1980 to 1984
If you were to ask Howard his dreams when he left school they were pretty simple, drive to Wellington from Matamata for a hamburger, drive a Formula 1 car, and become a builder so he could use that skill to serve Christian churches. He’s still looking for the Formula 1 racing opportunity but he has gone further than Wellington for a hamburger and most of the distance he has travelled has been so he could voluntarily build for others.
The most exciting days of his Matamata College years were on the hockey field. He enjoyed the games and the tournaments with the rep. team travelling to Wellington and Blenheim. Post schooling he went on to enjoy some years of playing with the Hinuera Hockey club.
He also enjoyed being in musical productions such as “South Pacific.”
Enjoying wood work and technical drawing classes and attaining the 6th form awards in these gave a good foundation for his building career. Having UE accredited he took that as time to move on to the building industry starting at Hamilton Polytech where he began a New Zealand Certificate in Building and moving on to complete the practical with Peter Galvin Builders. Following his training he became a foreman with the same firm which by then had moved from Matamata to Mount Maunganui.
In 1991 he took a year out of the building trade to do some concentrated Bible study at a Bible School in Auckland where he met Averil, who later became his wife, capable and creative. He returned to the building firm at Mount Maunganui where they lived, and had their three children.
Howard’s desire to use his practical skills for Christian work had never waned, having been initially ignited when he was young, by a trip his father took to Fiji to build a classroom. So when Mobile Mission Maintenance, (MMM) a ministry whose purpose it is, to build, renovate and maintain buildings used in Christian outreach, began in NZ in 1994 it seemed the right time to get involved.
With a young family, and many churches and ministries in NZ seeking MMM’s assistance Howard bought an 11 metre bus and turned it into a smart mobile home. During the next five years the family travelled throughout New Zealand assisting churches, camps, homes for troubled teens, and retreats, with their building needs.
The children soon learnt to relate well with the constant team, and a changing set of great people at each location, they are always friendly and respectful. They had ‘friends everywhere’! During this time Howard took several trips to Hong Kong and China to assist the work MMM was doing there, working on orphanages and mission bases. After five years of home schooling three small children in a mobile home it was time for a change. They had all enjoyed their encouraging visits to the teachers at Wellington Correspondence School each time they were in that vicinity, or crossing the Strait.
The opportunity arose for Howard to take up the position of National Director with MMM Hong Kong which he did. The family settled in Hong Kong making it home for the next 8 years, all fully involved in church, MMM, and International school life. They returned to NZ in time for their eldest Lance, to attend Waikato University.
Jacinda is now at Auckland University, she does more Cantonese language study as an extra, and Trent is achieving well at Te Awamutu College.
Since returning to New Zealand , Howard has taken up the position of National Director of MMM New Zealand, based in Pirongia, Te Awamutu, with his creative wife, an able part of the team. Howard is appreciated as a good natured, wise, encouraging leader, respected by all.
Howard and Lance with their love of singing gave themselves an opportunity to meet Te Awamutu folk by playing lead parts in an excellent production of the musical “ Fiddler on the Roof”.
If you know of a Formula 1 car that needs a driver Howard is still keen to give it a go, but he’s now not too bothered about that dream, because he has found satisfaction in serving others and considers it a Great Life!