Big smiles make job change worth­while

Ruapehu Press - - Your Local News - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

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.’’

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