1993

Success! A future in Aotearoa

17 August 1993 Air New Zealand 1621 Auckland to Napier/Hastings
17 August 1993 Air New Zealand 8426 Napier/Hastings to Auckland

Air New Zealand's national timetable would lead you to believe that only jet services have a breakfast service. That is why I got up so early and took a taxi to the airport in time for toast and coffee before the flight. It was an early flight, and I had deliberately booked it early so that I would have a chance to smarten myself up before presenting myself at the Company for interview. This plan was thwarted by the announcement that I would be met at the airport.

As it turned out, the flight was on a Saab 340 but breakfast was served. It was a fairly good breakfast too, consisting of juice, coffee, a ham and cheese croissant and a couple of other odds and ends too.

It was a beautiful day and gave me the opportunity to look down at the countryside. While Rotorua earlier in the year, we had paid extra for aerial views in the form of a short helicopter trip. Looking down on Lake Rotorua from a high flight in a commercial aircraft was a different experience, and at no extra cost. The scenery of the country is beautiful, but like all views from the sky, it is soon time to come back to earth.

Travelling back the same day meant I was able to walk straight off the aeroplane, and stand in the lounge looking around for somebody who might be meeting me. As the airport crowd disappeared, with departing passengers boarding and everybody else either going to the car park or meeting somebody, I was left almost alone, when my name was called.

I was to discover later that the person who had been sent to collect me has a poor record for finding people at airports. We did meet in the end and he drove me to the Company's offices where I was made very welcome, and offered assistance from them in the shape of coffee, friendly advice, a job offer and an opportunity to find some information about Hawkes Bay.

The only problem was that it meant I was effectively on show for almost the whole day. I was grateful when the afternoon came and I was dropped off at the airport, secure in the knowledge that I now had an offer of employment, meaning that not only would my application for New Zealand now be accepted but also that I had some means of making money after my contract in Vanuatu had come to an end. Many in my situation had not been so fortunate in the past.

I telephoned the Auckland agency with my news, as much to tell somebody as to tell them, and shortly afterwards boarded the return flight to Auckland, about which there is little to tell. The bus journey back into the city had a radio playing light music, and I remember thinking that it was quiet, gentle music, quite unlike Wagner. No sooner had the thought entered my head than the Ride of the Valkyries started...

Other experiences of New Zealand included a sign on the side of a bus reading "Why travel more to travel in a car?", a question which I found difficult to answer or even comprehend.

Just along the road from my hotel was a large sign reading Towawayarea, which might at first sight appear to indicate a Polynesian settlement nearby.

Television is a luxury to one resident in Vanuatu, although New Zealand television could not by any stretch of the imagination be described as good, but they do show good films from time to time. Flicking through the channels on one of the evenings during this trip, I chanced upon a film called Innerspace, the story of a man who is miniaturised and undergoes an adventure inside another man's blood system. I recognised the film from just a few seconds as I was flicking through the channels, even though I had never seen it before. Our two friends for whom I had been best man had watched it together on the big screen very early in their friendship, and a brief description of the film came up in their history of what might not have been. It is a good film, though not as good as our friends' story.

Wednesday morning saw another walk up Queen Street, a journey up a steep street of perhaps a mile in length. By the time of my return to Port Vila, I knew it well but was heartily sick of it. In view of a job offer I liked, my agent and I decided not to bother with any other interviews which he might have been able to arrange, even one with the bank which had first caused me to contact him.

I spent the remainder of my time in Auckland relaxing, taking time to visit Underwater World again, and visit the cinema. I looked around various films which were on show, and selected Indecent Proposal, which I enjoyed, but I also watched Aladdin again.

CNN has become more international in its outlook. Apparently less than a third of its output is now devoted to domestic United States material. It certainly seems better viewing than before.


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