Mick Payze undertook pre-sea training at University of Southampton, School of Navigation at Warsash, Hampshire, UK. The following year he commenced sea going training as an indentured deck cadet with the New Zealand Shipping Company undertaking five voyages on the cadet training vessel Otaio.
During his 12 years at sea he served on general cargo vessels, refrigerated ships, passenger vessels and tankers trading between UK/Europe, East Coast of Canada and USA, Caribbean, Pacific islands and Australia and New Zealand.
Time on tankers involved world-wide trading – Middle East, West Africa, Caribbean etc.
Whilst studying for a degree in Nautical Studies at Plymouth, UK he also spent time working with the shore office of Container Fleets Ltd., the P&O Group company established to operate the first container vessels.
After a short period working in the container terminals in Rotterdam and Antwerp as Assistant Ship Planner he then sailed on the first OCL container vessels to Australia – he was the first second officer appointed to these vessels.
A brief period serving on tankers still within the P&O Group completed his sea service having obtained a masters Foreign-Going certificate and he moved then to New Zealand to work for P&O NZ as Assistant Container Operations Manager to establish the first container operations for P&O Containers Remuera service in New Zealand.