Where Im from

kowhai park
The outlook from the hill (which provided hours and hours of fun growing up building forts, pretending we were defending the hill with our weapons (toi toi’s), making massive mud slides and so much more) on the hill behind my parents house where I had spent my first 18 years.

Boxing Day 1999 I boarded the plane to Nelson – This was it, Im moving!!!  

In the midst of the excitement I felt a sadness as I left the amazing city of Wellington which I had grown up in (in my words best big city in New Zealand by far!)

As the plane was crossing the cook straight I burst into tears thinking ‘Im going home’ – go figure!

Yeah I was in the midst of many emotions but ‘going home’???  Maybe as I was born in Christchurch there was a little of that ‘a girl can leave the South Is. but the South Is. can’t leave the girl’???

In the midst of my excitement of the adventure/open doors ahead of me in Nelson (eek its a small white conservative town not a big multicultural city!) & the slight sorrow of leaving Wellington I knew in my gut this was somehow a significant move …

Despite the climate change (which affected the MS badly), I feel in love with this incredible place. However was I still a Wellington’ian’ or could I finally become a Nelson’ian’ – Where did I belong?!?!?!

A perception of the view from where I have made home for the last 11 years, painted by local Nelson Artist Marilyn Andrews

10 years on…

Long story so Ill keep it short.  During a visit from my parents 2 days after I had officially been in Nelson for 10 years my dad encouraged me to go look at the ‘Settlers Memorial’ on Wakefield Quay.

I discovered that my Ancestors William & Margaret Gardner from Glasgow, Scotland where some of the first Settlers in Nelson arriving in February 1842 arriving on the ‘New Zealand Company ship’!!!

And not only this but they were based in the Upper Moutere where they made rope from flax (Harakeke).  AND had a road named after them ‘Gardners Valley Road’.

There son Joseph Gardner (late changed to Gardiner) after a few years carried onto Halswell in Christchurch (some of the first settlers there) to carry on the rope making business.

After many wonderful hours of spending time with my great uncle Ron Gardiner on his regular visits I learnt many things including that I have some relatives here in Nelson too (small world – already friends of friends) & that Ron had actually helped demolish the Gardiner’s family homestead in Halswell.  It was & still is really special sitting there hearing the stories hour after hour.  Nelson really is home – I belong!

I used to regularly used to go there & sit up above this road looking at the stunning view – I felt drawn, it was a dream of mine to one day live there!  Who would of known it was named after my Ancestors!

 The view towards Nelson from Old Coach Road in the Upper Moutere, directly above Gardners Valley Road.
 It was a dream of mine to live there.

A personal revelation

I now have an even greater appreciation for Nelson the place I call home physically but also as a symbolic part of my journey in life.

When I was 16 & got baptised I was given the scripture; Ezekial 36:24-28 which I later got painted by a friend David James, it hangs in my room. Soon after discovering about my ancestors coming to Nelson I realised what verse 28 says…

For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God”.

God is so faithful, I am soooo grateful that I did catch the plane here to Nelson in 1999!