Saturday, February 24, 2007

One year on

It's been a year to the day since I arrived in New Zealand and thought is appropriate to wear my tea-shirt that declares NZ my home!

It seems very strange that at last the dream is starting to become a reality with the house build imminent. But what's stranger still is that the weeks and months have passed so quickly. Let's hope the next few months pass in a flash and we are getting closer to seeing family and friends again as they descend to share our piece of NZ.

Your's truly - sorry, not the most flattering pose!

View of our land from Tunnel Gulley recreation area - I think our striped veranda roof will make it an eye catching addition to the landscape. Just hope that not too many people take binoculars with them when they tramp in the park area.

The lambs are enjoying our grass for the last time before they have to move off our land!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's almost an anticlimax

The offending title has finally turned up - you won't be able to read it but wanted to prove that the pesky thing did exist. Yes, this is the final piece in the jigsaw to fit in place for our dream to build a house with a walton's porch and turrets in Kaitoke.

Now all we need to do is cough up the dough. The Council need to give us the Resource Consent. And then the man with the digger can get on site.

It's such a relief but almost an anti-climax to see what all the fuss has been about. Thanks to those who sent the good vibes out, it clearly worked!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

3-0, way to go!

Seems that the kiwi's continue to take the spotlight on cricketing success after another nailbiting finish to a battle with the (former) number one cricket team in the world. Those Aussies will be pleased to be back on home soil after been chased down by the Black Caps in another of one day cricket's historic innings. So, 3-0 to the kiwis with all to play for at the world cup!

Away from the sporting field, I wish I could be reporting more success. Kiwi Government is moving at snail's pace to issue our land registration title. It's now a week overdue following a mess up by the vendor's lawyers. Any day now they keep telling me and I keep telling the builders.

Still, small progress is that Upper Hutt City Council have issued the building consent so we are allowed to build the house we want. All we need now is the Resource Consent which allows us to do the ground works on the land but this requires the title. Also, actually owning the land would be good too, you guessed it, that also requires the title.

In short, title is holding everything up and I am losing the will to live. Readers, please cross all fingers and toes and send lots of friendly messages to those you think will influence this fate and will Land Information New Zealand to issue us the blessed title.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Countdown to being a domestic executive: 32 weeks to go

Boy was I pleased to leave the office at the end of this week. It feels like it's gone on forever with every day bring new and interesting (not) challenges to face.

We started with a story on the front page of the Dom (Wellington Daily) with a Hells Pizza manager claiming that Work and Income (one of MSD's service lines) telling a single parent beneficiary that she was better off not working but claiming benefit instead. As you might imagine this caused a little upset in the bosses office and the bosses, bosses office. Still, my media maestro closed down the story as nonsense within 1 hour and 15 minutes (nearly a record) but nevertheless some damage was done. It's just not the thing you need first thing on a Monday morning.

By mid week there was plenty of angst trying to calm the brows in the Minister's Office who were getting overly excited about all sorts of things. Somehow our no surprises policy is still surprising them!

The end of the week culminated in a huge gorrilla (not the usual monkey) being passed my way to pick up the pieces of someone else failure. I did have a chuckle when my boss suggested I spend the weekend getting up to speed on the social development of NZ and reading the infamous Briefing for Incoming Ministers, a document that runs to about 600 pages. In my normal kiwi dilligent way, I'm spending the weekend reading the Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton. Who wants to lay a bet that the gorrilla will have changed shaped anyway by 10am on Monday!

Big week next week though - new coaching course starting which should be fun. Best dust off my notes from my last course to save any embarressing moments on the teleclass.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I couldn't help but smile

What better way to end the week than watching the kiwis trounce the ozzies at cricket. For the first time in 646 one day internationals them from across the tasman were beaten by 10 wickets.

I was up for a late night out watching a close game but the Black Caps firmly put the visitors in their box who looked increasingly like they'd rather be elsewhere. Capt Ricky Ponting was resting back at base and one can't help but feel they were really missing their leader.

Cricket in the Caketin is certainly an interesting experience since you're so close to the pitch. Same culture of spectator though - up and down every five minutes to get their chips and beer!
Cricket at the caketin in the evening sun
Kiwi's enjoying a stroll towards victory (149 / 0)

If you're wondering - the southerlies blew in and made it a little chilly in the stands!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

State of the nation

Parliament has restarted after the summer recess which is bringing all sorts of headaches working in a high profile Government department. Our PM gave her state of the nation address on Tuesday which sets the agenda for the coming year.

You can read this at

The buzz of the day was that NZ needs to have sustainability. I'm trying hard not to be deeply cynical about the Government spin and take heart that there is true intention behind these fine words. It will be great if finally NZ takes environmental issues seriously and puts some substance behind it's clean and green image. Certainly I'll be attending my first greening strategy meeting tomorrow to see how we'll start to become a carbon neutral ministry.

Good job we've built in solar panel water heating, wet back woodburner and rain collection into our new house. All we need now is the pointy head administrators at land registry to get over themselves and give us the land title so we can start building. Yes we're still waiting but hopeful of a solution imminently (although I've given up holding my breath on this - I was turning blue and it wasn't a good look).

Friday, February 09, 2007

Countdown to being a domestic executive: 33 Weeks to go

It's been a gorgeous week and definitely not a good place to be in the office. It's been hot, stuffy and people have been generally grumpy to be stuck inside. Still, it was only a three day week this week for this executive after taking a day's leave and then Waitangi Day so I shouldn't really be complaining.

Here's what I would like to be doing this time next year. Heading off to the hills to escape the rat race!

JT hiking Somes Island track, Waitaingi Day 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Photoblogging: Waitangi Day adventures

Since Wellington has a heat wave (yes it's finally reached 20+ degrees) and it is a public holiday we got into the holiday spirit and took the boat to Matui Somes Island which is slap bang in the middle of Wellington Harbour. See

This is a fascinating place having been used to isolate sick people and keep animals in quarantine. Now its more of a nature reserve as it is predator free. There are wetas (huge, and I mean huge, beetle bugs) Tuataras, lizards and birdlife. We trotted around the island walkway and took in some of the best views of Wellington harbour.

Escaping Wellington City by boat

Arriving Somes Island

Local Weta resident (see I meant what I said about being huge)

MT under supervision of the sun nazi

Fabulously clear water

Views back towards Wellington

Former isolation hospital
Tall ship cruising the harbour

Waitangi Day

6th February is a NZ public holiday that comemorates the signing of the Waitangi Treaty which was the founding document for today's New Zealand.

For more information see:

Monday, February 05, 2007

Ged offfff my land!

Seems that some sheep are keeping our land safe until we get legal ownership in the next week. These woolly jumpers were gently heating at 26 degrees although had the benefit of the breeze on top of the hill. Just as well they are there otherwise the grass would be knee high.

We stopped by on our return from the builders and architects to get the contract paperwork. The reality of the build is starting to set in - we've got to choose the colour of the external fittings, such as roof, windows and clap board. MT said I could take the lead on this, girlie stuff I think he said. So in honour of my friend Beth we're having pink!
PS - was only joking about the pink!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

When rugby turns to party

Whilst Jonny was into winning ways in the Six Nations, Wellington has been invaded this weekend by the annual International Rugby Sevens Competition. Held at the caketin there are 34,500 people all cheering their favourite team (not)!

In reality, the caketin becomes the biggest party venue in NZ with everyone using it as an excuse to dress up and behave disgracefully, all in the name of rugby. It's all good humoured stuff (well mostly) and brings lots of colour to the capital (see the pics below).

Tickets are hard to come by so we missed out in this year's celebration. Or rather, MT didn't want to be seen dressed up looking like Borat so we passed up on this annual ritual.

Last year Naomi was to be found dancing on the terraces and falling off the flip seats. Although black and blue she recovered quickly but this year I fear things have turned much more serious.
Having survived the Caketin experience she danced rather enthusiastically an irish jig at Molly Malone's and then spent hours at the hospital getting her rupted Achilles Tendon fixed. Not to mention me spending further time back at the hospital this morning get her cast fitted and ferrying her around town to get her shopping in. It's a real shame for her as she's bang in the middle of her house rennovations and was just about to return to road running after a rest from her hip and knee problems. Estimated recovery time 9 weeks in plaster and another 9 weeks physio.

Although terrible worried about her and doing my nurse bit one can't help think that whilst the seven's might be the best thing for Wellington tourism at this time of year, you need special insurance and cotton wool to protect yourselves from excessive partying.

Hope you enjoy the spectacle photos though.

Here's one thirsty chuck

Even Borat was getting in on the act

Just to prove there was some rugby played, the All Black's against the Keynians

These girls know how to party....!

Even men of a certain age don't miss out on the festivities

Maori fans complete with Ta Moko

The mighty Samoan's the eventual tournament winners beating Fiji

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Countdown to being a domestic executive: 34 weeks to go

Phew - another week passed in the cut and thrust of NZ Government, I just wish the people running this country would make up their minds. They say that 24 hours in politics is a long time but it seems like eternity to me.

It's been one u-turn after another this week making my worklife very frustrating and doing little for the morale of the team who have to keep redoing things to suit today's decision which has been overturned within 24 hours. Still, we did end the week back where we started in October 2006 so it's an impressive adventure of back to the future.

Still this executive is turning to domestic affairs for the next four days with a lonnnng weekend. Waitaingi Day is Tuesday 6th so it would have been pointless not to have taken Monday off too. We're off on another trip across the Rimutakas to see the builders and architect to nail down the detail on the house as we expect all the paperwork to come to a crescendo in the next 2 weeks.

The only downside this week was a difficult conversation with my boss who is turning up the heat for me to commit to continuing on at work at the end of my contract. Readers, I hope you can feel proud of me as I batted away suggestions of permenancy. Have to admit though I'm keeping my powder dry for some part-time consultancy and coaching with them to keep my chucks and pigs in the style they wish to become accustomed to.