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US ambassador forges new relationship with our town

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
Chamber of Commerce luncheon
US AMBASSADOR William McCormick speaking at yesterday’s Te Awamutu Chamber of Commerce luncheon. 305071AD

By Dean Taylor

US Ambassador William McCormick took to Te Awamutu yesterday, and the people he met soon took to him.

Here at the invitation of Waipa Networks Rose and Cultural Festival co-organiser Roz Liddell, Mr McCormick took the opportunity to indulge in some of his own passions - growing roses, food and business.

The Ambassador is a keen gardener and a successful businessman with a half share in a chain of over 70 seafood restaurants.

‘My home town is Portland Oregon, which is known for its own week-long annual Rose and Cultural Festival,’ he said, ‘so I was glad to hear that the organisers of the Te Awamutu and Portland festivals are interested in forging closer links between the two.’

Rose Trustees
TE AWAMUTU Rose Trustees Paddy Stephens and Peter Self meet with the US Ambassador. 305071BD

Te Awamutu Chamber of Commerce president Chris Smith was rapt with the success of the business luncheon.

“We were delighted to be able to offer local Te Awamutu business the opportunity to meet and hear ‘top tips to success’ from such an eminent international businessman.”

The Ambassador told the audience a key to success in business is studying demographics. He suggested similarities between our two countries, an aging population of basically healthy and wealthy people looking for somewhere to spend their money. Mr McCormick said an example was a company like Nike which made its money from running shoes, then walking shoes, then golfing shoes - almost charting the age and interests of the baby boomers.

In his own industry he says when the baby boomers met their first crisis in the 70s they stopped eating beef and started eating fish. Coincidentally he had sold his chain of steak and salad restaurants (which then went broke) and founded the chain of seafood restaurants.

Touring the Rose Gardens
VISITORS and hosts enjoy a tour of Te Awamutu Rose Gardens. Ambassador McCormick was able to quiz resident gardener John Maxted on the secrets to growing such magnificent roses. 305071CD

The Ambassador also visited Te Awamutu Rose Gardens and Old St John’s Church before lunch, then Te Awamutu businesses and Te Awamutu College catering department before being guest of honour at the opening of the festival.

He said he knew quite a bit about New Zealand before being offered a post here and was pleased to take the position. He says his philosophy is to accept our points of difference, such as our nuclear free policy, and get on with working together on other issues, such as Pacific Island issues, global warming and protecting fisheries where we can do good work for the betterment of the planet.

Note: We hope to have video coverage of this event at TATV some time in November.