I first met Ray Mercer some 15+ years ago. I had met him through a friend. And then, when I was commissioned to write my first professional piece for the then-Evening Post, a housing feature, of all things, I thought straight away of Ray Ahipene-Mercer. At that point he was best known as a guitarist (he had been in the band The Dedikation) and he was a luthier, a guitar maker, repairer; with stories of working in the UK, counting the likes of Led Zeppelin and The Pretenders as clients.
He was also a passionate activist and environmentalist – a conservationist. This then led to his lengthy stint as a Wellington City Councillor.
Ray was always on my list for the podcast. We would bump into each other often at book launches, gigs, readings, events. And we’d always have a chat. About music, of course. But anything else also. I’ve always enjoyed a chat with Ray.
So when I finally got around to connecting up for the podcast I figured it would be a good chat – and of course it was. We charted his musical career, his time in council, the recent announcement that he’ll be chairing the board of Orchestra Wellington and many other reflections on a life well lived, from his passion for his home at Breaker Bay to his conviction in helping others.
We talked politics, we talked music, he shared very happy memories and some sad stories too.
Ray’s positivity is inspiring. I loved this conversation. And I hope you do too.