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Fine tuning . . . Linton Winder works on a watch in his Oamaru workshop. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

Linton Winder appreciates the smaller things in life.

After working as an ecologist and entomologist, he has recently followed another passion and set up a watch repair business.

Originally from the United Kingdom, Mr Winder and his wife Sandra spent three years in Fiji before moving to New Zealand in 2011, and last year found their calling in Oamaru.

Mr Winder has immersed himself in the local community – working as a guide at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony and spearheading Confident Kiwi Conversations, an initiative to improve non-residents’ English skills.

“Oamaru is the best town in New Zealand; it has a great local community, is full of character and you are close to the sea and the mountains,” Mr Winder said.

“It is a really special place.”

Mr Winder grew up in Exeter and did his PhD in ecology at Rothamsted Research Station.

He worked for the Environment Agency in the UK, before getting a job as a lecturer and continuing in academia.

He was particularly interested in biological control – the use of naturally available ecosystem services to protect crops without the need for pesticide use.

“It is about using naturally occurring predators of pests, or in some systems you buy and release them, to control the population of pest insects.

“In the UK they have all sorts of problems with aphids in cereal fields, who transmit a virus which damages the crops further.

“We could use beetles, who could search out patches of these aphids like search and destroy missiles.”

Mr Winder’s interest in watchmaking started when he was a student.

“I brought a 1945 Omega wristwatch in a junk shop in Southampton, then took it to a watch repair shop run by two brothers to get it fixed and they had the original catalogue for it.

“It’s something I have always been interested in as a hobby, but now I have a bit more time to put into it.”

He said watchmaking required a lot of patience, as the parts he was working with were incredibly small.

“It can be frustrating, if something pings out I can be on my hands and knees looking for some time.”

Mr Winder was passionate about sustainability, and saw skills like watchmaking as indicative of a time when things were built to last.

“Nowadays, things are made to be thrown away.

“You can still order individual parts for watches made back in the 1890s.”

His advice for people to live a more sustainable life was to shop local, and buy in-season produce direct from farmers who used sustainable production techniques.

“Oamaru is a great place for artisan crafts, there a lot of people with that mindset here.

“I think we could capitalise on that more.”