Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 - Moving forward?

Well, a new year is upon us. Mayans? Nah!

Things that have happened since the last post (not in any particular order):

  • 23rd December 2011 a Magnitude 6 earthquake occurred in the Christchurch area, initiating a swarm of quakes offshore, prompting tsunami concerns and the GNS to report the aftershocks could go on for decades. Being only 3km from the epicentre, our house received further damage, as well as thousands more. The quake was extremely violent and knocked my wife off her feet even though she was bracing herself in a doorway. Scary stuff.
  • Red Zones have been announced around Canterbury, in which property owners have been offered 2007 Rateable Value prices for their properties by CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority), a New Zealand Government Department established due to the quakes with Roger Sutton as CEO. Our own property was declared blue/green zone, which means we could rebuild, but with a stronger foundation and after a geotech report on our property's viability in future earthquakes has been compiled by a geologist. Mainzeal, our insurance companies' main contractor is apparently 'waiting for the earthquakes to stop', before commencing rebuilding.
Quake destroyed house - New Brighton

  • I have given two presentations on my experiences during my Academic Study Leave (ASL), one to a joint CPIT/Canterbury Electrical Association, and one to the Canterbury Electrical Association's AGM. 

  • Professor Watson also introduced me to Professor Venayagamoorthy from The Missouri University of Science and Technology, who is a worldwide leading authority on 'Smart power networks'. I gave both Professors a tour of our Sullivan Ave campus. CPIT and I have given both Professors authority to use my ASL photos in their very valuable work. In December, Professor Watson gave me a tour of the Canterbury University Electrical Engineering department, which was fantastic!
Professor Venayagamoorthy and me at the CPIT Tradefit site

  • I applied to have my ASL work classed as research at CPIT under the title 'Learning Cable Jointing and Line Mechanic work during the Canterbury earthquakes', asking the question; "What are the educational benefits of collecting and analyzing multimedia evidence of workplace skills to inform the development of new courses?". As part of this I have submitted an abstract with a view to presenting at the New Zealand Vocational Education and Training (VET) Research Forum in Wellington in April.

  • I attended the 2011 ESITO annual Lines Competition and Awards dinner at Mystery Creek in Hamilton with my Manager, Stephen Price. 
ESITO Lines Comp Lineys going hard

Me at Geonet

Geonet reception wall - flash gear!

The famous Sara from Geonet!

  • I completed the Diploma in Tertiary Learning and Teaching 604 course 'Applied Learning Project', based on my ASL experience and written conclusions. Thanks Selena!

  • My wife and I attended a Connetics 'thank you dinner' at the RNZAF Air Force Museum in Christchurch we were generously invited to. It was a fantastic night dining amongst the fantastic aircraft in superb company for a superb company!
A4K Skyhawk at the RNZAF Museum, Christchurch.

  • I gained promotion from 'Academic Staff Member' to 'Senior Academic Staff Member' at CPIT although one of my colleagues, who I thought would get promoted ahead of myself did not, which I was very confused and disappointed about. 

So a lot of water has passed under the bridge. Poor Christchurch (and Canterbury) have been nailed again by yet another major earthquake with yet more damage, but thanks to power network reinforcing, there were few outages. The Rawhiti Substation, which replaced the sunken New Brighton substation is open now. The power reliability has been good. Not perfect, but good, which is good(?) considering the current environment.

Rawhiti Substation (now complete)

CPIT for the rest of 2011 was 'flat stick'. Due to contractual negotiations being difficult, one of the CPIT unions engaged random strike action, which made life difficult, as all staff and students were stressed (as well as the rest of Canterbury) and emotion was high. 

I have so far received no 'green light' to start development of Cable Jointing or Line Mechanic courses, however, I have been doing work on this in my own time. CPIT are in the process of employing two more staff into our department, which will hopefully help to ease the load. Unfortunately no Cable Jointers or Line Mechanics have applied for these jobs, as they seem reluctant to apply for jobs in the academic profession, as they have also done for the last 6 years, which is a shame.

In 2012 I am continuing to teach CTC (Canterbury Tertiary College) and 'Youth Guarantees' students. My Manager tells me it will be an unbelievably busy year. We have our normal courses, CTC, Youth Guarantees, and also special Maori and Pacific Island electrical students to teach this year.  
My Manager also instructed me to take all my leave now, as time off during the year will not be allowed, so I'm having a big holiday now, but with no more until December 2012, which is a shame, as my wife Emma can't take any as leave her work is so busy at the moment. 

I hope everybody who reads this has a prosperous 2012, and fingers crossed for Canterbury that the quakes stop and the rebuild hopefully begins soon. It has to sometime!

Finally, here's a tribute video to the Christchurch power workers I made:

Cheers, Andrew 

Christmas decorated chemical toilet disposal container in Dallington.  YES people are still using them!