Meeting report

16 May 2016

John Hicks


Toastmaster Carolyn Skerret's word of the day was resilience and she entertained us throughout the evening with different perspectives on the theme of resilience. 

Vita Tasman gave us a wonderful "Icebreaker" which could not have been a better match for the word of the day. She took us from the place of her birth in Kiev (in the USSR in those days), to the Crimea, to life as a teacher in St Petersburg and her involvement in theatre productions. A failed marriage ensued, followed by the birth of her daughter. Vita then told us about internet dating, love, and the persistent New Zealander who captured her soul and eventually persuaded her to come to New Zealand and marry him.

Ryan Chappell chose "Technology: Where are we heading?" as the subject for his speech. Where indeed? He gave a good oversight of the limitless and alarming changes to come: from virtual reality to gene manipulation for gluttony (don't ask!) and the effect the increasing use of robots will have on jobs. At the end of the meeting Ryan generously let us individually attempt to flatten the battery of his Galaxy S7 with its VR Goggle attachment. A massive dinosaur nearly trod on my toe, but my hero, David Attenborough was only a few feet away to my right. He seemed fascinated and unfazed, as usual; so I could only wonder ...  

There was an additional talk from a visiting author, Owen Clough (formerly of Avon Toastmasters). He is writing a trilogy set in 1863 during the New Zealand Wars. I was pleased to note that David Preston, in his careful evaluation of Owen's speech, tactfully pointed out that the "Urewas" he kept referring to were, in fact, the Ureweras - a valuable tip for the writer if he is to have any success in promoting his books to other groups. Missing syllables were but part of the problem. Owen will also need to rein in his recalcitrant cell phone. 

Lateral thinker, Bob Gordon, delivered a characteristically thoughtful and thorough GE, after which some of us attended a committee meeting and the rest of us romped with Ryan's gigantic sauropod over a cup of tea. 

Thanks for the experience Ryan, and thanks to those on the committee who work behind the scenes to make it all possible.