Friday, 28 April 2017

A family reunion

 Easter weekend saw 76 members of our extended family gather in Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Home for the older generation of cousins and somewhere most of our kids had never been! 

On Friday afternoon we set up the hall. What could have been a big job was made easy when people just kept arriving and we ended up with an old fashioned working bee going. The men got to work putting  the tables up and the women got to work in the kitchen.  Some things never change :) When all was set up it was a quick dash back to our motels for a shower and change of clothes, then back to the hall for our 'meet and greet' evening.

We had hired a church hall and were very impressed with all the facilities provided. Because it was Good Friday we had fish and chips, hot cross buns and whitebait on the menu. This was supplemented with fruit platters and small cakes, with wine, beer and soft drink as well as tea and coffee. One sister, who shall remain nameless, ordered a slab of cake, thinking she would get something big enough for everyone to have a small piece each - it came in a wooden box and took up the entire back seat of her car! She'll take a while to live that one down.

We had a lot of fun that evening, meeting family we hadn't see for decades in some cases and also meeting their kids and grandkids. People had brought their photo's along as well as other articles of interest, the family bible, some iron ore from a mine our ancestors worked in England - the owner had smuggled it out of the mine when she went to see it. The family tree was there for anyone to take copies of and the family historian had interesting letters and other papers to look at. We decorated with daffodils and flags, Granma's favourite flowers were daffodils and Grandad's nickname was Flags, so we thought it was appropriate.

When people first arrived they took a balloon off the stage and had to find the person whose name was on the name tag. I was a bit iffy as to whether the men would take part but I think most of them found a kid and did it with them, that way it wasn't really them playing with balloons :) I loved seeing the big age range. I think the youngest was about 7 years old and my Aunty was the eldest at 86. At the dinner on Saturday night she told us all there was one week and one month between her and Mum, what she meant was one year and one month. We all had a good laugh over that. That's her below with balloons all over her wheelchair. We were all very proud of her as she had a stroke earlier in the year but managed (was determined) to attend most events for at least part of the time.

At 9:30pm when it was time to go everyone pitched in again and it only took about an hour or so to clear everything away and make our way to our beds. Well, those with kids headed to their beds, my branch of the family met up again in my youngest brothers motel and we spent a couple of hours reminiscing and catching up with each other. Two of us live in NZ and the other two who were there are living in Australia, and two didn't make it. My daughters and their families didn't join us either as they had to drive quite a way to where they were staying. We socialised with them later in the weekend. And that completed our Friday night.

Did I say it poured with rain all day and night on Friday? Well Saturday morning when we were due to go to the cemetery to put flowers on our grandparents grave we were still being blasted with torrential rain, the tail end of Cyclone Cook. Those of us who grew up on the coast weren't at all fazed as this sort of rain is quite normal for the area but I think one or two of the younger ones wondered what had  hit them. We had a good turnout of people at the cemetery, mostly the older cousins as we were the ones who spent time with our grandparents, but it was nice to see some of the younger ones there as well. And as you can see, although it was grey and cloudy the rain stopped and the weather continued to get better and better as the day wore on.

My eldest cousin (the family patriarch) said a few words 
and we had a minute silence before  we all went our 
different ways for the rest of the morning.

My GKB and my son and daughter in law and I all went down to the beach which was just below the cemetery. It was cold and blustery but it was nice to relax and take a walk before we all gathered again at Shantytown after lunch. My son takes some quite arty photos and I followed him trying to get the same shots - but mine are not arty at all :( 

And Shantytown is going to have a post of it's own, 
so I think I will stop here and continue another day.

That's more than five photo's and probably not quite
 five minutes of reading but I'd still like to take part in:
I would also appreciate prayers for my little mother as she has been staying with me since Easter and is on complete rest. We travel to Hamilton on Monday for a CT scan (don't ask) and the plan at the moment is that they will send us home again on Wednesday then send us another appointment to go back for her heart operation. We are praying the operation will be done while we are in Hamilton without the need for another trip. We live in Dunedin in the south of the South Island, Hamilton is in the middle of the North Island and we will be travelling for about 4 hours. Many thanks.


  1. What a lovely weekend Diana and I love some of your ideas for mingling the generations. Prayers for Little Mother. I hope her operation will be done soon and she can feel better. Well done on your great organization of your family reunion. I am sure everyone will remember it for years to come.

  2. I'm so glad that your reunion went so well! What a wonderful time for family to get together and share remembrances. I will keep little mother in prayer for her upcoming surgery. Have a blessed day.

  3. Your account of the family reunion is very interesting. I'm sure the younger members of your family enjoyed going to an area where the older ones had grown up and there must have been some good conversations over the meal in the church hall. You had some good ways of getting everyone involved. Looking forward to hearing more another time and praying that your little mother has a comfortable journey to Hamilton and that all will go well during the time there.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful time was had by all. The slab of cake had me laughing.
    Yes, I will be praying for your mother.

  5. It is amazing how families grow. Look what becomes of us!

    Will be praying for you and your Mom!

  6. What a wonderful reunion you had! So happy for your family to coordinate such a huge gathering. Praying now for your sweet little mother...and for you all as she goes through this surgery, etc. Praying for strength and comfort and peace of mind. The Lord will be with you.

  7. Reunions are mostly such happy times. Yours make me wish for days of old when we had them.

    Will keep your little mother in my prayers, and for you also. It's not easy when our parents take ill.

    Your photos are lovely!

  8. This sounds like a wonderful time. Love the slab cake story.
    I hope all goes well for your Mother and your family.

    cheers, parsnip

  9. Lovely photos and family news. Thoughts are hopeful for you in praying for your Mother and family. I pray for peace and God's hand to be in the situation, particularly in the timings. Blessings. Cathy x

  10. Diana, your reunion sounds perfect! I'm so glad that so many people were able to make it. Love all the pictures. I will add you to my prayers. xo

  11. I hope that all will be well for your Mum. Glad you had such a great time at the reunion and all made lots of great new memories!

  12. Well I'm a little late reading this. I hope all went well for your Mom. I love your reunion ideas. I always seem to be the one that gets to the reunion early to set up. Thankfully someone always seems to show up and help out. I think it's so great you all still get together. So many families don't anymore. We seem to have gotten your rain. It's been raining here over a week now. Ugh


  13. SO glad the reunion was a success. Family stories always interest me.

  14. What a great Five on Friday post, thank you so much for participating, I apologise for being so late getting round to everyone's blogs, we had so much going on that I just didn't get a chance, I hope you understand. All the Best - Tricky


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