I’ve promised more on New Zealand, so here it is. Let’s start out with a nice cold Steinlager Pure, shall we? Feel free to sip while we tour through Wellington. (Corry is taking a picture of her Steinlager as I’m taking a picture of my Steinlager. Beer and photography seem to be common themes for us.)
First, let me say that I was in New Zealand on business…and I was very productive! We accomplished a lot of very important work that will move forward our interoperability with on New Zealand, Australian, Canadian and UK partners. Days were full — really. I just had to say that before I started to gush about how much fun we had. On our first day there (recovery from 24 hours in the air plus layover and transit time of another 4-5 hours) we took a walking tour of the city of Wellington with our new friend Kerry. She was the volunteer guide from the city and congratulated us on being the only two to show for the tour — the weather was pretty cold and wet. (We warmed up with coffee and hot chocolate though.) Kerry took us all over. New Zealand is very much a maritime nation and there was much evidence of that…from the lighthouse lens in the wharf museum to the amazing restoration work being done on timbers from an old ship found beneath one of the downtown buildings during renovation. The water is about 5 blocks from where we are standing in this picture with Kerry, but it used to come right up to that point. The ship had been stranded ashore after an earthquake redefined the shoreline. It was then used as the base for a building only to rediscovered these many, many years later. We walked and talked for about two and a half hours.
Of course New Zealand is also known for Peter Jackson and his work with “The Lord of the Rings.” It was a big deal for Wellington, and they have included a few exhibits referencing the experience in their very nice city museum (where I am showing my world-traveling Fibre Space bag — so I can enter the Fibre Space contest for best traveled bags later this summer!).
Wellington has a really nice botanical garden. You can ride the cog railway up to the top of the city and then walk down through the gardens. I was just blown away by the huge ferns. I kept looking for the dinosaurs. The winter roses were pretty neat too…as were the weird trees.
Our business sessions were held in a sky box at the Wellington Stadium — where the next World Cup will be played. We wanted photos to show we were here so we could claim bragging rights when it comes round. No one else seemed to want to knit. We also held a session at a few vineyards on a “break day” — taken to allow our working groups to write up the decisions to be taken so that we could act on them before traveling to our home stations. We did some work with their Joint Forces Headquarters in the morning and then headed out for more important business at Te Karainga and Tirohana Vineyards where we sampled wines and (at Tirohana) enjoyed a fabulous meal. Amazingly some of their wines came home with me.
And what would a New Zealand post be without sheep? When we went out to the countryside, there were sheep all over. I wish I could have gotten some pictures of some of them — the biggest, puffiest things you could imagine. Though mostly they grazed about, I saw some of them frisking about and even though the size of small lorries, they were bounding about with glee. It was amusing to see them sproing about, especially given you could barely see any legs! Corry and I saw this picture while out shopping…proof that merino really can
make one hot keep one warm!