He Tangata: Mike Simm of Northland Experiences

As told to Elisabeth Easther.

I'm originally from Wellington, but I've been living in the Bay of Islands for the past 30 years. We bought Fullers when they went into receivership in 1989 and moved here from Auckland in 1990. 
In 11 years, we turned the business around and, in the process, I became a 
committed Northlander.

I did the traditional OE in the 1970s, and was away for six years, starting in Australia, then going to London. It was nothing out of the ordinary but it did give me an idea of what travel meant to people and how important it is to look at life from a different perspective. In London, I was fascinated by all the places I'd seen on the Monopoly board as a kid. I also played a lot of cricket in the UK, and was part of a team of expat Kiwi cricketers. We once had a practice match against New Zealand on The Oval. I don't think you could do that sort of thing these days, professional sport is all so controlled. I also made it to centre court for a final at Wimbledon without a ticket. I knew a BBC cameraman and he'd lend us his badge. Sport was quite important to me when I travelled — I even met my wife at an All Blacks match in Dublin.

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