Family reunion mammoth task
More than 12 months of tracking down descendants of William Nelson will have paid off when family members from around the world meet on Friday for a reunion.
Born in England in 1843, William Nelson made his presence felt when he arrived in New Zealand 20 years later and settled in Hawke’s Bay.
He is well documented in Hawke’s Bay history records for his part in the establishment of landmarks such as the Tomoana Freezing Works in 1880, Ormlie Lodge, which he built as a gift for his daughter in 1898, Heretaunga School and Woodford House, which he played a leading role in helping to establish.
The reunion will coincide with the launch of a book about William Nelson and his legacy to Hawke’s Bay, written by Dick Paterson, whose wife Janet is Nelson’s great-granddaughter.
Ormlie Lodge is where the family will meet on Friday night. On Saturday morning a picnic will be held at Waikoko Gardens, the site of an old family homestead. A photo session and the book launch will also be held there.
On Sunday, a family reunion service will be held at Woodford House.
Organising committee chairman, and Nelson’s great-grandson, John Renton, said he expected about 200 people to gather for the reunion, and that people were coming from Chile, Brunei, England and Australia for the occasion.
Mr Renton said it was quite a task for the committee to track down Nelson’s 540 or so descendants, but the release of the book had provided a great opportunity for a reunion.
William Nelson had 40 grandchildren when he died in 1932.