Naval officer dad launched career

21:35, Nov 07 2012
MEMORY LANE: Geoffrey Oldham is a serious collector at Military Memorabilia Ltd in Henderson.

Geoffrey Oldham, 65, lives in Massey with his brother David, sister-in-law Christy and their two cats Catra and Nidjie. He talks with Julian Raethel about his work as the managing director of Military Memorabilia Ltd in Henderson.

I wake up at 7.30am and I'm straight on the computer to check my emails from buyers or sellers concerning memorabilia items I've placed to buy or sell on auction the previous night.

That takes me through to 10am when I open the shop doors for the day.

I began collecting military memorabilia as a young child and my father used to take me out on the navy boats which ignited my interest further.

He was a lieutenant for the British Navy during World War II and we moved to New Zealand from London in 1958 where he became a lieutenant commander for the Royal New Zealand Navy Reserves.

I later joined the Naval Volunteer Reserve Ngapona for four years in the 1960s.


I started trading from a stall in 1971 in Hobson St in the city and moved around a bit.

I eventually relocated to Henderson four years ago.

I collect everything from badges and medals to books and uniforms, mainly from World War I onwards.

My main centres of trade are in the shop or online.

Online auctions have changed the nature of business quite considerably over the last decade.

My earliest piece is a British medal from the Maori Wars from 1861-1866.

In recent times I've seen a lot of families looking to hunt down their grandparents' medals or badges.

There may have been little interest in them years ago but I feel that Anzac Day and various other factors have changed that.

The most popular items seem to be New Zealand regimental badges and medals.

There are a few re-enactment groups who come in to hire or buy uniforms and I have also dealt with local film companies in the past.

I don't see too many war veterans any more, which is a shame, but the ones I do see are very interesting to talk to. If I'm not busy I research and find out as much as I can about items I'm not familiar with.

I close up shop at 5pm and head home where I'm online for a few hours trading and dealing with orders.

In a few years down the track everything will be online and there won't be too many shops like this one around.

Western Leader