About

Hello all, if you know me (which is likely) then feel free to add any comments you might wish below. If you don’t then a quick autobiography is in order.

In the beginning…

I was born in 1980 in Christchurch New Zealand. My parents were the very young Grant Saul and Marieke Hilhorst who were just finishing their university degrees. When I was two we moved to Lower Hutt where Grant taught at Taita College and Marieke completed her training at Wellington Polytechnic’s journalism school.

When I was three I developed what doctors originally thought was pneumonia but turned out to be a lump in my heart called an angiomyxoma. It was discovered completely by accident, Wairau Hospital in Blenheim had only the second ultrasound machine in New Zealand, and the training video happened to have my condition on it. I was flown up to Auckland where the lump was removed at Greenlane hospital. At the time I was the youngest person in the world to have an angiomyxoma and I have since been diagnosed with the genetic condition Carney’s Complex. Unfortunately it is on the domininant gene, so unless someone invents gene therapy without side-effects my children have a 50% chance of inheriting it.

Primary

In 1985 we moved to Blenheim, Marieke started working for the Marlborough Express where her father Henk Hilhorst worked. Grant started teaching at Marlborough Boys College, part of which his father Leicester aka Spot Saul built many years earlier. We lived in Howick Road anyd I went to Witherlea School which at the time was surrounded mainly by fields (not any more).

In the year of 1990 we travelled to England for a year where Grant had a teaching exchange. We lived in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, which is basically a horrible little town surrounded by beautiful countryside and historic places (Salisbury Plains, Stonehenge, Bath, Bradford-Upon-Avon). They bought a Bedford campervan called Bingly which when driving too fast along the motorway the roof, which could be raised for my sleeping bed, would catch the wind and popup. In the summer we travelled for a month or so throughout Europe which I thankfully made a diary of, so I have quite strong memories.

Returning from England was not such a good year. Marieke’s father Henk had developed cancer of the pancreas and deteriorated very quickly. He died in early 1991. Half a year later Marieke and Grant separated after just over ten years of marriage. Grant kept the house in Howick Road and Marieke at first stayed in Blenheim before taking up a position at the Department of Conservation (D.O.C.) in Nelson. For the next few years I lived with Grant and would travel to see Marieke during holidays. She always made a special effort and they involved lots of tramps, rafting trips and random adventure activities. Grant did a fantastic job in providing a stable home for me which I will forever be grateful for. I am glad that they are both happy now, and that they were always there for me and gave me love, I am privileged.

Teenage

In 1994 Grant took a job at Lincoln High School in Christchurch and the two of us moved down to Canterbury and I went to Riccarton High School. He met Annette Scully who is an economics teacher also at Lincoln and in 1996 they were married. At Lincoln he transformed his career from the traditional role of maths teacher to Information Communication and Technology (ICT) coordinator. Marieke took a job at D.O.C. head office and moved to Wellington where she met Dave Hansford, a photographer for the Dominion. She moved into his temporary accommodation at Makara while he built his dream house in windswept Makara. At the end of high school I started going out with my first girlfriend, Carmen Doran.

University

At the end of high school I moved to Wellington to pursue a degree in Computer Graphic Design at Massey University. I expected to do 3D animation as it combined story-telling and ideas with technical and artistic aspects. Once there I found myself not cut out for it, 3D animation being very laborious. I switched to interactive design and found myself building web sites. Whilst at university I got involved with some very politically minded people from Victoria University and realised my passions in life wasn’t about technology but the ideas in societies and how technology can benefit them. After a long time alone, I began seeing Annie Luxton, and we started living together with other friends.

Work

I struggled to find work at the end of university as my design portfolio wasn’t the top of the class, and also unfortunately coincided with both the end of work on Lord of the Rings and big IBM layoffs. I temped at the Department of Internal affairs for a few months before taking a role as the webmaster for Experience New Zealand Travel. I then also started doing design and technical builds for Apple Web Services run by Matthew who was a great mentor. We travelled to England to work for his clients, which facilitated the break-up of Annie and I.

I decided a change in direction from free-lancing to working firm was in order, so I began working for Click Suite, an interactive and design firm in Wellington. There I met Lauren, and we are now travelling through Europe. I am planning on working at Boondoggle (formerly i-Merge) in Leuven, Belgium from September to November.

Future

The future will be bright but is currently cloudy. I am at a form of crossroads where my passions and politics are quite different to the everyday pull of my work. Longterm I am not sure whether to try and combine my passions with my work or to go back to university and study philosophy.

Site disclaimer

Most of the content on this site is opinion and unless otherwise stated should be treated as such. When I make a declaration such as Microsoft deliberately holds back web development to fight Google it is not a piece of reportage, it is pure opinion. Where possible I will base my arguments on referenced facts where I can assemble them.


Comments

  1. Marieke

    Love you.

    2:355 11:43, Nov 12 2008

  2. Margret

    The story needs adding to a bit. I will look forward to reading the next segment.

    2:621 17:19, Apr 03 2011

  3. David Ross

    Hi, I am a teacher that worked with your Dad in Trowbridge, 20 years ago. He was a great colleague! You came to our house for Sunday tea when you were in Trowbridge. My son, Matt, is coming over to NZ for the rugby world cup so I thought I would randomly search for Grant Saul on google! I was hoping to get local knowledge on the best places to visit as Matt is hiring a campervan (hopefully without a roof that flies open!) Any thoughts? Give me best regards to your Dad!

    2:625 1:01, May 25 2011

  4. Michele Hine

    Hello Francis – this is very left field but I have, for years, wondered what happened to your namesake ( I presume) Francis Hilhorst. he and I went out for a good period of time when we were young ( we were at teachers College together) and I got to know your family over that time ( I have photos of Marieke and him and Henk etc etc.) I am happily married with grown up kids and it was a very long time ago but I always wondered what became of Francis as I was very fond of him, and your family. This site may be redundant – but worth a shot as I happened upon it . Cheers, Michele

    2:5029 23:39, May 12 2017

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