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Owen Clarke - In Tune with Shore Life

Lieutenant Commander Owen Clarke was appointed the Director of Music of the Royal New Zealand Navy Band one year ago and is relishing the opportunity to make a difference to the profile and professionalism of the Navy Band and help promote the Navy in the community. The Devonport-based band has worked this year with the likes of singers Hollie Smith, Simon O’Neill and Rebecca Nelson; actor Mark Hadlow; Pianist Stephen de Pledge, and jazz luminaries Rodger Fox and Roger Mannins.
Owen has conducted orchestras and bands throughout New Zealand including the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the Air Force Band, St Matthews Chamber Orchestra and more. But one of his loves is to bring music to youngsters, spearheading music workshops and concerts with a vast range of music ensembles both amateur and professional in schools and concert halls around the country.

Five Favourites:

  1. My workplace. The Royal NZ Navy Band is situated on Navy property near Narrowneck Beach. Each time I round the corner of Old Lake Road to the beach early in the morning I can’t believe I am lucky enough to work in such a location in a job which is my passion! I sometimes even fit in a quick dip in the sea at lunchtime. Where else in the world can you do that!

  2. Sunday Yum Cha at the Golden Phoenix in Birkenhead. Our daughter Allegra is still having a daily sleep (well more of just “rest time” now) at 1pm, and early Yum Cha in Birkenhead is perfect, with the quick service and gold chair coverings! Love it.

  3. The proximity of things. I can get anywhere in five minutes...beaches (Takapuna - brilliant, St Leonards with the dog), shops (again Takapuna or Albany for the mall, Wairau for Bunnings), walks (Northboro Reserve), playgrounds for Allegra (they seem to everywhere), cafes (Little and Friday just around the corner). The list goes on.

  4. The sporting activities. My wife Kellie and I enjoy grabbing the opportunity to take part in sporting events, and having them so close to home and in such a great location, is fantastic. Recently was the Devonport Classic, just starting is the State Beach Series (Kellie is the swimmer!) or the Albany Lakes runs, and the Coastal Challenge (I managed to make it through last year). Runs, swims, triathlons...the choices are endless!

  5. Manuka Cafe in Devonport. Their Salmon bagel is delicious. Excellent and fast service and yummy food. A tempting stop off on the way to a meeting at the Navy Base Philomel!

The Royal New Zealand Navy Band begins a series of ‘Live @ The Vic’ concerts in Devonport this month:

Friday 22nd Nov, 12.05pm
A brand new lunchtime concert series by the Royal NZ Navy Band chamber groups playing a mix of high quality classical and jazz music. Door sales only.

Friday 29th Nov, 7.30pm
An evening of jazz with the Royal NZ Navy Big Band and guest artists trombonist Rodger Fox and saxophonist Roger Manins. Tickets $20 adults and $15 discount. Bookings essential: or 09 446 0100.

by Channel Editorial