Trevor lives in Auckland. He is a retired Civil Engineer and businessman. During his life he has had a passion for the visual arts. As a mature student he completed two Fine Arts Degrees and is now a practicing artist and photographer. Trevor’s motivation for learning how to write memoir is to be able to leave information about his life for his two daughters and three grandchildren.
I have memories of Amy, my maternal grandmother, dressed in black. My maternal grandfather James died before I was born.
James, I understand was very adaptable and resilient, a saw miller and he worked on building railways. According to the family he was responsible for the narrow gauge of New Zealand rail.
In 1883 gold was discovered on the Waikaka river flats on what was my family land. Of 28 dredges two were owned by my family.
James had fifteen children, six by his first wife Sarah and nine by his second wife Amy. After Sarah died James travelled to Rotorua ‘to take the waters’. There, soaking in the mineral baths, he met Amy. They decided to get married. Amy’s family wrote to the Waikaka parish minister enquiring as to whether James Paterson was of good character. A favourable reply saw James and Amy move to Waikaka. Amy imagined being fully occupied looking after James’s six children, instead she went on to have nine children of her own.
My maternal great-great grandparents Hugh and Marion from Lanarkshire travelled to New Zealand on the Sir William Eyre in 1862. Marion’s brother George was unwell and the family, unaware of the daunting challenges ahead thought a sea voyage would be good for him. They paid fifteen pounds per head. When they learned that further passengers were being added under the NZ Government assisted passage scheme, they sent out a small boat to try and get them off the ship. This was a voyage from hell. Slimy water, insufficient food and cramped conditions. More than thirty people died including Marion’s twenty-month old boy Hugh. Apparently the shock caused her to give birth an hour later. The ship bound for Dunedin went aground at Bluff. Marion told the children to dress in their finest clothes as they had arrived in their new country. They waded ashore and pitched their tent.
Please submit your story via the Contact page and it will receive a gentle edit from Deborah.
Deborah thanks Rangimarie Kelly and Pikau Digtal for website design and artist Karen Jarvis for her image ‘Writers at the Devonport Library,’ (2023)