Home-Personal migration stories

From Holland and Scotland to New Zealand

My grandparents on my Mum’s side migrated to New Zealand from Holland in 1951. They came here to escape post-war Europe. My Oma was Dutch and an only child, my Opa had a German mother and a Dutch father and one brother. My Oma and Opa met at polytech in Holland, because my Opa was sent to Holland to go to high school. They married just after World War Two. They lived in Indonesia for a short time, but were evicted when Indonesia sought independence from Dutch rule.

They returned briefly to Holland but found it depressing and there were severe shortages of housing and food, and opportunities. They came to New Zealand to create a new life for themselves. They thought they had the possibility of buying some land and creating a rubber plantation (Opa had a degree in tropical agriculture), but were mislead about the climate in New Zealand.

Oma’s parents were anxious about her travelling to the other side of the world. This wasn't such for Opa, he had been at a school and he had a brother who stayed in Holland. His father worked for Shell Oil, so his parents used to travel around for work, which is why he was sent to Holland. (He stayed with relatives).

Alexander and Margaret travelled to New Zealand in 1840 to buy land and escape the hardship of Scotland. They came on the ship “London”, which departed August 1840, and arrived Christmas Day, in Pito-one, now known as Petone. They went to Pararoa (possibly now Porirua) to buy some land, but were driven out by “hostile natives”, and returned to Wellington. Later they moved to Banks Peninsula in 1846.

John, Alexander and Margaret’s second child, married Jane, and they bore seven children. Their second daughter, Adelaide, married William and bore six children, and Christina Elizabeth (Lizzy) their first child, was born in 1907. She married Ernest, and had three children, Nora, Doris and Jennifer, my grandmother. She grew up in Lower Hutt.

Jennifer married Kevin, whose family had been in New Zealand for five generations and descended from Chute, who was a Captain of some note during the New Zealand Wars. He had a son, Pierce, who is Kevin’s dad. Jennifer and Kevin moved to Christchurch by boat a week before the Wahine sank, where they bore Roger, my dad.

Mum and Dad both came up from Christchurch at different times for work opportunities and first met at the Housing Corporation in 1990. My half-brother was born in 1992, and I was born in 1999.
Both sides of the family travelled halfway around the world to create a new life for themselves. I’m glad they chose New Zealand.

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