About the Author of "Guinness Down Under"

The author, Rod Smith, might arguably have a mild case of graphomania, or scribomania, an obsessive urge to write, formally identified by French psychiatrist Dr Jean-Etienne Esquirol in the early 1800s. As a schoolboy watching sports fixtures Rod used to record scores and results and on one occasion came home from watching rugby at Athletic Park and set about typing a report on the game which was read by nobody but himself!  Fortunately, the condition has remained a mild variant and has been channelled into various writing tasks in his career in journalism and several departments of Government service, and then into researching and writing “Guinness Down Under”.

Raised in Lyall Bay, Wellington, Rod attended Rongotai College and after leaving school became a reporter on “The Evening Post”.  From there he joined the crew of a cargo freighter the “Port New Plymouth” and worked his way to England where he studied and worked at a religious youth centre, Capernwray Hall, near the English Lake District. Returning to New Zealand he spent six years on the staff of the “Challenge” a religious weekly newspaper as reporter and assistant editor. In those years he was also involved in youth work in Auckland. Eventually a wish to do rather than to write resulted in a 10-year career in the Probation Service, in Auckland, Turangi (at the Tongariro Prison Farm), Tauranga and Henderson. He also gained a Diploma in Social Work at Victoria University, and spent time as a tutor at Taranaki House, a social work training centre in Avondale.

In 1980-81 Rod worked as executive assistant to the Minister of Justice, Hon J K McLay, with interest in the new computerised electoral roll. From that position he joined the head office of the Justice Department, and was heavily involved in establishing the counselling and support services of the new Family Court.

Further transfers saw him move to the policy section of the Ministry of Defence, training manager at the New Zealand Forest Service, training advisor in the new Ministry of Forestry, and back to the Justice Department as head office services manager.

Rod’s longest and final position was 20 years as an account manager at the Accident Compensation Corporation managing the relationship with a portfolio of large national employers focussing on levies, injury prevention, and injury management programmes.

“Guinness Down Under” is his first formal published work. In 1963 he wrote a 16-page history “The Capernwray Story” which is long since out-of-print. As a family history researcher, he has put his discoveries on record for family reading, and he contributed a section to an American publication “The Book of Minchin” by Dorothy Minchin-Comm in 2006.

Rod and Glennis have been married since 1971. Glennis is the great-grand-daughter of Sarah Guinness, one of the key characters in the book. They have three children and four grandchildren. Glennis completed her nursing training at Middlemore Hospital and has spent her working life in medical and dental reception roles. Their interest in family history has led them on several journeys to Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy the USA, and Bolivia.

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