It's a tricky business isn't it? ... deciding what to hold on to from the past. Somehow I'm now of the generation that is entrusted with the guardianship of family history. It feels like a big responsibility.
I admit that I didn't used to have much interest in the past. Historic photos sometimes grabbed my attention, particularly those that showed the early twentieth century era that my grandparents grew up in - through the photos I could imagine the crazy rate of technological change experienced during their lifetimes.
Now though, I've come to appreciate that going back only two or three generations earlier, my family were among the earliest European settlers in New Zealand.
Wow!! Like really, WOW!! How amazing would it be to step back into their shoes? How extraordinarily different this new land and the new life of those very early settlers must have been from what they knew in their homelands.
Take Alice's parents for example. Alice Russ is pictured here with her husband Thomas. Her parents James and Sarah Horn sailed into Nelson aboard the Prince of Wales on 31 December 1842. In James Poppleton Horn's later life he recorded some fascinating memoirs that give me an inkling into their lives as Nelson established itself. I doubt that James could have imagined what a gift he was giving future generations when he put pen to paper.
I'm pleased that my mother has written and shared 'snippets' of her childhood for our family to enjoy. In fact, I've taken to recording some memories of my childhood in a notebook myself. In the words of Louisa May Alcott:
I appreciate now that learning about James, Alice and others who have passed before me helps me to understand who I am, and the time and place I live in. But I am shaped by so many strands of cultures and circumstances. The broader the interest I take, the better.
Aside from James Poppleton Horn and my mother who have done their bit to preserve memories, I am really grateful to the heritage devotees who put in hours, dollars, and hard yards to protect and preserve treasures from the past. We'll be visiting some of these enthusiasts on the Wairarapa Heritage Tour in September. The motorcycle and side car pictured here are part of Gaye and Francis Pointon's magnificent vintage automobile and motorcycle collection, and the splendid vintage sport leotard is from Henry Christensen's private treasure trove of rural relics at Mt Bruce.
Excitement about the Wairarapa Heritage Tour is building, so be in quick if you'd like to join this adventure. Staying at Llandaff will be the perfect setting for our Heritage excursions.
I look forward to hearing from you - 04 478 6033.
Sue is the Director and Chief Explorer at Welcome Tours. Sue blogs about new discoveries and the things that matter to Welcome Tours.