Thursday, 24 March 2011

Previous blog - the Mair pioneers

Hi again,
Just a note of clarification - we have referred to Henry Mair as Jean's (Gina's) "ancestor". While that is true in a general sense, more specifically he was her great grandfather. His father was Gilbert Mair who founded the historic Mair dynasty in NZ prior to 1840. Gilbert Snr. was an entrepreneur who, among other things, operated a Pacific Island trading concern which Henry and another brother Gilbert Jnr. continued. Ironically the Mairs would no doubt have been competition for Jim's great grandfather A.B. Donald who had also established an island trading concern in the late 1800's!! Another of Henry's brothers was Robert who was a farmer and donated what is now known as Mair Park to the City of Whangarei.
So, there you have it - another of the many strands of our respective DNA's!!


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Hi everyone,
Thought it was time we posted an update on all our doings. Since arriving back in Whangarei we went to Christchurch to visit Charlotte and her family - Jon, Lucia and now the newest addition, Elsie. We flew down there on March 2nd not sure what to expect in terms of damage etc. Everything appeared normal at the airport and we caught a shuttle to Cracroft. On the way we saw some minor liquification and very minor damage such as block walls having fallen over but nothing else. Fortunately their house was undamaged and the additions which were built by Jon and his father over the preceding months look magnificent. It was very special meeting the newest grandchild as well and we spent some happy times together. We all went out to a local wildlife park and had a great time there. By now Lucia had overcome her shyness with Poppa Jim and Gina!! On the Saturday we were having a cup of tea when a 4.1 aftershock struck. It felt as though a giant fist punched the house from underneath - no warning - just one hell of a bang. Bit unnerverving for us who weren't used to earthquakes but they seemed to take it all in their stride.At another time we drove out to Mt. Pleasant with Jon to visit his brother's house which seemed undamaged but they had left to be with Nessie's parents in Oamaru. The microwave had been propelled right across the kitchen onto the opposite bench! Wouldn't have been good to have been in its way. Other houses in the vicinity  were showing obvious signs of serious damage and many would be written off.
Back to what passes for normality in Whangarei and we hauled out at Norsand once more on the 7th. A few small jobs plus antifouling and we are now due to be back in the water on the 25th.
In the meantime we went to a Worsfold family reunion at Bill and Bev Worsfold's farm at Kaiwaka. It had been a mammoth effort to organise and offered (for Jim) a great chance to meet most of the family in one gathering. We stayed at Milestone Cottages in Mangawhai owned by an old school friend of Gina's and all in all had a most enjoyable time. We googled the name Worsfold and it appears likely that it had German origins around the 12th. century in England. Vorselde is the German original name and there is still a place in Germany bearing that name. It is now a part of the city of Wolfsburg. All very fascinating the diverse strands that make up our present day DNA.
There was some discussion about another ancestor, Henry Mair who had been beheaded in the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) sometime in the late 1800's. He apparently also buried some treasure on Suwarrow Is. in the Cook Islands and the island had coincidentally been leased by Jim's family's island trading business (among others at various times) for copra production many years ago when the business had been operating. No treasure was ever recorded however so either it was secretly spirited away or never found - much more likely the latter. It is indeed a small world. We are keen to visit the site of Henry's demise in Vanuatu to see what we can find but might have to keep quiet about the family connection otherwise history might repeat itself!! We'll keep you posted. 
In the meantime back in the boatyard and getting on with the chores of getting the boat ready for the big OE. Antifouling (3 coats) and filter and oil changes for the engine. And the boatyard politics again! Nothing much changes we find.
Lots to do tomorrow as we are launching the day after and it's already past midnight and blowing and raining a gale from the east. So must away to a nice warm bunk. Hope all is well and we'll be in touch again soon.
Cheers and lots of love
Jim and Gina (Jean)