Museum sought to house computer collection

Computer enthusiast Clinton Rowe in one of the several rooms used in his Dunedin home to house...
Computer enthusiast Clinton Rowe in one of the several rooms used in his Dunedin home to house his retro electronics collection. Photo by Linda Robertson.
A Dunedin man has spent more than $100,000 on 1980s electronics and wants internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom to finance a museum to exhibit the collection.

Otago Girls' High School IT technician Clinton Rowe (39) said he would like a museum built in Dunedin to exhibit the computers, game consoles, televisions and other 1980s electronics he had collected in the past seven years.

''The museum will be part retro and part historic.''

Most obsolete computers were dumped in landfill but the design of 1980s electronics was art for display, he said.

The electronics had a unique look and design before electronics in the 1990s began looking similar, Mr Rowe said.

The collection filled five rooms of his Dunedin home and ranged from a Commodore Pet to an Amiga 500, he said.

He collected several of the same model of computer and consoles so an educational laboratory demonstration wing could be built at the museum. Most of his collection had been bought online. He recently purchased a New Zealand-made Poly computer for $1300, ''which was probably five times more than what it was worth''.

The Poly computer sold well in New Zealand until ''Apple edged them out with predatory pricing'', Mr Rowe said.

He estimated he had spent more than $100,000 on the collection, with more than $10,000 of that on postage because most of the sellers were from the North Island. The size of the collection meant he had to live alone because there was no room for flatmates and the cost of the collection meant he had postponed renovations on his house. However, he had never rued starting the collection, he said.

''My only regret will be if the museum never pans out.''

He emailed Mr Dotcom about financing the museum earlier this week and was waiting on a reply from the ''social crusader'', he said.

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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