by Alanna Mackay, First Secretary at the Australian High Commission in Wellington
Originally posted at blog.dfat.gov.au.
State Visits are usually very formal affairs, with lots of gilt and glitter. Every country has their own traditions, but a State Visit will more often than not involve a formal welcome, a black tie lunch or dinner, a wreath laying at an important memorial, and a series of cultural events. The host country wants to put on a show; the guests are on their best behaviour. Behind the scenes, officials will have worked out every single detail to make sure the visit goes off without a hitch.
After the earthquakes in Kaikoura last week, the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Darwin, Commanding Officer CMDR Phillip Henry and her crew were sent to support the response to the emergency.
As Lieutenant Brett Schulz said, in the Navy you have to “remain rubbery” – flexible and ready for change.
“One minute you might be ironing your whites in preparation for a Fleet Review, the next minute you’re in a sea boat heading ashore to render assistance to an earthquake affected town.”
LSET Vinnie Carrol and LSA Dan Colbert have shared their experiences helping the people of Kaikoura.