Wednesday, September 15, 2010

15 minutes of fame....

About 3 months ago Pacific Resort was lucky enough to host the crew from Maori TV’s Hunting Aotearoa program. The crew were in the Cooks to visit Aitutaki, Raro and Atiu to film a couple of episodes for the program. I did an interview with the surprisingly charming Howie Morrison Jnr which lead the episode on Aitutaki (episode 26 just screened). The crew had a blast, saying it was one of the best trips they’d ever had.

They hooked up with some local characters including the hilarious Peckham Maoate who took them spear fishing for eel, coconut crabbing and CHICKEN TRAPPING – yes a bizarre Aitutaki sport where you put an onion on the end of a very long pole with a noose attached and then try to snare the sleeping chicken 15 ft up in a tree!! Even more bizarrely on Raro the crew went shooting for Fruit Bats, which Howie actually eats bbq’d !!! Taste’s like pigeon apparently.

There’s been lots to tell and I know many people will have already heard the news. I was delighted to get an early morning text to tell me that I had won the South Pacific General Manager of the Year Award at the HM Awards in Sydney. The HM Awards are the premium awards for hospitality and Accommodation excellence in Australia, NZ and South Pacific.

There were as record 1300 nominations for the 35 awards, which were presented at a dinner for 500 in Sydney, with Ray Martin as host. Sadly I couldn’t be there but one of my colleagues accepted the award for me. Sounds like he was almost as excited as I was, with the table of industry folk he was sitting at offering a huge cheer when my name came up.

It is a delightful to be recognized in this way. My fellow GM in Sydney Marcus Tait suggesting this adds 10 – 15% my future salary – now that’s the money!!

Jen and I got the chance to celebrate in advance when on the night prior pacific resort hosted a wine dinner in conjunction with our always friends from Pernod Ricard to showcase their Jacob’s Creek Reserve wines. Chef James designed an exceptional five course dinner and with matching wines I don’t think Aitutaki had seen anything like this for a while.

The Toa Moana Masters Vaka crew helped the dinner numbers by booking the largest table, which coincided with the departure of the women’s #1 stroke, Tanya back to NZ. As if any excuses was needed this meant much excellent St Hugo’s and Steingarten wines were consumed but the killer stroke was the whiskey with Pernod Riacrd supplying bottles of Chivas Regal, Jamesons and The Glenlivet 12 year old to go with coffee…with the expected result.

It was quite a week as the day after that was Michael’s Birthday. The family took an extra day off to get on the lagoon in a much anticipated cruise with Lawton on the Glass Bottom Boat (funnily enough it’s actually the old one from Goat Island). The weather was great and Lawton gave us a wonderful tour both in and out of the lagoon (a first for the kids). The glass bottom gives a great perspective, snorkeling without getting wet…and lunch was a feast with a wonderfully genuine flavour. Big Thumbs up for Uncle Lawton – highly recommended.

Jenni’s month has been all about the school library, with her new designation as Librarian. Jen’s been imprisoned in the stifling heat of the new school library several hours a day sorting, labeling, counting, censoring (no books with dragons allowed at the Seventh Day Adventist school) and getting to grips with the idiosyncrasies of the Dewey Decimal system. My favourite report has been the Bible filled by Author under ‘G’…for God. But the reports are all positive, with our donated mats coming into good use when some kids ACTUALLY CAME INTO THE LIBRARY OF THEIR OWN ACCORD TO SIT AND READ SOME BOOKS – a breakthrough!!

She’s a star that Jen.

So that’s September – Part 1…with Jamie’s birthday on the horizon September Part 2 will surely feature a cake of some sort…standby til then.