New Zealand hospitality

By Ted Mullett
This item appears on page 52 of the April 2017 issue.
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It was 1983 and our first trip to New Zealand. My wife, Carol, and I were wandering around the South Island in a motor home when we noticed a sign for strawberries. We pulled over, walked to a shed and asked about the strawberries.

The owner said it had been too wet that morning, so he hadn’t picked any, but he urged us to take some time to inspect his flower garden.

He and I began talking and discovered we both were Rotarians. We were invited up to the house to visit his wife and have tea and cakes. After a pleasant hour or so, we returned to the motor home, but the wife came running to give us some eggs and a jar of her jam. Typical Kiwi hospitality!

Ten years later we were again traveling around New Zealand in a motor home, this time for three months. We had just bought fruit and vegetables in a town named Cromwell and were driving along when we saw a sign for cherries.

Carol decided she’d like some cherries, so we pulled over and went into a shed. The attendant, an older man, apologized that he hadn’t picked any cherries that day but invited us to visit his flower garden. I looked around and said, “Wait a minute. Are you a Rotarian?” “Yes,” he said, “but why do you ask?”

I explained that we had been there 10 years earlier and that, back then, he had no strawberries. Of course, we were again invited to the house for a visit with his wife. Our host, Ken, then told us that his Rotary club was meeting that night in Roxburgh, 20 miles away. He urged us to attend and we agreed.

In Roxburgh, we found a public park for the motor home and walked toward the fish-and-chips restaurant where the Rotary was meeting. As we approached, Ken ran to meet us shouting, “Have you heard the news?” and saying to me, “You’re the speaker tonight.”

We had a most enjoyable evening with the members of the Rotary Club of Roxburgh. I spoke, and Carol got a large basket of cherries.

The next morning, we were having breakfast in the motor home when a van parked next to us. A man wearing a chef’s outfit and a white hat got out. It was Jimmy, a baker and a Rotarian, and he was delivering bread, cakes and his famous meat pies. He had been baking all night.

Years later, the Rotary district governor for New Zealand’s South Island visited our Rotary club in Vero Beach. I told him our Roxburgh story and he took our picture. A few months later I got a letter from Jimmy. He said he had seen our picture and he invited us to return to Roxburgh.

In 2005 we were back in Roxburgh, this time hosted by Jimmy and his fellow Rotarians. (Ken had since died.)

Is it any wonder that tiny Roxburgh (pop. 600) is our favorite town in our favorite country!?

TED MULLETT

Vero Beach, FL

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

It was 1983 and our first trip to New Zealand. My wife, Carol, and I were wandering around the South Island in a motor home when we noticed a sign for strawberries. We pulled over, walked to a shed and asked about the strawberries.

The owner said it had been too wet that morning, so he hadn’t picked any, but he urged us to take some time to inspect his flower garden.

He and I began talking and discovered we both were Rotarians. We were invited up to the house to visit his wife and have tea and cakes. After a pleasant hour or so, we returned to the motor home, but the wife came running to give us some eggs and a jar of her jam. Typical Kiwi hospitality!

Ten years later we were again traveling around New Zealand in a motor home, this time for three months. We had just bought fruit and vegetables in a town named Cromwell and were driving along when we saw a sign for cherries.

Carol decided she’d like some cherries, so we pulled over and went into a shed. The attendant, an older man, apologized that he hadn’t picked any cherries that day but invited us to visit his flower garden. I looked around and said, “Wait a minute. Are you a Rotarian?” “Yes,” he said, “but why do you ask?”

I explained that we had been there 10 years earlier and that, back then, he had no strawberries. Of course, we were again invited to the house for a visit with his wife. Our host, Ken, then told us that his Rotary club was meeting that night in Roxburgh, 20 miles away. He urged us to attend and we agreed.

In Roxburgh, we found a public park for the motor home and walked toward the fish-and-chips restaurant where the Rotary was meeting. As we approached, Ken ran to meet us shouting, “Have you heard the news?” and saying to me, “You’re the speaker tonight.”

We had a most enjoyable evening with the members of the Rotary Club of Roxburgh. I spoke, and Carol got a large basket of cherries.

The next morning, we were having breakfast in the motor home when a van parked next to us. A man wearing a chef’s outfit and a white hat got out. It was Jimmy, a baker and a Rotarian, and he was delivering bread, cakes and his famous meat pies. He had been baking all night.

Years later, the Rotary district governor for New Zealand’s South Island visited our Rotary club in Vero Beach. I told him our Roxburgh story and he took our picture. A few months later I got a letter from Jimmy. He said he had seen our picture and he invited us to return to Roxburgh.

In 2005 we were back in Roxburgh, this time hosted by Jimmy and his fellow Rotarians. (Ken had since died.)

Is it any wonder that tiny Roxburgh (pop. 600) is our favorite town in our favorite country!?

TED MULLETT

Vero Beach, FL