_ About Andrea
__ _For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for writing. I love words and putting them together in a descriptive way; its like a creative dance.
At primary school, I loved reading books and writing stories. One of my first stories was about my life as a chocolate fish! At high school, English was my favourite subject. I was getting top marks for my work and relished reading the assigned books and penning essays on their themes. At the end of my sixth form year, I was awarded a ‘1’ for English, the top mark possible, for my Sixth Form Certificate. I also came third in my year for English at my co-ed Tawa College.
But any thoughts of a career in writing or journalism were overtaken by my plans to study nursing. I did this for three years at what was then Wellington Polytech but nursing proved not to be the right choice and some years later following my OE in Israel and the UK, the old stirrings to write began to reawaken within me.
So I wrote a travel piece for the local community newspaper and was given the chance to write my own health column! There was no payment for this but I was getting my name in print and compiling a professional portfolio of published stories.
Brimming with confidence and enthusiasm, I decided to apply for the then six months journalism course. I was told I’d missed out by a hair’s breadth but “try again next time, you’re sure to get in”.
So I did – but I didn’t. After answering questions on current affairs to ensure I was a well-informed journalist in the making, the interviewers noted that I lacked the toughness required by the industry. “You’re just too nice”, they said. “Go away and be a writer instead”.
Soon afterwards I moved from the seaside village of Plimmerton, north of Wellington, to Nelson where I had long dreamed of settling after living here in the 80’s. I had no job to go to but knew exactly what I wanted to do. One day I was phoning around looking for work when someone at a radio station asked if I knew of June Derecourt, a local businesswoman, who was planning to start a Richmond community newspaper. That is how I began my dream job as the inaugural reporter for the then monthly Leader.
I loved the work and wrote all kinds of editorial copy – local news, people stories, advertorial, local history and more. We even produced a historical booklet called Richmond Memories with historical photos supplied by the museum for Richmond’s 150th centenary and later a historical cookbook. Soon the paper expanded into Stoke and Richmond and then into Nelson. It was bought out after about 18 months and I was made redundant.
So I took up freelance writing, continuing to write for the Leader and over the years I have had many features published in the Nelson Mail, usually inspiring people stories often about health or disability challenges. I self-published a booklet called Nelson Lifestyles, which featured interviews with creative locals.
I also work within the social service sector and sometimes this work overlaps with my writing. For instance, I am soon to compile profiles of hospice volunteers to showcase the range of work they do. I also work part-time in the Clinical Records department of Nelson Hospital. Not surprisingly for a writer, I am also an avid reader.