As the child of school teachers, Ted Dawe moved around a lot, in places that ranged from Mangakino to Invercargill. In his early years at Ruatoria, he learned Maori from an elderly couple who looked after him while his parents taught.
Since school, he's worked as an insurance clerk, storeman, builder's labourer and fitter's mate and flown hot air balloons over Hyde Park; he's been a university student, world traveller and high school teacher. These days he teaches foreign students, helping them gain enough English to enter our universities. 'It's a neat job,' Ted says.
With his partner and six-year-old son he has two adult children as well Ted is renovating their Auckland home. 'I'm more a carpenter than a cabinet-maker I do the big stuff.'
He enjoys travel, surfing and tennis. He loves cars, car people and motorcycles, although he confesses to currently riding a motor-scooter to work. In later years, Ted's early immersion in Maori culture reasserted itself; he felt compelled to go back to the marae, and to relearn the language. With friend and mentor, Niko Tangaroa, of Motua Gardens fame, Ted has made two trips down the Whanganui River in waka, and taken part in the controversial occupation of the gardens.
Ted's Young Adult novel Thunder Road won Best First Book in the 2004 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults. Of Thunder Road, Ted says it took him 40 days one summer to write, spilling out 2500 to 3000 words a day. 'Not bad for a two-finger typist.' Although the story came out in a rush, it had been mulling for some time in his head. Devon in the novel reminds Ted of his cousin, Jak, a dynamic, over-confident street racer who died in a car accident.
2005 saw the launch of the Urban imprint with Ted's gritty and moving cross-over novel K. Road. And did those feet... a junior fiction novel was published in November 2006 and was a finalist in the 2007 NZ Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.