At just 24, Brooke ‘Alfie’ Butler is building his empire — a charitable trust called Journey of Hope. Jane Lawrence sat down with the man behind the nickname to talk about his own journey and Wellington’s top spots. Photography by Caroline Atkinson

Capital Questions with Brooke Butler

BrookeJour­ney of Hope is designed to help those who need assist­ance with med­ic­al treat­ment, medi­cine, travel and liv­ing costs, and with the char­ity Eng­lish-born Brooke has set out to inspire a young­er gen­er­a­tion and instil hope in our most vul­ner­able mem­bers of soci­ety. Fish­Head was able to grab a minute in Brooke’s busy sched­ule to meet with the Vic­tor­ia Uni­ver­sity stu­dent and hos­pit­al­ity guru at his loc­al cof­fee spot, Poquito.

I try to find a gem in every sub­urb, and my favour­ites are… Rinski Kor­sakov in Ber­ham­pore, Char­ley Noble on Post Office Square, Havana Bar on Wigan Street, Sprig & Fern on Tinakori Road and The Ramen Shop in New­town. There is some­thing just down­right per­fect about some steamed pork belly buns fol­lowed by a spiced chick­en ramen bowl. Lush!

I’ll be work­ing up a sweat… late in the even­ings at Snap Fit­ness oppos­ite my apart­ment. I go every night to clear my head and get in as much train­ing as I can for future endur­ance events such as Tough Mud­der 2015 and my run to Mar­tin­bor­ough in late Septem­ber (I’m run­ning from the Wel­ling­ton CBD to Mar­tin­bor­ough in 24 hours to raise money for Jour­ney of Hope).

I can’t go past a hearty feed at… Poquito on Tory Street, eat­ing Span­ish baked eggs with cho­ri­zo and a couple of short blacks to fuel me. Mike and Bryn are always lay­ing ‘the usu­al’ in front of me. Per­fect little spot — and so close to home. 

My Sundays con­sist of… being up early, dodging fel­low early-risers down at the Sunday mar­ket by Te Papa in an attempt to buy some ingredi­ents I most likely won’t use and a Nutella-filled churro. Sundays are usu­ally the most stress­ful day of my week, but as I am not drink­ing for the entirety of 2014, hangovers do not play a part, just lack of cof­fee. 

If I’m in need of a decent cof­fee, you’ll find me… chilling at the Flight Cof­fee Hangar. They boast the best cof­fee, roast the best cof­fee and have the best baris­tas to back-up each argu­ment. Can’t beat an Aero­press from Nick!

For a slice of cul­ture, I’ll head to… a live music event, of any genre. Be that live jazz music at Havana Bar, or listen­ing to Fred V & Grafix live at Bodega — an epic music duo from Exeter, back home in Blighty.

Uni­ver­sity keeps me on my toes, and my favour­ite study spot is… sur­roun­ded by stacks of dense, old books, cof­fee cups and oth­er semi-stu­di­ous indi­vidu­als on level three of the Vic lib­rary in Kelburn.

My biggest motiv­a­tion behind Jour­ney of Hope is… the sheer num­ber of people that go unknown, suf­fer­ing alone, with rare ill­ness and dis­ease. These people motiv­ate me to get off my arse, because I can help them. Although I have no med­ic­al know­ledge, I can raise enough money and aware­ness to get them the help they deserve from the best health­care pro­fes­sion­als we can find.

I am inspired by… the strength of people I have met that do not com­plain, even when they suf­fer with such pain­ful ill­ness. Those who are emo­tion­ally drained, energy-sapped, yet still give every­one the time of day they deserve. My Papa was such an indi­vidu­al. A D‑Day vet­er­an with hero­ic stor­ies, who saved the lives of many. I aim to be half the man he was. I have a long way to go.

I will nev­er for­get… Caitlin Hawthorn. There are no words that can truly describe what she was to every­one who ever met her. Faced with a rare form of can­cer, she was strong, resi­li­ent and beau­ti­ful, and one of the most, if not the most, caring per­son I have ever had the chance to call my friend. She is the reas­on I set up Jour­ney of Hope, to help her.

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