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113 Years On

August 18th, 2010 by the_lifer

Let’s eavesdrop on some of Wellington’s movers and shakers, gathered in a penthouse flat.

“…generating dollars per hour…”

“…they want me to start this contract in Geneva as soon as possible, the problem is the paperwork that the U.N. requires…”

“…extremely busy, no sign of the recession…”

“…I say, this pinot noir is tasty. Penfold’s? Or one of the newer vinyards?…”

The decibel level is tremendous, a table has become a forest of wine bottles, and most government departments or their allies have a presence here. Meanwhile, one of the luminaries lifts a catalog. “I think I’ll go for the reheatable ones with the orange lids. Can you pass me an order form, Loulou?”

This electric, high-energy powerhouse is also an all-women’s Tupperware party.

Winona is on one of the party’s sofas, next to her friendly co-worker Jennifer. She flicks through the Tupperware catalog, tuned out of the sales presentation. Nevertheless, something vivid in the catalog catches her eye. She likes it. It will endear her to the hostess to get something. It’s not cheap, and she is going to Melbourne soon, but she makes a good salary.

One hundred and thirteen years after suffrage, Wellington’s women can afford the mind-bogglingly expensive Tupperware. Female power has slipped from its dizzy zenith of the Shipley/Clark years. But it remains firmly entrenched in Wellington.

These women carry their power graciously. They swap stories of travel, but modest ones. Junior analysts and administrators mingle with policy directors. Winona chats a bit with the lady next to her. Who knows what agency she might be running? Under Winona’s searching glance, her smile unfolds like a flower that’s just been watered. “Everyone here is so friendly. I used to live somewhere else, but out of towners said it was so hard to make friends there. And now that I’m new in town here, I see what they meant.”

The Tupperware seller overhears and joins them. “People are open in Wellington because everything changes all the time. A new government every three years. People move here from all over the country. Who knows what will happen? We don’t. So we stay in touch with each other, we let each other know what’s happening.” She flourishes a catalog. “Was there anything you liked?”

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