Heather Lankow was trying to find a misplaced memorial plaque in Hope when she realised that if her generation didn’t record memories of the past, they were soon going to be gone for ever.
So what began with replacing a headstone became, with her friend Karel Wallace, a mission to preserve the history of German settlers to Nelson. So they sent an invitation to the descendants of the first German settlers who arrived in Nelson 175 years ago to meet this weekend to share photos and stories.
Karel remembers her mother-in-law telling her children to never forget the three Lankow children buried in unmarked graves in Hope. The children died of diphtheria and she would like the people of Hope to know that those children lie there and that they are not forgotten.
When Karel Wallace put the invitation out she not only received replies from around New Zealand but from Australia and China as well. She hoped for 100 people but has ended up with 150 and still has a few more days to go before the event this weekend.
Places for the dinner are full but everyone is welcome to attend the day-time events. On Saturday, relatives will set up tables with family trees and photos. There will be a formal welcome and the story of the Skiold and other pioneer families will be told.
Significant sites will be visited, such as the Millennium Wall in Nelson on the seaside of Wakefield Quay. There is a plaque with a list of the passengers who arrived in New Zealand from 1841 to 1850, which includes the Skiolds.
A remembrance service for the soldiers killed in action or service will also be held.
Registration for the afternoon programmes can be taken on the day for interested locals at $25 per person, including afternoon tea. For information phone Karel 03 548 4681 or Heather on 03 5440876.