I’ve been back in New Zealand this past week speaking at an event called Going Global. It’s been great to spend time in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with some really lovely people, talk about music online, see a bunch of bands and, where possible, catch up with some friends.
A bit of a whirlwind tour, unfortunately, but I have managed to do some of the things on my must-do list – including spending some time (and money) at Conch Records, seeing a bit of each city (and, in the case of Christchurch, some of the incredible scenery of the surrounding areas), and doing some of the radio and press interviews, I said I’d do while I’m here.
I absolutely, positively loved Wellington – and it more than lived up to its windy reputation (in fact, we were lucky to get out, as they closed the airport not long after we left due to extreme weather), and going to Auckland felt like coming home – even more than I thought it would. Christchurch has been bittersweet of course. It’s lovely, but it’s heartbreaking to see so much devastation.
I don’t know Christchurch nearly as well as I’d like to – and now I feel like there’s a large part of it I’ve missed out on and will never get a chance to experience. But the overwhelming feeling here seems to be one of optimism and normality. Absolutely loved the shopping mall made of shipping containers, and hope that stays around as a landmark and a testament to the people here. Inspiring stuff.
As to the conference content – I’ve been going on about my usual stuff.
It’s been really interesting to hear people – particularly my fellow delegates from Australia and the USA talk about their perception of New Zealand music, strategies that people here on the bottom of the world can apply to what they do – and to challenge the perception of isolationism that some New Zealanders have. It may be 3 hours from the nearest country down at the bottom of the world, but it’s still part of a global (and globalised) music economy – and there’s as much challenge and opportunity here as anywhere… it just has a bit of a local twist to it.
I’ve made some good contacts and some great friends here, and I’ve managed to spend a little bit of time with a few of the people I already know and love. Looking forward to a couple of days at home with Mum and Dad and the rest of the NZ family before heading back to Birmingham… when the real work will kick in as the new semester starts.
Not long enough, of course – but I’ll be back in February. Already looking forward to it.