Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tongans Visit to the Archives

Mike Higgins is working with the Tongan Government to set up a digi-lab in their country's archives.  So today the New Zealand Archives hosted 4 dignitaries from Tonga and they toured our lab.

At 10:00 we were invited to a tea.  The first speaker spoke in Maori (language of Maori people in New Zealand).  Then we all sang a song to them in Maori (except the 4 Americans who didn't know the song) and then a line was formed and they greeted us.  Instead of a handshake the greeting of Tongan people is to touch foreheads and noses.  It seemed a little different to us.

They also have a tradition that the men always sit on the front row and the women sit behind them.  Their theory for this is that if the man is in front he can protect the woman.

They then came and saw the digi-lab and we explained how we processed the documents and then how they were filmed.

There were 4 dignitaries from tonga and 3 of them were LDS.  We have heard there are a lot of members in Tonga.

Tour of the Archives

We have now been at the archives for about 3 months and we have never had a tour.  So Fiona (the girl who supplies us with all our boxes to film) decided to take us on a tour.  She took us to places where normally tours never go.

 She also pulled out interesting documents for us to see..  We saw the marriage license for Sir Edmund Hillary who climbed Mt. Everest.  He was brave enough to climb Mt. Everest but too afraid to propose to his girlfriend so he had his mother do it.
 In New Zealand there is a new book coming out about a murder that happened on the South Island many years ago.  It was news back then because New Zealand is very safe and has very few murders.  The story is about a rich girl who moves to New Zealand and becomes close friend with a poor girl from the other side of the tracks.  The rich girls mother doesn't want her to be friends with the poor girl so they decide to move.  The girls then plot the murder of her mother.  They end up killing the mother and are found guilty, but because of their age they only served 5 years in prison.  Fiona showed us the court records of the trial.

The poor girl later became a writer and wrote murder mysteries under another name.  When Fiona said the writer's name Sister McVey said that she knew someone by that same name and had read some of her novels.  Sister McVey went home and goggled the name and it was the same person.  The interesting thing is that this writer later joined the Mormon church and her books are now sold at Deseret Books.

This is the longest word in New Zealand.  Try pronouncing this.

Temple Prep Class

Today the Bishop asked Don and I to teach the temple preparation class.  We will start in a couple of weeks.

In the class will be a young adult named Guy who is now turning in his papers for a mission.  He is a convert and will be a member a year in March.  We will also have Aloeweiss who is also a convert and will soon be turning in her papers for a mission.  We know Guy and Aloeweiss from the Family Home Evening group.  There will also be a young married couple.  We are excited about teaching the class.


Today we went out to Elder and Sister Brazzeal's ward to a baptism.  It was a husband and wife Samoan couple.  They had two children get baptized a couple of weeks ago and now it was their turn.  It was a special baptism.  First they baptized the husband and then we waited until he got dressed so he could watch his wife get baptized.

Afterwards we went to Levin to meet the Patchetts, McVey's and Brazzeal's for dinner.  It is always fun to go outside of Wellington and see new towns.


Today we got a very special call at the archives.  It was from our daughter Heather announcing the birth of our eighth grandchild.  He joins his sister Brooklyn (5 years old) and brother James (2 years old).  We Skyped with them tonight after work so we got to see him sleep.  Heather says he is a very calm baby.

Here is the info on him.

Name:  Miles Andrew
Born:  November 8, 2011 (USA)  or November 9, 2011 (New Zealand)
Weight:  7 lbs. 4 oz.
Length:  19 inches
Born at:  8:48 a.m.

We are thankful for Skype so we can see him grow up for the next fifteen months.

Stories from the archives

At the archives we film deceased people's probate records.  Usually we only have time to film but every once in a while we are touched by how real these people were and the lives they lived.  I would like to share a few stories from letters we have read.

Story 1:  A young soldier had served courageously and had just been discharged from the armed services.  Some chaps (buddies) and him decided to go to Italy before heading back home.  They met some Italian women and were seeing the sights with them.  They all wanted a picture together so this young man decided to go across the street on the corner to get a better shot.  As he was standing there a driver came around the corner too fast, lost control of the car and hit the young soldier.  He was rushed to the hospital but died before getting there.  This was told in a letter written to his parents by a friend who had witnessed the accident.

Story 2:  Don noticed a letter from a soldier on leave written to his parents.  He was so excited to be on leave and he talked about finally having good food at a restaurant and about it being served on silver trays.  He and his friends also spent time at the beach.  In the letter he talked about sending a birthday present for his mom's birthday and how he hoped she would receive it soon.  He told about a friend who had died in the war and about visiting his grave.  He was so happy and full of life in that letter.  The letter was dated the middle of July and then the next document Don filmed was a letter notifying his parents of his death.  There was only about seven days between his letter and the letter from the armed service.  He was killed in action.

Story 3:  There was a movie a long time ago with Steve McQueen titled "The Great Escape".  It was about the escape of prisoners from a German POW camp.  Some tried to escape but were recaptured and later murdered by the Germans.

Today we ran across a Memorial Service form for the Royal Air Force, Dominion and Allied Air Force Officers who were shot by the Germans after escaping from Stalag Luft 111, March 1944.  There were two New Zealand officers on that list and the probate record was for one of those men.  His name was A.G. Christensen.

It is very hard now during the World War II era to see all the military death certificates and even harder to see the letters written to parents informing them of the death of their son.

Guy Fawkes Day

 This evening we went down to the harbour to see fireworks.  They set them off from a boat out in the bay.  They do this to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day.

History of Guy Fawkes Day  "Quoted from the Internet"

After Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, English Catholics who had been persecuted under her rule had hoped that her successor James I, would be more tolerant of their religion.  James did not turn out to be more tolerant than Elizabeth and 13 young men decided that violent action was the answer.

They wanted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. In doing so they would kill the King, the Prince of Wales and members of Parliament.

To carry out their plan the conspirators got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder and stored them in the cellar, just under the House of Lords.

But some of the group had second thoughts because innocent people might be killed so one man sent an anonymous letter telling his friend to stay away on November 5th.  The letter reached the King and the King's forces made plans to stop the conspirators.

Guy Fawkes was in the cellar with the 36 barrels of gunpowder when authorities came.  He was caught, tortured and executed.

On that night bonfires were set to celebrate the safety of the King.  Since then November 5th is known as Bonfire Night.  It is celebrated with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire.

Sidenote:  They now only celebrate with fireworks.

November 5, 2011

Spelling in New Zealand

If when we come home we spell things a little different it is because some words are spelled differently here.  For example see if you know what the following words are:  tyre, labour, colour, centre, favourite, metre, authorise, realise, vitalise, enrolment, enrol, practise, harbour, programme, neighbour, artefacts, organisation, maximise.  After seeing these words all the time we sometimes questions how a word is actually spelled.  Now we have a reason to misspell words.

WETA Cave, Botanical Gardens and Cable Car Museum

 In Miramar located outside Wellington is a place called WETA Cave.  According to the internet WETA is the multi Academy Award Winning company whose artists and craftsmen helped bring The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, District 9, King Kong and the Chronicles of Narnia to life.  The facility is over 100,000 square feet.

 We didn't see where they actually work but they have props that we saw from the different movies and also a movie about the process of making a film.  Avatar took about 7 years to make.  We have two men from our ward that came from Utah to work in the animation department for WETA.

 This is a playground located in the middle of the Botanical Gardens.  It has slides and also a zip line.
 At the top of the Botanical Gardens they have a red cable car that takes people down to Lambton Quay in the center of town.  There is also at the top of the gardens a Cable Car Museum.

 Wellington Botanical Gardens is located in the hills just west of us.  A pamphlet that we picked up says that the Garden was established in 1868 and is managed by the New Zealand Institute.  The Garden today covers 25 hectares and is a unique landscape of protected native forest, exotic trees including conifer plantings, plant collections and stunning and seasonal floral bedding displays.

October 29, 2011