This year’s Newcomers Network trip, an annual event attended by a keen group of regulars, was subsidised by the Office of Ethnic Affairs’ Settling In programme. On Monday, 8 December 2014, 22 Newcomers Network participants and five volunteer supporters took to the road in two mini-buses and two passenger cars.
The first stop was at Mossops Honey Shop in Tauriko to watch a live bee display and taste a variety of different honeys, followed by a visit to McLaren Falls Park where the group took a walk to the waterfall, fed the ducks and had a morning tea break. Next on the timetable was an opportunity to explore Firth Tower Museum and grounds, after which it was time for a pot luck lunch. As cheese is known to round off a meal quite nicely, the next stop was at Kaimai Cheese Café, cheese tasting included. Later those interested in the raw material, i.e. milk, were able to get close up to a herd of Guernsey cows being milked at Wairere Falls farm, the last stop on this trip before the group hit the road back home to Tauranga.
An unscheduled stop was made at the memorial stone for the CD3 plane Hastings which crashed into the Kaimai range on 3 July 1963 on its way from Auckland to Tauranga. Until the later Erebus plane crash in 1979, this crash with 23 fatalities was the worst aviation accident in New Zealand history. Newcomers Network member Inderjit Chadda, formerly a pilot himself, requested that the group stop and pay tribute to those who lost their lives that day.
What’s in a name? To slightly change and quote Shakespeare, … That which we call Janet? At Wairere Falls farm the group were amused to learn that every cow had a name. “So where is Janet?” somebody asked. There was no cow with that name, so one got named after Janet, the Office Coordinator, in honour of the efforts she had put into organising the trip.