Adventures in Samoa in its first years of independence, negotiating economic relations with Australia, stumbling through a Drambuie party at Lake Vanda in Antarctica, meeting in the White House with an American president in the Muldoon era, exploring global food aid from Rome, marketing New Zealand to world tourist industry leaders, commissioning gateway sculptures for Wellington (including Zephyrometer on the front cover), and persuading industries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions just touch the surface of Neil Plimmer’s diverse experiences.
In between the anecdotes there are reflections on New Zealand’s foreign, tourism and other public policies, and on a lifetime of engagement with the arts — including a 40-year search to track down the complete works of a Dutch artist.
Neil Plimmer’s memoir traces life in Palmerston North and his university years in Wellington in the 1940s and ’50s; twenty years of diplomatic postings in Apia, Washington DC, Rome and Canberra; 11 years as CEO of New Zealand’s tourism agency; and an assortment of other challenges in government service, including risk management and the threat of Y2K. He has been president of the New Zealand Book Council, chair of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, chair of the Wellington Sculpture Trust and has served on several other boards and trusts including the Arts Foundation of New Zealand. He was awarded an MNZM in 2013 for his services to the arts.