Of all the traveling we have done throughout New Zealand, the region we have loved the best in the Northlands. We serve as Area Family History Advisers for Whangarei an Kaikohe Stakes, so we have had quite a few trips up that way for various trainings. We've made some good friends and enjoyed the beauty of the area. This week we had one last trip to make. On our way up we stopped at Parry Kauri Park in Warkworth, a place we have been to many times. Usually we just make it a quick pit stop and admire the two giant kauri trees that are very near the carpark to the museum. This time, however, we took time to walk through the surrounding trail to appreciate the beauty of the place.
|Hugging a kauri tree goodbye. I will miss these mighty sentinels of the forest|
Rather than stay right in Whangarei, this time we opted to rent a homeaway bach a little further up so we could visit the beach at Matapouri on the Tutukaka Coast. It wasn't very far out of our way and it let us appreciate more New Zealand Northland beauty.
Being in close proximity to the ocean is one of the things we will miss most of all. We have truly learned to love being near the sea.
Tuesday evening we had dinner with our dear friends, Bruce and Doreen Savill and Rosemary Waters. These dear people will always hold a very special place in our hearts. From our very first visit we just hit it off so we have always made a point to go see them whenever we are in the area.
Rosemary is from Ireland and Bruce & Doreen are native Kiwis. We've shared much laughter, some fine meals, music, and a friendship we will never forget.
Then that evening we met with the Stake Presidency and high council in Whangarei one last time. We talked about the Family History Workshops and discussed ways to engage people in the wards and branches in an ongoing way.
President Poutu talked with us about the closeness of the Maori people to their ancestors and his desire to find ways to learn more about his histories of the people in the area.
The next day we had hoped to see a bit more of the area for our final farewell to the area, but it was pouring rain. So we just packed up and hit the road.
On our way back we stopped at the FHC in Whangarei and had a great visit there with Sister Reti and Janice Gardner who staff the place and several others who had come in to work on their own family history.
We showed them how to use partner websites and talked about key skills such as standardizing data and merging duplicates in FamilySearch. We listened to their concerns and heard about the good things that are happening there. They were a delightful group.
Finally with that visit done we were ready to hit the road, back to Auckland. The rain continued to pour all the way home. It felt like the sky was mourning with us as we said our goodbyes. My heart was heavy to leave the place I love so much. I felt humbled and grateful for all the many wonderful experiences we had in there over the past two years. I was sad to acknowledge that I would most likely never see the place or the people again. We have had so many blessings on this mission, it is hard to see this time coming to an end.