|Kiwanis Club of Hamilton Morea Convention Report|
Monday 16th September 1996: 12.30pm
Six intrepid travellers were spotted loitering outside Gilmour's warehouse on Te Rapa Straight. (5 Hamilton Members and the Lt Governor). 1.00pm Six anxious travellers were frantically looking for Guy Probert's cell phone number, to find out where he and the Te Awamutu bus was. 1.30pm The bus arrived and we were on our way to Tahiti... Upon checking in at Auckland Airport, we were each presented with a blue cabin bag, compliments of Cherry Island Travel (thank you Dave) and after going through customs formalities we ended up in the Duty Free stores. It is fair to say that all Kiwanis clubs travelling that day were seen in the Duty Free, more especially around the Liqour shelves...enough said.
Our boarding call was on time and emplaning on our Qantas 767 was uneventful. After enjoying a pleasant dinner on route to Papeete we were shocked to discover that Qantas had run out of 'le vin rouge'. The howls of derision and perhaps withdrawal symptoms echoed throughout the aircraft but all passengers appeared to survive this minor setback and eventually we landed at Faa'a airport at 11.30pm the day before i.e. Sunday.
As we deplaned, each passenger was presented with a fragrant tropical flower - to be worn behind the ear - don't ask which one. We walked into the terminal to the pleasant sound of Tahitian music being performed by a quartet of locals and joined the queue for Customs. This is when our first minor disaster occurred. One of the Hamilton members (He has requested anonymity) placed his carry bag on the floor a little bit harder than usual and broke one of the duty free bottles... holding back the tears, the said plastic bag and it's leaking aromatic contents were unceremoniously placed discretely in a nearby potplant.
Leaving the Customs hall we were again welcomed with a floral tribute, this time the local Kiwanis club presented us each with a 'lei' and we were entertained by Tahitian dancers as, once again, we stood in a queue for the Club Med desk. After receiving our room numbers and leaving our baggage in the care of Club Med staff we boarded buses for the short trip down to the wharf to catch our ferry to Moorea. The time was 1.00am Monday morning and the ferry was not scheduled to leave until 5.00am as the Captain needed daylight to navigate the channel to Club Med. ( A few hours later we all were in complete agreement). After standing on the wharf for what seemed like hours, actually only one, we were given the OK to board the ferry, and we were treated to snacks of fresh tropical fruit, strong hot coffee and croissants straight out of the oven - all delicious. Casting of from the wharf at 5.00am our suspicions should have been alerted when those of us sitting outside on the sharp end of the ferry (the bow) were ushered inside. It was too dangerous to sit outside!. There was a reasonably heavy swell outside the harbour and it tested the sea legs of all the passengers... there were a large number of foil lined bags put to their intended use, not by any Hamilton members I am proud to say.
We entered the lagoon at Moorea about an hour later and immediately understood the need for daylight to navigate the channel, it was very narrow and very shallow! As we neared the Club Med jetty, we were able to see familiar bodies (I use that word in the nicest possible way) on the shore. They were of course, the select few who had to fly out two days early (at no extra cost) because our aircraft was overbooked. We were greeted by our District Governor, District Governor Elect, District Secretary etc as well as the GO's from Club Med. About this time, most of us were thinking that sleep was a good idea, so, after a brief orientation by the 'chief de la village' we were shown our rooms and some of us slept!
As I am sworn to secrecy on the activities we engaged in whilst at Club Med I can say that the duty free acquisitions were consumed with zest and vigour, we learned a French game played with small silver balls and lots of 'interclubbing' was undertaken.
The convention itself was held in the mornings of the next three days, and we were privileged to hear addresses from the International President Elect Walter G Sellers and the Incoming District Governor of the Carolinas District of Kiwanis Tom Dimmock. Probably the most contentious issue debated at Convention was the amendment to the District By Laws increasing the District Dues by $4.00 per member (this on top of proposed increases in international dues of $USD 9.00 per member). It is fair to say that this proposed increase did not meet with universal acceptance and after healthy debate the increase was adopted. None of the Hamilton delegates supported the increase.
The remainder of the time was filled with sightseeing, swimming, eating and more eating etc and before we knew it, it was time to leave Club Med. Again we were travelling back to Tahiti on the ferry except that the heavy swell from the last trip was even heavier. Not only were those foil lined bags put to good use but a number of passengers had an uncontrollable urge to feed the fish over the side of the boat. We left Moorea at the more sociable hour of 10.30am and arrived at the Papeete wharf just before lunchtime. We had seven hours in which to do our own thing in Papeete before all meeting up at Faa'a airport for a light meal put on by the local clubs at 7.00pm. After the meal, it was back into the waiting game as we waited for our check in call, expected about 11.30pm. As we watched the TV screen showing the departure times our flight was delayed and then postponed (engine trouble in Auckland). The PA system asked for people to volunteer for an extra night in Tahiti (on Qantas) and I was amazed that no one was hurt in the rush. Over 80 people had the pleasure of an extra night but the Hamilton delegation were fortunate enough to get the last 5 seats on an Air New Zealand flight leaving at 1.30am. Our 5 hour flight home was very quiet with most people sleeping and we touched down in Auckland at 5.30am. After leaving customs we boarded the Te Awamutu bus and were delivered to Hamilton by 8.30 that morning. Thanks Te Awamutu for organising the transport.
I would recommend that all members should try to attend a convention at some time. You meet a lot of other Kiwanians, learn heaps and have a good time.
Rumour has it that one of the Hamilton members was so impressed with her first Convention that she has booked to go to the ASPAC convention in New Caledonia in April, 1997.
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