Around The World - And for Christmas 2017, I popped into New Zealand..

01 Mar 2018

The IPA is, as we always keep saying, based upon international friendship. With that in mind I took the opportunity whilst in New Zealand over the Christmas period, of meeting with members of the Wellington Branch, and what a great crowd they are!

The location is also a major stopping point for cruise ships bringing tourists from around the world, including visiting IPA members.newzealandtrip1

My own initial point of contact was Mike Norden, a retired officer who is now employed in the American Embassy in Wellington. My initial meeting with him was hastily arranged in the local Red Dragon Welsh Bar. An exchange of gifts was followed by chilled local beers and several glasses of the Penderyn Whisky – not a cheap tipple out there!

A few days later and a more orderly meeting with a crowd of local members, that carried on for several enjoyable hours. One of those that I met was Valerie Redshaw, a former Met’ officer who had been seconded to New Zealand in the 70’s on an investigation, met her future husband, joined the local force and the rest is history. Being an ex Met’ officer myself, Val and I were able to chew the fat over many places that we had worked in London.

My escapades with the local constabulary were not to end following this meeting. My son and his lovely Kiwi partner took me on what is known as a ‘tiki tour’ of the North Island. ‘I know an excellent town that you’ll appreciate’, said Emma as we headed out along the main highway.

It was called Bulls, due to it being a cattle town. What an opportunity thought I, on this glorious sunny Sunday morning to meet with the local officer in his little police station. So in I went, armed up with IPA pennants, pin badges and my name card,all of which I placed on the desk whilst calling out for some attention. Nothing’s happening thought I. How wrong can you be?

Suddenly alarm bells in the station started ringing and at any moment I expected myself to be tasered and gassed by an infuriated officer whose coffee break snooze had just been interrupted. But absolutely nothing. ‘Let’s clear off quick’ spoke the very wise and knowledgeable Emma. So we quickly left the premises, expecting at least some interest from the locals who were sipping on their beers in the café opposite. But again not one spark of interest or concern for what might be happening to their local officer of the law. Beating a hasty retreat in our little Nissan car we departed the town of Bulls, at least expecting an annoyed response from the constable who would have picked up my email and phone details from my card. But again, nothing. It was all just ‘laid back’ and ‘cruisey’ to use my son’s words. Absolutnewzealandtrip3ely wonderful.

So if any IPA member is visiting the North Island of New Zealand and hits the small town of Bulls, please pop into the local cop shop and pass on my apologies for disturbing the Sunday peace on the morning of 17th December 2017!

Finally some weeks later Mike contacted me and offered the opportunity to meet with two young IPA members from Stuttgart who were passing through Wellington.

It really was encouraging to meet with two young members who were really enthusiastic for the IPA and all the support that it was providing, as they were taking part in a gap year around the Australasian islands.

So that was part of the wonderful experiences that I had in New Zealand over the six weeks. If anyone would care to view my 500 photographs, please call around with a bottle of something hinting of malt and while away an hour or so.

Denis Hunt, IPA UK South Wales Branch member