Immigrating to New Zealand,
On the 7th March 1952 ,our family left Denmark to immigrate to New Zealand. My Father had always wanted to move to a country with warmer winters, than we had in Denmark.
Dad’s passion in life was growing flowers, and he was a professional nurseryman, and earned his living by that.
However most gardening came to a stop during the cold winter months, and he wanted to move to a country, where it was warmer and he could grow things all year.
However, the depression in the 1930’s and the subsequent World War, put a stop to any immigrating.
When things settled down after the war, he started inquiring about immigrating to a warmer climate.
He investigated Venezuela, Kenya, and Australia among others, but settled on New Zealand, because my mother refused to go anywhere there were snakes.
So the process of obtaining permanent residency started. It took some time as we had to have health checks and police clearances, and when that was all in order, we had to wait to get to get a passage on a boat.
Dad had to go ahead of the rest of the family because of the housing shortage at that time.
So one day in October1951, the travel agency informed us of a cancellation on a cargo boat that also carried 12 passengers.
But he had only until the next to get ready to catch the train to Sweden to board the boat.
So it was all hands to packing and deciding what to take with him. Next morning we waved goodbye to Dad.
We lived in a boarding house, while waiting for the papers to be in order, having sold the family house and nursery in readiness for immigrating, all the money from the sale was used to pay our own fares to New Zealand.
Dad arrived in New Zealand in late November. He didn’t speak any English and he was 49 years of age.
He contacted some Danish people he knew of, and they helped him to find a job in the cardboard division of the N.Z.Glass Co in Penrose.
The job was quite routine, so he didn’t need a lot of language skills. At that time there was lots of jobs and no unemployment.
He soon found a house that also had 3-4 acres of land, so he could continue with his gardening. He worked shift work, so there was plenty of daylight time to garden in.
He started to gather furnishings, ready for our arrival. Money was short, so he made up two sets of bunks with planks, to which he attached wirewoves, for mattresses, he got some sacking cloths, which he fashioned into mattresses .He then stuffed them with waste cardboard from the factory, which he laboriously cut into small pieces.
After obtaining accommodation, the way was clear for the family to come, and a passage was booked for us on the next available passenger boat, leaving from England to Australia in mid March.
Now we had to decide what possessions to take with us and what to leave behind. It wasn’t practical to take too much.
I can’t remember all that we took except for two feather duvets and some kitchen stuff, some books, photo albums and other family treasures.
I think we brought the really important things with us and so we were ready to leave and go to a new country on the other side of the world, with a difficult language and different customs.
I was 14 at the time, and had just completed 7 years compulsory schooling. I really loved my country it was so beautiful with all the changing seasons. All my family was there and my own best friends, I did not want to leave everything and every one that I loved and was familiar with.
At that time ordinary people had little money and travel was expensive, so we didn’t think that we would ever see our relatives and country again so saying good-bye every one was thought of as final.
My grandfather was in hospital, so we went to say good-bye to him, he died from cancer 3 months later.
It was 31 years before I visited Denmark again. My mother never made it back as she as she died 14 years later.
One of the saddest things was that mothers piano had to be sold, as it was to expensive to take with us, it was never replaced in New Zealand, as it was not high on the priority list.
Obtaining a home and getting established was more important at that time. We 4 sisters got married one by one and of cause were busy establishing our own homes and raising our families, so somehow there was never enough money for a piano.
It is a lasting regret that the family never got a piano for mum because she so loved her piano, and we could always know, if she was happy or sad by the music she played.
So the day for leaving arrived and we went to the railway station to catch the train. Friends and family were there to bid us good-bye. I was inconsolable and cried and cried. My mother must have felt the same, but I was to upset to notice any distress she must have had.
The train arrived, we settled in the carriage, and then it was time for a final wave to loved ones, as the train left the station.
We sat and watched our country as we passed through it for the last time.
But gradually the sadness lifted, and we started looking forward to the great adventure that was ahead of us.
A long sea voyage and a new country.