Newsletter – New Zealand Chapter – 2006

November 2006

Kia-ora all,

We have just celebrated six years in New Zealand and Darren has now received his citizenship and will be attending a ceremony in the Auckland Town Hall next week when he will have to swear allegiance to the Queen and New Zealand, he will then be eligible to carry a Kiwi passport. He is stoked. Officially all the Wood’s are now “non-South Africans”. Brad is a “Pommie” and the rest of us are “Kiwis” but in our hearts we will always be South Africans.

A lot has happened since our last newsletter as I’m sure a lot has happened with all of you.

Firstly, health wise, I have had a few issues, I found out that I have Coronary Artery Disease and had to have an angiogram to see the extent of the damage to the cardio arteries. Fortunately, the narrowing was between 35% and 45% which does not require stents or bypass surgery; however I have been put on a low fat and low cholesterol diet and have to do cardiovascular exercise every day. This is good as I consider it a warning. Can you believe it I’m actually enjoying the new diet and our 45 minute walks on the beach every day. Irene is being very supportive and is following the diet and walking with me, it is great. Irene’s health has been pretty good except for a problem with blocked sinuses. She is having treatment which hasn’t been all that successful and may have to have surgery to clear the sinuses. Apart from that we are all fine.

Evan just turned eighteen on the 10th November and we had a little party for him. We invited a number of his friends and Darren and Amanda. Everyone seemed to have a really good time. At about 11:30pm we dropped them all in the city where they went clubbing. It was E’s first time clubbing. They are particularly strict with under-age drinking and clubbing here in NZ. Earlier in the day he went into a bottle store and bought his own booze for the party, he was asked for ID and proudly produced his driver’s licence at which the shop assistant wished him Happy Birthday. He is very busy with his final exams and also in the process of enrolling into university. He will be doing a linguistics degree majoring in Chinese (Mandarin). He won’t be giving up music and hopes to play in some orchestra or other next year.

Darren is doing extremely well and is considered one of the top web developers in the country; he is working towards going on his own and is busy setting things into motion. He has been approached to guest lecture at the University of Auckland/AUT on web standards. This would be for the 2007 academic year. Naturally he has accepted. He has also authored a very interesting paper on Web standards which has been published on an American websites. We are very proud of him.

Weather wise we are heading for summer, albeit reluctantly. It has been a long cold winter so needless to say we can’t wait, the summers are so good in NZ, makes a person happy to be alive.

We are very excited, Bradley and his girlfriend, Denise are coming to visit in February 2007 but unfortunately he will not be bringing Ethan, our grandson as Ethan’s mother feels that it is too long a trip for such a young child. Anyway, perhaps the following year. We are hoping that my sister Margie and hubby Joe and our nephew Matt will also be coming over; it will be a great re-union.

This Christmas we have decided to stay in Auckland and will be hosting Christmas lunch for our sons and their respective partners. Both Irene and I will be taking the minimum leave so that we can take a few weeks in February when the family visits. Feb is usually the warmest month in NZ so it will be good to take them to some of our favourite spots around the North Island.

Job wise, we are still working at the same places, Irene at Interface NZ and I am at Pyramid Engineering. We are both quite happy and are treated very well. I am also teaching again, I do 4 hour a week teaching two young Korean boys to speak English. It is a very rewarding job; their English is good so my job is easy. Anyway it all helps in the pocket.

I’m not sure what the political situation is like in SA but there are hundreds of South African families coming into NZ every month. It is beginning to feel like a province of South Africa here. One can buy all the SA foods including Biltong and Boerewors from all local supermarkets. We even have our own South African pub near where we live. One can’t speak Afrikaans when one wants to “skinner” about others; they will more than likely be South Africans and can understand what is being said.