Sunday - February 4 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Arrived in Queenstown, after a long flight. I had met some other Seagate folk on that flight, which helped to make the layovers pass much quicker. From the airport, we were bused to the Rydges Lakeland Resort. Seagate had booked the whole hotel for this event. Upon checking in to my room, I was pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous view of Lake Wakatipu from my window and the goodies waiting for me on the bed.
|Rydges Lakeland Resort||View from Hotel Room||Eco Seagate Goodies|
Eco Seagate Supplies
I spent some time looking through the supplies and the Welcome Packet which had the schedule, then took a shower to freshen up. After that, it was time to head downstairs to the lobby to meet up with my team mates. It was certainly chaotic with 225 people milling around attempting to find their teams. Our color-coded Eco Seagate / "Security" badges helped a little with this. It was nice to finally meet my team mates Dave (Longmont, CO), Haider (Fremont, CA), Steve (Scotts Valley, CA) and Virat (Teparuk, Thailand).
We were then bused from the hotel to the Kiwi Birdlife Park. There we were given our first task as a team. A quiz! The answers to the quiz were to be found within the Bird Park. We initially took our own sweet time slowly reading each sign and plaque and taking pictures of the birds we saw. Then we learnt, that we didn't have much time left and started hoofing it. Being "efficient", we also started bartering answers with other teams. Teamwork on the very first day! I really liked the Bird Park and wished we could have had more time to enjoy it instead of running around trying to get the answers before our time ran out.
After handing in our quiz, we were ready for dinner at the Skyline Gondala Restaurant. The gondola ride was great fun and the view from the top was magnificent. We were then served hors d'oeuvres and drinks and given some time to mingle prior to dinner. At the dinner table, we were greeted with yet another quiz. This time, the questions were about the book (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team - hmm, is this a clue about things to come?) we had been provided with a few weeks earlier.
|Gondola Ride||View from Skyline Restaurant||Dinner time|
During dinner we were treated to a Kiwi Haka (Maori Performance). This was followed by the "feathering" of our chief Bill Watkins. No, it's not a "tar and feather" ceremony but that of him donning a feather cloak. He then gave a pep talk about what Eco Seagate is all about and impressed on us that the goal is not just about winning the race but more about us working together as a team. Granted he did go on about how proud he was to beat a one-legged woman in a race he had participated in.
Next, we were introduced to our torturers, I mean the organizers / trainers who had planned the course and would be teaching us the necessary skills required for the race. You can read up about their qualifications here. Suffice to say, we were in good hands.
Finally, the mystery of the significance of the bird park quiz and color-coded badges was solved when we were introduced to our tribes, tribe leader and given color-coded caps. We were divided into 5 tribes named after New Zealand birds: Kea, Pateke, Ruru, Tui and Weka (my tribe). Red was my tribe's colours and we appropriately had a red-head for our tribe leader. The amazing Meag! Otherwise known as Big Red / Feisty Red / Super Red. We were also taught to imitate the bird sound of our respective tribes. We made up in volume and enthusiasm what we lacked in accuracy. There was some good-natured ribbing of tribe Pateke for being nothing more than a glorified duck and the other tribes would chant "Quack! Quack! Quack!" whenever they were mentioned. Their tribe colour was yellow, which probably didn't help matters.
|Kiwi Haka||Cloak of Feathers||Team Green Power|
By then it was about 10 at night and I was eager to be in bed. In the confused mass exodus, my team left the restaurant minus one member, choosing to walk back to the hotel instead of waiting for a bus. We made a pact then to try and keep better tabs of each other and to meet up tomorrow at the lobby. When we got back to the hotel, we saw that a poster had been set up with the schedule of activity for the week by tribe. It was going to be Mountain Bike Training for Weka tomorrow. My most feared activity.
Sunday Monday - February 5 Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
I woke up at 5:15 in the morning to get myself ready for the day's activities starting with the "Optional" Morning Exercise. I had heard from previous Eco Seagate participants that it would be wise to go to all "Optional" activities, as the coveted Eco Seagate Tokens would be given out at that time. They were currency to be used on Race Day to perhaps buy a shorter route or a better map or something. We were not told beforehand, but we knew they were valuable.
Like the day before, my team had a hard time finding each other in the crowded lobby. One of the organizers suggested we try meeting at a more specific location other than just the lobby, which has generally proven to be quite chaotic. We then moved on to the lakefront across the street from our hotel, led by our tribe den mother. We then staked our patch of grass, with our towels (we were briefed the night before) and proceeded with our morning exercises with instruction from Lincoln (Stretchy Guy). At one point he had us on our backs, with our legs in the air, spread apart and were told to yell out, "Good morning, Queenstown!".
We trooped back to the hotel afterwards for breakfast, collecting our tokens on our way in. Breakfast was a buffet-style spread. I'm guessing we weren't going to go hungry for the duration of our stay.
|Stretchy Guy||Morning Exercises|
The next item on the agenda was the General Session in the Ben Lomond Room in the hotel. If memory serves me right, we had to have all our team members together before being allowed into the conference room. We were seated by tribe and team, and the first thing we noticed were all these drums by each seat. My curiosity was piqued. When everybody had filed into the room, a guy on stage backed up by his buddies, proceeded to lead us in hand claps and drumming rhythms without a single word using only hand gestures. He eventually had us divided into subgroups with each subgroup clapping/drumming a different pattern. It was a fun activity and was meant to demonstrate how we could effectively communicate despite not using words.
It was now Bill Watkin's turn to speak on stage. He spoke about Trust.
After Bill, we were introduced to Dr. Robert K. Cooper. He gave a presentation on "Leading in a Changing World - Reaching the Next Level and Beyond".
We had lunch at noon. After which we boarded the buses for our afternoon activity training. Teams were only allowed to board the bus when all of their team members were together. For this first day, the first two Weka teams were awarded an Eco Token. On the bus, our Den Mother, Meag informed us that we needed to come up with a Weka tribe chant. This is what we came up with:
Weka Tribe Chant
Everywhere we go,
People want to know,
Who we are,
So we tell them,
We are the Weka,
Wild, wild, Weka.
Go, go, gooooo Red! (4x)
Teh-nah koh-toh na mah-noo tee-oar-ray-oar-ray
Hi-ray my, Hi-ray my, Hi-ray my
Teh-nah koh-toh, teh-nah koh-tah, teh-nah koh-toh
Teh-nah ay fee-oo-ahh
Koh teh-nai ahh
Ay car-rung ah nai
Teh-nah koh-toh, teh-nah koh-toh, teh-nah koh-toh, ka-toh-ahh
Moh-ah-na keh-teh eh-nah-ngu-roo-nai
Oh, oh, o-way hah
Rah-ngah-tee-rah moh-ah-nah keh-teh
Roe-poo kah-hah oh teh ow roh-roh hee koh
Kah too teh ee hee, kah too teh mah-nah, kah too teh weh-hee
Nah teh kah-hah ra-wa
Hey aw-weh hey
To be continued... (Last updated 05/21/2007)
Sunday Monday Tuesday - February 6 Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday - February 7 Thursday Friday Saturday
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday - February 8 Friday Saturday
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday - February 9 Saturday
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday - February 10