Sorry for leaving you all hanging for so long, we have been in Wellington and have started our internships for the month. Our first weeks is finally over so we've been busy at work and traveling when we aren't at our internships. Let me start up where I left off...
So my computer died and then I went to bed... then I woke up.. The End.
On a real note, we woke up and had some free time in Paihia, so we took a ferry over to one of the islands. it was a beautiful day so we ended up hoping into the ocean and swimming. The water was quite cold but it felt great. We were on a time schedule so most of us headed back onto the ferry but Justin and Jana missed the ferry while waiting for cheeseburgers. They were only a couple minutes behind us but it was quite funny. We were supposed to hold the ferry for them but it decided to head off anyways. We just told them we thought they were already on the ferry even though they clearly weren't. Once we all arrived back to the hostel, we headed off to Auckland from Paihia and the Northland region. In Auckland, we stopped at the Auckland Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management. John Titmus was there to greet us when we arrived. John has some experience with International Disaster Response as well as working with non-governmental organizations including the private sector and Academia. He talked to us about his experience in other countries when it comes to helping them respond and recover to a disaster. It seemed like it would be a great experience to go to some of these countries and try to help them rebuild their infrastructure. He also talked to us about some other not-so-good experiences. When you're in a country that is below the poverty line or has no central government, then you run into different problems. There is no structure when it comes to responding and rebuilding. Often times you have much more crime in these areas and they don't always like the foreigners trying to come in and help, so you become a target instead of a sign of help.
After we finished up with John, we headed to Hamilton and stopped in at the Waikato ECC. Lee Hazlewood and his team were there to talk to us about the work they are doing in their region. Lee's team had a much different approach to how they wanted to reach out to the community during disaster. They take advantage of the social media aspect and try to get the community involved this way. Instead of providing a complex scientific reason for what is going on, they have added a simplistic and humorous aspect to their posts, which the public really enjoys (You can check out their facebook page at ....) They have also talked about using Facebook as a warning system and are planning on doing a fake warning to see how many people can share the post and view it in the matter of a couple minutes. Lee also covered rural-urban distinctions in Emergency Management. New Zealand has a population of 4.7 million people so there are many areas with small populations. When it comes to responding to these people in rural communities or smaller populations during a disaster, they could be cut off from basic services. One main focus is how they can reach these people if something were to happen, as well as educating them on certain risks they can face and to prepare themselves if they cannot be reached right away.
Once we finished up with Lee, we drove to National Park and stayed at a lodge by Mount Ruapehu. It was pretty crappy weather once we arrived so we didn't do much here. Most of us had to finish our papers anyways so we stayed in. The next morning it was still raining terribly so we had to cancel our hike into National Park. We stayed at the lodge a little longer to relax, but then we made our way to Wellington. The drive to Wellington was a couple hours long but we finally arrived in Wellington to begin our month long stay.
Everyone got settled into our new home (Trek Global) for the next month and we also met up with the Communications and Marketing group who were with Massey as well. The Com and Marketing group had been in Wellington working their internships for two weeks prior to us arriving. Our group gets to spend two weeks hanging out with them until they finish up with their program and Internships. Casey, Glenn, Justin and I also picked up another roommate, Kyle. Poor Kyle was the only guy in the Comm and Marketing group with seven girls. For the next two weeks, Kyle will be rooming with us four. We have saved Kyle and will be doing manly things since he was deprived of chilling with the bros for a month.
Our group finally got settled into Wellington and Stacey was flying home in the morning, so we decided to go out and celebrate our last night with her. We went to the Four Kings bar to grab some drinks and watch Stacey's favourite rugby team play, the Chiefs. She explained us the rules of rugby and the history of The Chiefs. I can now say I enjoy watching rugby better than American football for a couple of different reasons. I'll just keep my opinions to myself to avoid controversy over this subject lol. The All Blacks in the New Zealand national rugby team, and they have won the rugby World Cup many times in their history. I was hoping I could catch an All Blacks rugby game but there isn't one until end of August after I have already left New Zealand. After the game we went to another bar and met up with some of the kids from the Com and Marketing group so they could celebrate with Stacey as well. It 'twas a great night and I hope the best for Stacey!
The next morning we woke up and had to prepare some presentations about our experience on the National Expedition. We had to go to Massey University and present to each, as well as Mitch and his colleagues on our experience and what we got out of the expedition. Everyone did really well with their presentations. Mitch and his colleagues were quite impressed and happy to hear about how everything went.
On Sunday, Jana took Glenn, Justin, Casey and I to the harbour side market. They had some amazing street performers, tasty food, and fresh vegetables straight from the farmers. You can't beat the cheap prices of the vegetables so many of us agreed we will be back every Sunday from now. I ended up buying ingredients to make egg stir fry for the week, but I am now sick of stir fry. I now need to figure something else to eat for a week and get sick of.
Once Monday rolled around we had our Internship orientation and met up with our different Internship hosts. Justin and I are working with the New Zealand Fire Service but in different areas. Justin will be working at Region 3 station and doing some GIS work with them. I am stationed at the National Headquarters working with the Fire Services National Operations team. Glenn and Casey and working at the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (REMO). Nicole is working with the Ministry of Health and Augustina is working with the Ministry for Primary Industries. Each host if very excited to have us and have some great projects for us to get started on.