Church filled with family
One of Central Hawke’s Bay’s longest-established families paid tribute to their new brood at the weekend.
More than 100 members of family and whanau gathered in Ongaonga for a naming ceremony for Patricia Bibby’s nine great-grandchildren, all born during the past two years.
People travelled from across New Zealand and Australia to attend the service, held at the family’s own memorial church.
Michelle Bergamini (nee Bibby), daughter of Derek and Lynn Bibby, described the event – held one month after the sudden death of her father – as “emotional but very special”.
The church, built in 1911 by Edward Bibby in memorial to his parents, was an integral part of the service.
“The idea was that quite a lot of the grandchildren – the parents – had originally been christened in the family church, and some had been married there too,” she said.
“We thought it’d be nice to carry on the family tradition and have another kind of occasion at the church.”
The day took five months for the women of the family to organise with the aid of email, but it was not an extraordinary task for the tight-knit brood.
“Two years ago for Christmas the Bibby’s all got together at (the family farm) Lunesdale and all but one of gran’s grandchildren were there,” Mrs Bergamini said.
“There were between 40 and 50 of us.
A remembrance candle for Derek was used to light those of each of his nine grandchildren, symbolising new life and hope for the future, and celebrant Huia Borrell said a blessing.
After the service, friends and family moved outside to release a balloon for each child, and with the weather being windy, a few hairy moments ensued.
“The kids were really eager to let the balloons go, so the adults were holding on for dear life,” Mrs Bergamini, 32, said.
Edward and Mary Bibby immigrated from England to New Zealand in 1861.
Their descendant Patricia Bibby, 88, gave birth to nine children, including two sets of twins.
Photo caption – YOUNG AND OLD: Patricia Bibby, 88, with Cara Bergamini, 11 weeks old, at a naming ceremony for the Bibby family in Ongaonga, where nine babies and toddlers were named.
HBTODAY PICTURE: PAUL TAYLOR