By Chris Underwood
Reg Motion was born at Dunedin on 3 April 1921. He attended the Wakari Primary school and later the Dunedin Technical High School. Local newspaper reports show that he obtained high grades in the subjects he took.
By the mid 1930s he was enrolled in an engineering course by correspondence with City and Guilds of London. Newspaper reports record that in October 1936 he passed Electrical Engineering Practice Grade 1.
Reg is on record as saying that his interest in radio started before World War Two, when he caught the radio bug building his own receivers. After leaving high school he worked for a while for McCracken and Walls servicing radios, before joining the NZ Post Office Radio Section in 1940 as a Technician (Radio).
For a period during 1944 he was employed as a Radio Instructor at the Radio Technician Training School then located in Herd St, Wellington.1
During his time at Radio Section he is credited with designing and building the frequency standard at Makara Radio Receiving Station.
He is also credited with designing and building much of the production equipment for the NZPO Quartz Crystal Laboratory.
In April 1950 Reg was the Senior Technician of the annual maintenance party that traveled to Raoul Island to give the radio station there its annual going over.
“Our first resupply visit (to Raoul Island) was in April 1950 by the frigate HMNZS Pukaki. There were the usual maintenance people on the ship and they included two PO radio technicians to give the radio station its annual going over. The Senior Technician was Reg Motion.
“While there he asked me what I did in my spare time. Among other answers I mentioned that I had with me the Post Office Correspondence School’s course of study for the PMG certificate, and went on to say that it was so out of date (it still featured spark transmitters!) that I had given up on it.
Reg said that he had (I think I am right) just released a four-volume study course for Post Office radio technicians who hoped to obtain a Certificate In Radio Technology (CRT) and he would send me a copy of each of those volumes (which) he did.”
– Clyde Williams
In January 1960 Reg was the Senior Technician in charge of the STC Microwave installation between Hamilton and Palmerston.
About this time Reg decided to become an Engineer (Radio) and it is understood he undertook further studies with City and Guilds and achieved registration in New Zealand as an engineer on 19 June 1964. For many years he was the examiner for the Radio trades, only giving up this role when he was promoted to the position of Superintending Engineer Radio in 1975. At some point he became a Fellow of the Engineers Society, but sadly the date of this is not recorded.
A popular and influential individual, Reg rapidly rose through the ranks, ending his service with the Post office in 1977.
After retiring from the Post Office, Reg became a Communications Consultant to Civil Defence for a time. From 8 September 2003 his employment status is listed on the Register of Engineers as Self Employed as a Consulting Engineer.
In November 1996 Reg became the Editor of the New Zealand Vintage Radio Society (NZVRS) Bulletin a position he filled for a number of years. He was also the author of a number of articles published in the Bulletin.
In private life Reg held a lifelong interest in amateur radio, holding the call sign ZL2LX and he was active on air until shortly before his death. He was also a keen collector of vintage radio test equipment.
Reg played indoor and outdoor bowls. For many years he was a member of the highly successful NZPO Radio Section bowling team.
Reg died 14 January 2019 in Tauranga, aged 97 years.
Bay of Plenty Times, 17 Jan 2019:
MOTION, Reginald. ZL2LX Reg passed away peacefully on 14th January 2019 at Tauranga Hospital, at the amazing age of 97. Loving husband of Rose, married for 74 years. Adored father of Ngaire, Lorraine and Wendy. Grandad to Kym, Tania, Jane, Shaun and Anna. Great Grandad to Philip, Lewis, Leonie, Naomi, Courtney, Rocco and Valenna. A celebration of Reg’s life is to be held at Olive Tree Cottage, 247 Joyce Road, Pyes Pa Tauranga, on Friday 18 January at 2pm, followed by private cremation. Communication to the Moon family, c/o PO Box 3136 Greerton, Tauranga 3142.
1. Morris, D.C. (2002). Auckland Radio, Alpha & omega. Waitakere City, NZ: Copy Out West. Preface.