Since kiwiblog: won’t even mention how she was alseep in her room when they awarded her the prize 🙂 I thought I’d give my side of the story:
Travelling for more than 36 hours is not the best preparation for a conference.
Our journey back from Europe started on a train from Verona on Thursday morning and finished with a flight which arrived in Christchurch at 9am on Saturday, half an hour ahead of schedule.
That gave us time to get a taxi to the hotel, shower, change clothes and sneak into the back of the National Party’s annual conference just a few minutes after it opened at 10am.
By lunchtime the travel and time difference were catching up on us. We wanted to listen to Bill English, the first speaker for the afternoon, but when that speech finished my farmer retired for a siesta and I followed a few minutes later.
In the normal course of events no-one would have noticed but shortly after I left party president Judy Kirk announced the presentation of the Sir George Chapman Cup for service to the party.
Sir George, a former party president, walked on to the stage while Judy outlined the recipient’s contribution to National in such a way that the identity of winner wasn’t obvious until very near the end of what she was saying.
Because we’d arrived late we’d been at the back of the hall, not with the with rest of the electorate. When the friends I’d been sitting with realised the winner was going to me, one sneaked up to let my MP, Jacqui Dean, know I wasn’t there. She accepted the cup on my behalf and in doing so explained why I needed a siesta .
On Sunday morning, Judy started proceedings by announcing that since I was now awake, Sir George would do the presentation again. Which he did with great charm.
I’ve listened in admiration in past years as the contributions of the winners were read out, never thinking that one day the cup might go to me and I am still somewhat overawed that it has.
Recognition of service and commitment in this way usually comes when someone retires. Doing it while the recipient is still actively involved is a very clever ploy because now I’ll have to ensure I justify the honour that’s been bestowed on me.