I am an adamant genealogy researcher, for family history.
This article is about Hagley’s, New Zealand family history, from when our first descendant set foot on New Zealand soil in Christchurch in the mid-1880’s.
The photo is me all setup with pad and pen at the Inglewood cemetery, searching for family headstones.
One of my vacations was a holiday around the Wairarapa, the lower half south-east of the North Island New Zealand, it was a special vacation, as we were “Grave Searching” for some lost family history of “Hagley descendants” from the early 19th century.
Leaving Taranaki my husband John and I set off to Wanganui, on the 1st day of the new year – 1999 on our special family history for lost family history.
Catching up with a relation Surname Goodwin – Maiden Name Hagley.
We had a great day and received a lot of information which was added to Hagley family tree and set us off on our vacation.
That visit to Wanganui set My Husband and I on a trip through the Manawatu Gorge to Masterton in the Wairarapa, on State Highway 2, in New Zealand, just to look for more information on lost family history.
It was beautiful scenery to travel through especially the first day of a new years in summer, but I do not like traveling through the Manawatu Gorge, high cliffs, with the Manawatu river below, rocks slip down, and at the moment of writing this there has been a bad slip and the road has been closed for some time now, as the slip is not stable and keeps tumbling down, there is a by-pass.
The Manawatu Gorge makes me think of Open Say’s me Ali Baba and the forty thieves, I childhood book I used to read, because ready that is what it needs a tunnel through the dense rock that will take you out the other side, away from that narrow windy road and slips with the river down below.
I have even had dreams about the cliff wall opening up and letting us through like Ali Baba and the forty thieves, after driving through the Manawatu Gorge.
We arrived at Queen Elizabeth Park in Masterton, it was unbelievable, I loved this park, but I loved everything about Masterton, a very nice place to visit if you are ever in New Zealand, I would recommend to put it on your list of places to visit.
It has tennis, mini golf, croquet, cricket, bird reserve, aquarium, deer farm, very nice playground for children.
An operating mini electric train with tunnels and bridges that seats about 30 people, ducks to feed, paddle cars in the pond, and so much more.
Recommend it to any family, we had a very enjoyable stay in Masterton New Zealand.
Now for the reason, we went to Wairarapa, yes, grave hunting.
Upon arriving in Masterton a beautiful place, we went to Riverside Park Cemetery, where we found the Surname – Harold Hagley who died in the flu epidemic in 1918, he was John’s Father “George Arnold Hagley” brother, he died while George was fighting in World War one.
That was a challenge as we had no idea where to find it.
But we did.
Our Journey to Carterton, amazing it was a real olden day looking village, it may have changed now some fifteen years later, but you had the feeling that it was still back in the old days.
At Carterton, we went to Clareville Cemetery.
Where we found the Plot of James Goodwin and Elsie May Goodwin nee (Hagley), which was the parents of the elderly lady we visited in Wanganui, they died in 1938-39 era, quite young only in their forty’s.
We never knew these headstones were in Carterton, and if we had not of made that special trip to Wanganui, on that new years day, a two-hour trip from New Plymouth in Taranaki we would never have found these headstones and memories of ancestors we never knew existed.
Moving on we left Carterton still grave searching, now I really enjoyed the scenery here, another great trip if you ever take it through Greytown, Featherston, on to the Rimutaka’s to Upper Hutt in Wellington the capital of New Zealand.
Featherston is a historic Wairarapa town known for great museums, antique shops and cafes, with population, around 2500.
You have a feeling as you leave this place that you are going through an opening of bushland and winding roads to the end of civilization, it is worth the trip for a truly amazing experience of earth-shattering beauty.
From Featherston to Hutt Valley To cross the ridges there is a narrow, winding road that forms part of State Highway 2.
The Rimutakes run for 55 km’s, a great drive with lot’s of excellent view-points to look across the bushland.
Well Wellington, what can I say, not knowing Wellington it was a challenge, that without a map we would never have made it, those narrow streets, and motorways, well all I can say we were glad to make Normandale, but those hills at Normandale, to drive up they were narrow also, not something I enjoyed.
But we made it and found another relation, – Melvena Brown.
Sadly to say she died not many months later, so our trip had been worth it or we would never have known her, we were very lucky, I have a photo of her for memories of that special trip, looking for lost relations.
She was a sister of the lady we went to see in Wanagani and got all the helpful information that started our vacation.
The photo of Wellington Harbour was taken beside Melvena’s home in Normandale.
After leaving Wellington, we made to Paraparaumu heading straight for a motel spending a couple of days there, to get over our very trying vacation, grave searching which was very tiring.
But that stay I will never forget because we were right in the middle of an earthquake on the Kapiti Coast which was beside Paraparaumu.
It was an Earth Quake which sounded like a train going through a tunnel, as it was coming, I had no idea what the noise was, but I soon found out because the ground started to shake and everything vibrated, it was frightening, to this day I can still hear that noise, it was terrifying.
Moving on through Manawatu, visiting two more of John’s sisters, one in Levin, and many more cousins and cemeteries, but all in a good cause, as two of his sisters have passed away in the last ten years.
Traveling back to Foxton where Johns Parents are buried in the Foxton Cemetery.
My home next stop, what a blessing, it was great getting back home to New Plymouth in Taranaki.
It was supposed to be a vacation, but I think we arrived back home needing another holiday as it was very tiring searching those cemeteries, and visiting relations we had never meet before, but very rewarding because we have learnt so much about some of our missing relations.
Now I have written this article, and yes I am a Genealogist – Still Researching Family History that is a never ending job, which takes you all over the world.