After making seven presentations in Australia, I headed to New Zealand where I made four presentations in four cities, on four successive days. Because my schedule was so packed, I only got a couple of days in Auckland (New Zealand’s most populace city) to visit the sites.
The photo is of the Auckland Sky Tower, the tallest free-standing building in the Southern Hemisphere, even taller than the Eiffel Tower. It was about a 10 minute walk from my hotel, and I had a chance to go up and see all of Auckland in one fell swoop. I also went sailing (Auckland is known as the “City of Sails”), and to go on a dolphin and whale watch, where we saw hundreds of dolphins, but only one whale. If you really want to see whales, visit the Big Island of Hawaii (where I live) between January and March, and you can see hundreds of Humpback whales, even from the shore (no boat required).
My first presentation was in Auckland at the Auckland SQL Server Users Group, which is headed up by Dave Dustin. The group meets at the local Microsoft office and generally meets the third Wednesday of each month.
Next, I flew to the bottom of the North Island, to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, where I spoke at the Wellington SQL Server Users Group. The group is headed up by Adrian Engelbrecht, and it meets the third Thursday of each month at Intergen in downtown Wellington. My hotel was only a few blocks from the New Zealand Parliament, but I didn’t get to see much else. On the other hand, the taxi ride to and from the airport gave me a good view (albeit short) of this very beautiful city, where some houses sit on hilltops so steep that the only way to get some of the houses is by a lift.
My next stop was on the South Island in Christchurch, where snow-capped mountains can be seen in the distance. I spoke at the Christchurch .NET Users Group, which is coordinated by Christopher Fairbairn. The group meets the second Wednesday of each month, generally at the Canterbury Innovation Incubator, although this time it met at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, where a number of the students from the institute attended.
My last stop was at Dunedin, near the bottom of the North Island. The event was hosted by the Dunedin .NET Users Group at the University of Otago. The group usually meets monthly, usually on a Tuesday evening. The group is lead by Nathan Pitcher. Dunedin’s largest industry is the University, which is considered to be one of the best in New Zealand.