when a kabayan attends a kiwi christmas “do”


from left : Matt is the southern North Island sales mgr who tries his darndest best so that our company isn't beat up by the competition all the time, to my left is Lakay, my first and only Pinoy colleague on site, behind us is Dallas, a sometime drummer but full time retail packer for the 1.5kg & 5kg product lines and soon-to-be dad. Maligayang Pasko sa lahat!

BROTHERS IN ARMS. to my right is Matt, the southern North Island sales mgr who tries his darndest best so that our company isn’t beat up by the competition all the time, to my left is Lakay, my first and only Pinoy colleague on site, behind us is Dallas, a sometime drummer but full time retail packer for the 1.5kg & 5kg product lines and soon-to-be dad. Maligayang Pasko sa lahat!

JUST thought you might wanna know how managers here in NZ organize Christmas parties, or as they say in New Zealand, “Christmas do’s.”  My memories of Christmas parties in years past back home in the Philippines aren’t that good anymore, but they were mostly about eating, raffles, dance numbers, more eating, drinking, and car pools going home where you could drink some more.

Owing to the current mentality  popular among New Zealanders to be more healthful in their activities (ball sports, hiking and all around aerobic exercise), and the fact that our site manager wanted to try something different this year, she drew up an “Amazing Race” type contest and divided us into five teams of five members each, partly to get the juices flowing before the bar crawl, and partly to generate some team building among the staff.

Each team was given clues in the form of riddles, given a car to use to search for things and challenges to pass; we had to score ten strikes or spares in a nearby alley, hit a rusty old car in a driving range, and score a complete round in a dart game.  After that, we needed to find the answers to questions about exhibits in the Te Papa museum in town.

It was surprisingly a bit of fun, I was lucky because since I couldn’t hit the back of a barn and was quite hopeless in golf and darts, my teammates were all quite adept in the said sports.  In fact, had our nearest competitor not overtaken us on the motorway after the last challenge, we would’ve won the overall title and Westfield vouchers for each team member.

Alas, it was not to be.  But I got to know my team.  To a man, each of my teammates was competitive and hated to lose, I could tell they were all upset by the close finish; we actually had a case to present for being the winners (the champion team didn’t stick to the spirit of the rules) but we would’ve looked like sore losers.  In the end, everyone was drunk and happy.

There’s no exaggerating about it, New Zealand is even more than the Philippines a drinking culture.  You can do what you want during the party, dance on tables and make a fool out of yourself, no one cares as long as there’s grog around.  We had our fill of alcohol, and though I’m not much of a drinker, like everyone else I got a buzz and looked silly as the drunkest guys.

Hope your Christmas party was as great as mine!

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