Land Of The LETS Green Dollar
Copyright � James Taris


Giving my LETS Favours presentation. Shame you can't see the writing on the whiteboard!

19. Saturday, April 12

My LETS Presentation Almost Sabotaged

Today was my big day. I had been allocated the first 3 hours of the day, from 9am to 12 noon, to give my presentation, so it would be the longest performance I'd ever given.

Breakfast was served at 8am, and everyone was given notice to be seated by 8.55am. Then just before the last few people took their seats, the hot water cistern in the kitchen overflowed and squirted across the kitchen floor, only metres from where I stood and in full view of everyone present. Fortunately it wasn't an act of sabotage by any of the delegates, and soon it was taken care of and the mess quickly cleaned up.

So, right on 9am I was introduced, and got straight into my presentation. All 36 delegates were there, and thankfully the entire program went smoothly, as Dave was recording it all on video. Usually my presentation went for one to two hours, so the additional hour enabled me to elaborate on some points and add a few other items I felt would be of interest. This was particularly appreciated by those members who'd seen my presentation during the previous 3 weeks, and so were able to glean some new ideas from it.

Nearing the end of my presentation, a newspaper photographer ventured in and began taking photos. It was my second such experience, so I wasn't daunted as much as I was in Timaru. Immediately after my presentation, a local journalist was introduced to me and we went outside for a quick interview. Unlike most of my other interviews, she took notes in shorthand rather than taping me, so I had no idea what she was writing. I guess I'll have to wait for Dave to send me the newspaper clipping when it finally gets printed.

Two other speakers completed the day's program. A police welfare officer shared some of his 28 years of experience with us, and Lindsay Jukes completed the program with a summary of a LETS System Training Pack.

Our Conference delegates.

Grave Yards, Tuataras, Bluffs Hill And Conference Dinner

There were outside events programmed from 3.30pm onwards, so first of all we went to Winton Cemetery to visit the grave of Minnie Dean, the only woman ever hung in New Zealand. Her crime? She was convicted of murdering at least 4 babies in her foster care, and possibly 6 or 7 others. Her method? A hatpin through the soft baby's skull. Lindsay escorted us to a patch of green grass and confidently claimed that it was the actual resting place of this notorious female criminal. And his source? The grave was personally dug by his grandfather early in the 19th century, and the secret was passed on through the generations.

Next stop was to the Tuatara Exhibition at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery. There was free entry to locals, but seeing we'd arrived just before closing time, and would only be there for about 20 minutes, all non-locals were allowed in for free as well. The main feature was Henry, the 120 year-old living Tuatara which was advertised as being born circa-1880.

The Maritime Museum was shut by the time we got there, so our next call was to Stirling Point which featured a sign post with distances to cities around the world, including; Sydney (2,000 km), Hobart (1,680 km), New York (15,008 km), Wellington (714 km).

Bluff Point gave a brilliant view of the tip of New Zealand.

The lookout on top of Bluffs Hill was our next point of call, and proved very educational. On the pathway up the hill, several information boards gave out interesting historical facts such as: Polynesians were the first humans to come to New Zealand which was only about 1,000 years ago and the giant flightless bird, the Moa, became extinct only about 500 years ago. This surprised me because I always imagined the Maoris' history going back many, many thousands of years and thought the Moa was a pre-historic creature.

As the sun began to set, we all got back into the 2 hire vans we were traveling in, and returned to Bluff Hill which was the venue for our Conference Dinner. Dave and Sharon Robbie did some fund-raising in November last year which raised about NZ$1,000 for this night. So they booked the entire Lands End Restaurant for our Conference Dinner, and we were treated to a tasty smorgasbord followed by sweets and coffee.

Waltzing Matilda Meets Jolly Good Fellow

By 8pm we began making our way back to the vans. I'd spoken to Dave about my preference to return to his home rather than going back for the night, but it was only when we detoured into Dave's street that some of the passengers realized we weren't going straight back to our cabins at the Conference Centre.

"Did you forget something, Dave?" someone asked.

"No. We're just dropping off James tonight, because he's got some work to catch up on, so he won't be coming back to the Conference," Dave explained.

A universal sigh erupted at this unexpected response. Then almost immediately the van burst into song.

"Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me �"

Then after a brief applause at the end of that song, and just as the van turned into Dave's driveway, they began again �

"For he's a jolly good fellow,
For he's a jolly good fellow,
For he's a jolly good fellow,
Which nobody can deny �"

I loved these kiwis. I'd surely miss them.

This article is taken from the ebook,
Land of the LETS Green Dollar

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