyrone and her family are steeped in the Tyrone GAA football team where my cousin is the manager.
It would appear between Mary and I that we are related to just about everyone in County Down. My (adopted) sister still lives in Dromore and we have had the opportunity to go home with our boys for both good and bad reasons over the last 25 years.
I speak French, Irish and studied Latin at school and I am learning te reo Maori at the moment. As a youngster I learnt Irish dancing and still enjoy ceilidhs.