John "Bertie"'s Open Road
JOHN "BERTIE" COCKING
Napier's Town Ambassador
And that's the attitude: 'Have a go.'
- As a child, he decided he wanted to be a "millionaire," wanted to do something that would make him "heaps of money."
- Left school at 15, started working; became a certified public accountant by age 22.
- Had a good amount of money, had a comfortable life, but he wondered if there was something he'd enjoy doing more.
- One of his friends mentioned that he had a talent for imitating a TV character named "Manuel."
- He started performing as Manuel at restaurant dinner shows; the success led a woman to invite him to move to Auckland, perform full-time.
- Thought, "why not?" and moved to Auckland, gave up on his accounting job without hesitation.
- Later invented his own character, Bertie, who acts as a "walking tourism office" for the city of Napier.
- For years, the town of Napier paid him to perform as Bertie, but now he does it purely for fun.