Updated: Feb 5
Husband. Dad. Role-player Extraordinaire!
I'd like to introduce you to my good friend, Barry Te Hira. Possibly the most inspiring person I've ever known. Also one of the best role-players I've ever met. This is a player who deep dives into his characters to find their cores and comes out of every game with some nugget of truth, illuminating the human condition. He also knows how to have fun. God knows, he deserves to. Born with cerebral palsy, Barry was told he would not live to the age of twenty. He is over 60 now. He was also told he would never walk. Barry has a black belt in Kung Fu. This is a man who has lived through extreme hardships and survived. He has seen the inside of more hospital rooms than anyone can count and has had many many procedures, treatments and medicines. Far more than any one person should be able to survive. His wife, Cathy Te Hira, has the same indomitable will and has much the same life experience. They are an extraordinary couple who have faced the world together for over forty years now. They also have a daughter, Tania Te Hira (who I've known since she was eight) who is also a great role-player like her dad and has the will and strength of her mother!
I met Barry in 1995 when he was a video producer on a scifi short-film I was involved in through the Auckland Science Fiction Modelers Club. A pioneering group of nerds and geeks doing extraordinary things at the time. Barry was an RPG veteran then. Twenty-five years ago---now he is a legend. A naturally talented role-player, performer and personality.
In the last 25 years, since we started playing together, Barry and I have run Palladium, RIFTS, Vampire: The Masquerade, D&D5e and various other games (including at least one RPG which we created together, from scratch). He and his family have also put a roof over my head on at least one occasion. Since I went Professional as a GM recently, Barry has been a massive supporter and advocate of mine. So you might say I owe him some favours. We speak almost every day and Barry gives me advice and thoughts on how to plan my games, NPCs motivations and objectives, storyline notes, and meta-game ideas. We frequently play one-on-one D&D and other RPGs to test scenarios, characters and NPCS too. And this works both ways. Barry is a naturally gifted Game Master in his own right. One of the few that can actually terrify me with his horror storytelling. Because what he brings is not just numbers and stats on paper, but an authenticity, dedication and range that goes beyond anything written down. So when I had the chance to run a gaming marathon for disabled and terminally ill children, I realized how special this opportunity would be. So on December the 5th, between 2pm and 5pm New Zealand Time (+13 GMT) Barry will be playing Storm, a Tabaxi ranger who has lost his homeland, as part of a group of dedicated performers raising $2000 for Gaming For Charity who support Heart Kids NZ and Koru Care. The Full details can be found HERE.