Giving it right back

Image: Mark Coote

Paekākāriki resident Mark Galbraith’s company, McAra Air Conditioning (Wellington) are delighted to join us as second of two key sponsors for Paekākā Mark’s wish is for their ‘spot’ to be used to advertise what not-for-profit clubs and groups are doing. We wanted to find out more about this very generous man.

A few weeks ago, when arriving early for a Housing Trust meeting in Mark Galbraith’s garden studio, a trustee interrupted Mark meditating. He’d just completed a quick, post-work yoga session. Mark wasn’t phased, he just sprung into action to hustle drinks. So far, so Paekākāriki.

I arrived while he was inside getting supplies and, after a little while, turned to the trustee who had interrupted Mark:

‘Is it just me, or is there some awful feedback coming from the speakers?’ Crackling white noise mixed with nails on a blackboard and jagged guitar. Something was obviously very wrong with Mark’s sound system.

Turns out the horrendous sounds coming from the speakers is what Mark does yoga to. My fingers found the off button. A second longer, my teeth would have ground to dust.

That’s a classic Mark Galbraith story. He is a man of great contrasts, quirks and surprises, while all the while leading his life in service to others and working his bum off for his family. A Paekākāriki resident for nineteen years, he is originally from Tokoroa and Rotorua, where his whānau were in forestry. He left home for university in Christchurch, where he met Andrea Buckland. She was involved with some out-there activism (which he isn’t sure I should write about), but to cut a long story short, fell in love with this fabulous woman and they’ve been together ever since, eventually moving to the village to raise their two children.

After a few years in Paekākāriki, Mark began the Wellington branch of McAra Air Conditioning company, and over fifteen years has built it into a successful business, undertaking complicated, large scale projects across the Wellington region.

Somehow, around the job, working on projects around his house and spending time with family and friends, Mark loves surfing, fishing with his kayak, biking, running and jujitsu, getting this all regularly throughout his week. On paper this reads as someone who could be a fairly intimidating, hyperactive action man who never sleeps. In person he is quietly spoken, gentle and self-effacing.

He is a founding trustee of the Paekākāriki Housing Trust, aligning with his life-long belief in social justice.  He practices yoga to a band whose name is too rude to write down. And he has a soft-spot for cage-fighting!

Mark is a lovely man full of the wonderful contrasts that make us human. In his quiet, behind-the-scenes way, he’s a very active, enthusiastic Paekākārikian, working hard for social equality. We are lucky to have him.

If your non-for-profit club or group would like to optimise this community advertorial space on our home page, please let our editor Holly Jane Ewens know by emailing her.