(My Mission To Find A Job In New Zealand & Get A Work Visa)
I have some news! I had an appointment over a week ago with a Maori contact of mine, Tamahou Temara, from Toi Maori, the national Maori Arts Organistation. I’ve had a professional, long distance relationship with him since I interviewed him for my Mana Maori article that I got published in 2009 and met him at a few Maori events in New Zealand and in Holland. He’s the Operations Manager for Toi Maori here in Wellington and knows how much I would love to work for the organisation. Toi Maori is a charitable trust that represents ten national artform committees covering Maori visual, performing and literary arts. They showcase and promote contemporary Maori arts, including music, both within New Zealand and internationally.
Without divulging too much information at the moment, they asked me if I would be interested in working on a new project with them, which would involve a collaboration of Celtic music and contemporary Maori music. I said I would definitely be interested as I have a passion for both Celtic music and the Maori culture. They said I could start with them as an intern (for free) a few days a week, until I get my work visa. I’m excited about it all and have already put a lot of work into doing research for them over the last week and a half. There is so much that I can learn from this project and it’s something I will love ‘getting my teeth stuck into’. It will also be a big challenge but I’ve pulled off some major things in the past and I know I can do it this time too. With the help from some of my family members and contacts I have, a lot of hard work and professional relationship building, (which I’m very good at) I know I can do this.
A lot will depend on whether I get the work visa or not. I will need to have that by 6th December because that’s when my tourist visa runs out. I know it can be really tough trying to get a work visa here but all I can do is provide all the necessary information and hope for the best. I might need to enlist the help of an agent and I know a good one that I can trust. So fingers crossed!
On another note, I have been volunteering at the SPCA since 16th September. I had one day of training and for the last two weeks have been volunteering on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I’m working in the vetcare team, which involves working in the hospital area, the quarantine and isolation areas.The quarantine area has mostly cats and kittens in at the moment although there have also been some rabbits and birds in there too. The hospital treats ill and injured animals amongst other things.
We start at 8am and work till 12 noon. Most of the work involves cleaning out the cats cages, feeding and moving ill or injured animals, cleaning the litter trays, stocking up on bedding, food, supplies etc. In the quarantine area a lot of the animals stay for a period of ten days and if they’re healthy after this period of time, then they go up to the cat/dog/puppy run to be adopted. It’s interesting to see the background stories of the cats and dogs. Some were just found on the street, abandoned or surrendered. Some were in very bad states and others just needing minor hospital treatment.
One stray cat that I saw in there was totally blind and had several pretty serious health issues. Another one in quarantine was pregnant and had a litter of six kittens while I was there. That was lovely to see. There is a cat in the catrun called Charlie Girl who has been there for over a hundred days, which is pretty unusual. This particular cat had a knock on the head in a car incident before it arrived at the SPCA, so it’s not “all there”. She can be temperamental and territorial but a lot of cats are like that. Her colouring is beautiful, with a mixture of black and marmalade-coloured fur and it’s a shame that she hasn’t been adopted yet. But the carers there think that the reason behind this is because she’s a little bit dopey.
One day last week I was trying to take a kitten out, to clean its cage. The cage was up high and I had to climb a small stepladder to get to it. I was able to get hold of the kitten but as soon as I got her out of the cage she started squirming ferociously to be let loose. With her claws out, it was a real struggle to try and keep hold of her. In the midst of it all she bit me on the thumb and I had to let her go. This small, slippery little kitten called Tortuga ran under one of the cages and I called one of the vetnurses to try and catch her.
When I took off the glove I had on, there were two bite marks that were bleeding quite badly. I was told to put antiseptic on it straight away and a plaster. They told me to keep a careful eye on it because bites from cats can be very nasty and can get infected very easily. Everybody that I’ve spoken to in there that have been bitten by cats, told me that they had to go to the hospital. Their wounds swelled up like a balloon and needed antibiotics. Cat’s teeth can be very dirty. I was lucky though and it didn’t get infected. I was told to get a tetanus injection before I came to work at the SPCA and I was glad that I did. That pin-prick in the butt that I got in Amsterdam for the tetanus booster was sore but it was worth it. Tortuga’s colouring is distinctive with a combination of grey, orange and white fur and even though she looked timid, she was just scared. She had just been brought in a few days beforehand and needed time to adjust. Since she’s bitten me, she has become a lot more sociable and affectionate. Maybe my Irish blood had some effect on her!