About Michael Goldfinch, written by his partner of almost 20 years, Sarah Williams. They have a daughter Alexandra who is 13 and an SPCA mutt called Tui.
The founder of this site, Michael Goldfinch, was quite possibly born with sea salt in his veins such was his love of the ocean, and all things in and on it.
While professional success was important to him, Michael was at his happiest thinking, plotting or being on the sea fishing or enjoying the beauty of the ocean and coastlines.
Michael was born in Auckland and spent most of his life in the city of sails. As an adult his vessel of choice was powered by a motor and had a number of boats over the years. His pride and joy was a 1963 Bridge Decker by Max Carter which was berthed at the OBC on Tamaki Drive. His time on the water was split between Auckland and Whangapoua in the Coromandel where we had a beach house.
Michael had a couple of degrees (business and economics) under his belt and a successful career mainly in telecommunications in New Zealand. His sense of adventure took him to Vietnam in the 1990s where he lived and worked for a number of years.
When we met I (Sarah) gained skills I had never anticipated including baiting my own hook, being on the ropes (which never got less stressful) and pee-ing in a bucket.
Our daughter was gifted a fishing rod for her second birthday which to Michael’s disappointment was never embraced the way he had hoped. She however was dubbed his first mate when we were on board, while I was relegated to galley slave.
Mother Nature always commanded utter respect from Michael. He knew she would always prevail. He took his responsibility as a skipper seriously. He did advanced Coastguard courses to equip him to look after his crew. His continued Coastguard membership was never questioned.
Michael established Marine Services because he saw a gap in the market and wanted to make life easier for fellow boaties, plus send business to marine providers who are excellent at what they do. I watched him painstakingly develop the concept, the site, the contacts. He also had a day job and the site was ticking along but not flying the way he wanted.
In late 2021, Dan Wein approached Michael about Marine Services as he was impressed with the concept and interested in listing his own business Yacht Consultants on the site. The conversation naturally flowed into ways to improve and grow Marine Services. Michael’s energy for the site sparked again as they shared the same intrinsic passion and drive, to provide boat owners with the best of the best in marine. Michael and Dan were both excited about the potential partnership and development of Marine Services to serve the industry with value and integrity.
Tragically Michael’s life was cut short in 2021. On the water. At Christmas. After two years of lockdowns and rules, we were beyond happy to go to our beach house. On Christmas Eve day he went fishing for our Christmas meal. It was a coastline he has boated on for decades, and the conditions were good. But he never came home.
He was found late on Christmas Day. His boat was found without him a short time before a search plane spotted Michael in the water – not far from where he would have been fishing. Our world fell apart. And will never be the same again.
To say he is missed over-simplifies the collision of emotions and ways you miss someone who we expected to see get old and grumpy (grumpier) alongside us.
Some people have said at least he died doing what he loved. No. He didn’t want to die. He had many, many trips on the water to be enjoyed and so much life to live with those he loved.
I got in touch with Dan after Michael’s death as I knew he would be wondering why Michael wasn’t replying to emails and calls. And after a few chats, there was no doubt in my mind that Dan could make Michael’s dreams for Marine Services come true.
Alexandra and I wish Dan every success. We will be cheering from the side lines and doing everything we can to support him. Please do the same if you are reading this and we wish to encourage you to donate to Coastguard and to join up if you are not a member.
– Words by Sarah WIlliams, partner of Michael and mother of Alexandra.