Friday, September 10, 2010

Nice to meet you, Mr. Prime Minister!

Well this is a small country! We've been here seven weeks and today I got to meet the Prime Minister, John Key. I thought that was really cool. He came to Churchill Park School, where the kids go of course, and they asked if I would take photos of the big event. He's a friend and former schoolmate of one of the moms here that I've gotten to know a bit, as her boy and Trey are friends. Did some reading about him beforehand and he sounded like a pretty personable and funny guy, and he was. He was so kind to stay and talk to kids and take photos with them and then had tea afterward with the teachers and staff. Tea, by the way, does not necessarily mean tea. It means snack time. I mean, you can have tea then if you want to; no one will stop you.

Here is what just boggled my mind: he arrived with two secret service guys (I think they call them security) and his secretary. I did see a local police officer off in the distance a bit while he was talking. That was it. No motorcade of 14 bulletproof Suburbans, no guns, no checking of my large black bag that was obviously filled with something (camera equipment, but only you and I knew that!). 

The kids and staff and parents were just so excited to see him in person. It was a bit strange to watch the kids escort him down the big hill and past the cow pasture, but that's what happened.

Can you imagine if the president came to your kids' school or your workplace in the States? It would be nothing like this, I am sure of that. I was talking with the secret service agent guy at tea and said, "So this big black bag didn't make you nervous at all, because I had second thoughts about reaching into it to get a different lens. You weren't thinking of shooting me, right?" And he laughed and said, "Oh my, if things got to that, we'd be in a lot of trouble, wouldn't we?" Indeed you would be, secret service guy.

1 comment:

  1. So do we invite more arms and violence by showing (having security) arms in protection of elected officials? Think of the people who have been shot in office...I'm not much of a historian so I can only think of the major ones...Lincoln, JFK, Robert Kennedy, Martin L. King Jr., (not an elected official, i know!), Reagan (I know he didn't die, but he was shot!), Rabin ( Israeli Prime Minister and a sweetheart of a man).

    Or should we invite peace by not having security so obvious like in NZ, just plain clothes snipers. Not that they had those, but perhaps we could? Just a thought.