Descendants of an early local family have met recently for a first-ever reunion.
In 1914 Ernest and Beatrice Richer, accompanied by 9-year-old George, arrived in Hakaru after sailing from Lon-don on board the Corinthic.
Ernest found work on Malcolm Stewart’s farm on the Kaiwaka/Mangawhai Road, then later owned their own small farm on the corner of Baldrock Road, then known as Dunn Road.
The family grew with the birth of three girls – Annie, Mary and Clara – and then one boy, Ernest (Ernie).
Ernest and Beatrice died in 1956 and 1951 respectively and are both interred in the grounds of St Michael’s Anglican Church in Hakaru.
One hundred years later, 48 descendants of the five Richer children met for their first ever reunion with the only absentees being three from within New Zealand and ten from Australia.
Those attending came from Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton plus three from Singleton, NSW, Australia, with only four still carrying the Richer surname.
Although the last Richer left the Hakaru district in 1956, many of the descend-ants have other family bonds in the area through Clara having married Charlie Bowmar in August 1938.
The reunion, held at the Hakaru RSA on November 22 was enjoyed by all with memorabilia, old photos, the telling of past stories, viewing resur-rected old 8mm movie films, informal outdoor games, and most importantly catching up with relatives – many meeting for the first time.
A wonderful three course meal was provided by Valerie and the ladies of the RSA which exceeded everyone’s expectations, and the day was hosted brilliantly by Hakaru RSA president, Bill Kerr.
Special mention and thanks must be made of the exceptional help and co-operation received from the local Hakaru and Mangawhai residents by those preparing since April for the event, and on the day with local accom-modation and access to the church.
The family had a fabulous and very memorable day.