Meeting report

30 May 2016

John Hicks

The busy agenda drawn up by TM Helen Peate included our AGM. Fortunately, that was all over in 14 minutes and 20 seconds (thanks, Timer, Peter Hegarty) and Helen congratulated retiring president Stephen East for his efficiency, pronouncing it the best managed AGM she has witnessed in the the 27 years she has been a member of Shoreline. Stephen's report was positive for the future of the club. We are in a financially sound position, and the money spent on rejuvenating the website seems to have drawn in more guests and new members over recent weeks. 

The four guests who attended last night were exposed to a variety of speech styles and presentations.

Terelle Hegarty, who is working towards a PhD, gave an interesting talk about the construction industry since the earthquakes. She highlighted the gender barriers and discrimination her research had revealed in a "man made, man managed and man maintained" industry. While my reptile brain baulked at "constructivist grounded theory", I am sure her more cerebral examiners will be impressed. Toastmasters is a great place to practise delivering professional presentations.

Adrienne Malis, our new president, spoke about her work as a volunteer with the SPCA. This was a well organised and clearly presented speech and Adrienne was very convincing about the "feel good factor' this work brings into her life - in spite of the kennel cleaning and goat urine in the smoko room. 

"What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure." This is part of the address JK Rowling gave to graduating students at Harvard University in 2008 ("The fringe benefits of failure, and the importance of imagination"). I hope I did justice in bringing even a small portion of her moving speech to Toastmasters. The full 20 minutes can be found on U tube.

Ryan Chappell, our TTM, requested participants to talk about some unusual animals. He had downloaded pictures of these weird creatures and they made for some great table topics. David Preston, on first sighting his "Star-nosed Mole" was moved to remark "If I had a nose like that I'd be furious". He passed it around to prove his point. John Timmins (one of our guests) speculated about his Frill-necked Lizard. He thought it looked happy, further venturing ... "Perhaps the one with the frilliest neck gets the girl". Sexual selection in a nutshell! Darwin would have been proud of him. Vita Tasman scored a "Pink Fairy Armadillo". Ignoring the "pink fairy" part, she had enough trouble with "Armadillo" and lost her way to "Amarillo", before eventually settling on "Armadrillo". Considering she thought this was a burrowing animal, I thought her "Armadrillo" quite apt. We finished with guest Doreen who got the one with the big ears and not much hair. "Aye Aye" I hear you say, but Doreen was supremely confident, and managed to say a lot more than that. What an entertaining session!

There's more ... David Clarkson, in addition to his valuable GE, reported on the District Convention held in Rotorua last week. One word seemed to summarise it (and could very well be applied to this whole meeting): "fantastic".