Pedersen Album

Pedersen Family

By Rose Hanna 10DN July 2006

My great great grandfather Niels Christian Pedersen was born in Norre Bork in Denmark on 20 October 1853. His parents were Peder Christiansen Hinsig and Kirstine Thuesdatter (pictured). They had seven children.

Niels was the fourth child and he had three sisters and three brothers (although one died aged 5 in 1869).

They lived in this house in Denmark. At the age of 18 Niels left Denmark and sailed to New Zealand. He settled in Hawkes Bay and worked as a shearer. He later met Harriet Powell who lived in Otane (which was called North Kaikoura [Kaikora] in those days). She had been born on 22 April 1865 in Staffordshire in England. On April 27 1887 they married in Christ’s Church at Pukehou (Te Aute). Niels was 33 years old and Harriet had just turned 22.

Back row : Harriet, Christian, Niels
Front row : Howard, Harriet (known as Nettie), Ivan

Niels’ bakery in Otane

Niels and Harriet lived in Otane. They opened a bakery, which was probably built by Harriet’s father William Powell who was a builder. A Scottish settler, writing home to Scotland in 1891, mentioned “the baker is a Dane named Pedersen, and he baked the nicest bread I have ever tasted, Edinburgh bread not excepted.” Four children were born in Otane: Christian, Harriet, Ivan and Howard Bert (my great grandfather, born in 1900).

Niels developed health problems so they sold the bakery and moved to Ormondville. They bought land in the district. Their youngest child Eric was born there. The name of the property was ‘Rata’. They later built a second house closer to the road which is still standing (see photo).

My great grandfather Howard went to school in Ormondville. He and his brothers walked to school every day. He left school at age 14 and did various jobs. For a while he worked at a dairy factory transporting milk (pictured). There he met his future wife Emma Mear who worked for the owners of the dairy factory (with laundry in picture).

Howard and Emma married in 1929 when they were both aged 29. They purchased a farm in Ngamoko Norsewood up against the Ruahine Ranges. The farm was called Glencoe. They first farmed sheep and dairy cows, selling cream to the local factory during the depression. Emma milked the cows and Howard worked as a shearer.

Emma and Howard

The farmhouse at Ngamoko in winter

Fay and Jill at the Dannevirke AMP [A&P] Show 1938

Their first child Valda Fay (my grandmother, known as Fay) was born in 1931. Ross Niels was born in 1932 and Jill Emma in 1934. They moved from dairy farming to sheep farming exclusively.

The children all went to primary school in Norsewood and my grandmother was head girl in her last year. There were about 105 children at the school in those days. They all went on to Dannevirke High School. My grandmother told me “The school was 43 miles away and we travelled by bus each day. We were the first children to be picked up and the last to get home. The trip took over an hour each way.”

My grandmother left school at the age of 17 and went to work at the Norsewood Post Office. She started off at the telephone exchange before being trained to serve at the counter. Everything was done at the Post Office in those days including paying out pensions, car registrations, income tax collecting and the usual postal services. She had to drive to work everyday and she was given a Fiat car for her 18th birthday.

Fay beside her first car

Fay on her wedding day with her father Howard

In 1952 Howard built a house at Rata Street in Hastings, leaving a manager on the farm in Norsewood. The farm was eventually sold in 1963 just before Howard’s death. Fay was transferred to the Havelock North Post Office as a cashier. There she met her future husband William John Hanna who part-owned the local Shell garage Havelock North Motors. They married in 1956. They built a house in Havelock North and had three children, Pauline Kay, Bruce William (my father) and Tracey Anne.

Bruce, Pauline, Fay and Tracey (in front)

The children went to Havelock North Primary School. In 1970 they moved from Havelock North to Longlands Road East, where Bruce still lives today. Bruce went to Lindisfarne College. He was keen on farming and on leaving school joined the Hawkes Bay Federated Farmers cadetship. For two years he worked on a hill station at Tutira. In 1983 he travelled overseas, first to Australia and then to Europe via Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. He worked in the UK for two years and met my mother Shelley Howison in London in 1986. Shelley was born and grew up in Cape Town South Africa.

On returning to New Zealand, Bruce and Shelley lived in Hawkes Bay for a while before moving to Dunedin in 1988. Bruce worked as a commercial fisherman and Shelley worked for a law firm. Rose Yvette was born in Dunedin on 9 August 1991. Brother Jacob Nelson was born on 27 April 1996. In 1998 the family moved back to Hawkes Bay. In 2000 they built a second house on the Longlands Road property where my grandmother Fay still lives. My grandmother is now 75.

We have traced relations in Denmark and several members of the family have visited them in Denmark.

Fay, Bruce and Rose taken 19-08-91

Family Tree

Neils Christian Pedersen.
Born. Norre Bork. October 20 1853 Danmark. [Denmark]
Died. Ormondville. New Zealand. June 15. 1938

Married Harriet Powell Otane. New Zealand. 27 April. 1887
Born. Leek, Staffordshire. England. April 22. 1865
Died. Ormondville. New Zealand. 1937.

Christian William Thue
Born. Kaikoura [Kaikora] 1888
Married. Isabel Jane
Died. Ormondville 1971

Jean Patricia
Married Verdun

4 sons

Maxwell Christian
Married Beryl

2 sons

Neils John
Married Nancy
2 daughters

Never married
Died Ormondville

Howard Bert
Born 1900
Married Emma
Died Hastings

b 1931
Married William Hanna

2 daughters 1 son


b. 1960
married Shelley

Born 1991

Born 1996

Married Rex Herne
2 daughter[s]
1 son


Married Jens Pallesen
Died Hastings 1977

Born Ormondville 1907
Married Anne

Barry Evan
Married Hilary

Matthew Erik Dean

Project Diary 2006

17 May     Started thinking about who I could research

31 May     Made a list of people I could talk to

4 June     Emailed my grandmother in South Africa to ask about our link with David Livingston

5 June     Received reply from my grandmother

10 June     Attempted family tree but found a missing link in the late 1700’s which could not be resolved

11 June     Decided to research Pedersen family line (my father’s mother’s family)

18 June     Went through my family photographs

25 June     Interviewed my grandmother Fay and typed up notes.

28 June     Went to Hastings Library to look for local history books for background information

29 June     Searched the internet for information

2 July     Went shopping for paper and other supplies; photocopied photos and family tree

9 July     Completed typing, bibliography and so on. Worked on layout.

16 July     Continued working on layout

19 July     Typed up diary and completed project



Boyed, MB. City of the Plains – a History of Hastings. Victoria University Press 1984

Harris, K (ed). Our Yesterdays. Easy Print 1999

Tait, P.  Hawkes Bay Provincial Centennial. Swailes Printing Coy Ltd 1958

Wright, Matthew. Hawkes Bay – The History of a Province. The Dunmore Press 1994

Personal Interview:

Hanna, Fay. Childhood memories and family history

Websites :

Original digital file


Date published

July 2006

Format of the original


Accession number


Do you know something about this record?

Please note we cannot verify the accuracy of any information posted by the community.

Supporters and sponsors

We sincerely thank the following businesses and organisations for their support.