New Zealand 2003 travel blog

We took a lunchtime flight up to Auckland to meet Tim at the airport. He'd been in a meeting all day but managed to escape to pick us up so we could drive down to Hamilton together.

We had come up to the North Island for a few days to do some work at one of Landcare's field research sites at a place called Whatawhata (pronounced 'futtafutta'). As part of her stay with Landcare, Kate had promised to do some analysis of the data gathered here and provide some input to future research. I, of course, was along for the ride and to be a research assistant where needed...

It was a pleasant run down from Auckland driving through the lush farmland of the Waikato region. We got into Hamilton around five and checked into our motel in the East side of the river. It wasn't half as nice as our flat in Christchurh but it was perfectly functional.

After an amusing time trying to get the infiltrometers (I'll explain later) to work in preparation for tomorrow's work, we walked down the road to get some food at a Thai restaurant that Tim knew from previous visits.

We had a pleasant evening chatting, Tim telling us all about his family's proud Cantabrian heritage. One of his ancestors, Cyrus Davie (great name), arrived in New Zealand on board one of the four pilgrim ships that brought the founding fathers of Christchurch and the Canterbury region back in 1850.

Tracing your family back to the four ships is the equivalent of having blue blood in Canterbury, and everyone who arrived on those ships are commemorated on plaques in Cathedral Square. Cyrus had the distinction of actually being on board two of the four ships. He was due to catch the Randolph from Plymouth but missed it by accident. However, he was able to get on board one of the other ships, the Sir George Seymour. While out at sea, the Sir George Seymour caught up with the Randolph, so Cyrus transferred back to his original ship. He was clearly someone of importance to be allowed to do such a thing, and he did stay in the first class cabins. I can't imagine the lowly carpenter in steerage being allowed either to get on a different ship or to transfer back mid journey..

Such is the small world of New Zealand that one of Tim and Kate's colleagues from London similarly descended from someone on those ships, and even more incredibly, was in the next door cabin to Cyrus on one of the ships. Good fuel for another story...

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