Pioneer’s descendants reminisce
More than 200 descendants of Hawke’s Bay pioneer William Nelson gathered for a family reunion in Hastings at the weekend.
William Nelson established the Tomoana freezing works and funded the diversion of the Tutaekuri River and the draining of Napier South in the early 1900s. He was also the driving force behind the establishment of Woodford House and Hereworth School at Havelock North.
He lived at Waikoko at what is now the Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds, from where he raised a family of nine children. Seven grandchildren are still alive, all in their 90s.
The reunion cake was cut by the oldest living grandchild, Mrs. Rachel Renton.
On Friday evening, Mr Nelson’s descendants gathered for a cocktail party at Ormlie Lodge. The lodge was a wedding gift from Mr Nelson to one of his daughters.
A picnic and family photographs at Waikoko Gardens followed on Saturday, before dinner at the Hawke’s Bay Racing Centre.
A service at the Woodford House chapel and lunch at the school was held on Sunday.
A feature of the reunion weekend was the launch of a book about, Mr Nelson, written by Dick Paterson of Olrig Station, Kereru.
Mr Paterson’s wife, Janet is a great-granddaughter of Mr Nelson.
Photo caption – Author Dick Paterson holding his book William Nelson, His Legacy to Hawke’s Bay which was launched at a reunion of Nelson’s descendants on Saturday.
HB TODAY PICTURE: WARREN BUCKLAND