No slowing down
It was a send-off to match anywhere in the world and the children from Limehills and Otatara Schools did us proud when they farewelled Gareth Morgan's group heading to the Enderby Islands.
I was lucky enough to attend the send-off and the children's singing and presentations were amazing and showed a real understanding of environmental effects and concerns.
Southland District Council also had a visit from the new Chinese consul appointed to Christchurch. I believe the new office in Christchurch demonstrates the value the Chinese put on their relationship with New Zealand and the importance of it economically to New Zealand's future.
As you can see, I have been incredibly busy, with barely enough time to unpack and pack my suitcase. I was away again last week to Wellington to attend the Local Government Rural Provincial meeting. This regular meeting is very important for rural and provincial councils as it not only gives us a chance to hear from Ministers and other speakers, but also time to discuss shared issues. This meeting demonstrated to us all that we have a huge struggle ahead to try to maintain our infrastructure to a good condition, as this is extremely expensive and we cannot continue to justify putting up rates to pay for it.
I went from the bustle of Wellington to the peace and tranquillity of the valley for a pleasant afternoon at Takaro Lodge. About 200 people enjoyed their picnic in the valley near where the proposed monorail will go. It is better to visually see the area rather than just read about it to get an idea of what it would be like.
Last week was a big week for Council staff as well, with Council having a tent at the Southern Field Days at Waimumu. A lot of staff and councillors attended the three-day event - unfortunately I couldn't because of my Wellington commitments, but the feedback was how much bigger and better the event is. These field days are huge for Southland and are stamping their mark on rural New Zealand.
It doesn't slow down any this week either, with the launching of the Real Journeys boat Titiroa at Manapouri on Friday. Real Journeys is a highly professional company and this shows it has confidence in our future.
I also am taking part in Shakespeare in the Park and I have to admit I haven't had time to learn my lines, but I am practising a lot and will read with heaps of expression, I promise.
Big congratulations to all those involved in this wonderful production - we are so lucky to have such talent in the south.