Captain Delicious takeaways is long gone, but a faint whiff of cooking oil from newer establishments on Palmerston North's Main St is enough to take Telecom chief executive Simon Moutter back to where it all began.
The 53-year-old former Highbury man's ascension to what is arguably one of the most powerful positions in the country started when he was a teenager scrubbing out deep fryers at city takeaway joint.
"I used to hate cleaning up at the end of a 10-hour shift," he said.
Mr Moutter worked at the popular takeaways joint for six years, under three different managers, before degrees in science and engineering earned while working landed him a job at the New Plymouth Power Station.
At 29, he picked up a new role at the station - as the boss - and he has not looked back since.
He attributes part of his success in business down to what he learnt in his time wrapping fish'n'chips.
"The whole work ethic of the people there, like my managers the Clarks, really rubbed off on me.
"I'm not the brainiest or the best-looking but because of them and the way my parents raised me, I know how to put in a day's work."
Mr Moutter is in Palmerston North for two days on business. He considers the city and the Main St Telecom building - coincidentally, across the road from Captain Delicious - as crucial to the future of the company.
"Palmerston North is in a privileged position on the network, in my eyes. It's a large market for us here, because Telecom's traditional brand still does really well with the people in this city.
"In terms of the building, we're shifting as a company from selling minutes to selling data and I can see in future these node buildings changing their function to serve the data side - things like cloud computing and the like."
The time Mr Moutter spent in New Plymouth means he is often mistakenly thought of as being a Taranaki man at heart.
Not so, he says. His parents still live in Palmerston North and he visits them from Auckland about twice a year.
"I grew up in Highbury in the early '60s and my memories of it are all positive.
"It was very much a working-class neighbourhood. We didn't have a car until I was 8 or 9, but I never cared about that. There were a lot of roadworks around, scrapers and diggers and all sorts, which made it fantastic for biking."
He went to Highbury Primary School, Monrad Intermediate, Palmerston North Boys' High School and then Massey University.
"I had a lot of opportunities to be around people from every spectrum of society. Like every town it had its moments but I can honestly say I loved it."
His advice for those growing up in similar circumstances is, to him, obvious.
"Believe anything is possible. The great thing about New Zealand is that you stand on your own two feet here - where you come from means pretty much nothing."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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