For any of you who have manned a stand at a trade show, I know you will be sympathetic! We had sore feet, aching backs, and worn out voices. Our smile muscles felt like they’d had a workout at a Wedding Day photo shoot!
But the highlight was of course, meeting lots of neat people, particularly Kiwi Families members. Bearing in mind that we only launched the site in October last year at the Auckland show, it was really gratifying to have people visit the stand and say “I’m already a member and I love the site – keep up the good work!”.
It’s really encouraging to see how we’ve grown over the last year, and we were particularly excited when we saw October’s visitor statistics – we hosted 25,744 parents on site during the course of the month! Thank you to everyone who visited, and we look forward to seeing you on site again soon.
I though I’d share with you some behind-the-scenes insights into our Parent and Child Show experiences – we had a lot of fun, and thought you might like to hear about some of the highlights.
Susie and I (alias Thelma and Louise) flew to Christchurch and picked up our car rental. However, far from it being a sexy convertible, we had what I believe to be the tiniest vehicle you can drive that is not actually a motorbike – a Hyundai Getz. It was red, cute, easy to drive and ran on the smell of an oily rag. Which was just as well, as we managed to enjoy many of the scenic sights of Christchurch…inadvertently, due to our lack of navigation skills.
A particular highlight for us was circling Hagley Park each morning (two or three times like homing pigeons) before careening off in what we hoped was the right direction! This was accompanied by lots of giggles, and a complete lack of angst – which we’re pretty sure wouldn’t have been the case had there been a bloke in the car!
Whilst in Christchurch we were lucky to stay at the Copthorne Hotel on Colombo Street, and had a wonderful time. We were impressed with the accommodation, location, food and standard of service (and no, they didn’t pay us to say that!!). As you can see, Susie and I had fun with a bit of sightseeing in adjacent Victoria park – Susie is in front of an iconic Christchurch “puff-ball” fountain and the Copthorne Hotel.
We both really enjoyed Christchurch – the architecture, the lovely wide streets and lots of trees…and the friendly locals! As we progressed through our three Shows across the country, we felt a little bit like Anthropologists – dropped down into a foreign society to observe the locals! The Christchurch locals impressed us with their relaxed pace, friendly natures and their willingness to stop and chat and find out what you do.
In the middle of the country, were the Wellingtonians who seemed to rest somewhere between the two extremes of Christchurch and Auckland, with a relaxed, yet purposeful attitude to the Show.
Unfortunately I missed the Wellington Show, due to being bedridden with a dreadful double ear infection. I was really disappointed by this, as Wellington is my old university town, and I always enjoy visiting there. I believe there are few things as beautiful as Wellington harbour on a clear, blue, sunny day!
Luckily my other half, Ian, was able to go with Susie instead, and he had a great time including a memorable lunch with Diane Levy. Ian has definitely proven himself to be a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy); over lunch he was relating to Diane how he was missing his family and particularly little Sam, who was turning five that weekend, when he became so overcome, he got a bit tearful!
Given that Susie and I were both Aucklanders until very recently, we were both someone taken aback at the speed of the locals at the Auckland Show. “Wow” we said, “did we used to move that fast?!?” The locals seemed to be in an immense hurry, speeding past trade stands as though they were in a sprint race from the Show entrance to the exit. At times we wondered whether we should rugby tackle visitors in order to get their attention, or simply Frisbee them a flier to be caught in mid-stride!
Both Susie and I enjoyed our time in Auckland – the place where we have worked for most of our adult lives, and where 3 out of 4 of our babies were born. As we drove around, we soaked up the views of Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill, the Auckland Harbour and Rangitoto. I was lucky to have the time to take an early morning walk on Long Bay – one of my favourite beaches (note to Aucklanders – please make sure you protect that park from development – it’s a real treasure!)
Another highlight of the Shows for us was catching up with Diane Levy. Both Diane and I have pretty busy work schedules and rarely get the time to just sit down for a chat. Luckily for us, Diane was delivering seminars at all three shows, which gave us the chance to catch up for coffee or lunch when we got a break. As you can see from the photo, Diane also took time out to visit our stand and chatted to some of our members.
Well, we survived the shows for another year! Now we are all sitting back down at our computers and for the next few months we will be focusing on creating more great features for you on the website. Oh…and we will of course be making time to enjoy the spectacular beaches of Papamoa and Mt Maunganui over the summer!