NZ MEGA 2012 Organising Committee

Over the coming months, we are introducing the various members of the NZ MEGA 2012 Organising Committee so that attendees can get to 'meet' the personalities behind the MEGA. We'll start with the Chair of the NZ MEGA 2012 Organising Committee, Wayne Champion, and President of the New Zealand Recreational GPS Society Inc., Peter Walker.

Wayne Champion (Moneydork)

Moneydork at his 3000th cache find

Chair of the NZ MEGA 2012 Organising Committee
Immediate Past President of the NZ Recreational GPS Society

Moneydork was initially a family group of geocachers, who started caching on the West Coast of the South Island in 2003. Over time, Wayne (the father) has become increasingly obsessed as a geocacher, while the rest of the family have become increasingly disinterested! He is one of Australasia’s most active geocachers with over 12 thousand finds.

Wayne suggested the idea of New Zealand's first MEGA. It was initially planned for Christchurch, however the widespread damage caused by the ongoing Canterbury Earthquake Sequence led to a change of location, and the southern city of Dunedin was chosen.

The earthquake on the 22nd of February, 2011, also changed Wayne’s life. He was seconded away from his job in Greymouth as the General Manager of Hospital and Support Services for the West Coast District Health Board to the role of Operations Controller for the New Zealand Health System’s earthquake response in Christchurch for 9 months from February to November 2011. Following this secondment, Wayne surprised everyone (including himself) by accepting a Health Management role in South Australia, instead of returning to Greymouth.

Despite this drastic change in backdrop, from rainforests and traversing the Southern Alps to long flat roads and a vast desert landscape, Wayne has stayed engaged in the NZ MEGA 2012 project, and manages to find some time for Geocaching.com Volunteer Reviewing.

His other hobbies include scuba diving, fishing and 4x4 touring.

Peter Walker (Cumbyrocks)

Cumbyrocks out caching

President of the NZ Recreational GPS Society

Peter eats, sleeps, and breathes geocaching. The 34-year-old Dunedin resident has been addicted to the fast-growing hobby since getting his first GPS-enabled cellphone two years ago.

In that time, he’s found nearly 900 caches, placed 34 of his own, been a Society committee member, started a global geocaching blog It’s Not About The Numbers, and late last year was elected as the Society’s President.

When not out on the trail or at a Mega committee meeting, Peter manages Otago University hall of residence Cumberland College, fostering the talents of 400-plus first-year students. His Geocaching.com user name, Cumbyrocks, reflects his love for this career in pastoral care - though he just couldn’t resist introducing a caching club there.

But it’s not just his teenage charges who must bear with Peter’s obsession. His geo-widow Sarah and three boys can often be found accompanying him to his latest find or patiently listening to yet another geo-themed conversation. Even the family dog Tom isn’t immune, having been turned into a trackable cache hound by his master!

Thankfully, all three Cumbyrocks Juniors love the game almost as much as their dad. The arrival in January 2011 of his youngest son Toby forced Peter to choose between being at his wife’s hospital bedside or a first to find – a dilemma he's still smarting over. However, in Toby's defence, his impending birth inspired his doting dad to create a hide in his honour and he logged his first find at less than 10 days' old.

In case you hadn't guessed, Peter is a big fan of teaching children how to geocache and promoting the sport whenever possible. He's also known for his placement of large hides and tricky puzzles.

With Peter on the Society's NZ MEGA 2012 organising committee this coming October, you can be sure it will be a family-friendly and full of super-sized surprises.

Gerard Hyland (GSVNoFixedAbode)

South Island Vice President

Gerard got hooked on geocaching late 2003 when he read an article on Slashdot all about this clandestine new hobby using GPS units. Once an ‘Old Blue’ Legend was in hand it was off through the gorse and blackberry to find the local and remote caches. The gorse, blackberry, and mud meant that his geo-widow partner didn’t have quite the same enthusiasm so was happy to leave the hunting to him, and occasionally his daughters. This was at a time when men were real men, following the arrow was the best route to the cache, and caches were real caches, made from buckets or ammo cans with all sorts of interesting swap items. He also placed New Zealand’s southern-most cache on Stewart Island.

Geocaching highlights for Gerard have included hunting for caches in the remote parts of the South Island, lunchtime dashes with workmates to grab the latest local cache, and exploring unusual spots when on holiday both in New Zealand and in the UK.

In mid 2005 he became a volunteer reviewer for New Zealand, and spent many an evening reviewing and publishing caches before conning recruiting other reviewers to assist. He has been a committee member for the NZ Recreational GPS Society for the past few years, and is currently working behind the scenes as part of the Mega committee.

Outside of geocaching, Gerard does a spot of MTB riding, is part of a Dunedin cycling advocacy group, and is currently active in the effort to get a cycleway created through two old Dunedin railway tunnels.

Richard Nyhof (nofs)

Committee Member

For Richard, it all started one Sunday afternoon in April 2006 when he had nothing better to do. He’d heard rumours of caches and decided to find out. A quick search located Geocaching.com, a quick visit to town procured a cheap GPS, and a cache was found 350m from his home. Life has not been the same since!

The highlights of Richard’s caching experiences have been around road trips. A week or two away with each of his daughters as they finished their NCEA level one exams provided plenty of entertainment and not a few cache finds. He also enjoys the solo road trip as a chance to get away and has been known to do nothing other than find caches (with just enough eating, driving and sleeping to keep on track) for a week or two.

Outside of caching, Richard teaches maths in the engineering department of Otago Polytechnic and has just finished a stint as a student, completing a Master’s degree. He is also actively involved in the pastoral and youth work of a Dunedin church, and tries to kid people he can still play a bit of soccer or run up a hill or two.

Richard has been a committee member of the NZ Recreational GPS Society for the past three years and a Geocaching.com Volunteer Reviewer for a little longer. Together with the other committee members and locals, he is working on the facilities for the Mega, and thinking of ways to let cachers from the rest of the world experience the best of what Dunedin has to offer.

Andrew Oliver (-gonefishing-)

Past NZRGPS Committee Member

As Andrew’s caching handle suggests, he enjoys a spot of fishing from time to time. The best way to get to many good fishing spots is by boat, which led Andrew to get a mapping GPS so he could use marine charts while out and about in the boat. Having invested in a GPS for boating in Wellington’s sunny, windless weather, he was soon looking for other ways to play with the GPS (there are only so many sunny and windless days in “Windy Wellington”). Vaguely recalling some mention of this “geocaching” thing, a quick visit to Google soon turned up all the required info and an addiction was born!

Andrew still lives in hope that the rest of the family (wife + 12yr girl + 14yr boy) will develop more than a vague interest and limited attention span for caching. Happily, recent holidays to places such as the Marlborough Sounds and Taupo have quite nicely combined all 3 hobbies (boating, fishing and caching) and the hunt for caches has taken them to some really awesome spots.

The geocaching trail has led Andrew to many interesting places, some favourites being Fiji, Singapore, Golden Bay and Banks Peninsula. He is certain of one thing – following the geocaching trail is a great way to explore an area you are visiting. Having long since found most of the urban caches around Wellington, Andrew is now enjoying chasing some of the harder to reach caches in the region, often in the company of a group of like-minded friends met through geocaching.

Gavin Treadgold (rediguana)

rediguana on Mt Somers

Secretary/Treasurer

Gavin was introduced to geocaching after purchasing a GPS in Sydney, Australia in April 2001. Back home in Christchurch in early May, he remembered hearing about a GPS game on Slashdot, and went searching and found Geocaching.com. A few days thereafter he went hiking on the Port Hills overlooking Christchurch and found his first cache. The year 2001 was great for his FTF count - he didn't have any competition. He has had some rather ignomious firsts, including placing New Zealand's first puzzle, first crypto, and first micro (35mm) - all rolled up into a single cache thrown in a random bush! Hey. It was 2001.

A keen traveler, Gavin has been to some interesting places, and he has found caches in Sri Lanka, Iceland, and Taiwan, as well as some more traditional countries. He has now cached in every state in Australia, and about 20 US states. He loves photography, and the GPS and camera are always the first two items out when a road trip is called for (and that is usually fairly often).

He setup the NZ GPS Forums at the start of 2003, was a Founding member of the NZ Recreational GPS Society, has held most positions in office including President, and is currently the Secretary/Treasurer. In the distant past, he was New Zealand's second Volunteer Reviewer. He is currently dedicating most of his Society time to the Mega website, marketing and promotion, sponsorship, and implementing registration and booking processes.

Outside of caching, Gavin has been an IT consultant, a web developer, Civil Defence volunteer, and more recently an emergency manager and consultant. He has just enrolled in a Master's in Emergency Management. Gavin is a strong proponent of free and open source software, and has been involved with the Sahana Software Foundation producing web-based emergency management software since 2005, and more recently volunteer communities including CrisisMappers and CrisisCommons. Gavin has also been known to contribute to OpenStreetMap; the NZ Open GPS Maps project; GSAK maps, stats and macros.