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Thursday June 22, 2017


Checkout operators rock Political satire, out at special event song and dance By Julia Czerwonatis

Checkout operators from the Wellington region proved they could rock at last week’s Checker of the Year event with the theme “rock star” at the St James Theatre. Sixteen New World and PAK’nSAVE teams took to the tills on stage to compete for the chance to be named Checker of Year in Foodstuffs’ annual competition. Foodstuffs CEO Chris Quin said the event was about celebrating those people who made a lasting impression on their customers. “We are so proud of you guys.” Chris said people learnt a lot about human interaction as a checker operator. He traced the Checker of the Year event back to its beginning in 1948. “That was when our tills weren’t computers, and the checkers were adding the item prices in their heads,” Chris said. With five tills on stage checker operators from different teams competed in several heats. They were judged by a team of eight senior Foodstuffs staff on their speed, presentation, customer service and accuracy as they scanned 30 items as quickly as possible, while also staying friendly and composed.

It was Carol Poduje’s second Checker of the Year event. “I was a little nervy up on stage but it’s just so much fun. “It’s something very positive for the supermarkets,” Carol said. A good checker operator had to be able to communicate well, Carol explained. “You have to make the customer feel welcome.” Team New World Miramar had high hopes for this year’s competition. India Flood said her team had prepared for the event with a lot practising. “The team is really pushing it. I haven’t been to the competition before but I’ve heard the tales at work,” India said. “This is so much fun.” She explained that being a checker operator was quite an intuitive job. “You just stay calm and friendly, even if something goes wrong,” India said. Her colleague Ashleigh Quayle came third in the competition. Wellington checker champion was Vanessa Cone from PAK’nSAVE Kapiti. Ashleigh and the other regional winners will be mystery shopped in the coming months to determine the Checker of the Year.

Pinky Agnew in 2014’s Destination Beehive. PHOTO: Stephen A’Court By Emma McAuliffe

Ashleigh Quayle from the New World Miramar crew took third place at the Wellington Checker of Year heat. PHOTO: Supplied

SPCAs to join forces to create one body SPCA delegates from around New Zealand, including Wellington SPCA in Newtown, voted to move to one national entity at the weekend. This decision, made at the RNZSPCA annual general meeting would lead to the creation of one SPCA in New Zealand to bring together the SPCAs around the country into one future-focused national entity. Wellington SPCA chief executive Steve Glassey said this decision would lead to the creation of One SPCA in New Zealand, with centres across the country working together to help prevent cruelty to animals. “The decision to move to a unified SPCA was made after two years of discussions and consultation,” he said. “Ultimately the Wellington SPCA and other SPCA centres knew that the previous national structure was not sustainable or fit-for-purpose.” Steve said working as a team with other centres in New Zealand more could be done to prevent cruelty to animals. “As one SPCA we can achieve more for

our country’s most vulnerable animals than we could with each centre working independently. “The focus of Wellington SPCA won’t change: we want to help animals in need and support our community. “As one organisation we will be able to access centralised funding opportunities and benefit from economies of scale – enabling all centres to have the resources to do more for the animals.” Steve said although Wellington had been “fine” it was “heart-breaking” to see other centres not so well off. “By virtue of post code, some animals have been unable to be helped and it is the right thing for the animals to move to one and take down these boundaries”. “Having been a former SPCA Inspector back in the 1990s, it was nonsensical even back then that were not a single national organisation.” Later this year, members of Wellington SPCA will be invited to a meeting to confirm their support to transition their Society into the new national organisation.

Election season is looming and with it comes political satire. Pinky Agnew and Lorae Parry will be bringing their successful and satirical Destination Beehive: 2017 to Circa Theatre next month to poke fun at the New Zealand elections with a bit of song and dance. The pair has previously brought politics to the stage with Destination Beehive in 2014 and The Candidate in 2005. Pinky, a Lyall Bay resident, said Destination Beehive: 2017 was a musical set in a television studio and would centre around a fictional electorate called Tinakori Heights. “We meet the candidates, who are fictional but from real political parties,” she said. “We also meet real life politicians, both domestic and imported. “You can expect to see everything from Labour to The Opportunities Party, we like the new parties, to Green, National and New Zealand First.” Pinky said she believed political satire continued to be an important part of elections in 2017. “I have a strong belief that political satire is part of a robust society, wherever you see creation crushed you see democracy dead.

“There’s very little political satire on television except for the six o’clock news. “You’ve got Bill English, and Andrew Little and the most interesting thing about them is their deputies. “I think for us when you look overseas our political satire is relatively staid so our challenge is to make it interesting and carry people along for an hour fifteen,” she said. Pinky said she hoped the show would be able to remain current and add things in as the season continued. “We are in the early months of an election campaign and things can change, we like adding topical humour. “That’s the great thing about live theatre.” Pinky said the show was expected to sell out and she would be glad to see politicians in the audience. “I think in New Zealand people like politicians who can laugh at themselves, that’s why we have so many embarrassing photos of John Key eating a hot dog and Bill English with pineapple on pizza,” she said.  Destination Beehive: 2017 will be running from July 8 to August 5. Performance Times are 7.30pm from Tuesday to Saturday and 4.30pm on Sunday. Tickets are $30 to $52. To book call (04) 801 7992 or visit


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Cook Strait News 22-06-17  

Cook Strait News 22-06-17

Cook Strait News 22-06-17  

Cook Strait News 22-06-17