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Mike Ellis

I grew up in Birmingham, England’s second city of 4 million people. My first real job was as a Computer Operator at Birmingham University - my introduction to computers. I went to University in Nottingham for my Mathematics and Computing degree. No sign of Robin Hood while I was there. Teaching beckoned, and I studied for my Post Graduate Education degree at Liverpool University. Teaching practice in the slums areas of Liverpool was a challenge!

I grew up with 60s music and even spent a year in Liverpool, home of the Beatles. I enjoyed concerts by the likes of Genesis, Jethro Tull, Cream, Bob Dylan, the Who and Jimi Hendrix. My music collection started at this time and continues to multiply. After teaching Maths at different High Schools in England, I applied for and was granted work in NZ. I got a 3 year contract to teach Maths at a college in Wellington. At the conclusion of the contract my wife, daughters and I returned to England. Next was a job at Birmingham Education Computer Centre - Computer Advisor to schools. This involved developing the first ever Computer Studies course in England. I travelled to a number of schools introducing this new course.

After 2 years, we returned to NZ. Palmerston North this time, teaching Maths & Computer Studies. My desire to get fully involved in the Computer Industry was still high, so I joined Telecom as the Computer Training Manager. Personal computers were being introduced at Telecom and I spent time training staff to use them. My next job was with Apple Computers working in the Tertiary sector. At the time the first of the Mac computers and Power Books were being introduced.

My next adventure was to join Massey University as the IT Customer Services Manager. I took charge of the computer support team and the helpdesk. My duties expanded and I became the Assistant Director of IT half way through the 8 year stint. Setting up and operating the computer labs for students was fairly intense, especially when the PC labs were converted to Windows for the first time - all sorts of performance problems. The Mac labs were quite straight forward. During my time at Massey, a new University campus was set up at Albany, Auckland, and a takeover was made of Wellington Polytechnic. A lot of time was taken up visiting these locations and helping to set the sites up with computer labs, staff computing facilities and designing the web sites for each site. My wife, Gwen, also worked as a lecturer for a number of years in the Social Work department and we enjoyed the same environment for a while. Gwen’s department got preferential support from me and my team. After 8 years at Massey we moved to Wellington (for a change of scenery) and I joined the Ministry of Social Development IT department, working in various capacities, including Help Desk Manager, Customer Services Manager and Information Services Manager.

13 years later, it was time for a lifestyle change. We moved to Nelson 6 months ago. Our 2 daughters still live in Wellington. I’d heard about SeniorNet previously and I’ve enjoyed getting involved with all the people who give up their time and energy to run the courses. The Spreadsheet classes I tutor have proved popular. We’re enjoying Nelson and looking forward to moving into our new house in November. We look forward to making new friends in Nelson. In my spare time I do some Maths tutoring and even manage the occasional bike ride (pedal powered version) Thanks for being so welcoming. 
(From Newsletter - October 2016)