In May 1996 a delegation of Government of India was on tour of Australia and New Zealand to explore the opportunity for development in the wool sector in India. On the first leg we went to Australia and thereafter we reached New Zealand. On Sunday 26th May 1996 we took flight UA 842 at 10.40 a.m. from Melbourne and arrived in Auckland at 4.00 p.m. John Paton of Wools of New Zealand received us. We stayed at hotel Sheraton Auckland.

On Monday 27th May we drove to Hamilton and visited Whatawhata Research Station. Then we went for sight seeing of Rotorua and Taupo. We drove to Napier and stayed at Tennyson Motor Inn, Napier. The entire journey was captivating.

On Tuesday 28th May we visited New Zealand Wool Testing Authority and saw the testing equipment, testing process, report writing procedure, etc. In the evening we took flight NZ 5041 at 5.20 pm and reached Wellington. We attended  a dinner hosted by Wools of New Zealand. KM Meena, High Commissioner of India to New Zealand, also attended it. We stayed at Wellington Parkroyal hotel, Wellington.

On Wednesday 29th May we visited the New Zealand Government secretariat where the prime minister’s office is also located. We met Mr. Denis Marshall, Minister of Conservation and Associate Minister of Agriculture. This was followed by lunch hosted by the Indian High Commissioner, Meena at his residence. After that we took flight NZ 5043 at 6 p.m.  and arrived in Christchurch. We stayed at Noah’s Hotel, Christchurch.

On Thursday 30th May we visited Wools of New Zealand and held discussion on the wool marketing system along with other activities for development of wool industry. We visited Wool Research Organization of New Zealand also. We then visited Lincoln University and had dinner at Indian Empire restaurant.

On Friday 31st May we took flight AN 601 from Christchurch and reached Dunedin. We drove Hertz Rental and visited Invermay Research Centre, Crossbred farm and drove to Queenstown. We stayed at Gardens Parkroyal, Queenstown. From the hilltop of Queenstown we saw the panoramic scene of the city which was captivating. It was snowfall there. To see from top snow falling on the city was memorable.

On Saturday 1St June we visited Merino sheep farm at Wanaka. On 2nd June we took flight at Queens town in the morning and reached Auckland. The flight from Queens town to Auckland was memorable. We were flying along Mount Blanc. Under morning sun the snow peaked mountain looked like glittering gold. I captured the scene on my handycam.

New Zealand is a unique country. It is virgin beauty country in comparison with Switzerland and other countries famous for lush green landscape, surrounding ocean, snow capped mountains, pollution free air, living in the midst of nature and captivating panoramic scene. To east of it lies the International Date Line. Farther east of New Zealand after crossing Pacific Ocean is located the western coast of USA. There are kiwis who themselves or their ancestors lived in undivided India earlier. It is obvious from road signs bearing names like Bombay Road or Khyber Road, etc.  The Wools of New Zealand is a great brand of quality wool imported in India mostly for weaving carpets.

The people of New Zealand who are called ‘Kiwis’ are simple people, who are not in hurry. They enjoy their life at their own pace. It is demographic name for people from New Zealand which derives from Kiwi, the flightless bird, and is the national symbol of New Zealand.

I met an old couple, the Burneys whom I befriended during my tour of Europe in 1992. They are into real estate business. They also make big frames of stages and set up frames for shooting films in Hollywood in USA. They export by cargo ship these huge frames across Pacific Ocean to Hollywood Los Angeles, etc. They offered to gift me a house if we settle in their city. I declined the offer but thanked them for their thoughtful kind gesture.

On Sunday 2nd June we departed Auckland at 1.40 p.m. by flight TG 992 and arrived at Bangkok.

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