|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
33rd World Vegetarian Congress
Today at last I have handed in my research proposal, and so I've got some spare time to reply to messages, introduce myself to the list and generally recover from a stressful few months.
I am Pam, President of the Wellington branch of the New Zealand Vegetarian Society, and my partner Peter and I will both be attending the congress. In fact, the thought of relaxing in Chiang Mai has been keeping me going through long hours seated at the computer.
And yes, we do regard this as a holiday, albeit with an educational component !
I've been vegetarian for about 16 years, Peter has been vegetarian for about 10, although he had a vegetarian mother, so he's had a vegetarian awareness for his whole life. I am a full time tutor of library and information studies, and as mentioned above, I'm also currently studying for a Masters qualification. All that, combined with presidential duties, means that I'm quite busy - usually bouncing from one deadline to the next.
Here in New Zealand vegetarianism is fairly low key. The only survey ever done (in 1989) found that about 2% of the population could be vegetarian - about 70 000 out of a population of 3.5 million. Nationwide there are about 18 or so totally vegetarian restaurants, and we are compiling a nationwide listing of vegetarian friendly places - our website will host the national list, but it's not there yet - should be coming shortly (it's currently Wellington region only). http://vegsoc.wellington.net.nz
There's also a page just for vegetarian travellers to NZ at: http://vegsoc.wellington.net.nz/WEBTRAVL.HTM (All contributions gratefully received - it's hard for a NZer to think of all the things visitors will need to know).
In NZ there's a bigger group of people who are choosing to cut down their meat consumption (I guess this is happening internationally too) - upsetting the meat industry more than just a little. Semi- vegetarians are regarded as much more of a threat than vegetarians. Those really interested can read a very cynical Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries study at: http://www.maf.govt.nz/MAFnet/publications/9716/9716.htm
If you are still reading down this far and live in Britain - you can do me a big favour. I was travelling in Scotland last year, and I met and fell in love with a vegan toothpaste called Kingfisher Fennel Natural Toothpaste (with fluoride). Made by Kingfisher (Norwich NR4 6DG). If you have access to this through your local health food store, can you buy me a couple of tubes ? I will very happily reimburse anyone who comes to Chiang Mai bearing this toothpaste. As I recall it was something like 2 pounds 50p for a 125ml pack. We can get vegetarian toothpastes in NZ, but I really like this flavour, so if you can help me out I'd be very grateful.
Will there be any brochures, posters, t-shirts etc at the Congress ? We can order things from UK and the US, but it's nice to see things before making an order. I see this as an opportunity to stock up.
Well, that's about it from me - I look forward to meeting you all in January.
PS We are happy to meet up with the woman from Ireland also flying on the Jan 1st Qantas flight from Melbourne (leaves Melbourne 18:45, arrives Bangkok 23:40). We hope we can make contact - anyone else travelling on that flight please email me if you'd like to meet up.
President extraordinaire ... !