Less than a couple of months to go before our *Father & Son Wildman... read more
The Wildman team are a bunch of men from a diverse range of backgrounds, but all with a love for the outdoors. We love to hunt, fish, mountain bike, surf and dive. Some of us ride bulls, rope, and race downhill bikes, others wish they could, but are too old now... Most importantly though, we're all great mates!
Meet the Wildman Team:
Mike was born in the Chinese year of the ‘rat’, which apparently isn’t as bad as it sounds… His parents were a couple of middle-class dreamers who put it all on the line to follow a dream, and as such, Mike grew up without a TV, wearing home-sewn pants and eating mince on toast…
At 10 years he brought great shame upon his parents by being expelled from Sunday School for making the teacher cry, which wouldn’t have been so bad except his Dad was the minister…
He ran away from the embarrassment he caused and went farming in the King Country. In 1993 he met Donna, and after a whirlwind romance involving surfing trips and car crashes, she finally agreed to marry him.
The following years saw him employed as a teacher, youth worker, life-skill educator, national director, writer and father - the latter being his greatest achievement yet!
Now sometime in the not-so-new millenium, he can be found living on their farm in a secret location on the east coast of the Coromandel, fullfilling his life-long dream of being an enigma.
When Mike’s not doing Wildman stuff, you’ll find him working with his old man as the editor for Grapevine Magazine, guiding outdoor adventures with Little Brown Kiwi, chasing big snapper on his kayak, going downhill on his mountain bike, in the bush hunting, surfing or hanging out with his wife Donna and their four gorgeous kids.
Henry has been managing safety in the outdoor environment for well over a decade. After completing a Diploma in Applied Recreation in Christchurch he became a rafting guide and began Ski Patrolling a year later. Having gained Senior Raft Guide status he moved to The Abel Tasman where he began Sea Kayak guiding then progressed to Operations Manager of a large Sea Kayaking business the following season. Meanwhile winters involved working as the Snow Safety Officer for Whakapapa Ski Area then changing to Patrol Supervisor a few years later.
During this time he was also teaching a variety of emergency management courses from First Aid to PreHospital Emergency Care. Also during winter after gaining Avalanche Stage 2 qualification he began tutoring then directing Avalanche Stage 1 courses in the North Island.
Now a director of Peak Safety, Henry spends much of his time travelling around the country auditing safety management systems for other companies involved in the outdoor industry. His passions are family, fishing, hunting, skiing, diving and mountain biking.
Roger is Wildman's resident cowboy (funny that!). When he's not asleep, dreaming of riding into the sunset on his horse 'Purdy', you'll find him on his beautiful Taumarunui farm (The Rockin' B Ranch) chasing sheep and cattle around his green hills. When he finally catches them, he's hoping to ride full-time on the rodeo circuit in the Masters division and has a desire to be the first man to compete in barrel racing - traditionally a ladies only sport. He used to ride bulls, but after a series of injuries and old age finally catching up on him, he now sticks to the gentleman sport of team roping.
Roger's other passions in life are his patient wife and four growing-up-too-fast children, mountain-biking, hunting and chewing tobacco. He's a qualified freezing-worker, sheep shearer and horse whisperer, and brings age and a fair amount of wisdom to the Wildman team. He's a crack shot with his lever-action and loves sharing his passion of farming and the outdoors with others - especially while sitting around a fire sipping cowboy coffee. Just don't start a debate with him on global warming, 1080 or the dairy industry - unless you've got all night ...
Honeypot’s real nickname since birth has been ‘Missile’, because (according to him) he’s known for being fast, deadly, hard hitting, devastating, accurate – and able to destroy somewhere on the other side of the world in minutes. We know the truth, however, as he’s obviously confused himself with Chuck Norris.
Anyway, despite his occasional delusional episodes, he’s an easy-going, fun-loving guy and great to get along with … (hang on a sec … who wrote this??) He’s not long been tagged with the name 'Honeypot', which according to his lovely girlfriend, is because of the pheromones he sends out attracting the ladies. The real reason he has that name, is that despite his hard exterior, he’s really sweet on the inside – and plenty of people have allergic reactions to him.
He tells us that he did so well at school they sent him off to University at only 16. Unfortunately, he lasted only 5 minutes upon the realisation that he actually had to sit still during lectures. So throwing away his education, he instead made various amounts of money catching and selling carnivorous species (such as goats), cutting firewood and farming – which is what he now spends 150% of his time doing. Sadly, this doesn’t leave much time for sleeping, which is why he’ll often fall asleep in the middle of a conversation.
He loves most sports involving action, especially those found in water – and anything with a motor attached to wheels or a propeller. He’s a keen hunter and is passionate about adventure in the outdoors (a perfect Wildman!). He currently leases his family farm Riverbend – a spectacular and remote property – and base for Wildman HQ.
Unfortunately for Willy, he was born a week before Christmas. This has meant for the last 40 years, he’s been getting combined Birthday & Christmas presents and therefore missing out on the joys of two separate events throughout the year. This has led to a number of psychological issues. Despite this setback, Willy is an amazing man and extremely good looking (at least, that’s what his mother says).
The oldest sibling of 6 children, Willy was born and bred in South Auckland and attended James Cook High School (notable for being the first school in the country to employ a full-time security guard).
He eventually met the woman of his dreams, Debbie, and moved to Hamilton to lure her into marriage. It was here that he figured out banging pieces of wood together could be a full-time job, so he completed his Certificate in Carpentry and the building game began.
Willy suffers from an incurable fishing addiction that goes beyond the average man, into the realm of a sickness. Whether it’s fishing on his charter boat Waka 2, slaying snapper on his kayak or flicking flies over a big brown trout, Willy is MAD keen – his wife? Not so much…
He also loves hunting and duck-shooting (especially painting his face all camo), and lives by the motto “where there’s lead in the air, there’s hope.” He’s passionate about food and likes to think of himself as a culinary king (you’ll have an opportunity on Wildman to put his cooking to the test).
Our resident Maori (make sure you ask for his rendition of the Haka), Willy now resides on the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula, where he lives with his first wife and four boys.
Tony was born in 1971 as a baby. After finishing school (by now, no longer a baby), he headed to Hong Kong where he worked as an assistant dock master, operating the largest travel lift in the southern hemisphere. That would sound even more impressive if anyone knew what a travel lift was...
NZ soon called him home (Rotorua to be specific) where he joined the family marine business as a mechanic before starting his own company in 2001, TNT Sports & Marine.
Tony’s love of speed encouraged him to design and build (with help from boat-builder Dad) a high performance circuit racing boat which he went on to win a NZ title in. From circuit racing he graduated to off-shore powerboat and ski racing and has a self-designed and produced race boat sitting in his garage yet to have its bottom wet (unlike Tony).
His first love however, is incredibly un-PC. Guns held his fascination from the time Tony could walk. He built his own black-powder rifle and has had numerous successes in competitions including representing NZ in IPSC (also known as tactical shooting) and a top 10 result in the Australasian IPSC shotgun event. Tony currently holds a certificate as a qualified range officer for NZ and Australia and is also a certified holster training instructor.
Flying is something else that tickles his fancy and after learning to fly microlights and paragliders, he’s not long moved into helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. He’s currently a shareholder in an aviation business in Rotorua.
Tony also enjoys snow skiing and mountain biking – all activities that have taken their toll over the years (crushed vertebra, broken arm, and broken femur). He reckons his problem is that there’s a big man trapped in a small body. We reckon he's just soft.
'Cookie' is Wildman’s chief cook and bottle-washer, and has loved food for as long as anyone can remember. His wife reckons that like a cookie, he’s soft and sweet on the inside – and we reckon that like a cookie, he’s crusty on the outside!
Andy was born and raised in Mangere (South Auckland) – finally escaping city-life for the countryside in 1994. He’s a ‘Good Keen Man’ and loves the outdoors – especially hunting, fishing, camping and tramping. He’s been involved with different youth organisations over the years, and loves nothing more than taking people (young and old) out into the wilderness to show them a great time. He reckons there’s nothing better than sitting round a camp fire at night, listening to morepork, roasting marshmallows and singing to a guitar. Those of us who have also sat around a campfire with Andy agree … until the singing starts. (Which by-the-way, gets even worse when Cowboy joins in!)
He’s been married 20 years and spent 17 of those in the King Country and Thames. Andy worked in pest management for a number of years and then went sheep and beef farming (working for Cowboy) in the beautiful hills of the Mangakahu Valley. He’s now head gardener for TCDC (Thames Coromandel District Council) – which is a great place for hunting and fishing on the weekends. When at home with no jobs to do, you’ll find him re-loading ammunition and cleaning his guns … ready for the next big adventure.