Big smiles make job change worthwhile
Every time Maria Mckenzie, the new operations manager for Forgotten World Adventure, sees the smile on peoples’ faces after stepping off the rail carts, it reminds her of her father.
It is an experience Mckenzie relates well to after she and her father were able to tick it off the bucket list two years ago.
‘‘I had the most profound day and then to be working here two years later and knowing and feeling what customers do has made it real for me.
‘‘I was literally pumped when I got back and we couldn’t sleep and now we’ve joined the raving fans club.’’
Mckenzie is an experienced social worker but is now the person behind the scenes of Forgotten World, making sure the day to day operations are running smoothly so visitors can walk away with great memories.
‘‘Even though it’s not social work, the nuts and bolts are the same.
‘‘It’s about people and relationships, it’s about systems and processes and that’s all me.’’
Mckenzie said she still does clinical professional supervision as a private practitioner on her days off.
She is still full of passion for social work but her new job allows her to use her skill set in a new way.
‘‘You’re dealing with emotions and feelings and people so it just dovetails beautifully and my other passion is the outdoors.’’
Working in a whanau oriented environment is a bonus and Mckenzie wants to keep fostering that work ethic.
Goals include creating robust work systems and processess and making sure the team is having fun.
Her drive and passion is so big her boss Ian Balme has had to send her home to get some rest.
It is common for the team to work 12-hour days during the peak season.
‘‘I just love rocking up to work and when I love a job I give one hundred percent and that’s just me.’’
The other benefit for Mckenzie is she gets to see first hand the impact her team have on people.
‘‘When you’re doing statutory social work, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t and some days you don’t know if your making a difference.
‘‘You come out here and you see so many people beaming.’’