Hello Moms and Dads,
I will start with “Delivery Day” and will then send you recaps of our orientation over the next few days.
“Delivery Day”= my dawn-to-dusk crisscrossing of the city with mostly well-dressed nineteen year-olds to introduce them to their internship hosts.
My first stop was the easiest. To get to Avenues—one of Auckland’s premier event planners--Nick walks out his door, turns left, and his office is on the corner. Annika, if she hustles, is there in eight minutes by foot if she is not lured in by one of the many coffeeshops. As such, I greeted them on site to meet Avenues an all-female staff. Avenues organizes events and promotes corporate team building using Auckland’s finest venues. Nick and Annika will use the marketing skills they gained in Sydney to help land new clients, setup and take down events, and position the company on social media platforms.
I picked up Matt and my battle with traffic began. We curled around the Auckland Domain and descended into the upscale community of Parnell. Fresh off 40-hour work weeks at one of Sydney’s leading PR firms, Matt’s next challenge is with Auckland’s premier importer of sporting goods. As well as owning and operating Timberland and Asics’ stores on Queen Street, they serve as the main distributor of sports apparel throughout New Zealand. Matt will help initiate orders, track shipments, assist on social media placements, and contribute to the marketing of the company.
Trading the rat race for green space, I picked up Henry and met Gabe at Kelmarna Community Farm and Garden. Nestled is the definitive term for the location of the garden within the bustling suburb it rests. Surrounded by postmodern condos and busy Victorians, Kelmarna is the last bastion for organic vegetables, banana fronds, and three curiously ill-tempered milk cows. Had they known the property value they were grazing on they might have been more appreciative. Gabe and Henry will lead planting sessions for school groups that visit. In addition, they will turn organic material into compost and fertilize the garden. They will mind herbs. And, Gabe made the unfortunate mistake of telling his supervisor that he has a strong back and likes to use a shovel. So, add ditch digging to his resume.
Emma arrived six days into our Auckland session and was quickly thrown into the mix. We drove to the suburb of New Lynn, a thirty+ minute commute from the downtown. Emma will be working at Ecomatters—a forest and stream non-profit dedicated to conservation issues facing the region. They monitor the PH levels of nearby mountain streams and plant native species to bolster the soil. Emma will help in field restoration and assist on their education campaign which raises the environmental awareness of residents. She is aiming to split time with Ecomatters and Kelmarna which they encourage as they share resources.
Will and Jack have a placement that will impress their friends back home. An easy train ride to the suburb of Mt. Eden, we arrived at New Zealand’s most historic and renowned athletic stadium. As one of the home fields for the All Blacks—the world champion rugby club—and the Black Caps—their equally successful cricket squad, Eden Park Stadium is an awesome backdrop for a sports marketing internship. Working with the Auckland Cricket Club, their duties will be to increase attendance and sponsorship of club matches. Saturdays may see them on the sidelines taking photos and gathering material for blogs about the match. In addition, they will approach local businesses for sponsorship and to increase interest by new players to join one of their many club teams.
Nina and I were in stop-and-go traffic en-route to her work in Victoria Park at Circability—a team building organization that uses circus props to teach kids and adults the essence of cooperation. Led by a former Austrian trapeze artist, the organization has garnered awards for their work in bringing Aucklanders together. Nina will help set up the rooms with props which include some of my old favorites-- unicycles and spinning plates. Participants work on routines-- sometimes over months--that may culminate in a performance to parents and the community. Nina will help that process from start to finish by mentoring young performers and helping the staff behind the scenes.
Spencer is working at the leading tattoo studio in Auckland. He enters the position with an impressive portfolio which caught the eye of the owner. While he won’t be laying ink (OK I made up that phrase as I know nothing about the process) he will be using his drawing skills to create promotional materials and signs that will be placed outside to advertise the shop. In addition, he can create tattoo designs and post them on an artist’s board. If a client chooses his design he will get paid. There will likely be some admin work mixed in with the glamorous stuff. On the way to the internship we discussed how tattoos bridge the sacred and the profane. And I got his take on where art and bad judgment meet. I told him about my research into the use of tattoos by Buddhist monks to channel saksit or spirit power. Spencer talked about how some people he knew who overcame hard times got tattoos as a sign of overcoming their struggle. With some hesitation, I asked if he was going to get “tatted up” while he as there. He said he it would be cool to mark his internship experience with a tattoo; but, he also said he was considering just designing his own tee shirt. I told him I would buy him the best shirt in Auckland if he waited on the tattoo. I have a mother too.
Louis’ internship host preferred to pick him up directly. On Tuesday, he met with their staff and joined them in the field for a tutoring session. He is working with an organization that trains young performers (dancers and singers primarily) for roles in community plays and productions. Louis has an extensive background working with young people and worked with three-to-five-year-old’s in Sydney. Training performers will be a new arrow in his quiver. He extensive experience with school camps should prove valuable in helping to motivate and bring out the best in young people.
Mason is working on a project related to the state parks around Auckland. He is interviewing park managers and resource staff to put together a guide on the history, geography and access to these local gems. He will submit his research to the Auckland Council—a managing partner in many of the parks that publishes a website that includes park information. Mason is currently working on Rangitoto Island. At the museum, he saw an exhibit on what would happen to Auckland if its newest volcanic neighbor blows. He is collecting historical images to compliment his photos and interviews.