My last email at work:

Hi guys,

Thank you very much for making me feel special this morning! I wasn’t expecting that! Ha ha.

As most of you (hopefully) know – I’m off to a remote island and all those thoughtful things you got me will be very handy! The toolkit, mossie net, scooper, insect repellent, ear plugs – all on my shopping list 😉

A year isn’t a long time but I feel like I’m part of the furniture here at Agency. So thank you for making me feel so comfortable and for taking me under your wing when I didn’t know what I was doing or when the day wasn’t going quite right. And thank you for helping me broaden my horizons and for changing my perspective on working with ‘very experienced people’ (no ageist comment intended. Lol). I am going to miss you guys… honestly!

I’ve learnt a lot from you over this year and feel like I have grown and matured in my time here (again – no ageist comment indeded ;p). It has been great getting to you a lot of you in the lunch room, at the cultural experience dinners (thanks for making the effort!) and simply out and about in the office. The best part of working has been the people 😀

I came to work with a big smile most mornings (afternoons as some of you might say. giggles). I will miss the connections I’ve made with many of you, the smart comments I often got, the advice, the laughter and the genuineness that’s so natural to you all. So I hope I’ll see you again one day while I’m floating around or just incase you decide to visit me in Kiribati! Ha ha

Keep a lookout on my blog for updates on my Kiribati adventure and feel free to add me on LinkedIn or Facebook :D. I’ll be happy to hear from you!

See you at drinkies tonight 🙂

Shifani or Shifty as some of you like to call me ;D








The best way to say goodbye to the South Island would be to drive through the beautiful landscape and take my time getting to Auckland. So that is exactly what I’m doing with a friend who kindly offered to give me company! The plan is to Drive to Marlborough Sounds and stay for a couple of nights in a secluded little holiday home and then ferry across to Welly, stay a night and then take my time travelling through the North Island to get to Auckland. Guess I will not be encountering many hills in Kiribati (giggles) or be driving.


One week till I leave Christchurch, the city I have come to love and embark on a long road trip to Auckland. Today, I walked the Taylors mistake to Goddley heads track with Capt Scarlet (nicknamed by me) and his wife (who has an awesome sense of humor). We ended the walk with a lovely hot chocolate! It was the first track I did when I moved to Christchurch last year and it will be the last. It is rather nice to be able to close off the loop but it feels as though my connection with Christchurch isn’t over! I wonder where I will end up on my return from Kiribati.

I have been asked a few times if I am worried about going… To be honest, it just feels right. It really does feel like it is the right time for this and if not now then when? I wonder if this is what it feels like when you just know. It is an unfamiliar feeling to me but I’m rather liking it 🙂

On that note, I am no longer alone at home with the cat! J and Tasha are back and it is lovely to have them back!


So as part of my fundraising efforts, I’m organising a curry and Bollywood night… Wonder what it’ll be like!


And it turned out to be fantastic! 25 people, Great curry, some dancing and sales of items I collected on my travels along with awesome company! Raised $400 and had an amazing time! I think my hosting skills are getting better by the day. Ha ha ha.

Thought I would share an email by a colleague who attended 🙂

Awesome Night, thanks heaps Shifani for sharing your culture with us.
My kids could talk about nothing else the next day. I think you have 2 new BFFs.
Those of you who didn’t attend missed a wonderful dance performance from Shifani.


I moved out of my flat 4 weeks ago and a dear friend and her partner took me in and let me take over their study room. Very kind of them and perfect timing to my relief as the rents in Christchurch are horrendously high but that’s a whole different story. I’m house sitting while they are enjoying themselves on a lovely holiday in the States. So it’s me and George (the cat) at home these days and we are now friends 🙂 finally!

George and I


I am struggling to wipe the smile off my face!!!

I went to play volleyball with the Kiribati community here in Christchurch who were very nice and welcoming. Made me feel like one of them! After a few hours of play, I said my goodbyes and left. As I was getting to my car, a little boy (i’d say 9/10) came running towards me. I turned around to see him with his arms wide open and he gave me a hug….. Ah… What a feeling!! I’m still smiling 😀


A new chapter in my life is about to begin. I am off to the Kiribati Islands to Volunteer as an Urban Planning Advisor for a year. I thought I would write about my journey when I am there but then realised that my journey has already begun. This anticipation, preparation, anxiety, emotional changes, thoughts, feelings and the generosity of  people is all a part of my journey.

I have less than 8 weeks left before I will be on that little plane on my way to a place known as South Tarawa.

A dear friend of mine tells me that my hair is going to get infested with lice and that I’ll have to shave my beautiful hair!! comforting thoughts. ha ha

I’ve got a running list of things I might need to take with me and it seems to be getting longer by the day…ebooks, movies, research papers, wet wipes, water purification tablet…insect repellent. This process has definitely mademe realise how much we just take for granted.

On a very positive note, I managed to raise  1,475 dollar and my efforts have only just started.

At work, things are interesting. I got to work last week to find this email from my manager which was sent to the entire office:


As you probably know, Shifani will be leaving us at the end of August.  She has been with the NZTA for just over a year and has been invaluable asset in introducing the Planning Team with a non-stressful way of working and organising many culinary cultural experiences.

Shifani will be leaving us to begin volunteering Abroad (VSA) in Kiribati.  For those who are geographically challenged, Kiribati comprises of a group of small atolls in the middle of the pacific ocean about as far away from civilisation as possible.  She will be based on an atoll that is about 1km wide, 28km long and 3m high (at its highest).  The closest place is Fiji – a 4 hour flight.


Clearly Shifani has felt compelled to go to extreme lengths to get away.  However she assures me it’s because of the love of adventure and the next planning challenge.  I even offered to match the salary (a year’s supply of free coconuts and fish) to stay, but was turned down.  I can only think it’s because of my baking!

I wish Shifani the best for the future and good luck – particularly with the accommodation.