Last week I was in the capital for three days as part of a university field trip to visit various government agencies, parliamentarians and diplomatic missions in the capital. I took a flight up with some friends a day early to explore the city, take in the sights and enjoy some of the city bustle that has been missing from Christchurch since the earthquake. It was a public holiday however; the deserted streets, and some uncharacteristically good weather, showed Wellington in a very different light to how I had seen it in the past.

The next day, the field trip officially began. Our first stop was the Fijian High Commission. We were addressed by the First Secretary, then the High Commissionner. After some delicious refreshments, we were shuttled off to the Australian High Commission, a beautiful building overlooking the Wellington harbour. The Deputy High Commission and Second Secretary addressed us, followed a Q&A session. In the afternoon, we gathered at parliament, where we were escorted through security and into the education room to be addressed by three party leaders. The first was hon. Metiria Turei of the Green Party, followed by Labour’s hon. David Parker. Our last speaker for the day was hon. Winston Peters. With the formalities over, we headed off for a dinner with some graduates from the University of Canterbury. Later in the evening, we walked around the Wellington waterfront, enjoying the excellent weather before heading to the cinemas to watch Wonder Woman, which turned out to be better than I had anticipated.

Our final day began with a visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the event I had been most looking forward to. We heard from people in various roles and areas of work. The visit stoked my enthusiasm for the ministry and gave me a glimpse of the culture and workplace. We next visited the Ministry of Defence. This was a very interesting session, where I learned a lot about the Ministry’s work with the New Zealand Defence Force and other ministries. In the afternoon we returned to the Parliament. We were first addressed by Prime Ministre Bill English, followed by hon. Gerry Brownlee, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Our very last speaker was hon. Marama Fox of the Maori Party. After a photo session, We promptly headed off to the airport where we had dinner, before catching our flight back home.

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