The Bernard Johns Search Continues

Thanks to Natasha Laidlaw and the Horowhenua Chronicle for writing and publishing this article, and as a fantastic result we have already uncovered the missing house that Bernard Johns had designed in 1975!

The real bonus was that I was contacted tonight by another reader who had commissioned Bernard to design the entrance gate to their property, which incorporated their family crest. I hope to get up there soon to take photos – perhaps that’s an assignment for Ted Hughes.

If anyone else knows of any more Bernard Johns designs, please contact Darin on either:

Phone: 022 306 3859            or


BWJ Article Horowhenua Chronicle 18Mar16

Media Board

media board crop

Here are a few of the articles on our office ‘Media Board’ from the traditional press showing the journey of research through to publication – the links to some are below:

Kapiti News – page 14 – “Book’s Missing Chapter” 28th January 2015



Upper Hutt Leader  – page 9 – “Family Keen to Finalise Search” – 21st January 2015

Wellington Boys College magazine the “Lampstand” page 58 – ( #24 – October 2014)


Kapiti News – page 4- “Project finishes new book” 22nd December 2015 &

page 31 “Glossy book salutes local architect” 20th January 2016



Meet Erin O’Loan – Our Grammar Queen!

Erin O'Loan

Erin O’Loan – Copy Editor & Proof Reader

Kia Ora Koutou,

I am an experienced primary school teacher and for many years I have specialised in working with students with special teaching needs.  I have a passion for words and language (my partner would say obsession), as well as social justice and animal rights.  I grew up in Tauranga, and now live with my partner and daughter in Dunedin.  I enjoyed proof-reading Bernard Winton Johns – Five Decades of His Architecture, and hope that others will find my services helpful.

Nga Mihi,

Erin O’Loan


  • Graduate Diploma in the Education of Students with Special Teaching Needs               Canterbury University, 2012
  • Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary)                                                                                  Auckland Unitec, 2004
  • Bachelor of Social Sciences, Double Major in Psychology and Sociology                               Waikato University, 1991

Other Training & Education

  • NZ Sign Language, Adult Education, Dunedin and Tauranga, 2014
  • Te Ara Reo Maori (Level 1), Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Tauranga, 2004
  • Note-taking for the Deaf, Kelston Deaf Education Centre, Auckland, 1994
Erin & Mark
Erin & Mark with a proof read copy of ‘Bernard Winton Johns – Five Decades of his Architecture’

Fabulous Feedback!

We received this wonderful email from Mr C. Reed of Wellington recently and felt we had to share it with our audience and fans:

I saw the book about Bernard Johns advertised in the Wellington College magazine (I am an old boy) and obtained a copy. I have recently finished reading it – a great read – and noticed the request for information about other buildings designed by Bernard.

In 1947 or 1948 my parents bought the house at 8 Lemnos Avenue from Walter Norwood and we shifted from our then home at 34 Morehouse Avenue in Wadestown where we had lived throughout World War II. Actually, we swapped houses with the Norwood’s with some monetary adjustment being made.

My father turned the attached garage at 8 Lemnos Avenue into a home theatre and built three garages on the front boundary, rather spoiling the look of the property, I thought. However the garage was a very practical addition for the family as we had three cars.

I lived in the Lemnos Avenue house until I married in 1961. I was fascinated by the design of the Lemnos house so, in 1960, I approached Bernard to enquire if he would design a house for my wife and I and he agreed to do this.

I had obtained a section at 16 Chamberlain Road, Karori. It had previously been a tennis court belonging to the people who lived at 14 Chamberlain Road. Bernard designed and supervised the erection of a modest little house for my wife and I. It was completed towards the end of 1961. It had three bedrooms, lounge, dining room, extensive entranceway, hall and stairs, a kitchen, laundry, double garage and workshop. Two rooms featured bay windows. Most rooms had built in fittings including a marble fireplace with extensive shelves and a wall of cupboards and bookcases in the lounge, a very large china cabinet in the dining room, extensive cupboards and draws in the kitchen, laundry and main bedroom.

The house was built by H. J. Buck who lived in an adjoining house at the back of the property – a back section off Parkvale Road. Today, the house cannot be seen very well from the road as there is extensive vegetation blocking the view.

We were delighted with our home and only moved out when our forth child arrived leaving us insufficient sleeping space.

We got to know and respect Bernard over a period of more than a year and often think of the times we spent together designing and building our first home.


Colin Reed – Churton Park, Wellington

2 February 2016

Lemnos Ave, Karori, Wellington

Whakapapa Research Workshop

It was an attentive group of people who gathered in Wanaka Two at the Dunedin Town Hall to hear Darin and Virginia present their workshop, describing the two year journey of intense research that culminated with the published book “Bernard Winton Johns – Five Decades of His Architecture”.

It was a privilege to have Kaumatua Edward Ellison formally  welcome and introduce Darin and Virginia to the audience before they started their presentation.

Many areas of the team’s journey were covered, such as the in-depth research in libraries, university archives and council records as well as online tips and tricks with various search engines and websites. Interviewing techniques,  budgets, overcoming road blocks and record keeping were amongst the topics covered. And some great questions were answered in the Q & A session that followed.

Arapata Reuben from the Ngai Tahu Whakapapa unit also contributed and updated the audience on their innovative latest work which will be rolled out to fellow Ngai Tahu over the next couple of years.

Bernard Winton Johns – Five Decades of His Architecture – Limited stock available

With the successful book launch and with many pre-launch sales, there is now only limited stock left of Bernard Winton Johns – Five Decades of His Architecture.

These are available from only selected retail shops:

Marsden Books, 159 Karori Road, Karori, Wellington

(more booksellers coming and will be updated once stock has arrived)

or from The Bach Doctor Press direct

You can order your copy for $65 (plus $7.50 P & P) by e-mailing Darin at:

The Bach Doctor & Virginia with Books
Darin (publisher) & Virginia (author) with Books

Some feedback and reviews so far:

“We must congratulate you on all your hard work to produce such a fine publication”

“He was a very talented man and it’s great to have part of the story recorded”
“Congratulations the book is great”
“Many thanks the book arrived and is amazing!”

Book Launch Pictures

After a manic couple of weeks gathering the last of the equipment, organising catering, sending out final reminders, liaising with the wonderful Professors Robert and Brenda Vale at Victoria University School of Architecture, arranging transport and accommodation for the out of town authors (Ann in Waiheke and Mark in Dunedin)  and checking the books that arrived, the big day dawned and what a fantastic turn out!

crowd 5
An attentive crowd
Maggie, Ann and Margaret
Maggie, Ann (author) and Margaret

A wonderful welcome from Robert and Brenda Vale, a thank you for all the assistance in the research and from the home-owners for allowing us inside their homes  from Darin the Bach Doctor and a great talk from Mark the author on Bernard’s life and work while a 450+ slideshow showcasing many of the homes and features along the way played on the screen.

Professors Robert and Brenda Vale 2
Robert & Brenda Vale
Bach Doctor Press Welcome
Darin (publisher) welcoming everyone
Mark warming the crowd
Mark (author) fielding questions

Many people stayed on in the lecture theatre to watch the slideshow, while others thronged the book sale table, mingled with past and current home owners and took refreshments at the buffet table. We discovered that many people had travelled from all over the country to attend the book launch, places as diverse as Cambridge, Wanganui, Levin, Auckland, Invercargill, Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa as well as many local Wellingtonians.

Queues for Books
Queues for books!
Brian & Lorna
Brian & Lorna
Alice, Kate, Michael & Guy
Alice, Kate, Michael & Guy
Sale table 4
Virginia (author) book signing
Lorna & Michael
Lorna & Michael
Virginia & Lorna
Virginia & Lorna
Veronica, Shirley & The Bach Doctor
Veronica, Shirley & The Bach Doctor
Michael & John
Michael & John

All too soon the launch was over, but we have all enjoyed the journey of research and meeting so many wonderful people along the way – thanks to you all for making it a wonderful experience.

The Bach Doctor & Virginia with Books
Darin (publisher) & Virginia (author) with the Book!