Up, up and away with balloons
Greg Powney, 48, lives in West Harbour with his wife, Davina and three children Makayla, 14, Jayden, 10, and Ryan, 7. He speaks with Julian Raethel about what balloons mean to him.
1. How did this journey start?
I used to own a vehicle air conditioning service and maintenance branch on the North Shore but my business partner wanted out in 2005.
The work got a bit much on my own.
So I sold up and started helping out Davina with the party supply business, which she was running from home at that stage.
We opened up the Balloons Direct store six years ago here in Henderson and we have one in Albany too.
2. Why balloons?
It didn't really stem from anything in my childhood.
Davina was hosting a birthday party for one of our children and found it really difficult to get the party supplies she wanted.
She had to order them from overseas and it was very expensive. But all the guests were really impressed so the customer base was already there.
She decided to open up a market here in Auckland.
3. What's it like working and living together?
We've been married for 11 years. She knows what I'm good at and things I'm not so good at - and vice versa.
We get along really well but if you see that it's getting stressful you can come in and take over.
4. Are balloons just there to make people happy?
You just need to walk into a room carrying balloons and everyone smiles. But it's not just for the happy times.
At funerals people will write a message on a balloon and send it towards the sky.
We have some customers who send a balloon up every year for a loved one. There are tears in their eyes but smiles on their faces.
5. What's been your most memorable moment?
The filming of the Yogi Bear movie at Woodhill Forest. That was a real mission.
We were providing balloons for the stage of one of the local politicians, which used about 700 balloons at one time.
The problem was they were filming in the middle of summer.
We warned them that because of the heat they'd pop after a day or two.
So as soon as they did pop we had to keep swapping them over.
We must have gone through about 3500 balloons.
6. What about your time away from work?
I have raced in speedway and also thundercats in the past.
But the business is predominantly weekend work and does take up a lot of my time.