Alistair McAlpine


An interview.

Alistair McAlpine - Web Writer recording in the field

Why did you end up writing for the web?

I’d loved writing since I challenged my little sister to a poetry duel when I was 13. I won she lost eat that. Later I became inspired when my English teacher published a book of fiction (lousy reviews but, as he said  “stuff them”).
I liked the attitude and became addicted to words.

As a panel-hugging sound engineer with Radio NZ I recorded mega-hours of radio interviews with authors and playwrights and picked up the trick of adapting works for radio.

However I outgrew Public Radio after 20 years and turned to Web Writing and the psychology behind the web. People really are weird aren’t we?

What is the best part of your job?

Helping people to communicate on the internet and building websites people love.

Caution chest-beating ahead: Recently a customer told one of my clients that his website was so well written that she chose his company over all the others to buy from, she was a publisher. Chest-beating over.

Wow Alistair that’s impressive is it? So what is the most challenging part of your work?

Thanks for the patronising pat on the head there. Challenging? Well, keeping up with all the new fandangled stuff that the internet keeps spitting out- it’s bizzar what heavy-metal, black tee-shirts and pimples come up with isn’t it?

Where are you from?

Alistair McAlpine, Web Writer with backpack in the hills

I grew up with 7 other kids in Oakura, New Zealanda great surf beach. We lived in a small bungalow (read ‘hovel’) above my grandfather’s sawmill where my father and his brother butchered pine trees and eucalyptus. When I was 13 we moved into the city of New Plymouth. I lived worked at Radio i in Auckland but shifted to Wellington 2ZB where I met my wife and raised three boys.

For sanity I roam the hills and paddle the harbour.

What other jobs have you had, and which has been the most interesting?

Well, my first job was laboring in my fathers sawmill, that WAS work. I left school as an electronics technician then created radio commercials for years. Was a computer operator for a while when the 2gb disk drives were literally the size of washing machines and later, I completed research for the Ministry of Transport. I’ve produced radio plays, recorded music for Radio NZ and published a few kid’s stories of my own. The most interesting job though, was working as a rural journalist for Radio NZ National’s Country Life programme – great yarns there.

What’s something surprising about you?

I ran the Christchurch Brighton Pier 50 mile road race in 1990 in 6hr 04m and found myself one of the 50 fastest 50 mile runners of all time. That surprised me too. A highlight as a mountaineer and ultra-distance mountain runner was completing the Western States 100 mile endurance run in the US.  However I was stopped in my tracks when my right hip succumbed to arthritis and was replaced with a shiny new cobalt and chrome implant.

What are your interests outside of work?

I like to hang out with my family, swim and kayak in the sea, walk in the hills, record binaural sound, watch movies, get together with friends, camp, and write all sorts of stuff.


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