Tuesday, December 20, 2011

US Mission New Zealand: Two Years in Pictures

Our wonderful folks at U.S. Mission New Zealand who went through seven earthquakes in 2011, including the Christchurch Earthquake in February, have put together a collection of photographs to remember the life of the mission in the last two years. 

Here is how Ambassador David Huebner explain it in his blog:

As a general matter, I think it’s important to remind folks of the value and meaning of the work they do, and of how skilled they are at doing it. So, I plowed through my files and selected photos from many of the events in which the Embassy and Consulate General have been involved since I arrived, plus a couple of images from elsewhere to provide context. The slide show below contains all 70 photos in our new hallway exhibition:

After we got everything up on the walls, I asked my Embassy colleagues to vote for their favorite of the images on display. The “winner” was the photo below of our colleague Mike leaving Christchurch four days after the February 22nd earthquake.
Photo by Josh Greene February25,2011
via US Embassy New Zealand
In Christchurch for the US-NZ Partnership Forum when the quake struck, Mike and seven other staffers camped on the floor of the US Antarctic Program offices at night and forayed into the ruined city by day to search for injured Americans, provide relief services to American citizens, and facilitate the arrival and deployment of urban search and rescue teams from the United States.

It was difficult, emotional, and highly stressful work … with little sleep, limited water, no amenities or toiletries, more than a few unpleasant surprises, and only the clothes on their backs. Snapped by my colleague Josh with his Blackberry as he and the others finally boarded an evacuation flight after their work was done, the photo of Mike powerfully captures the mood of the week.

The second most "favorited" photo is that of the Emperor penguin colony representatives in Antarctica during their first diplomatic encounter with Ambassador Huebner.

Photo by USAF/MarkDoll | December1,2011
via US Embassy New Zealand
Read his post in full here.

Below are three from the 70-photo collection that I particularly like: 1) Ambassador Huebner with Chelsea, the Kiwi; 2) the two men in suits working on the haka, a traditional ancestral war cry/dance of the Māori people; and 3) the half naked Hawaiian dancers with the four U.S. Marines in full uniform.

Independence Day 2011 Hawaiian performers in Wellington
Photo by Ola Thorsen August 4,2011
US Embassy New Zealand

Kudos to US Mission NZ, particularly Mike C., the digital engagement specialist and Ola T., who snaps the photographs, for  their dedication and active management of the embassy's social channels.  The streams are always current and the photos are appropriately labeled. We can't find an excuse to invent our own captions :-)  I have to add that USNZ has a pretty well organized website, too. The only thing that I'd like to see it improve is if a link to Warden Messages is located right on the main page, instead of four clicks deep. (update @10:10 pm-link on the main page now, wow!)

Check out the mission's online presence below:

US Embassy Website, Wellington US Embassy NZ / Samoa
US Embassy Twitter feed Follow US Embassy NZ / Samoa
US Embassy Twitter feed Follow Me
View my Profile View my Profile
Click to view the US Mission to New Zealand's FlickR Photo Gallery Photos
Connect to the US Embassy Wellington's Facebook Page Connect with Wellington / Apia
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View our Vimeo Page Watch our Videos on Vimeo

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