Cla-Val Course in CHCH

One of lucky two guys was I, selected as an attendee for a course offered by Cla-Val company based in ChristChurch. One thing that can be a curse was going with Andy the grumpy smurf.

Early Monday morning at 5:20 AM, waiting for the shuttle bus which I pre-booked a week before to get to the airport, but the shuttle company sent me a taxi instead of one of their vans. I already paid $30 to the shuttle but the taxi meter swelled up to $49.80 when I got to the Rotorua airport.  Well this can be back-charged to the shuttle driver straight from the taxi driver, not my problem.

Robert-Harris cafe is the only  option at the airport if you need to fill up some carbo and caffeine combo.


I intended to carry along my bag but it weighed over 7Kg, off goes to check-in.  With a boarding pass, hop on an Air New Zealand  48 seater twin-engined turbo-prop Bombardier Q300.

9A was the seat number, and I thought it must be a front seat well before the wings, ah only third seat from the rear end.

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At Wellington, I got on a Airbus 320 craft, a French-made luxury for a domestic carrier.


The Palliser Bay backing up at far, this airbus glides gently over eastern coast of the south island.

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5 mins prior to landing, the craft dives down slowly over the marsh land near CHCH.


Probably man-made lagoon, I suppose, down there?


Didn’t feel the southern razor-sharp cold yet. Waiting for the car rental company’s crew to pick us up to their depot. There were about eight rental booths at the airport but “Rent a Dent” was out of airport , and we have to ring them to arrange a pickup.


Control tower at ChCh airport.


Checked in the motel only to find that accommodation standard in ChCh remains quite low. Everything at motel looked classical and this motel room was the best ever in terms of good ventilation even at night, making a heater unit look really useless.  Sleepless in CHCH.

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I rearranged things in the room to give myself a feeling of homey welcome and warmth like below.


After lingering  20 minutes around city, finally settled down in a food court outside of CPIT, a Japanese Obento set for me, and a curry stuff for Andy. Look at this hearty meal for $14. I got chicken, pork, rice, veges and a fried egg. What more would you want?

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Cla-Val, a American manufacturer of automatic control valves, headquartered in California, has a Asia-Pacific distribution/education center here in CHCH servicing Australia, Asia, and the Pacific islands.

This company has offered us a free training and I’m here to become a certified PRV(pressure reducing valve) service/repair person.

A flow rig with all sorts of PRVs attached to it.


A pilot for a pressure sustaining valve, that tells the main valve what to do.


The moving part of the inside of the main valve and a diaphragm.


A complete set of PRV with a pilot system.


A pilot for a Pressure Reducing Valve.

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Example of an electronic controlling system


Another setup with a turbine that generates 6V DC for the pilot system.

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An open cut model of a PRV.

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The education room also functions as a smoko.


I took some more pictures of the distribution and storage and assembly line, but decided not to load them in this blog as this can be confidential for Cla-Val ,and I know Americans love taking people to the court.

Glynn(southerner) and Craig(northerner) of the Cla-Val  who run the course were a bunch of pansies, full of knowledge and experience, a backbone of this company.

I became fully confident testing/servicing a Cla-Val valve after one and half day practical course, thanks to awesome instructors.

Out at night to the Westfield shopping mall to hunt down with some good meals, and Andy ended up buying a warm jacket.

“Poppy Thai” was my choice for a take-away dinner. I bought a Rice with Chicken/Cashew, a well proven Thai food that has been proven by lots of tourist for the real taste of South East Asian flavour.


A Quick look-around the CBD area to the sites that might have been with high rise buildings before the quake.

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One word that describes the present CHCH best will be “DEMOLITION”. Scaffolding, metal supports, rebuiling works are everywhere at the pace of their own, and to the state that a tourist might think ” Can this city actually go back to where it was?”

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Whatever goes on here, things should happen regardless of what these guys have on hands.


If you just look on this tram and don’t turn your head around, you will still get the feeling of the past with cobbles, and rails.


But if you turn your head around,,,well gone are the Cathedrals and the remains are a bit of glory of the past and a sigh.

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The green light is on but there is no traffic to enter in.

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A angry bull standing on a piano. I interpreted this as “I will drink to that without music to the ears”

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No gelato today? Bugger.


I wished if I were standing other side of the wall…


A tram penetrating the central Cathedral Junction.



Now the Re:start project: Shops relocated in a makeshift containers until the city would be fully reconstructed.

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This coffee place called “A mouse called Bean” seems to be alright with the hippy-looking barrister, and their phrase saying ” 3 shots are standard”. I couldn’t even finish  3 sips from a cup.

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On the night of the second day after all the course was finished, Cla-Val fed us dinner at “The Twisted Hop”, a marvelous bistro, craft beer bar that also cooks some decent meals as well. Considering Tuesday night, it was almost full house and Andy couldn’t believe we don’t have a bar like this in Rotorua.


Holy beer. These special in-house brews all waiting to be gulped. Golding bitter sounds nice and it was my starter.

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On the main, I chose “Pork ribs” only to find a perfect shiny braise on the bone and very generous amount of meat. Too nice for me to take a picture of the dish.

Beer after beers, we drank three bottles of different red wines and were the last drunk ducks creeping out of the bar. Pheew, how many years back when I was drunk last time? Probably 15 years ago. Andy and I walked back to the motel without making any trouble, yep apart from Andy shouting at a couple of girls on the way, with his eerie voice.



Got up next morning, badly craving a good caffeine concoction, I followed my gut feeling and ordered my driver “Private Andy” to stop at the “Caffeine Lavalatory”

My god, this coffee is great, deep with its distinctive aroma and well-balanced cream/brown ratio. I just regretted having a small cup.


Watching girls’ back by the window is a bonus to increase our libido, digestion speed, and the reason to live another day that Andy might think of.


This was what “Private Andy” got. Cheesy stuff with a cheesy expectation.


Look at this. Very simple but what a choice of the “Sergeant Vincent”, the conquerer of the Southern Alps.


I took my driver to the “Air Force Museum”.


A Sky-hawk fighter that were used in 1954.


NZ Royal Air Force’s people carrier.

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UH-1H, helicopter heavily used in Vietnam war.


You’ve got to fly with your imagination on these old crafts.


Vincent craft on cloud nine.


A Mosquito simulator enjoyed by a family.

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The Main entrance of the museum, clean, informative and it’s free…

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A road sign post for the museum by the main highway.


This is how Southerners wash their cars. Castlecorp needs to benchmark this.


Back into the city, we popped in the “Botanical Garden”. You can’t miss this because this city is nicknamed a garden city.


Got in this white-walled cafe in the garden and it was a perfect choice. Sergeant Vincent’s sixth feeling works quite well today.


A big chunk of wood of order stick.



My camera self-focused this object without my intention.



Andy’s chicken pie with salad, well he needs to be creative I guess.



Look at mine. Zuchini fritter with a poached egg ,peppered with olive, avocado and feta cheese, a sensational dish that might have awarded “the dish of the day”

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We take a walk around the garden and kill some time before returning the car.


Came across this unique flower ” Bird of Paradise”


A common indoor plant at its hey day.

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Back at the airport, a coffee shop proudly advertising “Best NZ coffee 3 years”, well I didn’t  agree to that. I’ve seen many better shops.


Sakura sushi bar, calm interior that is all you get.


Play my way…loved this ad on the sign board inside airport. I will…


A coffee and a snack kiosk, Wishbone, a franchise shop.

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A white-out photo of the sunset of CHCH with a magical colour tone.


Southern Alps under the wing.



The final meal of the day at Auckland airport, a Seafood Ramen noodle soup garnished with Karengo sea weed on top.



My camera tried to self-focus again on this lady but couldn’t achieve the quality this time.



The final approach to Rotorua, the smallest fleet of Air New Zealand’s  Beech-craft 1900D 19 seater turbo-prop.




In this small cabin, everyone gets a window seat, and you can watch the cockpit and the pilots all the time. No toilet, no cabin attendant, no cabin service and heaps of engine noise. 45mins flying ended up with soft touch-down.




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