He’s official: Dr. Breno.


The last and most-nerve wracking part of the PhD process has been completed.

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In July, Brendon returned to New Zealand to defend his thesis in front of a panel of examiners.  After an hour and 45 minutes of questioning, he emerged after being congratulated of his successful defense as Dr. Neilson or Dr. Breno, whichever you prefer.


I am extremely proud of the dedication Brendon has shown to a massive task that has not been easy.

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Though I was not able to make the journey to NZ with Brendon and be there to join in the celebrations that followed, Brendon was overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of our loved ones who truly made NZ home.


I’ll let Brendon share a few words about the process and his time in New Zealand.



The successful completion of my thesis defense capped of a chapter of life I would never have pictured myself in 10 years ago.  A PhD was never a goal of mine, but now that it’s over, I am thankful for the perspective I have gained through the process, and the virtues i have developed therein.


Following the defense, my first reaction was that of immediate relief- that it went well, that I passed, and that this was no longer a massive barrier to moving on.  For so long, it’s been my life task- both a burden and a privilege.


I’d like to thank everyone who cheered me on along this PhD journey and believed in me- family and friends in Canada, my supervisors Martin and Tim, and those who shared the journey in New Zealand.



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Special thanks to Kyle & Bea and Mitchell & Anna for their incredible hospitality and friendship.  Thank you to everyone else who carved out time for a visit.  I was constantly in the presence of the most wonderful people.

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The New Zealand coffee community is incredible.  A shout out to Andrew, Erica, & Cris at Espresso Workshop for reminding me of the great times and passionate industry that I was blessed to be a part of.

It was weird to go back to a place that seemed to fit us so well.  It quickly turned from bizarre to completely natural.  It was like I just slipped back in.

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Our time in New Zealand was an amazing season of thriving.  I am grateful for the chance to go back and reconcile our past times in New Zealand with our present, Red Deer.


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