I remember my first impressions of the New Zealand business world when I arrived from England in 1982, just after the Springbok Tour. As an Auditor I visited many New Zealand companies and experienced firsthand the daily procession to morning tea. Looking back, I do recall some interesting characteristics of this ritual, such as: older staff had been around long enough to know “just about everything” and were treated as mentors; staff morale was high, with a real “team spirit”; Mondays were full of weekend stories; and everybody seemed to know what was going on.

I also remember later, as a Management Consultant, how pleased I was to see this inefficient process disappear in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Some may think that the 80’s have a lot to answer for, others may say that work today has lost a lot of the fun and communication. You may think that, but as Urquhart would say “I can not possibly comment”.

I wish to focus on the issue of the morning tea which, strange as it appeared to me then, seems so sensible now.

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