Ross Callaghan

I was born in Takapuna, Auckland in 1947.  My parents were Jack and Madge Callaghan and I have one brother, Brian.


I had a happy childhood.  Initially our family was not well off, but we never lacked for anything.  My father worked hard in establishing his business and my mother was always there for us.  We lived close to my father's mother, our Nana, and we often stayed at her place to give our parents a break.  We enjoyed staying at Nana's because we had porridge for breakfast, and could listen to the children's stories on the radio.

We went to Sunday School at St Georges Presbyterian Church with my mother.  This helped build Christian foundations in my life that were very important later on.  My father didn't go to Church. 

I attended Takapuna Primary School (1952-1956) and must have done quite well as I went straight from Standard 2 to Standard 4.  This affected my schooling from then on as I was always younger than the other children. Later I was a foundation pupil at Belmont Intermediate School (1957,1958).

I got on reasonably well with Brian, although we did fight quite a lot (and I usually won as I was bigger!).  In one of the fights I pushed him through a glass door and he has carried the scar ever since (and still gleefully reminds me of this point!). Brian was a bit naughtier than me, and on a celebrated occasion he broke my mothers favourite china dog.  My mother was so upset she smacked him and then when he stopped crying smacked him again!

We had a cat called Whiskers, and at one stage some guinea pigs called Monty and Basil.  It wasn't long before the local cats and dogs got them, though!



Our family lived in a nice little brick house in Burns Ave, Takapuna, in a good neighbourhood. We even had a car (initially a 1952 Ford Prefect) and were able to travel occasionally to Christchurch to visit Grandad and Grandma Tyson (my mother's parents); Aunty Joan (my mother's sister) and Uncle Bob in Greymouth; and Aunty Norma (my mother's other sister) and Uncle Mick in New Plymouth. 


14 Burns Avenue, Takapuna

My father was very keen on Rugby so Brian and I played for the Takapuna club for many years.  I played at 1st five; centre, wing or fullback, as I was a reasonably fast runner. Often I was also the goalkicker and for some of the time my father was our coach.  One of the Takapuna teams I was in won the competition and had a record of "Played 13; Won 13; Points for: 212; Points against 0".  A perfect record! Brian was better at rugby than I was and was later an Auckland Junior Rep.

Later on, as my father's business became more successful, we had a batch at Martins Bay, about 1 1/2 hours north of Auckland.  There we had a small boat and a P class yacht.  We really enjoyed our holidays at Martins Bay and I especially enjoyed cooking pipis on the beach; fishing; making huts, and climbing on the cliffs above the beach.


Our bach at Martins Bay

I went to St Kentigern College for my secondary schooling. (1959-1963). My school number was 770. St Kents is in Pakuranga so there was a long way to travel each day.  To get to school I walked to the bus stop; caught a bus to Devonport; traveled to Auckland City on the ferry, walked to the bus terminal, and then caught a bus for about 3/4 hour to get to the school in Pakuranga. The same on the way home. (I used to count the TV aerials on the houses as the bus traveled to school as this was the time when people were just starting to have TVs!). After the Harbour Bridge opened it was a bit easier to get to and from school as there were just two buses. St Kentigern was a boys school at this stage and I was younger than most of the boys in my class and was a bit shy. This, together with the traveling, meant I didn't really like St Kents. (Brian, though, was more social and really loved it).  I was in Forms 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B and 7B.  Never an A student!  I passed School Certificate quite easily though, and got UE accredited.  In the 7th Form I got Higher School Certificate which enabled me to go to University.  The only other memorable thing for me about St Kents is that I learnt to play the clarinet (not very well!).  This has led to a lifelong love of playing musical instruments. (Later I taught myself to play the guitar and the piano, and I dabbled with the saxophone and piano accordion).


I played a little rugby at St Kents but soon gave it up when I took up golf.  Both of my parents had become keen golfers and my father taught me to play.  Initially we played at Takapuna Club (where I won the C grade Championship when I was about 14), and later on at the newly built North Shore Golf Club. Pretty soon golf dominated all of my spare time and I became very good at it. I was taken aside for special coaching and won quite a few tournaments, played in the NZ Open twice and was on a one handicap as a teenager.  Later on I was beaten in the finals of the prestigious North Shore club senior champs but won the NZ University title in 1965 and gained a University Blue.  I represented NZ Universities on a tour around the country and was matched against some of the best golfers in NZ. As time went by I got the yips so I could never trust my putting, especially on short putts, and lost some of my confidence. For many years, though, I would always shoot between 72-78 and occasionally broke 70.

The technology in golf clubs and golf balls back then was pretty primitive compared to now, so I wonder how good I would have been if I had the equipment used today. I pretty much gave up golf when I became a Christian, started teaching, and got married. I just didn't have the time or the inclination to put in the practice needed. (I did continue to coach golf at each of the secondary schools where I taught, and so kept my hand in). Later on I just played a few rounds each year, but could still play reasonably well, as my swing was pretty good. My putting wasn't any better, though!


           Auckland schoolboy champion                                    Final of North Shore championships - beaten by Ivan Mann

My father's business prospered and in 1962 we moved from Takapuna to a lovely new house at 52 Raleigh Road, Northcote. The house looked over to Auckland city, and had a swimming pool and a rumpus room with a table tennis table. Brian and I finally had our own bedrooms. My grandfather Isaac Tyson (who I called Mr T) often came and lived with us here. He was nearly blind and I used to enjoy sitting and talking with him, and taking him for walks. he would say "I can't see, you know" which became a standing joke for us all. Mr T died in 1974. See Our grandparents.

At this stage I got my first car. It was a 1938 Austin 7, called 'Old Bess'. She never let me down (even though you could see the ground through the rust holes in her floor!).


                                     54 Raleigh Road                                    1937 Austin 7. Old Bess and friend, Chrissy

For my 21st birthday we had a party around the pool. My present was a second-hand Barrett and Robinson piano, which I taught myself to play over the next few years.  (I did have one lesson once!  It was from the guy next door, and was for 1/2 an hour!). Playing the piano was important for me for the rest of my life.

A few years later we moved again to another, much larger, house up the road, still in Raleigh Road, Northcote. This was a magnificent place.  It had 4 stories, a big rumpus room and a b
ig swimming pool. Looking out on the lights of Auckland city at night from this house was very special.


                                                                      96 Raleigh Road, Northcote

After leaving school I went to Auckland University studying science. (1964-1967) and graduated in 1968 with a B.Sc. The subjects that made up the degree were Chemistry 1, 2, and 3; Zoology 1; Botany 1 and 2; Physics 1, Mathematics 1 and Education 1.  As I learnt to study better my grades improved so that in the later courses in the degree I was getting consistent A's.  I am sure that the study skills and cognitive development that took place in these years helped me immensely in later years so I could approach professional life with a great deal of intelligence and insight.  Initially I was hoping to do medicine, but my future career became clearer as I went through University and in 1968 I did a 1 year course at Auckland Teachers College, graduating with a Diploma in Teaching. 

The most significant event in my life took place in 1964 while I was at University.  Over the years I had continued attending Sunday School and later Bible Class, and gone on occasional camps.  In 1964 I was at a Bible Class camp at Hunua and was challenged by the claims that Jesus made on my life.  He laid down His life for me; so would I give my life to Him and become a Christian?  I wrestled with this issue on a bridge over the Hunua River and there decided to give my life to Christ.  What a momentous and life-changing decision!  Jesus came into my life. I was born again and became a child of God. Life was never the same from that point on. I quickly developed a real love for the Lord and for His Word, the Bible.  This was helped by being part of groups in the Church and at University that were focused on getting to know the Lord, studying the Bible, and sharing the Gospel. I fell in love with Jesus!

Soon I was involved in lots of different ministry activities.  I led Sunday School; led a Youth Group; became a leader at Christian Youth Camps in the holidays; did street and coffee bar evangelism; went to camps; was part of a music group and got involved in outreaches and was full on for the Lord.  At this stage my parents were a little bewildered by it all and felt that I was a "little intense"! 

Leading a CYC camp 1969 


For details on the various ministry activities I have been involved in over the years click here: Ministry

After completing university and training college I began my
teaching career in 1969 at Takapuna Grammar School. I taught science, chemistry and biology, and became Head of Biology at TGS after just one year of teaching.  I really enjoyed teaching and got on well with my students.


In my first year at Takapuna Grammar School many of the 7th form students became Christians and I became the leader of the Crusader Group (later ISCF), the Christian group in the school. Soon we established "The Saturday Night Group" so we could disciple these young people and it became one of the exciting Charismatic groups that were starting up in New Zealand around that time. We had up to 70 at the meetings and they were 4 hours long with wonderful worship, Bible teaching from me (always with printed handouts), ministry, prayer, and a fellowship time. It seemed that we could barely fit everything into just four hours; there was so many great things happening! (I was also leading an equivalent group at Glenfield Presbyterian Church, plus school teaching, leading Sunday School and Bible Class, going to camps in the holidays, and I was also the Charter President of the Birkenhead Rotoract Club!  Looking back I wonder how I found the time to do everything.

I did have a few girlfriends along the way: Colleen, Chrissy, Jennifer and Karen.

But then in 1972 I met Kathryn Joy Andersen!  Life sure changed after that!


Kathy Andersen

I was born on in Hamilton in 1955. 

My parents were Eric and Joyce Andersen and my grandparents were Harald and Andrina Andersen, and John and Eleanor Jones.


Joyce and Eric in 1947                       Andrina and Harald  in 1958                             John and Eleanor in 1970


I was the youngest of six children.  My brothers and sisters are Patsy, Sue, Mike, Karen and John.

I must have been a cute baby as I won a baby contest and the prize was this photo!  


My father worked in various factories.  He was very much a 'labour man' and got involved in workers rights.  We had very little to do with him really as he left anything to do with the children to Mum.  He rarely went to any of our events.  It was a surprise to me that he came to my confirmation when I was 13.  He was moved by the whole process which resulted in him being christened and confirmed in the Anglican church shortly afterwards.  He still did not attend church.  He drank too much which caused tension in the house. 

Mum was a War Bride, coming to NZ in 1945 when Patsy was a baby.  She did not go out to work.  She did however get very involved in the things we children did and worked on parent/teacher committees and worked every Wednesday at the Intermediate School Tuck Shop making lunches.  She taught Sunday School for many years.  It was important to her that we be brought up as good Christian people.  She taught herself to sew and made most of our clothes.  She loved to knit and produced many wonderful garments and taught all us girls to knit. 

Mum, Dad and all 6 kids lived in a three bedroom state house at 57 Paul Crescent. It must have been a squash but I do not remember feeling that way.  Being the youngest I got more and more room as my elder siblings left home!  We did not own a car.  We never went on a family holiday.

I went to Fairfield Primary, Fairfield Intermediate and Fairfield College.  Always an average student and very shy and timid especially in my early years. I did manage to get School Certificate but did not go to university. When I left school I worked in the office for the Department of Social Welfare.

Although music was not a big thing in our home I was always keen on music, especially singing.  I sang in the school choir, the church choir (along with Patsy and Sue) and played the violin and guitar. I think I was born to sing! I am not sure where this comes from other than my father had a lovely tenor voice. 

I became more deeply interested in Christian things in my teen years. I grew deeper in my faith and love of the Lord after experiencing a touch from God in 1971.  It changed my life. I left the Anglican Church in 1972 when I was baptised by immersion and the church did not approve.  I went to Hamilton Assembly of God Church in Hamilton until I moved to Auckland in 1974. 

During school holidays I would be a leader at CYC camps in Ngaruawahia and it was there that I first met Ross in 1972.  It wasn't until 1973 we started dating.  I lived in Hamilton initially and we 'courted' long distance for about a year. I moved to Takapuna in 1974.


Ross and Kathy Callaghan

We met at Christian Youth Camps in Ngaruawahia in 1972 when we were leading children's camps and then in 1973 started to realise that something was happening!  One night under the stars we had a big long talk about all sorts of things.  This was the start of a wonderful love relationship!!!

Ross lived in Auckland and Kathy in Hamilton, but there were often excuses to travel either way for Ross to lead a Bible study in Hamilton or Kathy to come up for the Saturday Night Group. And there were letters being written pretty much every day.  


Kathy got a job at the Social Welfare Department in Takapuna and moved up to Auckland, staying in a girls flat close to where we met for the Saturday night group. We got engaged in December 1973 at the top of Mt Victoria in Devonport.  Ross popped the question, Kathy agreed and we went down to Hamilton to get permission from Kathy's parents.  When they agreed we started planning our wedding!

We got married on the 31st of August 1974 at Glenfield Presbyterian Church.  We were married by Rev Arch Davie, and Kathy's attendants were Berneece Tait, Sue Andersen, and Denise Macdonald and her flower girls was her niece Gabrielle Burton who was 4 years old.  Ross's were Ian Mandeno, Brian Callaghan and Mike Andersen.  Our reception was held at Ross's parents place in their big rumpus room. "The New Jerusalem" sang some items and Rev Peter Armstrong shared a challenging message.  Afterwards we had two other receptions!  One was for the parents so they could have some drinks with their friends, and one was for the Saturday night group - where Ross preached a message on Christian marriage!


After a honeymoon in Turangi, Taupo and Rotorua we moved into our own house at 82 Sunnynook Road, Glenfield.


Here are the highlights of our lives over the years:

1974-1976 Glenfield

We were given a poodle (Kimi), some tropical fish, and an orchid as wedding presents.  We soon had 6 fish tanks and hundreds of orchids!  Unfortunately Kimi had bad legs and we were heartbroken when he had to be put down.  We went straight out and bought Sarita, another black poodle (and she lived with us for the next 14 years).  The fish tanks have long since gone, but we still have quite a few orchids.

Ross led a youth group (The Saturday Night Group), a mid-week Bible Study at Glenfield Presbyterian Church, and an ISCF group at Takapuna Grammar School.   We also had a band called Koinonia which sang when Ross spoke at camps and evangelistic outreaches. One night our house was firebombed as we were singing!  Someone wanted to kill off Christians!  Fortunately the house didn't catch fire and that night God gave us a scripture: "This slight momentary affliction is preparing you for an eternal weight of glory".  Very comforting!


Our poodle, Sarita               Koinonia:  Penny Bilton, Mike Renner, Kathy, Rob Davie, Ross

You can listen to Kathy singing with Koinonia here.  The recording was made in 1975 and Ross was on guitar!  The file is in .mp3 format. If that isn't love

After we were married Kathy didn't get a job so we bought a white Fiat Bambina from Ross's sister in law, Margaret, so Ross could get to school and Kathy could still get around in our other car. Unfortunately the Bambina's motor blew up, but Ross pulled it to bits and re-conditioned it.  Afterwards it was quite exciting when we turned the key and the motor went!

1976 - 1977 Wellsford

After 7 years of teaching at Takapuna Grammar we moved to Wellsford so Ross could do his country service at Rodney College. Soon after we arrived Debbie was born and our lives changed focus as we tried to be as good parents as we could be.



Initially we lived in a school house at 288 Rodney Street, just over the road from Rodney College, but we were then offered a brand new school house at 22 Tomas Street, just down the road.  We enjoyed setting up the new house and planting a garden.  We had a couple of tanks for the tropical fish (including one in an old TV set) and bought a shadehouse for the orchids.


Our new house at 22 Tomas St, Wellsford

We got involved in the Cooperating parish in Wellsford, led a Bible study for a while, and often took services in the little churches throughout the countryside.  Sometimes there were only 3 people there but they enjoyed Kathy's singing, and having a little baby as part of the service.  Ross also led the Inter School Christian Fellowship group at Rodney College.  The group was asked to lead the morning assembly each week so had the opportunity to share the gospel with the whole school in lots of different and interesting ways.  This was a challenge for the young people but very rewarding for them.

Ross started his interest in photography while we were in Wellsford.  He learned to develop and print films in black and white using the school's darkroom.  Debbie was the main one in the photos!

Our main task though, at this stage, was learning to be good parents.  We loved having Debbie as a baby, but she sure was full of energy! She learned to speak quickly, and walked early, and from then on was always on the go.

Even though we were only in Wellsford for a short time we made some wonderful friends there and particularly enjoyed the country lifestyle.

1978 - 1984 Warkworth and Snells Beach

We moved to Warkworth so Ross could be Head of Biology at Mahurangi College.  We lived in a school house at 27 Percy St in Warkworth for a while, then bought our own place at 3 Washington Ave in Snell's Beach. This was a lovely big, 4 bedroom house with a nice view of the sea, a big rumpus room, and a great back yard.  We developed an excellent vege garden, and built a glasshouse and shadehouse for our many orchids.  We still had tropical fish but were now down to just one tank.

3 Washington Ave, Snells Beach

Sarah was born in 1979, and Philip in 1981. (All of our children were born at Warkworth Maternity Hospital.  For Debbie, Kathy was in labour for 3 hours; for Sarah, 1 hour; and for Philip, we only just made it to the hospital!).


Debbie 3, and Sarah 3 months                                                  Sarah  11 months


Philip 4 months                                                                       Family 1982

Sarah and Philip were both much more placid than Debbie!  It was great bringing up our children near the beach.  They sure had a wonderful childhood!  We had a playground close by, and the beach was tidal, so very safe, but with a nice, sandy shore.  Debbie and Sarah both started their schooling at Warkworth Primary School, a 10 minute bus ride from our place in Snells Beach.


Ross very much enjoyed teaching at Mahurangi College.  He was Head of Biology and also taught science and chemistry.  Later on he was responsible for setting up a new horticulture department, complete with classroom, potting room, shadehouse, glasshouse, orchard, vege garden and flower beds.  This was so successful he was asked to be a consultant for other schools wanting to set up horticulture departments.

As our family grew we bought a Mitsubishi Sigma station wagon so that we could all fit in. We regularly visited our parents in Auckland and Hamilton so it was good to be able to do this in some comfort.  We then bought a trailer that had an awning over it so we could sleep in it!  This was pretty basic but our whole family was able to sleep in the trailer and stationwagon on quite a few of our trips south.


Visiting Grandparents 1982

Debbie, Sarah and Philip 1982

Later on Ross bought Bertha, an orange Fiat Bambina which he used for getting to and from school. On the way back from Auckland with our new Bambina it caught fire!  We got the fire out and were able to get home safely, but Bertha didn't prove very reliable and also had to have her engine re-conditioned.  (Debbie gained her love of Bambinas from Bertha, so many years later she and Fraser got one and used it to leave for their honeymoon).  Once Bertha finally died Ross bought a 70cc Suzuki motorbike to get to school.  Recognising this wasn't very safe he then bought a 360cc 5 door Daihatsu van.  It was so small and light that we had to put weights in the back so that it didn't tip over when it was windy or going round corners!

Kathy started her interest in crafts at this stage, particularly in fabric painting.  She painted all sorts of items: clothes, glasses, wall-hangings, and ornaments.  These made great presents and were excellent for decorating the children's clothes.  Kathy soon became a Tri-chem dealer (later on becoming the Wellington Manager for Tri-chem). 

We attended Warkworth Presbyterian Church where our friend, Peter Armstrong was the minister.  Ross was an elder but did not enjoy this and preferred serving the Lord in the other ministries that opened up, especially preaching in local churches, worship leading, speaking at family camps and leading the great family-based home group that met at our house. 

At school Ross led the Inter School Christian Fellowship group. The group was strong and built some great friendships.  One of the highlights for the group was to make a movie called "The Way".  Ross wrote and directed the movie and the actors included Ross Segedin, and Vernon Dempster, teachers at the college. The film showed how Jesus was the only way to God.  It was presented to the whole school and also entered into a film competition.

Ross played tennis regularly and taught golf at school (so had to play 9 holes with his students every Friday afternoon.  It's tough having to play golf during school time!). 

Christmas 1982 with Aunty Norma and Grandma

End of 1983

In 1982 Ross started having problems with his voice. He could hardly talk and had to give up his work.  He had his vocal cords operated on three times and ended up not being able to speak at all.  He was on sick leave for a year but there was no way he could continue teaching, preaching, worship leading etc. - things which had been so important in his life up to that point.  This was a very difficult time for our family as Ross could only communicate with the children or others by notes, clapping, pointing. It was interesting to see how other people found it very difficult to relate to someone with a disability.  Ross did occasional work like landscaping, writing of teachers guides, and wallpapering, but it soon became obvious he would not be able to return to his teaching job at Mahurangi College.

This was a very difficult time for our family, but we look back on it now as a time of great growth and blessing.  We can see how God used it to lead us on to better things.

We lived in Snells Beach for 7 years and it had become our "home".  We couldn't imagine living anywhere else and we had developed a great outdoor lifestyle and many wonderful friends.  But then we had to move on. 

We explored various options and ultimately Ross got a job as Senior Science teacher at the Correspondence school in Wellington.  We sold the motorbike, Daihatsu van and our last fish tank,  bought a house in Tawa (thanks to Ross's parents), rented out our house in Snells Beach (as we hoped to return), put all the orchids into the trailer, bundled the three children and Sarita into our new Nissan van, and headed for Wellington.

Heading for Wellington            

1984 - 1987 Tawa, Wellington  

The move to Wellington was a great adventure for our family as we knew almost no-one, and had no idea what life in the city was like.  We all adapted really well and are now so glad that we were able to live for so long in Wellington.

We lived at 12 Magdalen St, Tawa.  This was a nice 4 bedroom home in a good area, in the hills above Tawa.  It was pretty cold though!  We re-wallpapered and painted the house, created a new garden and and set up a glasshouse for the orchids. We also started to build relationships and establish friendships with a whole new set of people.

12 Magdalen St, Tawa


Phil started school and, with Sarah, went to the local Redwood school.  Debbie started high school at Queen Margaret College, a wonderful girls school in the centre of Wellington. (Grandad and Grandma helped with school fees!).  This meant that each day Debbie and Ross would travel into town on the train. Initially this was an adventure but soon it got to be a great opportunity to catch up on some reading. (We even read George Orwell's book '1984' during 1984!).

Kathy continued with her Trichem and became the Wellington area manager.  This was a part-time role, and meant she looked after a team of salespeople (many of whom became great friends).

Ross's job at the Correspondence School meant he could continue teaching, but did not have to speak as the Correspondence School's students learn by distance education.  Ross learned a lot about learning at the Correspondence School and that translated over into his preaching and training programmes.  He now focuses on communicating in a way that people will learn!  He also learned how to make effective videos and that was reflected in the quality of the family videos we made once we got our first video camera.


Sarah's 7th birthday, 1986                                         Our family in 1987

We went to Porirua AOG church which is very multi-cultural and we were able to take on significant leadership roles there, Kathy in getting alongside people, and Ross as an elder, pastor, preacher (as his voice gradually returned) and trainer. Ross also played the piano for the Church's wonderful music team and this greatly compensated for his inability to sing.  During our time at Porirua AOG Ross developed and ran ministry training programmes for preachers, small group leaders, worship leaders and for those who are seeking to help others as they go through difficult times.  These training programmes were developed further later on and became part of the ministry training that he still offers.


Mid way through 1987 Ross and Kathy went to a marriage enrichment seminar and found it invaluable.  One of things we talked about was whether we should move to some other part of the Wellington area which was warmer, and which had a house on flat so it would be easier for the children to get outside to play.

Within a week we had sold our house in Tawa (for cash!) and had bought a house in 14 Whites Line West, Lower Hutt.  This was to be our home for the next 20 years.

1987 - 2007, Lower Hutt

Our new house was on the flat in central Lower Hutt.  It was much better for the children than Tawa, because they had plenty of room to play.  The house itself was pretty basic with just 3 bedrooms but after we sold our house in Snells Beach we did major renovations so we had 4 bedrooms, a study, two bathrooms, and an extra 'music room'.  Outside, the house had a large flat section, a separate rumpus room and a glasshouse. It was all pretty run down and much of our time over the next 20 years was spent in renovating the house, rumpus room and grounds. We created a wonderful environment and really enjoyed the process of doing everything up, and the end result.



14 Whites Line West, Lower Hutt.

For the children 14 Whites Line West will always be considered home. Lower Hutt was where they did most of their growing up, completed their schooling and tertiary studies, and had their friends.  It was a great place to live. 

While our parents were alive we traveled north each year at Christmas time.  This was a big adventure for the children and meant they could catch up with their grandparents, aunties and uncles, and cousins.





We attended Lower Hutt Baptist Church, which was within walking distance of our house.  It had a great youth group, and this was where the children grew spiritually, were baptised and enjoyed a great social life. Debbie and Sarah were married at Lower Hutt Baptist.  (Phil was married in Nova Scotia - but then he and his wife Sarah returned to New Zealand and lived with us for a while till they got established in Wellington).


Fraser and Debbie                             Michael and Sarah                                            Phil and Sarah

In the early years Ross preached regularly at Lower Hutt Baptist, and ran many of his training programmes.  Later on he was often asked to preach at other churches, and to lead family camps or run training programmes.  This meant we were often helping out in churches other than our own!


Ross was also the Area Chaplain for the Hutt Valley- Wairarapa Girls Brigade and then became National Chaplain for Girls Brigade in New Zealand for a number of years.  In this role he provided spiritual leadership and oversight for GB as it sought to stay relevant for the girls of the day. He still helps out in many ways - with training, videoing, Queen's Award assessment and making of DVDs for the wonderful Fonomarae camps that are help every four years.



Just before we headed north to Paraparaumu we ministered at Lower Hutt Church of Christ for a couple of years.  The church had just gone through a very difficult period and we helped them get re-established and back to being healthy.

For more information on our various ministry activities see the Ministry section of Ross's website.


Kathy continued with her Trichem and became the Wellington area manager. The work slowly petered out and Kathy got a job at Soma Medical Centre as their receptionist/administrator, working for Dr Richard Turnbull for 13 years. Typically Kathy worked two or three days a week and she became an integral part of the team at Soma, and of its wonderful ministries to those in need. Lots of the people Kathy met through Soma, and those she worked with have remained as good friends. When Richard Turnbull sold Soma Kathy helped for a while then got another job working for Dr Hans Snoek for two and a half years. Kathy was a wonderful receptionist and discovered that she was able to learn complex medical computer programmes and to train others in them.    

After 7 years at the Correspondence School Ross got a job as Training Manager at The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, at that time New Zealand's largest tertiary teaching organisation. This was very convenient as the polytechnic was not far away from where we lived in Lower Hutt.  Initially Ross set up the Staff Training and Development Centre, focused on equipping the polytechnic's staff with the skills needed for effective distance teaching. 

Ross worked for The Open Polytechnic for 14 years. During this time he gained a lot of expertise in distance education, instructional design, training, assessment and evaluation. He also gained extra qualifications, a Diploma in Tertiary teaching, a Diploma in Theology and a Certificate in Training and Development. He became a professional trainer and found this quite different from his previous career as a secondary teacher. Training adults is a lot more pleasant than teaching teenagers! His work gradually changed over the years and he became more involved in doing revenue-generating activities for clients all over the country. He designed and delivered training programmes on a wide range of topics, particularly 'Train the Trainer', assessment, communication skills, and team building.   

As part of his work Ross attended conferences, many of which were in Australia,but he also went to conferences in Malaysia and the United States. He was New Zealand's representative at three UNESCO conferences, and presented papers at many conferences in Australia.  It was very enriching getting involved in the academic world, and then, later, making a contribution to it.

Ross also traveled widely throughout New Zealand running training programmes.  He once counted the number of trips away from home that he made on business and it came to over 340. As a result he has visited almost all parts of our country (and occasionally Kathy was able to go too).  We count ourselves blessed to live in a wonderful country, and to have traveled extensively within it.

Here are some of the things we got involved in during our years in Lower Hutt:

  • A lot of our time was spent renovating our house (painting and wallpapering). Each room was done up (some a number of times!).  We also lined the rumpus room and it became a great place for teenagers to gather, and for us to do crafts and exercises in.
  • In the garden we moved the glasshouse so it was behind the garage, established a vegetable garden and small orchard, and concreted in half-round edgings for all of the flower and shrub beds.  We also created a beautiful lawn to set the whole garden off.  Ross grew his orchids in the glasshouse and we grew tomatoes and grapes in there as well.  

Our garden at 14 Whites Line West
  • Kathy joined the Faultline Chorus singing baritone and lead.  She really loved her barbershop craft and enjoyed learning more about the craft from various coaches.  Some of the coaches came from America and this resulted in some wonderful friendships across the world.  Kathy sang in a number of quartets as well as the Faultline Chorus but a whole new world opened up in 2003 when she sang with the Greater Auckland Chorus in the International Competitions in Phoenix, USA.  In 2005 she was invited to sing with the Kansas City Chorus in the International Competitions and was very excited when she won a third place medal!  In 2007 she sang once more with the Kansas City Chorus in Calgary, Canada, this time winning a 5th place medal. You can watch the Kansas City Chorus rehearsing for the 2007 competitions here:  Kansas City Chorus Rehearsal  Kathy finished singing barbershop in 2009 but has maintained her friendship with lots of 'barbershoppers' throughout the world. 



2008 on, Paraparaumu Beach

We moved into our new house at 81 The Drive, Paraparaumu Beach at the beginning of 2008.  We are now very settled in the community, have created a nice garden, and enjoying exploring the wonderful beach environment around us.

Being retired has given us time to get involved in lots of different activities:

  • We were leaders of a small church: Gateway Christian Fellowship for 5 years. This provided plenty of opportunity for ministry to others and for blessing people. Ross was an elder, preached regularly, ran the website and provided spiritual leadership.  Kathy was on the leadership team; was responsible for pastoral care; led services and occasionally preached. When we stepped down from formal leadership we continued to do a lot in the Church, especially through Ross's teaching and preaching, and our putting on of regular social activities. Gateway closed in July 2015 after 11.5 years of fruitful ministry.  We made a huge input into the church and look back on our involvement with its people with much joy.  We continue to support many of them through regular "Youth Group" get togethers in our home.
  • We are volunteers at the hospital at Sevenoaks Retirement Village.  We visit people from the dementia unit, take church services and lead singalongs for the whole hospital.
  • We also provide entertainment services for quite a few groups in the Kapiti community. We show our travel movies, run 'soirees' and lead singalongs (with Kathy singing, and Ross playing his keyboard and sometimes even on his clarinet). We really enjoy this and those who come along sure do have a great time! See our Entertain Kapiti website for details.
  • Kathy used to do occasional relief receptionist work at the Paraparaumu Medical Centre and Ross took on occasional consultancy or video work.  Now, though, we are fully retired, and enjoying it.
  • Kathy now has time to research our family history in some depth and Ross is recording some of that history on this website and in slideshows and DVDs.
  • We make sure that we keep fit and healthy. We walk a lot, spend time in the garden, and exercise regularly.  Ross has taken up golf again and got back to the kind of form he had 40 years ago.  He got down to a 7 handicap and even had a 69 recently.
  • We are getting more into photography and videography, recording our environment and our family history.  Kathy had one of her photos of Kapiti Island published in the paper recently.
  • Ross continues to prepare Bible Studies and put them on his website so feel free to check them out regularly!  See Bible Studies
  • Ross is making model ships as a legacy for the grand-children.
  • And we have been free to travel more - especially going on cruises. We have been to 65 different countries (so far!).

Our travels 

Ross's regular trips overseas led to our love of travel so we have also explored the world! (Early on, Kathy's part time work meant we could afford these trips!).  Here are the main places we visited over the years:

  • 1988.  Singapore and Penang, Malaysia. This was Ross's first overseas conference. He was NZ's representative and presented a paper at a UNESCO conference in Penang.
  • 1990.  Singapore. Ross enjoyed Singapore so much in 1988 we both went there in 1990.
  • 1992.  Australia - We took the whole family for a short break in Sydney.
  • 1994.  Asia -  We went back to Singapore, then on to Hong Kong and a quick 1 day visit to Macau and China.  In Australia we visited Adelaide, the Barossa Valley and Whyalla, after one of Ross's conferences.
  • 1995.  USA - We went on a tour of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Bryce, Zion and Grand Canyons, Scottsdale, San Diego and Tijuana.  This was a wonderful introduction to the USA and its marvellous cities and scenery. The tour was notable because the tour company went bust when we were at the Grand Canyon, but the tour carried on anyway.
  • 1996.  Australia - We visited Perth and Western Australia, after another conference.  USA -  We also went on a family trip to Los Angeles to meet with Debbie (who was in Idaho on a scholarship for the year).
  • 1997. Australia - We drove from Sydney to Melbourne. There are so many interesting places to explore on this trip.  We especially loved Echuca.  Next was USA and Canada.  This was a Cosmos tour where we visited New York, Boston, Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Philadelphia and back to New York.  It was wonderful because this was the time of the year when the Fall colours were at their best.  In New Zealand we explored around Rotorua as part of Fonomarae.
  • 1998.  Australia - We had a short visit to Brisbane, and the Gold Coast and Sunshine CoastIn New Zealand we had a long weekend in Queenstown (won as a prize), then had another lovely trip all around the lower South Island.  When we returned from this trip we found our house had been flooded!
  • 1999. USA - This time we visited Seattle, Vancouver and Idaho, then took a Cosmos tour of Western Canada: Banff, Jasper, Rockies, train across to West coast, inside passage to Vancouver Island, Victoria, Butchart gardens.  What wonderful scenery in this beautiful part of the world!  Back in New Zealand we went on a trip around the West Coast and Upper South Island as part of Ross's work.
  • 2000.  USA - Ross attended a conference in Dallas, while Kathy visited friends in Kansas City.  We then took a Cosmos tour of southern states: Orlando, Savannah, Atlanta, Nashville and Grand Ole Opry, Memphis and Elvis, Natchez, N ew Orleans, Tampa.  In each centre we experienced different styles of music.  Back in New Zealand we visited New Plymouth; Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.
  • 2001.  Australia - We had a lovely time in and around Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, including Fraser Island.  Next we went to the UK via Singapore: After catching up with family we we went on another Cosmos tour visiting London, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland. This gave a great introduction to the UK and its history.  In New Zealand we spent time in the Queenstown area for Fonomarae.
  • 2002.  USA  We had a week in San Francisco.   Then in Australia we visited Melbourne and then drove right around Tasmania.
  • 2003.  Canada and USA  We went to Nova Scotia (for Phil and Sarah's wedding), and visited Prince Edward Island, Boston.  What amazing scenery!
  • 2004.  Australia: We had a week in Cairns and Tropical North Queensland.  We also drove from Sydney to Brisbane, and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.  In New Zealand we visited Northland including Whangarei, Warkworth, Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga. 
  • 2005. In New Zealand we explored around Hamilton for Fonomarae; and had trips to Fiordland and Queenstown and Napier.  Next it was off to the USA (so Kathy could sing with the Kansas City Chorus in Detroit) After the competitions we met in Las Vegas and took a Trafalgar Tour of US national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyons, Salt Lake City, Jackson, Yosemite, Grand Tetons, Billings, Denver, Arches, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon.  Truly magnificent scenery and history!
  • 2006.  In Australia we visited the family in Melbourne (twice) and New Zealand explored around Wanganui.  In Asia we had a wonderful week in Thailand.
  • 2007. We went on a trip to Great Britain, Europe, Israel, Jordan and Egypt.  This was our biggest overseas adventure thus far.  In Great Britain we caught up with all known relatives, and found out a lot about our family history.  We went on a Cosmos Tour of Europe, and then on an Ancient Kingdoms tour of Israel, Jordan and Egypt.  Later in the year we went to America and Canada so Kathy could sing with the Kansas City Chorus in the International Competitions. We visited Kansas City, Branson, and then Chicago.  We then went to Calgary, Canada for the competitions and also visited Banff and Jasper in the amazing Canadian Rockies. 
  • 2009.  We went on a wonderful Wendy Wu tour of Vietnam and China. What interesting countries and such lovely people! We also visited the family in Melbourne (three times). 
  • 2010.  We went to Melbourne twice - grandchildren are a great drawcard!  Then we went on another major trip: to Hong Kong, a Trafalgar Tour of Scandinavia, Estonia, and Russia; the Shetland Islands, and an Ancient Kingdoms tour of Turkey.
  • 2011.  We went to the United States: to New York, Connecticut (to explore family history), Kansas and Oregon (to catch up with friends), and on a Gaither Gospel Cruise to Alaska.


  • 2012. We had a short holiday on the lovely tropical island of Rarotonga.

  • Late in 2012 we had an amazing 2 month holiday, travelling right around the world. We visited Hawaii (and went on a cruise around the islands on the Pride of America); had a brief stop in New York; and then spent a few wonderful weeks visiting our family in Norway. Next we went on an excellent Cosmos tour of Central Europe, and then returned home via Abu Dhabi and Melbourne.

  Pacific Pearl


  • In 2014 we had a holiday with Debbie and the family in port Stephens, NSW, then later went on a major trip to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We visited California and Miami before embarking on the 'Carnival Glory' for a 2 week cruise to the western and eastern Caribbean. Wonderful! Afterwards we had brief visits to Washington Dc and Los Angeles.
  • In 2015 we went on a trip to Asia to celebrate Kathy's 60th birthday.  We visited Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, then had a lovely week with Debbie and the family in Panglao, in the Philippines. Then it was on to Hong Kong where we joined the 'Celebrity Millennium' for a 17 night cruise, visiting some fascinating places in Taiwan, Japan, Korea and China.
  • In 2016 we went on another cruise on the "Pacific Pearl", this time to Fiji and Tonga. We also went on a lovely drive along the Murray River, from Melbourne to Adelaide.
  • In 2017 we went on a cruise from Sydney, around the top of Australia to Perth, via Bali, on the Radiance of the Seas. Later in the year we went on a cruise on the Sun Princess to New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
  • In 2018 we went on a wonderful cruise to Papua New Guinea on the Pacific Aria. An amazing cultural experience. Later in the year we went on a cruise to New Caledonia on the Pacific Eden and then had a lovely week in Samoa.

After each trip we produced a scrapbook or recorded details and photos on this website. We also made a movie so we now have wonderful records of our travels.  You can see these under Recent travels, and watch the movies on our YouTube channel, calros3.

In the future we are hoping to travel more; spend more quality time with our children and grandchildren; and continue to serve God in whatever ways we can.

Cunningham family April 2015

Stevens family Christmas 2014


                                                                 Phil and Mo and Billie, 2018

As a family and as a couple we have been incredibly blessed.  We are so grateful to God for His goodness towards us and for His unfailing love.

We hope you have enjoyed reading our story!

Ross and Kathy Callaghan.

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