My mission of writing company profiles promoting the members of WISPA.NZ continues, and a few days ago took me into the Tasman region writing about Kiwi WiFi. Writing these involves talking with the owner, visiting a handful of hilltop wireless sites, and interviewing a few happy customers. So its always a fun and inspiring day out.
But visiting the Aniseed Valley and meeting pounamu carver Timoti took the inspiration to a new level.
Until 3 years ago Tim survived without the Internet - he had no option. Then Kiwi WiFi came along and connected him at city speeds and prices. For the first time he was able to set up a Web site, instantly transforming his carving business from a local market to a global one. Here's his site - a work of art in itself and well worth a browse.
Tim and I had a great conversation about his life, his craft, and his whanau, over a local craft beer. Tim says he is a recluse but I really didn't believe him - he has huge charisma and talks about a wide range of subjects. I learned that most of the kids in the Aniseed are home schooled. That Tim's got plans to make a taonga (treasure) for every NZ child in government care. That there are serious plans for a carving school in the Valley.
He told me about a couple from Alaska who found his Web site, ordered two wedding rings, then came to the Aniseed Valley to collect them - and ended up getting married nearby.
But the thing that blew me out of the water happened just as I was about to leave. Tim took the magnificent black jade pounamu carved pendant (pictured above) from around his neck and insisted on giving it to me. Its a superb work of art that I have been wearing ever since and will greatly treasure.
Having spent a lot of the past 2 decades pestering anyone who'll listen about the economic and social value of regional broadband, I found this encounter moving and seriously affirming. Here's an example of a local business going global, kids being successfully home schooled, and a plan for a local carving school, all enabled by city grade connectivity.
Timoti.nz is definitely a business to watch. Thanks Tim - I will be back to visit soon.