The Wild Waikato Wander
11 October 2022
The purpose of the weekend is to interact with staff in a relaxed setting, push yourself to do something you might otherwise not try, discuss where the company is heading over the next 12 months and have a lot of fun in the process.
It was an early 6:30am departure from Star headquarters on our bus trip to Waitomo. Nothing like being in a cold, wet dark cave on a Saturday morning to bond with your team mates and that’s what we were heading into at The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. I must admit to being a bit apprehensive about this activity in the week beforehand, but by the time I had donned the thick wetsuit, gumboots and helmet I was ready to take the hand of my fellow workers and head underground.
What an experience! To prepare us for the cave we headed down to the local river, took our black tubes and jumped in backwards. That got us cold and wet, the next thing to do was head underground. In the middle of dense bush there is a hole in a rock with a river running into it and that’s where we headed, the Ruakuri Cave. For the next hour or so we climbed rocks, walked and floated down underground rivers, jumped off small waterfalls and saw the best glow worm show around. It was a whole lot of fun and not remotely scary. It wasn’t even that cold, but the hot shower at the end was welcome.
Late afternoon we checked into the Novotel Hamilton and everyone got into costume for our 1950’s themed evening. We headed out to the Classics Museum in Hamilton for a personal tour by owner Tom Andrews. An impressive display of over 100 classics and an extensive collection of petrol memorabilia - enamel signs, pumps, tins, and oil bottles all beautifully presented.
A presentation from our CEO Nick Baker followed, detailing our Star achievements over the past year and goals for the next 12 months and beyond. Dinner and dancing at the Jukebox diner kept us going until midnight.
Sunday morning after a hearty breakfast it was back on the bus to the Hobbiton Movie Set. We took an interesting guided tour across the Shire (it was bigger than I imagined) learning how the movies were made and where many of the famous scenes were shot. We enjoyed a drink and lunch at the Green Dragon Inn before our trip back to Auckland, completing our middle earth and Waikato adventure!
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