NZSP Division 2 (Waikato)

Serving the Children of the World®

An account based on the notes used by Miss Judy Ng, when she spoke to the combined Waverley and Whitehorse Kiwanis Clubs on 8 November, 2006.

Judy's Trip Report

2006 Kiwanis Student Exchange - Program Reflection

I'd like to start off by thanking the Waverley Club for nominating me to be a candidate for this year's Student Exchange Program.  The exchange program has brought me so much, however, all this just started off with a written application; and the prospect of going through interviews, travelling to another country and staying with numerous host families, by myself, was and still is to me, very overwhelming.

The first Kiwanis members that I met were my initial interviewers who I'm very appreciative of, Ms. Sue Kimberley and Mr. Charles Don.  They decided to give me the chance to continue through to the next selection process.  I met two other fantastic Kiwanis members who were the last interviewers, Mr. Bruce Entwhistle and Mr. McLenan.  The wait for the result was nerve racking but finally Bruce delivered the opportunity of a lifetime and I'll be forever grateful.  Afterwards Mr. Entwhistle tirelessly organised for my exchange to be as safe and smooth as possible, and that was even to the departure gates at the airport.

Arriving in Auckland I was delightfully greeted by Jim Kyle, President of the Matamata club, two Australian Kiwanis members who were just about to embark on their flight back to Melbourne, and Mrs. Isbister; who I stayed with for 4 nights at her and her husband's dairy farm in Morrinsville.  In total I stayed with 5 amazingly kind and generous families who I'll never forget:  the Ranson family in Matamata, the McIvor family and the Murphy's in Te Awamutu.  For the last 3 nights I stayed in Hamilton with the lovely Brian and Helen Howser.

Each family were somehow able to fit so many activities around their already hectic daily schedules, to ensure that I experienced the most out of each day.  In the first week I saw a cow calve, milked cows, drove a tractor, attended a Kiwanis meeting where I met Josh, the New Zealand exchange student.  I was shown the stunning Coromandel Range by Barry and Pam - members of the Morrinsville club, had a tour of Hobbiton with Katherine Ranson the eldest child of their family.  I experienced the sights and not so pleasant ‘smells' of Hell's Gate in Rotorua, was treated by Jim and Christine to a bungy jump over Lake Taupo, a jet boat ride near Huka Falls, and lunch where I met two members of the Taupo Club.  On the last day in Matamata, I recapped the events of the exchange, so far with the local newspaper.

I couldn't imagine that there was anymore to do but arriving in Te Awamutu I was invited to a lively morning club meeting.  There I met Mr. Guy Probert.  He and his wife were originally to be my hosts but Mr. Probert was bravely battling an illness, however was still actively involved in Kiwanis, which I found commendable.  So for the first day in Te Awamutu, the McIvor family showed me two outstanding Kiwanis projects, which were the walkways in Yarndley's Bush and Lake Ngaroto.  During the next few days, Ed and Layla Murphy took me to Raglan, to the Kiwi House - where I saw my first ever kiwi bird and to the Waitomo Caves with thousands of spectacular glow worms.

In Hamilton I met many friends of Brian and Helen Howser, including Mrs. Maxine Sutton a Kiwanis member and also the mother of a former New Zealand exchange student Debbie Sutton.  She showed us around her workplace 'Micro Aviation'.  We spoke to two pilots and soon pilot Paul generously offered me a fly in his micro light, which was thrilling to say the least.  After hearing about my growing interests in the career of counselling, Brian and Helen organised a tour at a counselling facility called True Colours and at the Patricia Avenue special school.  Those visits really encouraged and inspired me.  Mrs. Howser is a nurse at the Waikato Hospital so she kindly showed me around and there we donated some blankets to the Newborn Nursery ward as part of a Kiwanis project.

So as you can imagine the Kiwanis members put in so much effort into trying to make the exchange trip as fulfilling as possible.  Even though I participated in so many activities, I think the most valuable and enjoyable thing was meeting and speaking to the Kiwanis members and their friends.  Also the person who ensured my well-being whilst in New Zealand was Jim Kyle, who was my assigned counsellor.  He organised so much for my stay over there.  Hearing all the other projects that he has been involved in was just so inspiring.

Well I've just written another one of my ‘novels' so just a one last thank you to the Club and members of Kiwanis.  I know that my friends, my school (Glen Waverley Secondary College), my family and I are extremely appreciative for everything Kiwanis has done for me.  I learnt so much from it including the fantastic work that Kiwanis does, it's just amazing how much you put into the community and the world.  The exchange program was the best thing that had ever happened to me and l would really like to see how I can contribute back into Kiwanis.  Special thanks to those particular people who gave so much of their own time and effort in supporting and helping me, and who gave me a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Thanks again for everything!