I would like to share with you my slides of New Zealand which I have put together for my talks. I will also share some of the content with you too. I want you to feel that you were there!
I begin my talk by introducing myself writing under my maiden name. Then I introduce the name of my book, Waireka – Wai being Maori for water, Reka for sweet. I explain that my book is set on a dairy farm in New Zealand in the mid nineteenth century. This farm has a river that runs through the land and makes the grass sweet and the grazing good. It is based on the story of my great uncle who travelled out there at that time as the youngest son of a large family.
Like many others he faced a treachorous journey of 4-6 months. No fresh food after the start of the voyage and even worse, no fresh water after a while. Drinking water being sweetened with lime juice and sugar to make it more palatable! Disease was rife on these ships and many bodies were thrown over the side during the voyage. Storms and bad weather might also be encountered.
Fortunately, both Eliza and her suitor, Alister, arrive safely in New Zealand where the Reverend Reid, his family and Eliza take up a living in a church similar to the wooden one in my picture – wooden because of being an earthquake zone.
Eventually they travel over the Rimutuka hills to the Wairarapa – see the region in my image, North of Wellington – where Alister sets up the dairy farm. He is was a real entreprenuer, the first to introduce new machinery into the milk and butter making industry and one of the first to transport butter between the two islands of New Zealand. The images above show both the farm in the late nineteenth century and the hotel/wedding venue and restaurant that it has now become.
You will see in my pictures above, New Zealand’s famous flightless birds both of the past – Huia – and present – Kiwi. The Kiwi has been preserved and New Zealanders now take their identity from the species.
You will also see pictures of the Maoris who first came to New Zealand from the Eastern Polynesian Islands in the Medieval times on a canoe similar to the one in the picture. No wonder they often fought the settlers! The Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 gave them the right to become British citizens but at the expense of relinquishing their lands.
I wrote the book after a distant relative wrote the real story of my great-uncle. Now it gives me real pleasure to share the story with others either by them reading my book or by me sharing it with people in a talk.