Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Elder Bennett Turns 70!

Exactly one year ago today we were entering the MTC in Provo, Utah to begin this mission adventure.  Exactly 70 years ago today, my dear companion was born.  Today feels like a very auspicious day indeed.

We were scheduled to return to Whangarei for a planning meeting with Stake leaders for a special training we will do next week.  We figured this would be a great opportunity to show the Ormonds a taste of the Northlands and it also allowed us to celebrate Larry's birthday with our dear friends, Bruce and Doreen Savill and Rosemary Waters who live up that way.

We thought about several different ways we might have commemorated Larry beginning his 7th decade.  In the end, however, nothing could compare with being in the company of good friends and fulfilling our assignment as full time missionaries in this beautiful land.

It was an awesome day!

Larry with his birthday cake

Bruce made a special keepsake gift for Larry out of a piece of Kauri wood.
We will both treasure it for years to come as a reminder of their sweet friendship.

Bruce, Doreen and Rosemary in the Chapel by the falls
We so appreciated their kindness and enjoyed our time with them very much.

It was a great trip all the way around.  Our meetings with the Stake leaders went very well.  We were so impressed by President Anthony Poutu, he is truly an inspired man with great love for the members of his stake.

Then both on the way up and on the way back we got to show the Ormonds some very special places.   This country is so beautiful, I just never get tired of exploring it.

Larry and I standing next to the McKinney Kauri tree near Warkworth,
the place where we always stop on the way up north.

Kauri is the National Tree of New Zealand, and the McKinney Kauri is a nationally recognized specimen. It is estimated to be between 800-900 years old.

When the Europeans settled New Zealand, Rev. McKinney, the 1st Presbyterian Minister of Warkworth, originally owned this land. In 1965, Harry Parry and the school children of Warkworth raised funds to purchase and dedicate a public park to preserve 21 acres of bush containing several large Kauri trees. 

The walkway thru the bush is maintained by Kauri Bushmen's Association, and guided nature trail around the tree by the Forest and Bird Protection Society.

There is a second large Kauri a few yards west of the McKinney Kauri, named the Simpson Kauri, after the second owner of the property. The two Kauri are cited as the largest on the East coast of New Zealand.
See HERE for more info on this tree

Dave & Gayle

Us at our beach break

Me standing inside the trunk of a Kauri tree at the Kauri Museum

The "Gum Room"

A lovely inlay piece of Kauri Art

One of Rosemary's peacocks

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