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Ray Jensen


My name is Ray Jensen. I reside in a little town called Warkworth, one hour north of Auckland in New Zealand.

I was born and went to school in a rural area just out of Napier which is in the Hawke’s Bay area. During my earlier life much of my spare time was taken up with fishing, pig hunting, and deer stalking. Later on I raced motor cycles on the road and in motorcross as well. I was President of the Napier Motor Racing Club for several years.

Robin and I were married in 1966 and we have two grown daughters, they are both married and we are blessed with three granddaughters and one grandson.

I commenced working for New Zealand P&T in 1959 as a junior Linesman doing new connections. Later the P&T became NZPO and later still, NZ Telecom. About 1961 I was sent to a cable jointing school and from then on I was employed as a cable jointer. I completed all the examinations and was promoted to Foreman Cable, Napier. In 1972 I applied for a promotion to the position of Senior Foreman Cable Warkworth and was successful. My career with the Post Office came to an abrupt end when Telecom closed down our depot in Warkworth in 1992. Since then I have been working 25 hours a week in a petrol station.

I still get fishing a couple of times a week but the hunting is a rare event now.

My interest in telephone collecting began in earnest when I was asked to join the Foundation Committee of the Warkworth and District Museum in 1976.

As it is only a small museum, the curator at the time would not accept telephones due to storage problems and they were disappearing fast from the area so I decided to collect them to keep them for the future. At the present time a large number of my phones are in storage as I do not have room to display them. A small display of my phones is on loan in the museum and the present curator does not wish me to take them away, which is a good thing as I know they are secure in the museum. My greatest delight is to restore phones that have been in a cowshed or old barn for many years and bring them back to their former glory. To this end I have done preservation work on telephones for the Matakohe and Mangawhi Museums which are both close to Warkworth.

Even today, you never know when an unusual phone will turn up. This year, after a drought for a couple of years, three different Commonwealth Ericssons came through my door. One has already been restored but awaits a new front.

Associated with my telephone collection, I have an extensive collection of phone cards and insulators.

During the last two years, I have researched and recorded the history of Telephone Exchanges in Warkworth. This meant many hours of research as it goes way back to 1874. The book has been printed and seems to be very popular, particularly in this area.

I have had the pleasure of meeting many members of this Club at my place and at the four shows I have been fortunate enough to attend in and around Sydney. We welcome visitors with a similar interest at any time to our place. Just give us a ring to let us know when you are coming. You never know, I may have the part you need.

Ray Jensen

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