“I admire the heroes that have taken on great challenges, and I want to follow in their footsteps.”
It was in pre-school when Stanley was first challenged by his father, a physical therapist himself. He would give the young boy some pocket change and advise him not to spend it, with the promise that whatever he had at the end of the year would be matched, doubling his savings. Jobs to earn the cash included common chores like doing the dishes and mowing the lawn.
Living in the far south of New Zealand, Stanley saw an opportunity. Coal and wood fireplaces were in every house. As a snowy-headed six year old, he knew people would need firewood and be quite keen to buy it as needed when the cold and rainy weather began. He stacked his wood and waited for the cold and rainy nights, then headed out, dripping wet, to knock on doors. He invariably sold a lot of wood for a good price, and with Dad matching his earnings, 100% profit was an inspiration.
He put himself through college, not through the wood alone, but through working on farms, picking potatoes, grading and handling wool, building sites, and working behind the counter in a post office. These were all good life experiences and paid well enough to get through college and start working for his father to expand his physical therapy practice.
It was after college and during a two year gap period that Stanley sought out his first endurance event. He was overseas studying when he managed to gain 25 sponsors and finance a motor rally from England to India. He attempted to break a record motoring back the 8,860 miles in under 12 days, when his engine overheated and seized more than halfway through the adventure.
Following his studies, Stanley returned to New Zealand working in physical therapy, and saved and invested in real estate. He also wrote and published a book titled “The Spinal Lesion,” which summarizes his expertise in the area known as manual therapy. In 1966, Stanley moved to the United States.
His first job in the U.S. was as a faculty member at Boston University. He soon had a private practice which grew to employ some 30 therapists of several disciplines. He invested in real estate successfully, but also lost money in the stock market and importing products from New Zealand. In 1970, Stanley moved to Bermuda and bought a hotel there, adding a clinic and spa with a health and wellness priority. After converting that property to condominiums, he started anew in Atlanta, Georgia founding the Back School of Atlanta and Atlanta Back Clinic, both of which still operate. Ten years later, Stanley and his wife decided they needed to be near the water, and bought a boat, living aboard in Boston and then St, Augustine, Florida.
It was during this time period that Stanley sought out great physical challenges, and completed the World Championship Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. He also swam the English Chanel twice, with his wife helming their yacht alongside.
A strong desire to be near the sea and a love of St. Augustine, Stanley and his wife decided to make it home. In 1996, Stanley founded the University of St. Augustine. The University now has campuses in San Diego and Austin, in addition to St. Augustine. The programs offer to educate occupational therapists, physical therapists, and orthopaedic assistants.
In 2010, Stanley stepped out of the day-to-day University operations and focused on designing and building Kiwi Spirit. He remains the Founding President of the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.