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Listen up . . . Audiologist Craig Daunheimer has opened the doors to his own business, in Ribble St. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH

Oamaru audiologist Craig Daunheimer is excited to finally be in charge of his own business.

The 52-year-old, who grew up in the United States and moved to New Zealand with his family about 11 years ago, said he had always wanted to go out on his own.

‘‘I don’t want to wait any longer, and I shouldn’t.’’

Craig Daunheimer Hearing, Oamaru, opened its Ribble St doors in December, with the official opening last Thursday evening.

Mr Daunheimer had previously worked at Bay Audiology Oamaru and, before then, for the same company in Northland.

‘‘It’s just exciting to offer a full, proper community service, because I’ve been part of this community now for a while, our whole family, and that’s how I always ran things when I was up the road. But now it’s just good to, sort of, be the driving force.’’

Ensuring the building was fit for purpose had proved challenging, with supplies delayed due to Covid-19, but most things were now in place, he said.

Mr Daunheimer grew up near Boston, Massachusetts, in a small town called Newburyport.

He and his artist wife Mathea were good friends at high school, but did not start dating until about 15 years later.

They moved to New Zealand when son Kurt (now 17) was 6, and became citizens in February 2020, just before the country’s first Level 4 lockdown.

‘‘Which is so exciting, because this is definitely home now. So that’s really cool,’’ Mr Daunheimer said.

Despite having 17 years’ experience as a clinical audiologist in the US, he was still required to gain certification in New Zealand, which took about two years.

‘‘That just happens when you shift countries, and it is what it is, and we wanted to raise our son here, so you know, you just do it,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s good, because when you go through a process like that, no matter what your experience, it causes you to think again about why you do things the way you do them, and other ways you can do things.

‘‘So as, kind of, stressy as it is, it gets you to continuously blow the cobwebs out, and really assess yourself.’’

While a restraint of trade was in place after leaving Bay Audiology, Mr Daunheimer began travelling to Kurow and Waimate, offering his services there. He now alternated between the two every Monday, working out of Kurow Medical Centre, and Oakhouse Medical Centre in Waimate.

‘‘Those satellite locations are good for our folks who can’t drive into town . . . and it’s been really great working with those communities locally, and making sure that people who can’t get here, but need to be seen soon, are. I’m at one or the other every week.’’

The transition from working in the US to New Zealand had mostly been a ‘‘smooth’’ one. Practicing standards were more specifically defined here, which he said was a good thing.

‘‘The other thing I was really thrilled with, not surprised — because New Zealand often times for a lot of manufacturers is a testing ground for equipment — but the cool thing about it is, as soon as I got here, I had access to all the top equipment I would need in my field to do my work.’’

It was also ‘‘fascinating’’ how universities in the different countries taught certain concepts of audiology.

‘‘Neither side is better or worse, it’s just interesting.’’

Business at the new clinic was starting to get busy, but it was still ‘‘very, very early days’’.

‘‘We need to certainly grow from here . . . It’s been a very gradual process, but we are moving in the right direction.’’