My grandparents lived in England almost all their lives, but in 1955 they moved around the world to New Zealand for six years. At the time, they had three little kids–my dad, the oldest, was just four years old. “We wanted to get out of post-war Europe,” my dad remembers. “New Zealand was full of sunshine and light.”
My aunt found some old family photographs (on slides) recently, and they’re amazing for us to look through. “It was fantastic, just fabulous,” remembers my dad. “Sailing, surfing, beaches, mountains, the most glorious place for outside living.”
My grandfather got a job at the University of Christchurch, and the family lived in a little bungalow. We looked up their address on Google maps! 9 Champion St, Christchurch, New Zealand. So cool to see the actual street.
I asked my dad when he remembered about their time there, and he said, “We ate a lot of lamb. We’d buy half a sheep a week, which cost one pound. We’d get a shoulder, a leg, lamb chops, kidneys. The next Saturday, we’d get another half sheep! A half sheep would do it.”
“We also had a pet lamb in the backyard,” he said, “A family friend of ours was named Angus Lamb (a real person), so when we got an actual lamb, of course we called him Angus!”
During their six years in New Zealand, my grandmother had a fourth baby there–my aunt Lulu.
My dad, who was five in these christening photos, is wearing his red school uniform. “One thing (that still happens in old-fashioned families) is that English boys wear their school uniform when they want to look ‘smart,’ ” said my aunt.
Here, they were on vacation at The Hermitage Hotel, which had just been built. “It was state of the art,” said my dad, “Glorious big windows, modern, exciting. We usually camped, so this was quite a treat.” My aunt Jackie, who is the little girl in this photo, remembers: “I remember swearing and my dad made me apologize to the manager. We skated on the wood floors in our socks, and saw snow for the first time. I was not allowed up the glacier, which really riled me; I was too small.”
I think my dad looks just like Toby here!
New Zealand looks incredible! What an adventure! xoxo