Well after a gruelling 38 hour journey via Dubai and Melbourne, Australia, I arrived in Aukland, New Zealand, on a cold and windy morning. After nearly a whole days sleep I ventured out to do a little sightseeing before commencing my examining. I was fortunate enough to have a beautiful sunny day so went up to the top of the Aukland Sky Tower and watched people bungee jump from the top! How on earth people do that…I’ll never know. From there I went to the harbour and took a ferry across the very lovely Waiheke Island where I had a stroll around and ended up in a fabulous vineyard where I had lunch and small drop of wine – highly recommended. There were coach loads of people turning up as I was leaving so it’s obviously a popular place. I was fortunate to meet up with Miss Pam Eddleston during my stay here and it was lovely to see her again.
The following day my work began and I was collected by taxi and taken to the studio based in Te Tuhi Centre where Justine De Kock runs her school. I examined there for two days and met some lovely children.
The next morning I was taken out of town to Whenuapai to examine for Rebecca Rose Reid and Theresa Murphy. What a beautiful part of the world this is! Probably my favourite area I saw whilst in Aukland, and the children were delightful and the little Primaries were excited to have a ‘selfie’ with the Examiner! In the afternoon I travelled back into Aukland to begin the first of three days at the lovely Santarelli Studios where I examined and coached the new grade 5 tap syllabus. The team of hard working teachers here were Jessica Walker, Raine-Seren Terry, Hillary Clift and Kate Voss. I have to say that the calibre of cakes brought into me were amazing!…But it did nothing for the waistline!
That evening I then flew to Palmerston North where I settled into a very lovely hotel that had a lot of character with a beautiful old wooden staircase that you could imagine has a lot of history behind it. Palmerston North is the home town of Gwenda Britten who is a highly experienced International ISTD Examiner. We had a lovely afternoon and an evening together and we wondered where in the world we will meet up next, having only ever met twice before – once in Japan and once in Mexico whilst on our ISTD tours! The teachers I examined for here were Amy Macdonald-Te Huki, Sinead Hearns, Maxine Jeffares-Greer and Kristina Beddis-McErlean. Who all made me very welcome and I enjoyed the diverse exams I undertook as well as coaching grade 5 tap to some of the teachers.
From here I flew to Wellington, my favourite place on my tour. In my ignorance I wasn’t aware that it was so hilly before I arrived, and as soon as I left the airport I was transfixed by how the houses were clustered together on the hills, all brightly coloured and lovely. Again the weather was quite kind to me and I managed to get along the front to the port and also up the hill on the tram to the lovely Botanic Gardens where the views over the town were breathtaking.
I was also fortunate enough to get a ticket for New Zealand’s amazing phenomenon that is ‘WOW’ – The World of Wearable Art. Quite an amazing display of fashion design set to music and song. Well worth a watch if it ever comes over to the UK.
The last of my exam sessions was for Neroli Hunt at the Hayley Johnson Academy of Dancing out in Tawa. Here I examined tap and National. Neroli had worked incredibly hard and had prepared some of the girls for four folk dance study units which consisted of an amazing display of work and projects. One young lady also took two levels of National Silver Medals on top of her four folk dance units! No mean feat indeed. I had one last night in the hotel that overlooked the Beehive Parliament building then my long journey home began, this time via Sydney Australia and Dubai.
I hope that it will not be too long before I return to New Zealand as I thoroughly enjoyed every minute and applaud all the teachers’ hard work and commitment. Thank you all for your hospitality and your lovely words of praise also. I hope to see you all soon, and keep up I the good work 😊
New Zealand trip. 11 Sept 2015 – 29th Sept 2015