Andrew didn’t have a burning desire to be an optometrist, when he started studying in the mid-1990s, but a talent for maths and a family background in medicine drew him towards the profession. Twenty years later, he looks back at the winding path that has taken him around the world and, eventually, to Bailey Nelson Takapuna.
“I graduated in 1998 in Brisbane and I’ve been all over the place since then. I just went here, there and everywhere. I went all around Australia; moved over to Dublin for a couple of years, in Ireland. Then, back to Australia for a while and now over in New Zealand”.
Favourite place to practice? “I really enjoyed working in Dublin because it was a bit different – exotic, y’know”. After years travelling, Andrew and his wife are ready for a more stable pace. “We’ve got two young boys now”, Andrew explains, “That’s forcing us to get a bit settled”.
Takapuna, in Auckland, is a pretty beautiful place to be settled.
“It’s not a typical Australian-type beach with big waves and body surfing, but for central Auckland it’s great. Young families can take walks along the beach, you can go paddle boarding, sunbake”. It’s there that Andrew practices as the optometrist for our Takapuna boutique. “The store is themed around the beach. It’s got natural floorboards reflecting the sand and a blue tone on the ceiling. It’s a lovely little store”.
Yet Andrew was not always as committed to optometry. “Before I heard about Bailey Nelson, I was having a bit of a crisis of passion… To be honest, I was looking around, trying to think of different careers that I could pursue to try to get a bit of passion back into my life."
“I must admit, a lot of my passion for optometry has been reignited by BN”.
With two young sons, work and family are Andrew’s biggest commitments, but his passion has always been films, “All aspects of them: watching them, the process that goes into making them and the history behind them”.
In a past life, Andrew and some mates made a film themselves. “I certainly wouldn’t show it to anyone, but it was a heck of a lot of fun to make, that’s for sure”, Andrew laughs.
As an Australian, Andrew loves Lantana – a 90s drama about the underside of suburban Sydney. “Now that I’m here in New Zealand, Peter Jackson features pretty highly”.
“The Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a fantastic film. It has increased the scope of New Zealand films around the world”.Andrew isn’t thinking of The Hobbit though. Instead, he loves Jackson’s “really early ones, when he didn’t have big budgets. If you get a chance to watch one, they’re amazing. There’s one called Brain Dead and another one called Bad Taste… There’s more of a comedy element to his splatter films, in the sense that they’re so ridiculously over the top that there’s no sense of realism at all”.
It’s a feeling we understand in a different genre. Australia’s never been known for eyewear before, after all, but with people like Andrew, we’ll get there.