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The Robbins' Christmas Newsletter 2003

Larry & Jane Robbins
42 Knights Road     Rothesay Bay      Auckland 1311    New Zealand
Tel: +64 9 478 4782      Fax: +64 9 478 4785


reetings to you as we move  towards the end of another busy year.    Yes, that is indeed exactly the same way we started last year’s letter, but the sentiment remains true!  Indeed, this year seems even more frenetic than ever and we are well behind the 8-ball!  Time was when a pile of cards sat on the shelf in August awaiting the overseas surface mail posting date and we subsequently received a number of cards saying “we knew it was Christmas when your card arrived  - the first of the season!”   No more!  We are probably now the last to send out our missive ….. and thank you for the cards and newsletters that we have received by post and email. GREAT to hear from you and to catch up with your news.    But now … on with the news of the year!In the Bay of Islands


S we said last year, those for whom we have email addresses will be emailed and invited to go to our website to read this Christmas letter  The savings on postage and cards will again be donated to the Christmas Appeal of a suitable local charity.  If you have received this message in the traditional way, congratulations on holding on to your old values … and avoiding the ‘spam’ and ‘hackers’ and computer viruses which plague the rest of us!  (If you do not know what a ‘hacker’ is and still think spam is funny meat in a can, you are missing nothing but are indeed blesséd!)                         


ane  is still working at the Auckland University of Technology as a programmer on the student administration system.  Larry is about to enter his 5th year as CEO at the NZ National Maritime Museum.


O, on with the news. It has been a year which has been as busy as ever. The year started with all the busy-ness and hoop-la of the Louis Vuitton Cup yacht races followed closely by the America’s Cup races. Larry was quite closely involved as part of the Maritime Museum was rented out for use as the media centre for the two race series and we got invited to a number of very nice parties and functions [there have to be SOME compensations – Ed] At one stage Larry managed to fall out with Cindy Crawford’s security people  [ A long story – Ed] [Jane was with me at the time – sub-Ed] though we got invited to a dinner at which she was principal guest  … so all was not lost!


 group of museum people from Cowes, IoW, stayed in our granny flat over the summer and we had a great time with them!  We enjoyed being tour guides etc when they would let us (they were VERY independent!).  


ad to say, we (NZ) lost the America’s Cup [but we (J&L) enjoyed the boat trips to watch the races on a number of occasions – Ed] and life returned to [what passes for] normal.  Fun while it lasted!  The Museum embarked on a joint project with the Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa – to develop an addition to the Museum buildings to perform two main functions - to display a large America’s Cup boat – NZL 32, Black Magic – with which we won the Cup in 1995 and to be a tribute to the late Sir Peter Blake. The project is moving along slowly though some elements of the media – set their sights against the project and seemed determined to fight the project with half-truths and innuendo. [Poor Larry has had his right-wing faith in the purity of the media somewhat crushed! – Ed][I have always expected newspapers to never get better than 60% of a story correct anyway but did not expect such slant!– Sub-Ed] [Watch this space - Ed]


ersonally, we remain as busy as ever. Larry  continues to act as a marriage celebrant conducting up to 5 weddings in a busy month (summer) but trying to keep the weddings he does down to a manageable level so that each is ‘special’. He is now ‘property manager’ at the church following a reorganisation of the church’s management structure and we both do various small jobs there such as Sound Operator (Jane) and Commissioner of the Keys Police [Guess who that would be – Ed]!  Larry is also running a large number of small websites for people though the server space he rents was ‘hacked’ in December and has taken a large chunk of time to sort out; the ‘clients’ have been very understanding. Oh, this modern life! We both serve on the Board of the International Sailors Society (Auckland) and Larry is on a number of other committees etc. Rotary membership keeps him busy too (his team were finalists in the District Quiz in June) and Jane is now learning to play the electronic piano.Museum 10th Birthday


ur mid-year holiday was delayed a little this year as Jane’s work project was reaching a critical stage. Eventually we headed up to the Cook Islands in September, spending a few days in Rarotonga and then some time in Aitutaki.  It was a  very relaxing holiday though the weather was a limiting factor (large swells) and we didn’t get as much snorkelling as we should have liked. However we managed a number of other activities including the traditional trips around the island on a motor scooter.  The speed limit on the island is 40 km/h and everyone keeps to it but it seemed very fast at times! [It seemed faster from the pillion seat – Ed]  Pictures


t relatively short notice Larry was invited to go to a  museums conference  in the UK in October. Had we known about this earlier we might have changed our personal holiday plans but as it happened, less than a fortnight after returning from the Cooks, he was off to UK, spending a busy 8 days there. Larry managed to catch up with brothers Simon and Glenn and their families but that was about it for personal visiting though an overnight visit to Bryan Mundy who has been a friend for over 45 year [gracious! – Ed] [ Hmmm – sub-Ed] allowed a bit of a catch up en route to the airport. The bulk of the time was spent in Cornwall at the new maritime museum in Falmouth where the conference was held, and a trip to Wales to visit a museum colleague.  The return trip was made via Fremantle in Western Australia where there is another newly opened maritime museum and where another quick visit was paid upon old friends [friends of long-standing – Ed] on the way to the airport. 


he principal purpose of the trip, apart from attending the conference, was to support the NZ National Maritime Museum’s bid to be allowed to host the 2005 Congress of the International Congress of Maritime Museums (ICMM).  The mission was successful and the work on planning/organising the congress really starts next year.  


arry spent a further week away from Auckland in November when he attended a hydrographic conference in Christchurch.  All this absence seems to demonstrate that the museum can run without him [! – Ed] but he was welcomed back for 3 weeks before going on leave again for Christmas!   


ext Year? Probably more of the same.  The ICMM congress in 2004 is in Spain and Larry hopes to go to support the preparations for the 2005 congress so we may do a joint trip. We have ordered a new car which is even now being built. It is a little bit of a departure from the sensible cars we’ve had ‘til now, pandering to the mid-life crisis that Larry seems to think he is owed. [It was either getting a new car or chasing young women – the car seemed better for his health – Ed]  


ith very much love to you, and our sincerest best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. We hope 2004 starts, and then continues, well.                                     


Again, our thanks for the wonderful cards and letters received. Keep them coming!! 
                                                           Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year from both of us!

Cook Islands Holiday snaps

Copyright ©1999-2005 Larry Robbins

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