from the book "A Quota of Qualtrough"

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The Reunion Day


The display of old family photographs of people and places which had been loaned for the occasion and the immense Family Tree attracted tremendous attention. The Tree was spread across one wall of the room on a roll of wallpaper 11 metres long. It went back 300 hundred years and had 1100 names (including spouses) entered on it.

A classroom at Pakuranga College was almost completely filled with the Family Tree, photographs and other family historical documents. Above, the family members can be seen enthralled with the photos on display; while below, others are endeavouring to find themselves on the huge Family Tree, displayed on a roll of wallpaper.

Elizabeth and Violet had poured over it for days and nights, spreading it on the floor of the living areas of Elizabeth’s house and – as Violet put it – developed "genealogist’s knees."

With her flair for research, Elizabeth had achieved ‘something for everyone’ as far as was possible in her layouts of the history of the lines of descent.

(May we make a plea here and now to camera-clickers – before you tuck away your snaps, do write on them the date they were taken, names and the occasion. Some future historian may bless you.)


Throughout the day, the rollicking Reunion Song music was played in the background, 'brainwashing' the gathering so that all would be familiar with the tune when the time came to sing it.

As we moved through our programme and the first little stiffnesshad evaporated, it seemed that a really tangible warmth emanated from the hall. By the end of Saturday evening the atmosphere of 'one big, happy family' was truer than the cliche itself.

Trinity Church, a concrete building of sweeping lines and much use of glass, would have delighted the hearts of James and Catherine in its capacity for Wesleyan worshippers (350) had they been around on the Sunday morning. And their hearts would have warmed, too, as the pews filled with their descendants and voices rang out - and some good voices, too - in the familiar "The Lord's My Shepherd" and the less familiar (to us) "Manx Fisherman's Prayer.

The big 'new' Methodist church will, one day no doubt, be just as much part of Pakuranga's history as the little 'old' Methodist church was in its day - a day that extended to more than 110 years of usefulness to the Christian community.

After the commemorative service, it was back to the college for a buffet lunch, another look at the displays and another chance to meet and mingle. For those who wished, there was the Historical Village, with the old church open for viewing. A working bee had spruced up the church (it had been in use temporarily as a store-place) and the Society gained more than $120 towards its restoration fund from spontaneous donations we made.

The Reunion was over. Families dispersed to return home. The committee cleaned up, accounted for crockery and honoured commitments.

There was talk of another Reunion. In another 120 years, said the committee.

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