Sunday, June 26, 2011
Inside a restuaraunt in Wellington...caricatures of many of the current and past politicians
So It was a crazy week. I made the trip down from Palmerston north to Wellington, the Capital city, or "Windy Welly" as many of the locals call it. It was rainy the first day, good for two days and mixed on sunday when i left. It was blowing on Sunday, though I must admit it is not much compared to the winds of Chicago or Baldwin Hill, at least in my opinion. The trip down was nice with much scenery to see and mountainbs on one side and the ocean on the other, makes it easy not to get lost. Wellington is a typical capital city, much hustle and bustle durring the day and early evening but everyone commutes in and weekends are pretty dead. got a few meetings in. First was with the president of Federated Farmers, very similar to Farm bureau. The President was on his way out and had only 10 days left on his term, returning to farming and possibly into the world of politics. He had some very interesting thoughts on many topics, but his main point boiled down to basic idea the we as a people have to have faith inthe human mind, spirit and the evolution of ideas. We musn't give into fear, fear is our biggest enemy. If we allow fear, rather than the evolution of ideas to dictate our course, we will not move forward as we will be to afraid to take that step. I can tell you I know that to be true. But it can be amazing what can take place when cast the fear aside and take the step and learn to fly on the way down, only then can the impossible be possible. After that it was off to meet the American ambassador. Was hoping to get a pic or two, but security being what it was--no go! oh well. He was a great guy who actually had spent summers milking cows on a relatives farm in danbury CT. He was actually very interested in what I was finding out and seemed very educated on the whole Ag scene. His Agricultural advisor was very interested in getting me to connect with some people in NZ later on because there are many NZ researchers trying to make connections with US researchers in the whole pasture management realm--so I may have one more job on my hands. Friday was a visit to Landcorp, a farming business owned by the "crown" (which is NZ term for gov't) they purchase land and farms and assemble them into profitable units and improve lands for farming, some of it is later sold off, much is retained and continued to be farmed in sheep, beef and dairy. They spend much of their time and effort trying to match production with consumer wants. This is a basic theme in NZ, they go to where it is sold, find out what types of products thier consumers are looking for and then try to find a way to produce that. unlike many US farmers that continue to produce the same product and hope the consumer will put up with it. After that was a visit to a fish and shell fish research station, a visit to where lord of the rings was filmed and Miramar studios, off to a bird sanctuary, the landfill art gallery on the way to the botanical garden preserve and back to the hotel. Sat. I was taken out to Somes Island which has been used as a POW camp, and DeGuasing station in WWII (de magnitizes ship so as to not set off the german mines) and most recently as a quarantine station for animals entering the country.(it has alos been used for sick human entry way way back). It is now closed down except as a tourist attraction and nature preserve. Then it was back to the hotel and get ready to try to get to the south island.
It has been an interesting trip so far but one thing struck me this past week as I meet not only with people in high places but a few other Eisenhower fellows who had been to america on their fellowship many years ago. I get two responses over three continents when I tell people of my career change at this stage of my life--some (most) think it is a wonderful if not couragous thing I have undertaken. Most see this turning out to be a good thing and opens many possibilites both at home and on the international scene and also as a practicing vet or in related fields also. There are some that think it is a foolish mistake, one that could never pay off, they see it as never being able to pay off the debt of education, never enough time to advance the career to a high enough level once I get out of school. I had a few minutes to contemplate this this past weekend and I came to a conclusion. I myself have often wondered if I have ventured into the wrong course, not that getting out of farming was wrong but if trying to go back to school at this age was a mistake. But I realized this the ones that think it is great, a couragous thing that will pay big dividends are the leaders of thier organizations, they are the risk takers that have made things pay off, the ones that look at it as foolish may be good at what they do but they are more the spectator and not the matador. I have decided that I much prefer to be the matador--the risk is higher, but so is the reward.
My final week is before me and with good luck I will be able to find some way to queenstown. (the first winter storm is pulling in and the roads to queenstown from christchurc require chains if they are even open until the snow melts) Then It will be the issue of the Ash cloud that has shut down all flights from NZ to australia! I may be here for a while yet!
Until next time