New Zealand Newsletter November, 2018

INTRODUCING KARL FLEET: – From being the most awarded advertising creative in Australasia, to professional wrestling heavyweight champion of New Zealand, to completing a Master’s in Creative Writing, to writing the first three books in his new series, The Truth Files.

Karl is ‘the body-slamming adman-turned-author’ and has been fascinated by story and the act of storytelling since childhood.

 Born in NaeNae, Wellington, he moved to Auckland in his teenage years, where he later attended college and discovered advertising as a career option. Intrigued by the creative process, he completed a bachelor’s degree in business marketing, with a major in advertising.

During his advertising career, Karl tapped into his love of storytelling and quickly discovered success. In his first year within the industry, Karl won an opportunity to represent New Zealand at Cannes in the Young Lion’s competition. In his second year, he won a rare and highly coveted Gold Pencil award at the One Show. The publication, Campaign Brief,soon named Karl their “Number One Australasian Advertising Creative” for his accomplishment of winning the largest number of international advertising awards between the period of 2008-2009. 

While writing ads, Karl also dabbled in writing scripts for short films. One of them, “Signs,” found a special place in people’s hearts and has been viewed over 10 million times on YouTube. 

Karl’s love for storytelling even led him down the most unlikely of paths: professional wrestling. As his alter ego, Curt Chaos, he defied the odds and became the New Zealand Heavyweight Champion. He held this prestigious belt for one year and thirteen days—the third longest title run in New Zealand’s history.

Karl then had a crazy idea to write about an ultimate “negative protagonist,” Justin Truth. As the negative protagonist genre is one of the hardest to write, Karl went back to university and earned a master’s in creative writing to help build Justin Truth’s world. Karl spent the next three years writing, crafting, and editing Corporate Truth, Criminal Truth, and Fractured Truth. 

Everything Karl’s learned from advertising, wrestling, and earning his master’s degree comes together as a creative and unique form of written prose that he calls “binge reading.” 

For the past 5 months, Karl has been backpacking across America, putting the finishing touches on the books, building a website and collecting stories. He is currently in New York where he will work and live for the next 7 months, while getting the word out about the Truth Files and searching for an agent to help build the series into a true international best seller and original television series.

 The books are now done and published on Amazon.

And on his website people can download the first book in the series for free. 

Karl can be contacted at


ARMISTICE DAY:is commemorated every year on November 11th to mark to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. The armistice initially expired after a period of 36 days. A formal peace agreement was only reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.[

More than 18,000 New Zealanders lost their lives in World War 1. Many of us lost grandads and uncles in that war and now the NZ Herald has an interactive graphic where you can find out more about them. Tap on any of the soldier’s figures to see their name, rank, unit, how they died, and how many other NZ troops were killed that day.

And then there is the New Zealand War Memorial Museum in Le Quesnoy, France. The liberation of Le Quesnoy – A cornerstone of New Zealand’s great WW1 achievements and what the brave soldiers achieved on November 4th 1918. More details here –

And finally, the St. Georges Society is having a Remembrance Day Observance that will be held in NYC on Sunday Nov. 11th from 10.45am – 12.15pm at the Queen Elizabeth 2nd Garden, 11 Hanover Square NY NY 10005.





All 3 games will be televised *LIVE* in NYC at the Pig n Whistle on 36th street (between 7th and 8th, close to 7th)
All Blacks vs England game will be televised *LIVE* this Saturday Nov. 10th at 10am EST.
All Blacks vs Ireland game will be televised *LIVE* Nov. 17th at 2pm EST
All Blacks vs Italy game will be televised *LIVE* Nov 24th at 9am EST

NOTE: The All Blacks vs England will have a cover charge/entry fee of $20. There is no cover charge for the Ireland and Italy games.


INTRODUCING MIRIAM LAUGESEN: – Dr. Miriam Laugesen, a Wellingtonian and former NYC’er newly relocated to Westport, CT (she still works in the city) and is keen to connect with other Connecticuters and New Yorkers. Miriam is a professor of health policy and management at Columbia University and she has one son, Benji (aged 15).  Miriam grew up in Wellington, but was born in India as her parents were medical missionaries for the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand.  Miriam graduated from Victoria University in 1992, with an BA (Hons.) degree in politics. She came to the US on a Fulbright scholarship, first at Washington University, after which she studied at Harvard University. Miriam has lived in the US for 20 years on both the east and west coasts.    

 The Finer Points of “Citizen by Descent”

Here’s a bit of information about Miriam said other kiwis might find helpful. Miriam was told she could not pass on her citizenship to her son– as said, she was born abroad.  It’s very possible that her parents could have upgraded her citizenship to “full” citizenship upon moving back to NZ when she was a child, but like most people probably thought “New Zealander by descent” was perfectly adequate. Being a good intrepid kiwi, she researched NZ immigration law, and discovered a specific policy applying to people whose parents left but returned. She learned that she could remedy this by filing an application and petition the government in New Zealand to be “granted” New Zealand citizenship.  One day, her NZ “citizenship” certificate arrived in the mail—thus allowing her to pass it on.

Her email is



After studying and working in the fashion and textiles/ design world in New Zealand, Georgette has recently moved to NYC to take the next step in her career.

With the focus of expanding her skills and knowledge within the fashion and design industry, she is looking for full or part time work which harnesses her experience and skill as a stylist, editor’s/ executive assistant or in Public Relations and Marketing. Georgette prides herself on being organised, and having the ability to listen and communicate on a professional level, especially in creative environments.

With a strong family background in fashion and textiles, Georgette pursued her passion and focus by studying Fashion, Design and Photography at Diocesan School for Girls in Auckland. After completing her final year whilst harnessing her leadership skills as House prefect, Georgette decided that fashion design was the field she wanted to devote herself to, and subsequently moved to Wellington to Study a Bachelor of Design Majoring in Fashion at Massey University, which she completed with Honours in 2016.

Maintaining her pursuit of a career in Fashion, Georgette worked as the editors assistant at Together Journal Magazine in Auckland where she quickly discovered her passion for styling and subsequently moved into freelance styling for the magazine, whilst also helping create fashion forward editorials for other companies.

Earlier this year Georgette was invited to Showcase her Graduate Fashion Collection at Vancouver Fashion Week. Her collection was widely praised, with outstanding feedback received.

Georgette emigrated to NYC in June this year on a J1 visa, choosing the Lower East Side to settle in. In her short time here, Georgette has already worked on many photoshoots for significant publications such as Town And Country Magazine J.Crew and Rebecca Taylor. She has also been involved in notable events such as this years MTV Video Music Awards, assisting with styling of Award-winning pop artist, Rita Ora.

A visual portfolio of Georgette’s work can be found on her website at




New Zealanders Griff Maclaurin and Steve Yates were part of the International Column of anti-fascist volunteers which marched into Madrid, bolstering the city’s defences against the assault of General Francisco Franco’s rebel armies.

The Spanish Civil War began in July 1936 with a pro-fascist military uprising against the democratically elected Spanish government. Within a few months these Nationalist forces stood poised to take the capital and assume control of most of Spain. The Republican government’s elected representatives had fled the capital for Valencia a few days earlier, with most foreign journalists joining the exodus. One journalist who stayed in Madrid was a young New Zealander, Geoffrey Cox, of the News Chronicle. Cox was on hand to give an eyewitness account of the International Column’s arrival, an event which provided a huge morale boost to the Madrileños struggling to defend their city.

The International Column of November 1936 was made up of anti-fascist volunteers from all over Europe. It was the forerunner of the International Brigades, which brought volunteers from around the world to defend the Spanish Republic. The column was organised by the Communist Party but included a range of volunteers of diverse left-wing persuasions. Among the first column that marched into Madrid was a small unit of ‘English’ machine-gunners which included two Kiwis: Steve Yates, a London electrician reputed to have been born in New Zealand, and Griffith Campbell Maclaurin, a Cambridge graduate originally from Auckland.

The International Column and their Spanish comrades halted the Nationalist assault, but suffered heavy casualties. Griff Maclaurin and Steve Yates were killed in battle within two days of arriving in Madrid. They were the first of the thousands of New Zealanders who would die over the next nine years fighting fascism. Contrary to the expectations of both Franco and the world’s press, Madrid held out under continual bombing and artillery bombardment for another 28 months. The city fell in March 1939 as the war came to an end.

At least 20 New Zealanders served as soldiers in the International Brigades or as medical staff for the Republican forces. Six of these volunteers were killed. Three New Zealanders are known to have served with the Nationalist forces. While for most New Zealanders the Spanish Civil War was a faraway side issue, a number of groups within New Zealand were strongly involved in fundraising activities. The Spanish Medical Aid Committee, the Communist Party, and a number of trade unions raised money to send three nurses directly from New Zealand to Spain. Renee Shadbolt, Isobel Dodds and Millicent Sharples were supported by New Zealand fundraisers throughout their service in Spain.



A big ‘thank you’ to the 70+ Otago University Alumni who attended our 2018 NYC Alumni event and enjoyed the entertainment provided by the one-and-only Mark Simmons – product of Southland, Top Chef Season 4 contestant, and owner of Brooklyn restaurant Kiwiana

Start planning what you will do to celebrate Otago University’s 150th anniversary in 2019 – lots of options described by Vice Chancellor Harlene Haynes in her most informative presentation.

For local NY/NJ area connections and activities, contact

Keep informed by visiting our website at keep connected by signing up at the Otago University Alumni & Friends homepage

Author: GBA

Retired New Zealand/American/British citizen living in New York City.

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