Archive for » March, 2010 «

It was a real hardship leaving the hotel this morning, the thermal pool last night was glorious!

But, leave we did, heading for Rotorua and some Maori tradition, arts and culture….Te Puia. First of all a visit to the village entrance and to the Marae

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We got welcomed to the Marae, well, ok, there were quite a few of us in the audience!


After the welcoming (the karanga), we were treated to a performance inside the Marae including many lush harmonies, the seductive poi dance, the ferocious haka (war challenge) and the complex tititorea (stick games).

“Someone” – no names no pack drill – was volunteered by the Willis representation (and admittedly because it sounded a hoot!) to take part in a visitors impression of the Haka!


After making a spectacle of myself (although one of the Maori – the warrior in front of the Marae – congratulated me on my attempt at pulling a face at the end) we took a walk around the thermal park.

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We headed off suitably exhiliarated to Taupo and Huka Falls. Not really sure how Louise and I missed this the first couple of times we visited New Zealand, it’s quite impressive!

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After watching the equivalent of an olympic sized swimming pool flowing past every couple of seconds, we headed off to find a cafe in Taupo, or alongside the lake, for a very welcome cup of coffee. I’m pretty sure John pinched some of my chocolate fish when we did stop, he did get told off by Margaret and Louise though – teehee.

We stopped by the South end of the lake, a bit of a mission to get there though, so the girls could have a paddle.

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We then headed up to Ohakune for our overnight stay with a view of Mt Ruapeho at the Ohakune Court Motel.

Off up to the Coromandel Peninsular this morning. We won’t mention the trip over to Thames, as apart from the river bridge towards the end, the trip was undeniably Auckland and fairly boring. Luckily, we had plenty to talk about!

We stopped off at Coromandel for some lunch at Umu Restaurant. We made the mistake of having individual toasted sandwiches – they were HUGE!

We then toured around the peninsular and stopped off at Tairua for a coffee on the beach.


Down the coast then to Katikati for some afternoon tea, and a quick look around their historic farming collection, before heading down to Tauranga for our overnight hotel – Bennetts Tauranga Motor Inn.

The large family unit was pretty Kiwi but spacious, but it also had our own lovely thermal pool in the small courtyard out the back. We got everything in from the car, quickly got changed, grabbed some drinks (the alcoholic kind, of course) and jumped in the pool! We must have stayed in there for about 3 hours! It was brill! Margaret also found that the mineral properties of the pool worked wonders on the skin, which we hadn’t realised, but were pretty impressed with!!

Up and out of the house by 6am today – off up to Auckland….

We stopped at the Flat Hills cafe for some breakfast after a leisurely trip up country – nice “rustic” spot for a break. It has a maze and a few farm animals to look at, but it had started spitting rain so we didn’t bother having too much of a looksee.

As we left, we passed Mangaweka International airport. A DC3 had obviously over-run the runway and they decided to set up the airport around it! Not quite sure how international “International” is, as a grass strip seems a bit limiting!

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We arrived at Auckland airport just after 2pm, in good time to meet Louise’s parents arriving at just gone 3pm, so we parked up at the airport and went for a coffee.

We popped up to the viewing area after coffee and saw their aircraft pulling off the runway into the pans – trouble was we didn’t know it was theirs at the time Big Frown

Once the aircraft had been advertised as landed, we rushed down to arrivals to meet Margaret and John as they came through the Arrivals door…….

A bit of an emotional reunion – but nothing we weren’t expecting! A fair number of hugs and tears followed….

We packed everything into the hire car and joined the rest of North Island traffic making its way into Auckland in the late afternoon – note to selves, we REALLY don’t like Auckland still. So many people, so many cars!

After finding the hotel (Note to self – must get road maps of the major cities!), the Barrycourt Quality Hotel, and unpacking the luggage quickly, we went out in the car to visit …… Torbay! We got an Indian on the way back, a takeaway meal one, which proved a little difficult as parking isn’t quite as easy as Wellington. However, it was gorgeous, and a lovely accompaniment to the evening views of the harbour from our very spacious hotel room!!

A bit of a lie-in today….

We got packed up for the trip up to Auckland tomorrow morning so that we can just load the car and go.

Excellent news this evening!! I passed both the Fujitsu exams 70% and 76%!! They’re going to set up a phone call with the boss in Australia so he can give me a phone interview.

Relatively early night to bed, as we’re leaving before the birds get up in the morning!!

Phew, a restful day today after the previous swatting sessions.

We took a good look at the itinerary for Louise’s parent’s visit today and got it finalised!

Contacted Louise’s parents during their stay in Singapore, they’re having a great time! Louise, however, is now on pins!! Can’t wait to see her parents on Friday!

Up early for sprucing again today!

Geek attire once again donned……

Louise drove into Wellington again and dropped me off at the Terrace entrance to Fujitsu. I was in no uncertain terms that I was early – 10 mins – and that the guy I was seeing wasn’t currently in the building. Now I sort of expected a wait, but this was almost tantamount to being told off and sent to sit in the naughty chair for having the temerity to turn up early! Having said that, the receptionist did relent and got me a coffee after a couple of minutes.

The guy turned up, smelling distinctly of “I’ve just been outside for a sneaky cigarette”. He sat me down and produced two thick sets of papers – the Fujitsu doctored Microsoft exams. So much for the advent of technology!!

Anyway, I fought my way through the amended questions, which seemed to be even more convoluted than the normal Microsoft ones! I’m pretty sure I did ok, not a brilliant passing score, but I would be upset if I don’t pass!

Louise and I took advantage of the Wellington cafe scene and did little bit of shopping at the same time before heading home and a rest from Microsoft learning for hopefully a short space of time!

Well, the local horoscopes for last month did suggest that today was going to be a big day!

Up early and all nicely spruced, even passed inspection under the hyper-critical gaze of Louise! By majority vote, ie. both of us, decided to go geek today – single-breasted suit, white shirt and glasses (plus the other normal accoutrements like underpants, socks etc of course!) as the double-breasted suit has had no luck at interviews!

We’d chatted and thought it would be a good idea if Louise dropped me off at the University, so that I didn’t have to do the parking thing in Wellington. I’m pretty sure that the prospect of a shopping trip into Wellington and Cuba Street had never entered her mind!!

Anyway, the interview was more of a getting to know you, let’s chat over your CV to make sure you weren’t just making it up sort of interview. It lasted all of 20 minutes, Louise had only just parked up and hadn’t even reached the shops yet …. doh!

Back home, after a coffee and a calm down to do more exams in preparation for tomorrow. Yippee ….

Now not bothering with the learning bit – straight onto the exams, and the exams, and the exams, and the exams, and the exams, and the exams ….


Did take a break for a short while to do behavioural questions towards the end of the evening for tomorrow’s interview at Victoria University.

Loads more online learning today. Started doing exams this afternoon, lots of exams over and over again ….

Louise is being really great! I know she’s so looking forward to seeing her parents next week, although I do feel a little guilty that she’s providing so much support while I’m sat on my butt, working! Took a couple of hours off this evening for the first time in what seems like weeks of learning/exams now to sit down on the settee and watch the tv with Louise – after making HER a cuppa and getting some tea!

Loads of online learning today.

Louise has been great! Tea, coffee and sandwiches appear without any prompting at all!! Bless ….

However, very very very late night as I hit my learning curve!