Travel With Me to A Faraway Can-Do Land

IMG_4945This remote island country in the South Pacific Ocean has a scant Kiwi population of 4.1 million and is home to the unbeatable All Black Rugby team. New Zealand may be small but the Kiwis lead the world on many human rights issues. In 1840 the Waitangi Treaty was signed giving Maori and the European alike equal rights. It was the first country in the world to give women the vote in 1893 and in 1899 the first country to introduce the 8-hour day.

This youngest country in the world spawns pioneers. It is the scene of possibly the first flight ever made by man – Richard Pearce flew his homemade aircraft 150 yards in early 1903. Legendary Auckland born Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. Lesser known but just as remarkable is the achievement of Ernest Rutherford, known as the father of nuclear physics, who won the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1905 and more recently 28 year old Eleanor Catton the youngest woman ever to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize for her second novel The Luminaries.

New Zealanders credit their innovation and successes to their country’s isolation and their ‘can-do’ attitude to life. The term ‘Number 8 Wire’ is common usage in the New Zealand vernacular. It is Kiwi shorthand for a bloke or a ‘blokess’ who can turn his/her hand to anything. It is believed that with a length of a Number 8 baling wire and some string and they can fix anything.

And if you want to see examples of # 8 Wire ingenuity at its best visit director Sir Peter Jackson and special effects guru Sir Richard Taylor’s home base at Miramar a suburb of Wellington.  It would be easy to miss Weta Cave as it is situated in a timber house typical of the area. But inside you will find a museum and workshop. The Weta companies provide the magic of special and digital effects used in a string notable movies – Avatar, King Kong, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit.  Here you can browse the museum, buy movie memorabilia, take a selfie with a life size Gandalf, enjoy a free documentary showing the Weta team at work, inspect Frodo’s prosthetic feet or take a live workshop tour to watch the Weta talented artists create.

The advent of Peter Jackson and the subsequent growth of the NZ film industry have seen Hollywood directors tracking to this distant city at the edge of the Cook Strait. In 2011 Lonely Planet called Wellington The Coolest Little Capital In The World and voted it the fourth best city in the world. It has more restaurants and cafes per capita than New York, which came in at number one on the Lonely Planet list of top cities. Besides fine dining, a coterie of gourmet producers and coffee roasters it offers the most exciting waterfront al fresco eating on a summer day beside its glittering harbour.

Wellingtonians affectionately call it the Windy City. Wellington is without doubt the windiest place in New Zealand with an average wind speed of 29km per hour at Wellington Airport and recorded gusts up to 248km per hour.

There was talk of putting up a sign, the latest informal title of Wellington – WELLYWOOD –  on a hill close to the Wellington airport so the visiting world could bond with the blooming NZ film industry. But New Zealanders are a modest lot who felt that Wellywood was unoriginal and crass. Instead they voted for what is known as the Wellington Blown Away sign.  That is white bold letters of WELLINGTON across the hillside with the last few letters looking as if they are about to fly away. Just right I think for the Windy City and innovative Kiwis.



Give me a jar of coloured pens ………….

IMG_5093If you are looking for a technique to make planning your work easy and affectice; whether it be the first draft stage of a speech or any written work , become a child again and create  a colourful Mind Map.

Mind mapping originated in the 1960s with Tony Buzan and allows you to generate an organic explosion of ideas.

Just like a road map a Mind Map will give you an overview of your topic, enables you to tap into the wealth of your imagination,  collect together large chunks of data and be enjoyable to review and  consider how to progress.

1. Take a sheet of blank unlined paper. Use it landscape rather than portrait style.

2. You will need a container of coloured pens and pencils.

3. In the centre of the page draw an image or write the topic  that you want to explore from there create logical and illogical branches of thoughts to spin off from the central title.

The one above is an old one of mine.  I create Mind Maps not only for work but for everyday issues where I need to see things more clearly. This Thoughts Shape Your Life Map  is very busy, the ideas just kept coming and I was running out of room but the finished Map gave me great clarity on how my everyday, every moment thoughts affected my life for the better or worse.

Regrets I have a few …….

alphabet-15461_150Regrets I have a few,  but most too personal to mention.  It would be a rhino-opic wallow in the muddy waters of the ego if I indulged these tales of remorse. But one regret that bares writing about and should not exploit the reader’s emotions is that why did computers come so late into my life to try me?

I have just spent three hours getting my old Apple I Phone to sync with my new very smart 7.06 model.  Am I talking your language? Cause if so I need you in my life.

The saga is too long, too complicated and would bore you but if I say old software not only on my computer but on the phone, needed upgrading, computer not compatible with new upgrade, phone in two different names …….  You, who cheerfully and confidently punch a couple of keys to fix any techo problem would know how to fix this  in a jiffy.

I learned to type on the metal rimmed keys of an old Remmington that beside ripping the quicks of your finger nails they needed the strength of Samson to depress the keys to leave their metal imprint on the page.  You could say  I am like stone-age man who has been given a box of matches and a packet of fire-lighters where all he has ever known is the act of rubbing two sticks together to make fire.

I am completely challenged when it comes to understanding how a computer works, the penny dropping moment of understanding is hard won.  In my defense I do try.  It’s just that I seem to come to the solution so tardily. We used to call it Sod’s Law in my day that you tried every way but which way before success came.

Still I did it!  I transferred, strike transferred, I synced all my data from one mobile to the newie. I can put the frustration behind me until the next challenge.

Then once more I will say but  not in a shy way  – regrets I have a few…….