Some time ago, Ziu, my good lady, joined her fellow badminton players of the Lower Hutt Badminton Club, in a tournament trip to Australia, which, by all accounts went very well. So well in fact that a few weeks ago the Australians against whom she played requested her to join them in a tournament, playing for them. They have offered her an expenses-paid trip, which of course she accepted. She flew out yesterday. I would have liked to join her in Brisbane – I have enough leave accumulated – but events conspired. Firstly no passport, as the Fiji Authorities have not yet stamped and returned my NZ one, and the UK one only arrived yesterday. Secondly the ever present issue, of money. I have at last paid off the debt accrued from my precipitate moving of domicile which though ill planned perhaps, at least gave me some security. I had a hopes of accumulating enough for a visit to the family, or after I learned of her invitation, to join June in Oz, but now veterinary fees for poor little Mozart will take care of the little I have saved. Not that it was enough for a trip anyway.
SOPAC is having money problems too. Australia and NZ have withdrawn core funding, and the money for the NZ MoH support program for Pacific Island Countries – the PIC – is finished, without any attempt I believe, to continue or renew. I believe there is a meeting coming up, but will it go ahead? It seems that everyone is frustrated with slow progress. I too feel the frustration, but I appreciate at least, as it seems some do not, that Pacific Time prevails in this part of the world. With all the best intentions, it is not always possible to progress a plan on the sort of schedule with which donors and bean-counters feel comfortable. Stalling tactics such as Bainimarama’s election stance notwithstanding, even when people want to get on with it in the Pacific, there are a thousand little factors to overcome. But I digress. I was writing about badminton.
I introduced Ziu to badminton when we first moved to Auckland, and she very quickly outstripped my abilities, and then I buggered my knees, and could no longer play. I am so proud that she has carried on and become so good.