Trujillo Travel Blog› entry 27 of 40 › view all entries
June 11th, 2006 – by: JacketsDownUnder
This morning at 11:00, the three of us met my colleauge, Beverley Cathcart and her husband, Robin, on the steps of New Zealand's Parliament in downtown Wellington. Beverley is the Executive Director for Protocol and Special Events for New Zealand's government. In her role, she has planned and executed events for royalty (including Her Majesty the Queen), presidents (including some of our own), and religious leaders (including the Dalai Lama). Beverley and I met last summer in Washington, DC, at the annual protocol and diplomatic officers association annual meeting. When I told her of my impending trip to New Zealand, she insisted that we call upon her.
The Cathcarts were absolutely lovely hosts, and gave the three of us a behind-the-scenes tour of Parliament and its adjacent buildings (the Library and the Beehive, the latter of which is the office building for the Prime Minister and the government's other ministers). We stood on the floor of the House chamber. We walked the corridors of the library. We journeyed to the basement to see the extensive renovations that "earthquake-proofed" the building, something quite necessary since a fault line lies just 400 metres from Parliament House. We visited the throne room where Queen Elizabeth II (or whomever is the reigning monarch or, in his/her absence, the appointed Governor-General) opens Parliament every three years or so. We even went to some newly renovated rooms that the Prime Minister herself has yet to see.
More than the sites, our time with Beverley and Robin was just wonderful. They were gracious, kind hosts. What a treat it was to spend a few hours with them. After our tour, we went to a little bistro of their choosing for a lite lunch. All too soon, we parted... but thankfully, the Cathcarts will be in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in two months at our annual conference once more. I look forward to seeing them then.
After lunch, Miller, Sheldon and I went to Te Papa, which is Maori for "Our Land." Te Papa is the National Museum of New Zealand... sort of their version of the Smithsonian. We were most captivated by two exhibits -- the geological displays and that of the Lord of the Rings. We could not take pictures of the latter, which is somewhat of a bummer, because the exhibition was truly amazing.
Whilst in the museum, a ferocious gale storm socked the harbor and Wellington. The winds sounded like a hurricane coming ashore. Flags starched. Signs swayed. Rain fell. But never fear. We are okay. All is well. We're just enjoying a quiet evening indoors.
Tomorrow, we hit the road once more, this time to explore the North Island.
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