Photo by Joe Hockley

One of the longest-term members of the Britomart Valet team talks about the joys of his main job and his sideline in high-level lawn maintenance.

Are you from Auckland?

Yes, I’ve lived here most of my life. I did my secondary schooling in Napier and was in Christchurch for preschool. I then came to Auckland and have been here for most of my life.

How do you get to Britomart?

I drive a car in and park in the carpark.

What do you do here?

I’m a concierge for valet, so I deal with customers at the Central Valet site, taking their keys and details, then calling up a driver from the carpark to pick up the car. It’s pretty much the same deal at the carpark too. I also do a little bit of reception work when they need extra receptionists.

How did you get into it?

I was working for a car parking company before this and I got made redundant from that company so I was looking for another job when I saw an advertisement for another car parking company and thought I’d fit the bill. I came along and started working for $12.50 an hour and doing about 60 hours a week, 12 hour days 7am – 7pm on the outdoor carpark and I thought that was a pretty good deal as I didn’t have to work weekend, so I did that for a while. The job progressed through that time and the cars we were taking got more and more and we ended up opening the carpark building, where I’ve been since.

How long have you been working here?

I’ve been working at the carpark with Cooper and Company for 10 years, and before that I was employed by Tournament Parking where I worked for about 2 or 3 years, before Cooper & Company took it over.

What’s the best thing about working here?

The company of the people I work with is a good thing, and the environment around here is very stress-free and very open air, so its quite enjoyable.

What’s your idea of fun?

I’m a green keeper at a bowling club, Glendowie Bowling Club, where I look after the greens during the summer season and renovate them during the winter. I probably spend about 10 hours a week up there doing that. Then I also play bowls on the weekends, so yeah bowling is probably my number one past-time when I’m not working.

How long have you been playing bowls?

Probably about 10 years as well. My father was playing bowls before me and he got me into it.

What’s your favourite thing to spend money on?

Hard to say. I like to save money for investing and other things, but if I do spend money I enjoy good food and quality clothes.

Where do you like to eat and shop?

I usually help my family out with grocery shopping during the week, so I will do a couple of shops a week doing that, and I quite enjoy the restaurants around Britomart as you don’t have to go far to get something good.

If you were heading out for dinner tonight, where would you go?

I haven’t tried Amano yet and I hear its really good, so I wouldn’t mind trying that. I have tried their bakery and coffee, but I’ve never had a sit-down meal.

Read, watched or listened to anything great lately?

Actually, I’ve just got on to Al Jazeera News on Sky TV. I enjoy watching when I get home. Covers a lot of things around the world, which is quite interesting.

If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?

Maybe become a full-time greens keeper towards retirement, and do two or three greens and make a living out of it that way.