I’m just back in the office after my trip to New Zealand for the Task-Based Language Teaching and Language, Education and Diversity conferences in Auckland. I’d never been to the southern hemisphere before let alone New Zealand and was looking forward to escaping the British winter for a few weeks.
I arrived in Auckland to beautiful sunshine and the view from my hotel was pretty amazing. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and is home to 31% of the country’s population. It is a really fascinating place situated between the Hauraki Gulf of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea and surrounded by volcanoes.
Having managed to avoid jetlag completely, I set up our stand at the first conference on Task-Based Language Teaching. The conference was a success and I sold plenty of books and met a lot of friendly people.
Once the first conference was finished it was straight onto the next one. A lot of our authors were at the Language, Education and Diversity conference and it was great to see so many familiar faces. Jan Blommaert, Joseph Lo Bianco and Angel Lin were all keynote speakers and many of our other authors were presenting papers throughout the conference. People were so interested in our books that I managed to sell every single copy I’d brought with me which was great!
We sponsored the welcome reception which took place in the Fale Pasifika at the university. The Fale is a symbol of identity for Pacific Island students and staff. The Fale provides a home for ceremonies, a place for teaching and learning about the Pacific Islands, and is the second largest such structure in the world. We were entertained with traditional Maori music and dancing which was great fun especially when they got the delegates up to dance too.
The conference dinner was across the harbour on the opposite shore. Unfortunately the planned ferry ride over was cancelled due to bad weather but the view was amazing as we were right on the water with a view over towards the city. The food was delicious and included fresh local seafood as well as many other Kiwi delicacies such as pavlova.
Once the conferences were over I was able to have a few days of holiday exploring more of New Zealand and I managed to travel around some of the North Island. New Zealand is such a beautiful place and I would love to go back and travel around the rest of the country. So I’m now keeping an eye out for another New Zealand conference that is absolutely vital for us to attend so I can go back!