Tag Archives: zealand



There is a connection between these three pictures: the sign in New Zealand near Matamata, Bloomsbury Square Gardens in the sun at lunchtime, and the stables at Woburn Abbey. The connection is the Duke of Bedford.

You will remember from your high school history that the Duke of Bedford was a prime mover in ensuring that  Elizabeth I succeeded to the throne and he was there in the front row when she was crowned. This rather loose-knit family includes the Russells, Churchills and Spencers – as in Bertrand, Winston and Diana.

Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire is the family seat and a story is told about a walnut tree in Chenies, Bucks, which was planted from a nut that fell from the branch upon which Henry VIII hanged the last abbot of Woburn.

Bloomsbury Square Gardens

Bloomsbury Square Gardens

You will remember, too, the Bloomsbury Group of the early 20th Century, they used to meet in the Bloomsbury Square area – Virginia Woolf the author, Keynes the economist – the intellectual stimulus of the area drew them here. Just over the back of the gardens is the British Museum, a couple of streets away is the Gt Ormond Street hospital, nearby is the Shaftsbury Theatre. The University of London is here, as is the School for Oriental and African Studies. Look for Great Russell St, Woburn Place and Isaac D’Israeli.

Bloomsbury Stud, Matamata, New Zealand

Bloomsbury Stud, Matamata, New Zealand

Finding Bloomsbury is easy – walk up High Holborn, turn right into Southampton Place, cross at the pedestrian crossing and walk into the gardens. Stand in the gardens a moment and observe – a wonderfully eclectic crowd passes you by: tourists and intellectuals roam the museum while students from the university mingle with the strays of St Giles. Look for the group clustered on the steps of the English Language Institute, and stroll the lovely tree-lined vista of Bedford Row to admire its beautiful four storey brick apartments now turned legal chambers. Mind you, they do back on to Gray’s Inn, so it’s no wonder the lawyers took them over. Much of the area lies within the Borough of Holborn, so it’s nice to see street signs that make you feel at home – so much cosier than Camden and Westminster.

The horse studs in Woburn and in Matamata are the same – the family spends six months in the sun in NZ and then the same again in England.

The stables, Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire.

The stables, Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire.


Soul Food – A Tearle Family Recipe Book of Memories

Written by Genevieve Tearle  2001

These recipes are taken from a beautiful little book Genevieve wrote and illustrated for us; recipes we use all the time, many from family occasions.

It is one of most treasured things we have ever been given.

I have included her illustrations, and inserted a few more pictures where they add interest. The text is true to the original and the Kiwi-isms are retained.

Where possible, I have taken pages directly from her

Chocolate Crunch

  • 6oz Anchor butter,
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 c weetbix,
  • 1 c flour,
  • ½ c sugar
  • 1 T cocoa,
  • 1 t baking powder
  • Take 2 bored kids on the weekend or school holidays. Set one aside. Melt butter and essence. In a bowl mix together Weetbix, flour, sugar, cocoa, & baking powder. Pour melted mixture over dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Leave ¼ of mixture in bowl for second child to have while licking the bowl.
  • Press remaining mixture into a greased Swiss Roll tin and bake for ½ hr at 180C. Ice while hot and cut into squares for kids’ lunches and random snacks.

Apricot Chicken

  • 8 chicken pieces,
  • 1 packet onion soup
  • Can apricot halves,
  • sprinkle of herbs
  • ½ c water,
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • Take one cold winter’s evening and a family meal. Place all ingredients into a casserole dish or browning dish. Cook at 180C for 45-60 minutes, or microwave on high for 20 minutes. Serve over rice.
  • Water can be substituted by white wine for a richer meal.
Hamilton Girls High School

Hamilton Girls High School

Baked Snapper

  • 1 lemon,
  • 1 tomato,
  • 1 onion,
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T brown sugar,
  • handful raisins
  • Take one freshly caught snapper from the family fishing trip. De-scale and gut in the kitchen sink. Rub the inside of the cavity then rub with salt and brown sugar. Slice up lemon, tomato and onion. Layer the above in the fish and top with raisins. Bake or microwave.
  • Recipe also suitable for that perfect 4lb trout brought home by Dad and the kids.

Elaine and brothers after a day at sea


  • 1 c plain flour,
  • ¾ c milk,
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 egg,
  • extra milk
  • Combine all ingredients into a bowl and beat well. Use extra milk to thin if too thick, or flour to thicken. Heat a frying pan and melt butter.
  • Pour over pancake batter (note thickness will vary widely and that’s a good thing).
  • Serve over the breakfast bar with lemon & sugar or jam & ice-cream.

Bacon & Egg Savouries

  • Pastry:
  • 1 c flour,
  • ½ t salt,
  • 60g Anchor butter
  • 3-4 T water
  • Take two intermediate aged children (one at a time) and combine with Home Ec classes. Sift flour & salt into a bowl. Rub in butter. Add water 1 T at a time. Mix to a dough. Roll out pastry and cut into circles to line patty tins.
  • Filling:
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 50g cheese (grated)
  • bacon (chopped).
  • Mix all ingredients together. Spoon filling into pastry cases. Bake at 200C for 15 minutes.
  • Repeat recipe often during school holidays or when guests are coming for lunch.

Macaroni Cheese

  • ½ c macaroni elbows,
  • 3 T Anchor butter,
  • 1 small onion finely chopped,
  • 2 rashers of bacon,
  • 2 T flour,
  • ½ t salt,
  • 1 ½ c milk,
  • pinch cayenne pepper,
  • 1 ½ c grated tasty or colby cheese.
  • Cook macaroni pasta. Set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan & saute onion and bacon. Add flour & salt and cook until bubbly. Cool.
  • Add milk gently while stirring. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly while thickening. Remove from heat & stir in cheese. Season with cayenne pepper or ground pepper.
  • Place macaroni cheese in oven proof dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and grill until golden brown.
  • Serve accompanied with cheap white wine during T-Col days or with orange juice for a casual family evening.

Pauanui Lunch

  • 1 loaf fresh bread from the hot bread shop, 4 cinnamon rolls, 4 ice-creams from Mr Whippy, 1 salad (optional).
  • Eat ice-creams first (and quickly to avoid melting in the hot summer sun). With whatever room left available, fill with fresh bread, cinnamon rolls and casual salad.
  • Relax for at least half an hour before moving to the beach and the more energetic pursuit of boogie boarding.
Pauanui Beach House

Pauanui Beach House

60 Minute Rolls

  • 1 T dried yeast,
  • 1 T sugar,
  • ½ c warm water (mix together & stand for 5-10 mins in a warm place).
  • 1 T Anchor butter,
  • ½ c hot milk (add butter to milk allowing butter to melt. Cool to “warm”).
  • 2 ½ c flour,
  • 1 t salt (sift, make a well in the centre).
  • Add the yeast & milk mixtures to the dry ingredients.
  • Mix with an old wooden spoon and beat well.
  • Turn onto the breakfast bar & knead well until smooth & elastic.
  • Raise in the hot water cupboard for 10-15 mins until dough doubles in size.
  • Knead dough lightly and form into even sliced rolls. Prove for 10-15 mins or until rolls double in size.
  • Cook at 250C just above middle for 15-20 mins or until golden brown.
  • Serve with butter, cheese or jam while still hot.

Where the babies come from: Waikato Hospital from across Hamilton Lake.

Ewart and Genevieve

Coconut Ice

  • 1 tin sweetened condensed milk,
  • 3-4 c icing sugar,
  • 4 c coconut,
  • 1 t vanilla essence,
  • 4-6 drops red food colouring.
  • Combine 3 c of icing sugar with condensed milk, coconut & vanilla. Mix well.
  • Add remaining icing sugar if required to make firm. Press half the mixture into the base of a 20cm square cake tin.
  • Colour remaining mixture and spread over the white coconut ice. Chill until firm, cut into squares and serve to the soccer team after a match or wrap in small plastic bags for the school fair.

Apple Crumble

  • Stewed apple (enough to fill a pie dish.)
  • 1/3 c flour,
  • 25g Anchor butter,
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • 2 T brown sugar,
  • 1 T rolled oats.
  • Mix together flour, cinnamon, oats & brown sugar.
  • Melt butter.
  • Add melted butter to dry ingredients.
  • Sprinkle mixture on top of apple. Bake at 190C for 20-30 min or until golden brown.
  • Serve with Swiss Maid Custard.
  • Variation: chopped walnuts & raisins & cinnamon can also be added to the apple mixture.

Nana Satchwell’s Apricot Squares

  • 4oz Anchor butter,
  • ½ tin sweetened condensed milk,
  • 3oz brown sugar,
  • 1 pkt crushed Girl Guide biscuits,
  • 1 c dried chopped apricots.
  • Melt butter, sugar & condensed milk together.
  • Add apricots and biscuits.
  • Press into a slightly greased tin & sprinkle with coconut (optional). Leave to set in the fridge.
  • Retain half the resulting for the family & drop the other half off to your best friend.

Ginger Crunch

  • 4oz Anchor butter,
  • 4oz sugar,
  • 7oz flour,
  • 1 t ground ginger,
  • 1 t baking powder.
  • Cream butter & sugar, add sifted dried ingredients.
  • Knead well & press into a shallow greased tin. Bake 20-25 mins at 180C.
  • Put into a saucepan
  • 7 T butter,
  • 4 T icing sugar,
  • 2 t golden syrup,
  • 1 t ground ginger.
  • Heat until melted then pour over slice while hot & cut into squares before it gets cold. Serve in school lunches.

Nearest town and school; Otorohanga


  • 2 c brown or white sugar,
  • 2 c water,
  • 1 T vinegar,
  • 1 T Anchor butter.
  • Put all ingredients into a saucepan  Boil without stirring until a little tried in cold water snaps.
  • Pour into buttered muffin dishes and serve to the kids in school lunches or as a weekend treat wrapped in greaseproof paper.
Hamilton Boys High School

Hamilton Boys High School

Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 large onion,
  • 1 packet mince,
  • 1 clove crushed garlic,
  • 1 tin tomatoes,
  • generous serving of frozen mixed vege,
  • cheese grated,
  • soy sauce & worcestershire sauce to taste.
  • Brown chopped onion & garlic in a little olive oil. Add mince & cook until brown. At the same time cook potatoes & mixed vege.
  • Combine mince, chopped canned tomatoes, a little soy sauce & worcestershire sauce to taste with mixed vege in a casserole dish.
  • Top with mashed potatoes & then grated cheese.
  • Cook at 180C for 15-20 mins until cheese is golden brown. Serve for a winter dinner round the TV.

Eggy Bread & Strawberries

  • 1 punnet of strawberries,
  • 1 T sugar.
  • Cut strawberries into halves & remove the leaves. Put into a bowl & sprinkle with sugar.
  • Wrap bowl in a tea towel & refrigerate.
  • Combine 2 eggs with 1 T milk and a shake of nutmeg. Beat vigorously.
  • Heat a frying pan & melt butter to cover the bottom.
  • Dip white bread or slices of French toast into the egg mixture & cook through over a moderate heat.
  • Serve eggy bread with strawberries & reduced sauce out of the bowl. May also top with whipped cream or marscapone. The perfect anniversary breakfast-in-bed treat!

Pumpkin and Vege Soup

  • 1 pumpkin,
  • 1 large onion,
  • 2 carrots grated,
  • several sticks of celery cut finely,
  • 1 packet onion soup,
  • 2 c water,
  • pepper to season.
  • Carefully cut up pumpkin into pieces & place in a saucepan. Cover with water & add onion soup mix.
  • Heat until boiling then turn down to simmer. Leave for half an hour.
  • Cut up onion & add with carrot & celery to the broth. Season to taste.
  • Allow to reduce before blending to smooth consistency.
  • Serve in bowls with hot buttered toast or 60 minute rolls.

The essential Kiwi fritter

  • 1 ¼ c flour
  • 1 ½ t baking powder,
  • ½ t salt,
  • 2 eggs,
  • ¾ c milk.
  • Sift flour, baking powder & salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
  • Beat eggs, then beat in the milk. Pour into the well and stir until the dry ingredients are just dampened. Add corn, whitebait, cut cooked vegetables or any leftovers into the batter & stir.
  • Cook in a frying pan in a little butter or olive oil and serve with a salad or with relish for a quick and easy lunch after Saturday sport with the kids.
After-sport playground. Farmlet and district, Otorohanga

After-sport playground. Farmlet and district, Otorohanga


  • 4 egg whites,
  • ¼ t salt,
  • 1 c caster sugar,
  • 1 t vanilla essence,
  • 1 t vinegar,
  • 2 t cornflour,
  • 1 bottle cream (whipped) & fresh fruit to top.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 120C. Place egg whites & salt in a bowl. Beat until peaks just fold over when spoon is removed. Beat in caster sugar 1-2 T at a time.
  • Continue to beat until the mixture is very stiff. Beat in the vanilla essence, vinegar & cornflour. Place mixture on baking paper on an oven tray.
  • Bake for 1 ½ – 2 hours or until surface is crisp and lightly coloured. Cool on rack. Top with cream & fresh fruit & serve generously to family.

Fruit Salad

  • Take a generous amount of fruit. Cut into chunks & serve in a large bowl.
  • Great with whipped cream or on its own as the perfect end to a wedding supper.
Elaine, 4yrs, flower girl at Auntie’s wedding

Elaine, 4yrs, flower girl at Auntie’s wedding

Melted Moro Bars with fruit

  • 65g Moro Bar
  • ¼ c light sour cream,
  • selection of fresh fruit
  • Cut the Moro Bar into 1cm wide slices.
  • Microwave on 50% power for 1 ½ – 2 mins or until melted.
  • Add sour cream and stir vigorously until smooth and creamy.
  • May need to return the sauce to the microwave oven for 20-30 seconds and beat again. Serve with seasonal fruit.
  • An alternative to the healthy fruit salad (tastier too!)

Sunday Breakfast

  • Take 5 eggs (1 extra for Dad) 8 rashers of bacon, 3 tomatoes halved (none for Genevieve) and 8 pieces of bread.
  • Preheat the oven to grill at a medium heat. Arrange bacon on a draining rack over a baking dish & put under the grill. Tomatoes also cooked like this.
  • Heat water in a saucepan until boiling. Add eggs to the water & watch carefully to avoid overheating (runny yolks a must.)
  • Toast bread and keep warm in the oven. Arrange toast, eggs, bacon & tomato (except for Genevieve) on warm plates & serve over the breakfast bar with orange juice.
  • Note: The kitchen on Sunday morning is Dad’s domain.

Xmas Breakfast

  • As per previous recipe, but Dad won’t be ready until 10am and the presents must wait until after breakfast & Dad’s shower & dressing….

Birthday Chocolate Cake

  • 4 oz Anchor butter,
  • 1 c sugar,
  • 1 egg,
  • 1 t vanilla essence,
  • 1 T vinegar,
  • 1 T golden syrup,
  • 2 c flour,
  • 1 t baking powder,
  • 1 T cocoa,
  • ¾ c milk,
  • extra ¾ c milk with 1 t baking soda dissolved in it.
  • First pull out the birthday cake book and allow the birthday child to choose a cake design of their choice.
  • Next, cream butter & sugar. Add egg, vanilla, vinegar & golden syrup. Sift flour, baking powder & cocoa.
  • Add alternately with milk. Lastly add milk with baking soda. Put in a ring tin & microwave for 13-15 mins.
  • Decorate according to the child’s wishes, adorn with candles, and serve with chippies, jelly and other birthday treats. Spoil the child enough to last them until Xmas!
Elaine and Jason.

Elaine and Jason.


  • 2 c water,
  • 2 ½ c milk,
  • 2 c rolled oats,
  • ½ c bran flakes,
  • ¼ – ½ t salt.
  • Bring the water & milk to the boil in a saucepan. Stir in the rolled oats, bran flakes and salt. Cover the pan & simmer over a low heat for about 5 mins or until the porridge is thick and creamy. Stir occasionally.
  • Cover in a very thick crust of brown sugar & top with a little milk to hide the taste of the porridge & turn a healthy breakfast into a sticky sweet. This breakfast is to be avoided, when at all possible.


  • 1 c flour,
  • 2 T sugar,
  • 2 t baking powder,
  • 1/8 t salt,
  • 1 egg,
  • 2 T Anchor butter melted.
  • Sift flour, sugar, baking powder & salt into a bowl. Beat the egg, then beat in the milk & melted butter. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Cooking in a frying pan over a moderate heat in a little butter until golden brown.
  • Serve with Grandad’s raspberry jam and whipped cream.


  • 3 c plain flour,
  • 6 t baking powder,
  • ¼ t salt,
  • 50g Anchor butter,
  • 1 ¼ c milk.
  • Sift flour, baking powder & salt into a bowl (or mixer). Cut in butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (hence the mixer).
  • Add milk and mix quickly to a soft dough.
  • Lightly knead. Lightly dust an oven tray with flour. Press scone dough out onto this. Cut into even pieces, leave 2cm between scones. Brush tops with milk. Bake at 200C for 10 min until golden brown.
  • Serve for the family with butter, cheese, gherkins, jam, peanut butter, meats and a selection of relishes & chutneys and whatever else can be found in the fridge to go on the breakfast bar.
House, pool and back yard. Breakfast bar through ranch slider doors from deck.

House, pool and back yard. Breakfast bar through ranch slider doors from deck.

Chocolate Mousse

  • 1 family block Caramello chocolate,
  • 2 egg yolks beaten,
  • 2 egg whites whipped to peaking,
  • 1 bottle cream whipped.
  • Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Fold in egg yolks & stir until chocolate has a glazed appearance.
  • Fold in the whipped cream, followed by the egg whites one T at a time. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve either on its own or with fruit, or stir chocolate balls through the mousse for a uniquely “Mum” treat.

Anzac Biscuits

  • 100g Anchor butter,
  • 1 T golden syrup,
  • ½ c sugar,
  • ¾ c coconut,
  • ¾ c rolled oats,
  • ¾ c flour,
  • 1 t baking soda,
  • 1 T hot water.
  • Melt butter and syrup together in a large saucepan. Cool. Mix sugar, coconut, rolled oats & flour together. Stir into saucepan. Dissolve soda in hot water & mix in. Place rounded teaspoonful on a greased tray. Bake at 180C for 15 mins or until golden.
  • Serve to English relatives and colleagues for a uniquely ANZAC experience with biscuits!
ANZAC graves, Lone Pine, Gallipoli. Photo by Genevieve

ANZAC graves, Lone Pine, Gallipoli. Photo by Genevieve

Banana Cake

  • 125g Anchor butter,
  • ¾ c sugar,
  • 2 eggs,
  • 1 cup mashed bananas,
  • 1 t baking soda,
  • 1 T hot milk,
  • 2 c plain baking flour,
  • 1 t baking powder.
  • Take one foster sister home for a rare visit and set to work for all those cookies she’ll take with her. Cream butter and sugar.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add mashed banana & mix thoroughly.
  • Stir soda into hot milk & add to creamed mixture.
  • Sift flour & baking powder together. Stir into mixture.
  • Turn into a greased, lined 20cm cake tin. Bake at 180C for 50 mins or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Leave in tin for 10 mins before turning out onto cooling rack.
  • Eat while still warm because with family in the house, it will never last until cold.


Backyard BBQ

  • Take a healthy dose of Kiwi sunshine, 1 set of plastic outdoor furniture, several salads (including a potato salad) a selection of meat (steak NOT optional) & a generous loaf of bread.
  • Cook the meat over the BBQ, serve onto a plate on the table. Serve yourself, relax & take a dip in the pool after lunch!
Nice place for a BBQ, NZ

Nice place for a BBQ, NZ

Chicken Kebabs

  • Skewer pieces of chicken, slices of courgettes, mushroom halves, pineapple pieces and capsicum onto skewers.
  • Roast over BBQ, relax and enjoy as per previous recipe.

Beef Nachos

  • 1 packet mince,
  • 1 onion chopped,
  • 1 can tomatoes,
  • 1 pottle tomato paste,
  • 1 can baked beans,
  • 100g cheese (grated) nacho chips,
  • sour cream to top.
  • Fry onion in olive oil until soft. Add meat and cook until brown. Add canned tomatoes (chopped) tomato paste & baked beans. Reduce heat and simmer. Arrange over nacho chips, top with cheese & microwave on high for 1 min to melt cheese.
  • Top with sour cream & sprinkle with Tobasco sauce if required.

Chocolate Cup Cakes

  • 50g Anchor butter,
  • 50g brown sugar,
  • 1 egg beaten,
  • 75g self-raising flour,
  • 3 T cocoa, pinch salt,
  • 120ml milk.
  • Microwave butter & sugar on high for 20-30 secs. Whisk until creamy. Add egg and whisk well.
  • Mix in flour, cocoa & salt alternatively with milk. Mix until smooth,
  • Place in microwave muffin cases in muffin tray. Half fill each case, elevate and microwave on high for 2 min.
  • Remove cup cakes from tray and leave to cool.
  • Serve still warm with whipped cream and kiwifruit for a messy treat for the parents on kids’ cooking night.

Pizza Elaine Style

  • Make 1 batch scone mixture (as above).
  • Roll out onto a pizza tray.
  • Top with tomato paste, spaghetti, onion, pineapple, bacon, tomato & other ingredients as required. Top with cheese.
  • Bake at 180C until base is cooked through & cheese is golden brown.

Honeyed Yams

  • Chop ends off the yams.
  • Slice into 2mm wide slices.
  • Gently fry in a little butter until yam slices are a little softened and golden brown.
  • Stir through 1 t honey & serve with chicken and other vegetables.

Cheese on Toast

  • Wait until half time in a 2am-starting All Blacks Test or the FA Cup Final. Then toast bread, top with cheese and grill in the oven.
  • Share between father & daughter, with a cup of tea for Dad.
  • Must be speedily made to avoid missing any of the second half.
Photo of the All Blacks by Genevieve

Photo of the All Blacks by Genevieve


  • 200g Anchor butter,
  • ½ c sugar,
  • 1 ¼ c plain flour,
  • ¼ c cocoa,
  • 2 c Cornflakes.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Sift flour & cocoa. Stir into creamed mixture.
  • Fold in Cornflakes. Spoon mounds of mixture onto a greased oven tray, gently pressing together.
  • Bake at 180C for 15 mins or until set.
  • When cold ice with chocolate icing and decorate with walnut halves (‘cause that’s the best bit!)

Stuffed Mushrooms

  • Take a couple of handfulls of mushrooms and return them to the refrigerator.
  • Time is just too short to stuff mushrooms, and food should be relaxed and casual to be most enjoyed by this family.
  • Simple, substantial fare!

Hokey Pokey

  • 5 T sugar,
  • 2 T golden syrup,
  • 1 t baking soda.
  • Put sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan.
  • Heat gently, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.
  • Increase the heat & cook until mixture just starts to boil. Stir occasionally, if necessary, to prevent burning. Remove from heat.
  • Add baking soda. Stir quickly until mixture froths up.
  • Pour into battered tin immediately. Leave until cold and hard.
  • Break into pieces and serve.
  • May have to be repeated often if Jeremy is visiting from Aus.

Potatoes in Cream

  • Slice potatoes thinly (don’t need to be pealed), slice one onion thinly, ½ pot of cream, grated cheese.
  • Layer potato and onion. Every couple of layers pour over small amount of cream and sprinkle with grated cheese. May also sprinkle parsley through this dish. Top with cheese.
  • Bake at 180C for 30-45 mins.
  • Serve with glazed orange carrots, buttered beans and meat of your choice.
Our wedding invitation photo in Genevieve’s recipe book. Nice touch, Love...

Our wedding invitation photo in Genevieve’s recipe book.
Nice touch, Love…

Vegetable Bake Off

  • 8 mushrooms halved,
  • 4 tomatoes (cut into 8 pieces)
  • courgettes (thickly sliced)
  • yellow capsicum (in thick strips)
  • potato & pumpkin (cut into chunks & microwaved on high to soften)
  • pieces of feta cheese,
  • basil pesto,
  • olive oil.
  • Toss all ingredients except olive oil into a generous roasting dish. Dot with basil pesto & drizzle over olive oil. Bake at 180C for 45 mins or until ingredients are turning golden brown.
  • Serve on generous plates at Genevieve’s Auckland house for a group of friends, or alone.
Auckland City from Mt Victoria

Auckland City from Mt Victoria

Creamy Pasta Bows with Chicken

  • Pasta bows (boiled)
  • ½ punnet cream,
  • juice of 1 lemon,
  • 1 onion,
  • 1 large boneless chicken breast,
  • 1 yellow or red capsicum,
  • handful mushrooms.
  • Saute onion in a frying pan in a little olive oil.
  • Add chicken & brown.
  • Pour over cream & lemon. Bring to a slow boil, turn down heat and allow to simmer for a further 5 mins.
  • Serve with chilled white wine (can be de-alcoholised) for a low fuss but high impact meal to be enjoyed by guests.

Auckland City

Mini Auckland Pizzas

  • 4 pita breads,
  • tomato paste,
  • oregano,
  • feta cheese cubes.
  • Toast pita breads. Arrange on a baking tray.
  • Cover with tomato paste. Sprinkle with oregano ( can also use rosemary) either fresh or from a jar.
  • Top with feta cheese cubes & grill for approx 2 mins.
  • Serve in front of the Tennis Open on Sky Digital.

An Auckland kauri villa

Potato Salad

  • Cut potatoes into generous chunks.
  • Cook in a pan until cooked through. Allow to cool.
  • Combine mayonnaise with mustard and toss through potatoes. Sprinkle with spring onions, capsicum & fresh herbs.
  • Toss the salad & serve in a generous platter by the BBQ.
Auckland Harbour from the Devonport Ferry

Auckland Harbour from the Devonport Ferry

Chocolate Log

  • 1 packet chocolate chippie biscuits,
  • generous serving of sherry,
  • one bottle of cream whipped.
  • Soak biscuits in sherry one at a time.
  • Arrange in a log shape with whipped cream between individual biscuits and then around the log.
  • Sprinkle with chocolate flakes.
  • Refrigerate until chilled through.
  • Serve infrequently; divine, but very rich.
Bird of paradise flower, Auckland

Bird of paradise flower, Auckland


Building Candyfloss

By Graeme Tearle, Thames, NZ, 2009

This story was originally a conversation between Graeme and a friend of his (floatingkiwi) in an on-line magazine. I have kept all the Kiwi-isms and most of the participants’ comments.

This is how I built my Townson 25’ Candyfloss

There is nothing particularly outstanding about my accomplishment. In the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s hundreds of Kiwis were building boats of all sorts in sheds, garages & back yards all over New Zealand. If you couldn’t afford to buy one, and most couldn’t, you built one. It was the finest flowering of the Kiwi “do it yourself” tradition. Choose a designer, buy a plan, start building. I chose Des Townson. I liked the look of his boats. I thought they were the prettiest yachts I had ever seen. And I knew they performed well. I had raced against them in other boats & got thoroughly trounced every time, and talking to their skippers I knew they handled beautifully too.

Des Townson’s building method, like the boats themselves, was entirely his own creation. He was self taught. Nothing wildly outside the box, but “different”, what worked for him, and what he thought looked right.

25 feet was as big as I could afford, as big as I thought I could build, as big as I thought I could handle. Big enough to do everything I wanted to do. The year is 1986. I am 38 years old, married for the second time, with no children. Let’s build a boat.


First buy a plan. Buy some ply, source some kauri and mahogany. Lay out your offsets.

Cut out your bulkheads, shape & fit doublers around the edges. Kauri next the hull, mahogany in the cutouts. Make up the temporary frames. Mine were just rough-sawn pine, screwed together with buttblocks.


Make up the girders (more on those later), assemble the whole lot in your mother-in-law’s packing shed.
Beryl lived on a “lifestyle” block a few miles out of town where she grew orchids for export. We could have the packing shed for the ten months or so between seasons. No pressure, mind. As soon as the orchids were out, we were in, like a rat up a drainpipe.

A question from TimmS: I’m just curious, are you still married? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

New Zealand kauri is a spectacularly successful boatbuilding material. It is light, strong, medium density, close-grained, straight-grained, resinous, rot-resistant and grows without a knot for the height of its trunk. And they were bloody big trees. The biggest of them were 60ft diameter at the base. Alas, they are all gone now, except for a few prized specimens which have attained the status of national icons. Which well they might. I got one that was probably one of the last to come out of the Coromandel. A cocky (farmer) found it in a gully, abandoned during the bullocky days as being too hard to get out, & those old guys didn’t give up easy. He pulled it out with a D8, milled it into 6x6s, stored it in a shed for a couple of years, then offered it for sale. It was beautiful stuff, and we shall not see the like again. Though it had lain in a stream for the better part of a hundred years, it was still perfect. I bought as much as I could afford, as much as I thought I needed, loaded it on a trailer & towed it home behind my Morris 1100. Slowly.


 Set up a vaguely boat-shaped frame on the floor, build your strong back. Set up your temporary frames & bulkheads in their rightful places, straight, square and all in a line. Fit the girders. These planks-on-edge run from frame #2 in the v-berth area, thru the half-bulkheads at the mast, to the companionway bulkhead, and add enormous strength to the structure. They especially resist the fore-and-aft bendingforces imposed by a masthead rig with a 150% headsail and bar-taut forestay & backstay enabling a very straight headsail luff & stunning performance to weather. Later in the build they will be disguised as the bunk fronts.


We took our trailerload of kauri to a friendly boatbuilder with a huge bandsaw, who ripped the 1/4in x 6in planks, the 1 x 1 stringers, 6 x 1 general building stock and 6×2 for laminating, for beer. We took that lot to a mate who had an old Tanner manual feed thicknesser. It took us two days to mill it all.


Tim, it depends on your definition of “disaster”. All four of my marriages ended in disaster. This one at least I got a boat.

A comment from D Gentry:

OhmiGod, this is like, totally awesome!
Err, except for the divorce parts.

Keep it coming!
Dave Gentry

Hmm, now I’m wondering if they recognize 80’s valleyspeak in NZ….

A comment from Willin’: Seems like every corner we turned while touring your lovely country there was a lovely grove of kauri being preservered. Otherwise, all the planted forests seemed to be radiata pines, what we call Monterey pine up here. I always wondered why you guys didn’t try to replenish the kauris more agressively. Monterey pine is firewood up here.

Laminate, cut out & set up your stem.

This is laminated Kiwi style, two thicknesses side by side, joints staggered. Knotch cut for “master” stringer. Pencil marks on frames show where “master” stringer will go. This is specified on the plan. All other stringers run parallel to “master” stringer, at 6in centers.


Transom laminated over a throw-away form, fitted & knotched for keelson & “master” stringer.


Knotching the girders for the keel floors.


Keel floors laminated & being set in. The plans specify the shape of the largest end of each of these.

Keel floors in place on the girders.
If you turn your monitor upside down you will get a preview of how the interior will look. Or stand on your head. My spindly legs are protruding thru the hull in the v-berth area, to port. To starboard is the half-bulkhead & support post for the mast. Behind it will be the head. The port setee will be built on top of the port girder. There is one knotch left in the girder for the floor that will support the half-bulkhead.
But wait, there’s more…

Willin’, all the planted forests are radiata. The only use I have for it is firewood & it’s not particularly good at that. We were a long time realizing what a valuable resource we had squandered.
I was one of those who chained myself to a tree in the Pureora Forest, the last remaining stand of untouched native bush in the North Island of NZ. My brother-in-law was one of those who was coming to cut it down. It was a tense time.

Native tree replanting is the in thing to do these days, but it will be a long time before you can call any of it native forest again.

Did I mention Janet & I were both working full time during this? Well, now it was really full time. Every night after work & a hurried dinner till 11:00 or so, & all weekend.

My dad. “Master” stringer run out & second one also. Keelson laminated in place. Gunnel fitted.

Dave. My daughter taught me Valleyspeak during her teenage years. Thank God, she grew out of it.


We scarfed the stringers & the gunnels on the floor, and rounded all the corners that would be seen. If I had been real fussy I would have stopped the rounding at each of the bulkheads to give a larger gluing surface, but time was short & I doubted my ability to do it perfectly. One missed stop & the whole job is blown. Besides it means fitting it all twice…..& I had estimated my requirements perfectly. I had no spare stock.

All the stringers fitted, the stem, keelson, girders, & floors faired. Ready to start planking. You can see the two shelves in the forepeak? The upper one (as the boat is in the pic) is the floor of a shelf accessible from the v-berth. The lower one will be the floor of the anchor locker.


End of week one. We were pretty happy, but Janet was after us to hurry up.
The stringers are glued & screwed to the outside of the bulkheads, not knotched in. The table of offsets is corrected for this, so all dimensions, except for the transom, are to the inside of the stringers. The transom is to the inside of the planking. You get your money’s worth when you buy a Townson plan.


Comment from floatingkiwi

I really didn’t mean to sound so “forward”, this morning but I am glad it might have encouraged you to pull this lot out of the archives. Awesome Graeme! This is just great. I like the first hand history stuff from a fellow Kiwi as well. Pile it on mate.
Mate,I didn’t know you wuz married 4 times! Man have you lived!!

Start your planking. Des calls for the first skin to be laid at right angles to the keel. This seems wasteful of planking material to me, so I lay my first plank on to cover as much area as possible.

Second plank is pushed up against it & scribed, removed, shaped, fitted, scribed, removed, shaped, fitted & glued. At end of day one we have fitted three planks per side. Janet has a fit. This is obviously going to take too long. A hurried call to a mate (this is what yacht clubs are for) produces a router with a jig for doing just this. Thus begins my enduring love affair with routers.

The jig is very simple. Just a metal plate with a hole thru it & a guide welded on off to one side of the hole, screwed to the bottom of the router. A straight-sided bit set to the right depth completes the rig. Tack your new plank next the old one with a small gap top & bottom. Run the guide on the router along the edge of the old plank. In a shower of router dust your new plank is shaped to match the old one. Tack on another plank and repeat. When you have three or four, remove the lot, move them over, glue them down. Trim off the top edge. Repeat on the other side. This is more like it. Now we are getting it done.

All the planks are on.


Knock off all the high spots & proud edges with a belt sander.


Comment from Willin’: Great hair!

Time for my dad to go home, but I still have a weeks holiday left.

Start the second skin. It should go on at 45 deg to the keel, but once again I go for maximum coverage. My plank stockpile is looking scary low.


First planks on. Any edges that resisted laying flat were screwed down with 1/2in 12 guage PK screws. These have large heads, so don’t need washers, & will not show on the inside. When the glue dries, they are removed & reused.


Janet now feels she has contributed enough to come out from behind the camera & be included in the album.

I had to use some pretty raggedy looking planks by the time I got to here, but there is not much bend & it will be easy to fill.

Getting near the end.


Job done.


Rum time! And a very happy Janet.

During my three week “holiday” we have gone from bare building jig to completed hull. I’m pretty happy too.

Folks, meet the real Candyfloss.

I have a mate who is the art teacher at a local High School. He paints this for me.

She goes here on the transom. I hope she doesn’t get too cold.


Sanding first.
I’m being really good here. Even wearing my dustmask & earmuffs!


Flatten the area where the keel is to go. Build up the keel stump. Fill all holes, cracks & voids. Roll on two coats of resin. Run out of resin. Go buy more.


Ditto at the back end for the rudder skeg.


Roll on lots of paint. Do lots of sanding. BORING.


That’s near enough. The fish don’t care if your bottom is not perfectly smooth. The routed groove in the transom is for the backstay chainplate.

Time to fire up the barbecue. What for, you say? This is the Kiwi way, mate.


Comment from Hywl: Many Americans will not know that Candy Floss translates to Cotton Candy.

Thankyou Hwyl. You learn something new every day. I hope lots of Americans are enjoying my memoir.

Buy in lots of beer, wine for the girls, chips, dips, peanuts, sausages, lamb chops. What else? Make sure there is gas in the bottle! Bring in the troops.

Take off the front of the shed. Yes, I always knew I would have to do this. It’s only a bloody shed.


Tie some ropes around the boat for better grip.

Pick up your boat & carry it out.


Put it down on the grass & roll it over.


I get my first look inside. I get my first look at her from a distance. I get my first look at her the right way up. She looks beautiful to me.


Before this, it was a hull. Before that, it was a building jig. Before that, it was a pile frames in a shed. Before that it was a sheaf of papers. Now we have a boat. She is the right way up. I can now call her “she”. A very proud moment.

We pick her back up & carry her back inside. We prop her up temporarily. Later I will build a cradle for her to sit in, but meanwhile……..


Party time!!!!!

It’s six months since we started.

We have now entered 1987

“We are not here to build a boat. We are here to go sailing”.
Remind yourself of this as you drag your sorry spirit out of bed on Sunday the morning after & go to make coffee. But there will be more boatbuilding before the sailing begins.

And the first thing we will need are some deck beams. The position & camber are shown in the plans. Knotch them for the carlins & run them out.


Side decks & cockpit seats are on the same level, but different cambers.

Lay your decks. Seal them underneath first.


The cabin side coamings are solid mahogany. Their exact shape & those of the windows are given in the plans. Better get the windows right or Des will mention it when he sees them. It is his signature. The fore coaming is laminated over a throw-away form.


The cabin coamings & cockpit coamings are all one. To fit the coamings in the cockpit, dry fit the coamings, draw both sides on the deck, remove the coamings, drill down thru the carlins, refit the coamings, screw up from underneath. Better have the angle right.

We need a roof to complete our cosy little home.


Re-erect your temporary frames. That is why we have not taken them out yet. Cut off all protruding bits & bevel edges where necessary. Run 2×1 temporary stringers fore & aft. Cut your 1/4in ply in 2ft wide strips & fit as per planking. Laminate three layers, joints staggered.


When finished, cut off excessive amounts of excess. Remove the roof, stringers & temporary frames.

Finish the inside of your roof on the ground. This is much easier than sanding & painting overhead, a job to be avoided at all costs.


Comment from RFNK

Cripes Graeme! Where have you been hiding all this! What a great thread! And this is brilliant:

The jig is very simple. Just a metal plate with a hole thru it & a guide welded on off to one side of the hole, screwed to the bottom of the router. A straight-sided bit set to the right depth completes the rig. Tack your new plank next the old one with a small gap top & bottom. Run the guide on the router along the edge of the old plank. In a shower of router dust your new plank is shaped to match the old one. Tack on another plank and repeat. When you have three or four, remove the lot, move them over, glue them down. Trim off the top edge. Repeat on the other side. This is more like it. Now we are getting it done.

How fantastic that you documented all this so well at the time. Thanks! Rick

Time to get serious about the interior. It is way easier to do this in a boat without standing headroom while the roof is off.

Quarter berths going in. The starboard one will later receive the chart table, a simple,shallow drawer that slides out from under the deck. Cockpit looking more complete, but awaiting the…


No, not this. Galley framed up. Des did not include a galley in this boat. He designed her as a Hauraki Gulf day sailor, but I live in Tauranga, not Auckland, & when I stick my nose out of the harbour entrance, Chile is to starboard & the lovely, tropical island paradise of the Kingdom of Tonga is straight ahead. Beyond Tonga is Alaska. I’m not going to any of those places in this boat, but I will be gone for weeks at a time, so decent cooking facilities are a must-have.




All photos and documents on this page courtesy Tasmanian State Library and remain copyrighted to them.

The story of the Tasmanians starts for me with an email from Richard in March this year, 2007. He had found some Tearle headstones in a graveyard, on the Tasmanian State Library website.

“There are 5 pictures, but 4 are of the same stone and appear to be of:

  • Minnie Maud
  • Arthur W Floyd
  • Henry
  • Katherine
  • William d1919

But one of the pictures states also the grave of Lucy Ethel – though my poor eyes cannot see that!

The other stone is of Ernest, but pretty useless information wise…”

When I tried the site, and entered Tearle into the Search, I found the headstones, too. They were in the Lefroy General Cemetery, just outside Launceston. Rosemary deepened the mystery when she found a William Tearle who died in 1919 in Opotiki, NZ.

Here are the headstones that started it all – Henry and Katherine and their family

Henry and Katherine Tearle

Henry and Katherine Tearle

…and Ernest Tearle. But who were they, and what was their story?

Ernest Tearle

Ernest Tearle

I sent Aus $20 to Marie Gatenby, the researcher at the State Library, and she sent me some surprising information, and some pictures and documents she said I could reproduce here.

Firstly, there was a picture of the small bronze plaque attached to the base of the headstone above, in memory of Lucy Ethel.

Lucy Ethel Tearle

Marie wasn’t able to reproduce for me the headstone on Ernest’s grave because she said it wasn’t able to be photographed. However the inscription said:

“In Loving Memory of


Died 29th August 1956

Aged 75 Years.”

Then we took out the photo of the main headstone and we read what was written there.

Minnie Maud and Arthur W Floyd, Henry Tearle, William Tearle

So we now had the following family:

  • Parents; Henry Tearle 1846-1905 and Katherine 1847-1942
  • Minnie Maud 1874-1901 m Arthur W Floyd
  • Ernest 1881-1956
  • William 1884-1919
  • Lucy Ethel 1887-1983

But we needed more….

The envelope from Launceston had a little more valuable information:

The death notice in the local paper said Charles Ernest, son of Henry and Catherine, was the brother of Lucy Tearle of Lefroy.

A Digger notice in the Tasmanian Federation Index said Florence Annie married Josiah Freer in the Methodist Chapel in Launceston in 1911.

And finally, we see that Lucy Ethel was the sister of Minnie Floyd, Fred, Florence, Ernest and William

Our family is better sketched now:

  • Henry Tearle 1874-1901 m Katherine Birkham 1847-1942
  • Minnie Maud 1874-1901 m Arthur W Floyd
  • Frederic Henry 1876
  • Florence Annie m Josiah Freer
  • William George 1884-1919
  • Charles Ernest 1881-1956
  • Lucy Ethel 1887-1983.



Joan Perkins of South Australia added to the increasing knowledge:

“I discovered a Charles Tearle married an Ellen Charlotte Mary Rae (Ray) in Victoria in 1876. Just out of curiosity I checked for births between 1876 and 1884 this week (on microfiche). I found a William George born 1884 to Henry Tearle and Kate Birkham. How’s that? Henry and Kate also had Frederick Henry born 1876, Florence Annie born 1879, Charles Ernest born 1881. So far I do not have a marriage date for Henry and Kate. I also found George Errnest born 1882 to Charles and Ellen (Rose?). Charles and Ellen Rae also had Jessie Anna born 1884. They must also have had a daughter Charlotte as I have the death of a Lottie Tearle aged 25 in 1916 at a place called Fryerstown. I don’t know where that is. I have the death of Ellen Tearle aged 63 in Fitzroy North in 1919.”

We turned our attention to the story of William George 1884.

As far back as Dec 2005, Rosemary had become interested in the story of William George Tearle, who died in Opotiki, NZ in 1919. She wrote to us:

“A few weeks ago I found an entry in the NZ government archives for a William George Tearle, probate file 1920. I sent off for the information and found that:

“A few weeks ago I found an entry in the NZ government archives for a William George Tearle, probate file 1920. I sent off for the information and found that:

William George Tearle, a bushman, died 9 November 1919 at Opotiki, leaving behind a savings account in the NZ Post Office of 221 pounds, 7 shillings and 10 pence; and a horse and motor car to the value of 53 pounds.

I then sent for a print-out of his death certificate. It reads:

Name: William George Tearle

Occupation: Bush Feller

Age: 35 years.

Cause of death: Intestinal obstruction and post operative shock.

Name & Surname of Father, Maiden Surname of Mother, Occupation of Father: Not Known

Where born: Unknown

How long in NZ: 16 years

The marriage information box is empty. William was buried at Opotiki by a Church of England Minister, Thomas Fisher.

For those who don’t know NZ – Opotiki is a lovely spot in the Bay of Plenty on the east coast of the North Island. Bushman/feller – this was a hard task as NZ “bush” is really a rain forest. William must have been a hard working young man.”

There was no question in my mind that Rosemary’s William George and the William on the Lefroy headstone and the William George found in Joan Perkin’s research above were the same man. Then new information came to hand that proved it conclusively.

At this stage Richard met Mia Saunders of Whakatane, NZ, who volunteered to go to Opotiki and look up William’s details for us. What she found was a goldmine. She has sent us a copy of the page in the location book of the cemetery and using this she has located the site of William’s unmarked grave. She has also sent us the page of the cemetery register that shows William being buried. All of this was deeply moving for us, and a wonderful gesture from her.

Given the date and place of William’s burial, we had identified him at last.

Entry for William in the Register of Burials, Opotiki, NZ 9 Nov 1919. Photo courtesy Mia Saunders.

Entry for William in the Register of Burials, Opotiki, NZ 9 Nov 1919.
Photo courtesy Mia Saunders.

Cemetery map for Opotiki Cemetary

Cemetery map for Opotiki Cemetary

location of William’s unmarked grave, in the triangle of grass nearest the camera, with a general view beyond.

location of William’s unmarked grave, in the triangle of grass nearest the camera, with a general view beyond.

have no further information on Frederick, but it looks as though he has left Tasmania and we may find his story on the mainland. We now know that all of the other Launceston Tearles have died. I met a lady in a cafe in Madrid and she said she was from Tasmania; Launceston, in fact. She knew the Lefroy cemetery and would have a look to see if there were any Tearles in Tasmania. I very much doubt now that she will find any. There may be Freer grandchildren in Tasmania and it would be interesting to know if they are aware of their Tearle connections.

In the meantime, Rosemary was working on another two passions of hers – the Kent Tearles, and the children of Richard 1754 of Stanbridge who came to Sandridge, near St Albans, married Mary Webb and started having children from 1778. One of their sons was Joseph 1788 and he married Mary Cook in St Peter, St Albans (which could have been St Leonard’s Church, Sandridge) and died in Sundridge, Kent in 1870. Through her research on Joseph, she was able to provide the link from the main Tree to Henry and Katherine nee Birkham. Here is Joseph’s story as told in the Sundridge censuses:

1841 Joseph 1791 (not born in Kent) Mary 50 Ann 30 Joseph 20 Charles 15 Henry 15 Mary 15 in Sundridge Kent

In 1851 only Joseph, Mary and Mary the dau are still together, and still in Sundridge:

1851 = Joseph 1788 (of St Albans) Mary 63 Mary 24 in Kent

And in 1861 poor Joseph is in the workhouse, still in Sundridge, Kent:

1861 = Joseph 1788 (of St Albans) pauper in Sundridge

In Sundridge Church there is the following inscription on a headstone near the tower:

“Mary, wife of Joseph TEARLE died February 17 1855 aged 67 years. The above Joseph Tearle died March 10 1870 aged 82 years.”

We followed the story of young Joseph born 1820 and Henry 1826, but Charles 1826 had a different story. Rosemary found this:

“Marriage in Parish Church, Sevenoaks, Kent

1846 10 May, Charles Tearle, of full age, Bachelor, Labourer, Sevenoaks Town, father Joseph Tearle, Gardener

Susan Oliver, of full age, Spinster, no profession, Sevenoaks Town, father James Oliver (Deceased) Labourer

Both signed, Witnesses Joseph Tearle and Mary Ann Wright or Loright. This Joseph is probably Charles’ elder brother.

Whatever age he is given in various censuses, Charles was actually born in London on 8 Aug 1821, christened 26 Sept Upper Street Independent Islington London,  the son of  Joseph Tearle and Mary Cook.   Charles and Susan had 2 children and with a third older child went to Australia 11 May 1849 on the “Eliza”. An interesting aside: the older child who went to Australia (above) was a Charles, born 4 years before the marriage of Charles and Susan.  I found a birth reg for a Charles Searle Oliver in June 1/4, Marylebone, 1841.”

Rosemary sums it up thus:

“Family that went to Australia on “Eliza” on 11 May 1849 is: Charles 27 Ag Lab, Susan 27 wife, Charles 7 years, Henry 2 years, Anna infant (I think Charles 7 years, may have been the Charles Searle Oliver born Marylebone 1841)

Arrive Port Adelaide 23 Aug 1849

Susan dies 30/8/1852 aged 30 (born 1822)

Joseph dies 13/10/1852 aged 5 months (born May 1852)

Henry marries Kate Birkham circa 1873 or 4.”

And the rest, as they say, is history. A footnote: Apart from the NZ connection with William George, I have another, much closer, connection with the Tasmanian Tearles; I live 15mins walk from St Leonard’s Chruch, Sandridge, where Richard 1754 of Stanbridge and Mary nee Webb married and lived, where Joseph 1788 of St Albans was born and raised, and where this story started.


Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil, 1881, Chiswick, UK

Contributed by Wendy Skelley, Auckland, New Zealand.

Born: 16 June 1881 in Chiswick, Middlesex, England

Died: 28 February 1967, Mt Albert, Auckland, New Zealand

Egerton was a young man when his father died in 1900. It was not long after that he became a soldier.

Boer War as an Australian soldier

Service Number 99, of the 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen (6th QIB);

Served in the Second Anglo Boer War in South Africa from May 1901 to May 1902.

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil
Description on Enlistment
Name……………………………………Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil
Hair…………………………………….. Dark Brown
Height……………………………………5 feet 5.5 inches
Weight…………………………………..8 stone 12 pounds
Chest measurement……………………..32.5 inches
Chest Expansion…………………………34.75 inches
Age………………………………………22 years and 7 months

Badge of the Queensland Imperial Bushmen

The 6th QIB departed from Australia at Pinkenba, Brisbane on April the 4th 1901 on the British transport “Victoria”. Upon arriving at Cape Town on May the 2nd 1901, the convey moved out and proceeded to Durban arriving on the 7th of May. Near Ermelo on the 21st Boers sniped at the flank with the 6th QIB suffering a few casualties; however they succeeded in capturing 15 Boers and much stock.

June 2nd, sustained their first loss to enteric fever. Brisk engagement on the 11th at Kaffir’s Spruit. Surprised and captured a laager on the 13th at Kopjesfontein on the right of the Vaal River. On the 21st June captured two Boer conveys suffering some casualties. June 22nd fighting at Lindique Drift with some casualties.

During August made substantial captures at Bultfontein. September, October and November in operations at Wakkerstroom district and east of the Transvaal. During December marched to Newcastle by Botha’s Pass and through Drakensberg to provide protective cover during the construction of blockhouses in that corner of the Orange River Colony.

On the 2nd of February 1902 at Liebenberg’s Vlei the 6th Imperial Bushmen joined with the New Zealanders and pursued a Boer convey in the area then charged the enemy’s rear guard with much gallantry, whilst the South African Light Horse bravely rushed the centre. Three guns with 3 wagons of ammunition, 26 prisoners (including 2 captains and a field cornet), 150 horses and mules plus 750 cattle were taken. Five Boers were killed and eight wounded. By the end of February after a big drive 300 prisoners had been taken.

During March and April several drives were undertaken with similar success. The 6th QIB embarked at Durban on May the 17th, 1902 in the Transport Devon and arrived at Albany on the 5th of June, Sydney on the 13th and Brisbane on the 17th then disbanded on the 23rd June 1902.

E.B.C. Cecil as a private was paid 5 shillings per day. A proportion amounting to 1 shilling was requested to be paid in South Africa for personal needs with the balance of his pay of 4 shillings to be forwarded to his mother Mrs. A.C.Cecil C/- Albion Post Office, Brisbane.

Mrs. A.C.Cecil resided in Brisbane at the corner of Milne Street and Old Sandgate Road (now Bonny Avenue), Albion in a residence named “Fernmount”.

E.B.C. Cecil was issued, upon arrival in South Africa, with a Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1* Serial No B394 in .303 British calibre. He carried this weapon throughout the campaign and suitably engraved the butt stock to commemorate his contribution.

This particular specimen with the serial number B 394 was the 10,394th in a production run of 26,647 for the Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1*. Manufactured at Enfield in 1900, The Mark 1* was the last of the line of the Lee Enfield Carbines.

This mark or model replaced the Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1 as a result of the abolition of all clearing rods in British service in 1899. The Mark 1* was the same in all respects with the exception of the omission of the clearing rod. The mark was introduced into British service on August 7th 1899 and replaced in 1902 by the standard British all Services weapon the Short Magazine Lee Enfield Rifle Mark 1.

Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1* used in the Anglo Boer War of 1899 to 1902..

Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1* used in the Anglo Boer War of 1899 to 1902..

The engraved butt of Burleigh’s rifle.

The engraved butt of Burleigh’s rifle.

Egerton’s Boer war history and gun are featured in the book “Carvings from the Veldt” written by Dave George.

Information on his record indicates E.B.C. Cecil was not wounded or incapacitated by illness and returned to Australia healthy.

Private Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil was issued with a Queens South Africa medal and two clasps ‘SA 1901 and SA 1902’.

Carvings from the Veldt

Carvings from the Veldt

Private Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil was issued with a Queens South Africa medal and two clasps   ‘SA 1901 and SA 1902’.


During 1902 Egerton returned to Durban, Natal in South Africa to obtain employment. His brother was also in Natal at this time. It is unknown if he obtained employment, but while there he met Katherine Tebay (nee O’Keeffe), who was also in South Africa with her husband.

New Zealand

By 1907 Egerton is living in New Zealand with a Catherine Tebay (nee O’Keeffe). She was also known as Kathleen Frances Cecil and Kathleen F Tebay. She had married Mr Robert Tebay at Ballarat, Victoria, Australia in September 1900. It is unknown what happened to her husband. No record of him after their marriage has been found.

The family story is that Egerton & Catherine met in Pretoria, South Africa and returned to New Zealand together. Egerton’s brother Aubrey was also in Pretoria in 1902. Robert Tebay’s brother, John, died in Natal about 1902; I cannot find war records for either of them.

After they settled in New Zealand together, Egerton and Catherine lived at Arahiri, Putaruru in the North Island where he was a sawmill hand, they were still living there on the 1911 census.

They had two children: Burleigh Victor Cecil (1907) and Melba Doreen (1908). Both children were registered without a father’s name, and with their mother’s married surname – Tebay. However, Egerton accepted responsibility for his illegitimate children, and in 1917 his son’s birth certificate was amended with his name certified as father. (They are also acknowledged in his estate after he died.)

Vic, Burleigh, Kath and Dolly

Vic, Burleigh, Kath and Dolly

During 1914 the family lived at 1 Montague Street, Newton, Auckland. Egerton was working for the New Zealand Railways.

Sadly in 1916 things got rough and Egerton was convicted of assault and sentenced to six months hard labour in Auckland. Due to circumstances the children were taken from Egerton and Catherine and became wards of the state. Egerton and Catherine separated under difficult circumstances.

Before Egerton left for war in 1918 he married Edith May Viall (who already had a young daughter called Lily) and they lived together in Mahurangi, Rodney, Auckland. Egerton was working as a clerk.

Egerton embarked on the 16th May 1918 at Wellington, New Zealand.

While he was away at war his brother, Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil, died in Brisbane, Australia.

WW1 as a New Zealand Soldier



The Ionic, one of the ships used in the transportation of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force to join British troops in WW1.

The cover of the on-board magazine and the details of the transportation.

The cover of the on-board magazine and the details of the transportation.

The following is sourced from Egerton’s WW1 Medical Files:

5 November 1918  Injury to his right ankle while in France when his trench was blown in by a shell explosion.

28 November 1918   While he was in hospital he developed influenza.

10 January 1919  Medical notes from NZ Command Depot, Codford, Wiltshire, England    2 month med cert.

9 April 1919   HMNZTS Paparoa, 3 month med cert.

24 June 1919   Certificates sent from Sick & Wounded records to Base records.

20 August 1919  Letter for report of medical prognosis from military base.

7 October 1919  Auckland base, 3 month med cert.

We have no record of when he became a sergeant.

It is noted however, on Egerton’s medical records that he was wounded on the 5th November 1918 in France. It is possible that he was involved with the recapture of the French town – Le Quesnoy.

One report says:

“As recently as a week before the Armistice, on 4 November 1918, New Zealand troops had been involved in the successful recapture of the French town of Le Quesnoy. The attack cost the lives of about 90 New Zealand soldiers virtually the last of the 12,483 who fell on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918.”

New Zealand had the highest per-capita loss of any nation involved in WW1.

Another report notes:

“Just a week before the end of the First World War in November 1918, the New Zealand Division captured the French town of Le Quesnoy. It was the New Zealanders’ last major action in the war. To this day, the town of Le Quesnoy continues to mark the important role that New Zealand played in its history. Streets are named after New Zealand places, there is a New Zealand memorial and a primary school bears the name of a New Zealand soldier. Visiting New Zealanders are sure to receive a warm welcome from the locals.”

The War Effort of New Zealand; The Codford Depot

New Zealand Command Depot, Codford (circa 1918)

New Zealand Command Depot, Codford (circa 1918)

To give you a little flavour of the times, above is an illustration of the NZ command depot, Codford, pictured in the War Art archives

… when the wounded or invalided soldiers were sufficiently recovered to leave Hornchurch, they were sent to the Command Depot at Codford to be “hardened” for further active service training.

… This, also, was the first stage on the return journey to the trenches.

Life after the War

After Egerton came back from the war, he moved with Edith May and her daughter Lily to 9 Edgerley Ave in Epsom, Auckland. The house has since been demolished to make way for what is now the Newmarket overpass for the motorway.

Egerton became a motorman and worked for the Transport Board. They had two daughters together, Thelma and Winifred (pictures at end of Egerton’s story).

Egerton and Edith May Cecil

Egerton and Edith May Cecil

Egerton’s mother, Elizabeth, was living with the family in Epsom when she died in 1929. She is buried in an unmarked grave at Waikumete Cemetery, west of Auckland.

The unmarked grave in Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, of Elizabeth Cecil nee Peadon, Egerton Burleigh’s mother, is in the very foreground of this photo.

The unmarked grave in Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, of Elizabeth Cecil nee Peadon, Egerton Burleigh’s mother, is in the very foreground of this photo.

It was only four years later when sadly Edith May Cecil died in a car accident in November 1933 in Waiuku, south of Auckland. Edith is buried in Hillsborough Cemetery in Auckland. Her grave is covered in burnt shells.

The desperately tragic story of the death of Edith May Cecil is told in these three pictures.

Edith's grave

Edith’s grave

Detail of Edith’s headstone

Detail of Edith’s headstone


After the death of his first wife, Egerton lived alone at their house in Epsom. Then in 1944 he married Cassie Carter Dent (nee Natzke), who already had two children – Frank and Evelyn. Cassie was the sister of renowned opera singer Oscar Natzka; a brief biography is planned.

By 1949 Egerton and Cassie had moved to Te Mata near Thames. Egerton was retired but it was not long before they moved back up north to 6 Sidmouth St, Mairangi Bay in Auckland.

Together they lived there until Cassie died in 1962. His granddaughter Ninette remembers visiting him, his ankle always gave him grief and she remembers his limp.

Egerton’s last move was to the Ranfurly Veterans’ Rest Home in Mt Albert, Auckland.

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil died of Myocardial Degeneration on the 28th February 1967.

On his death certificate it says that he was cremated at Waikumete Cemetery. They have no records of this so we don’t know what happened to his ashes, or if indeed he was actually cremated there.


Ranfurly veterans home, Mt Roskill, Auckland, New Zealand

Egerton was a true Anzac soldier. He fought in the Boer War as an Australian soldier and in WW1 as a NZ soldier and in WW2 as an Instructor.


Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil 1881 - 1967

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil 1881 – 1967

Egerton’s children

Burleigh Victor Cecil Tebay (Vic) with his wife, Beatrice

Burleigh Victor Cecil Tebay (Vic) with his wife, Beatrice

Melba Doreen (Dolly) Hare

Melba Doreen (Dolly) Hare

Lil and Joe Sunich

Lil and Joe Sunich

Winnie McNae and Thelma Barnie

Winnie McNae and Thelma Barnie


‘Aubrey’s Sons’ has been compiled by Wendy Skelley in New Zealand, 2011 (wendy.skelley@xtra.co.nz)

Thanks to Egerton’s granddaughters Ninette Skelley and Lorraine McNae for some background details and photos, Herbert Rogers for his amazing Boer War details and photos, Barbara Tearle for the ‘A Victorian Mésalliance, or, Goings on at the Manor’ and her inspiration to carry on the story and most of all a big thank you to my life-long partner, Tony Skelley, for enduring the hours while I tippity tapped away.


Frederic Arthur Tearle, 1907, Islington, UK

You can tell that these two pictures of Fred (6m, and 2yr) were taken in London, can’t you? I have left the photographer’s signature, just in case.

Fred, 6 months, London

Fred, 6 months, London

Fred, 2 years, London

Fred, 2 years, London

Dad always used to tell the story that Arthur crashed Baron Rothschild’s best car, and then his second best car, on the same day. The first was when he hit a horse as he was speeding back from Leighton Buzzard railway station, being a bit of a dare-devil for a younger house member, and the second when he backed into a gas standard. He had to pick up My Lord in a horse-drawn carriage and was dismissed for the transgressions. He and Sadie were married in St Barnabus Church, Islington, London in 1904 and Fred was born in Holloway Hospital, London, in 1907. Dad told me that Sadie had got Arthur the job as a mechanic driver with the Rothschilds because she lived there. She worked from aged ten as a maid for the Rothschilds, and for Ella du Cane, the artist and book illustrator. Ella’s family were friends of the Rothschilds in both Ascot and in Mentmore Towers.

Fred and Evelyn Latta married in Invercargill on 22 Dec 1945 “in the residence of Mr R Latta, Moa St, Waikiwi,” says the marriage certificate. Robert Latta was a sawmiller and neither of the witnesses’ names mean anything to me, since they are both Invercargill residents. The family story is that Fred, getting near 40yrs and with no marriage – or even a girlfriend – in sight, put a letter in the lonely hearts column and Evelyn responded. This is the official photo of their wedding.

Fred and Evelyn Latta

Fred and Evelyn Latta

Fred returned to Hastings and took a job as a freezing company worker in the Tomoana Freezing works not far from where he and Evelyn lived in Haumoana. He kept this job until he retired. I don’t know exactly what he did there, but the work can be heavy and physically demanding.

Fred was a volunteer fireman

Fred was a volunteer fireman

There was real tragedy for Fred and Evelyn over the welfare of their girl, Edith, seen here with Fred and her grandmother Sadie. I met her only once, as a teenager, and we went for a walk around the park not far from home. She was a simple girl with limited language, and she lived in a sheltered home. However, she had enough ability to work as a maid in the home, and she earned a little money.

We received a telegram from Fred on 23 Jan 1978 saying that Edith was very sick in Hastings Hospital. On 31 Jan came the awful news that she had died. She was just 31yrs. Fred told us that she had become very depressed and that she had drunk a terrible poison. She must have been in the most horrible agony for all those days between the telegrams.

Edith, Fred and Sadie

Edith, Fred and Sadie


Ewart Frank Tearle 1947, Rotorua, NZ

School Days. Glenholme Primary School, Rotorua. I’m 5th from the right, second row down. Nice school. The principal’s name was Mr Bassett. My friends and I spent an awful lot of time on our knees playing marbles in chalk circles on the asphalt, while other boys played rugby or soccer on the school fields.

School Days. Glenholme Primary School, Rotorua. I’m 5th from the right, second row down. Nice school. The principal’s name was Mr Bassett. My friends and I spent an awful lot of time on our knees playing marbles in chalk circles on the asphalt, while other boys played rugby or soccer on the school fields.

I still know the names of most of the children in the photo above. The principal encouraged gardening, and he showed us how to grow and prune roses.

I hitch-hiked to see Sadie one summer and this was the photo she took of me in her garden in Haumoana. She was so short she fitted under my arm, but she was very nice to me and I went fishing in the mouth of the Tukituki River not far away, whilst she had an afternoon nap.

I hitch-hiked to see Sadie one summer and this was the photo she took of me in her garden in Haumoana. She was so short she fitted under my arm, but she was very nice to me and I went fishing in the mouth of the Tukituki River not far away, whilst she had an afternoon nap.

A boy and his dog. I was too skinny to go sailing and couldn’t hold the yacht upright. I took my dog to obedience classes and he got quite good at it. Dad made the gates in the background.

A boy and his dog. I was too skinny to go sailing and couldn’t hold the yacht upright. I took my dog to obedience classes and he got quite good at it. Dad made the gates in the background.

My 21st. I didn’t know they were planning it and the occasion was quite a surprise. Doesn’t Mum look gorgeous - and young!

My 21st. I didn’t know they were planning it and the occasion was quite a surprise. Doesn’t Mum look gorgeous – and young!

This is the inside of Sadie’s cottage, below, exactly as I remember it when I visited her. The picture above the mantlepiece is of Leonard Adams, a Navy man (a marine) who visited her when his warship the Renown, carrying the Prince of Wales on a voyage around the Colonies, called in at Napier and Wellington and he was allowed some time off to go and see her. He says on his copy of the sailing plan “Napier – Where I left to see Auntie. May 4th 1920.” The radio was made of black bakelite and she listened to the BBC six o’clock news every day, as she had during two world wars. She knitted peggy squares for the New Zealand Red Cross. These were 6-inch squares of knitted wool, which could be multi-coloured, and were made entirely from garter stitch. Someone dropped off the wool she was to knit, and came back in a few weeks to pick up the finished squares. Other volunteers sewed the peggy squares into blankets for the needy. Thousands of New Zealand women knitted them – my mother did from time to time – and the project seemed to have its origins in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Sadie was knitting them both times I visited her, and she told me hers were going to London. She must have made thousands of them.

Sadie's cottage

Sadie’s cottage


Frank Theodore Tearle 1915, Hastings, NZ

Here is the obituary I wrote for my father, who died a few months after Mum:

It is a source of great sadness to me that I should have to speak to you about my father so soon after farewelling my mother.  I had hoped to be able to speak with him and to write to him for some time yet. I shall miss him. There is no-one in the world who has had such an influence on me and on my life as Dad has.

Frank and Sadie 1925 Hastings NZ

Frank and Sadie 1925 Hastings NZ

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” My dad’s life and my dad’s guiding principle in a single sentence. There is only one way of doing something – do it right the first time, do it right every time. It didn’t matter if he was doing a small job on a model motor, or whether he was working on another project on his house, he approached every job with the same serious concentration, meticulous planning and careful execution. I have stood for hours and talked with him while he worked at his lathe and made those beautiful boats and engines for which he is justifiably famous.

I can remember many nights on the porch in Western Heights watching him work his magic on a small piece of metal, a magic I longed to weave, but had no gift for at all. I always felt close to him when I stood there and watched him work.

Frank Tearle at his lathe, Hahei.

Frank Tearle at his lathe, Hahei.

Here in Hahei, Dad made a boat for Jason and we all went down to the little stream at the end of the Hahei beach to watch this delicate little steam engine drive Jason’s new boat and to marvel at the intricacies of the remote control mechanism by which it was steered. Jason absolutely loved it and promptly christened it Genevieve, in honour of his sister. This boat is now a lovely and graceful monument to Dad’s beautiful grandson. One of the very best portraits I have taken is a photo of Dad, in his workshop in Hahei, looking over his lathe at me while he worked. I am proud of it, and he thought it was pretty good, too.

I remember a few things very vividly from my childhood about Dad. The first thing was that he knew everything. There was no subject brought up at the table – and we had dinner as a family every day – that he couldn’t teach us things about. While he wasn’t very educated, he always read very widely and thus he was very knowledgeable. No man I have ever met, then or since, was as knowledgeable as Dad.

He always had a vegetable garden. He could never see any reason for growing flowers, but he had the biggest vege garden that would fit onto any back lawn he was allowed dig up. And he grew the most beautiful vegetables; fat potatoes, huge and perfect carrots, beetroot, parsnips, cabbages, cauliflowers, rhubarb and in Rotorua he had this 15 feet high trellis for the chinese gooseberries, as they were called then, right at the front of the garden. They are called kiwifruit now. He had a thing about the soil in Rotorua being too porous and he wanted lots of organic material in the soil to give it some body and retain the water properly. He dug in people’s old hay and he grew lupines and dug them in, too.

I went with him one afternoon to a fishmonger in Rotorua whose freezers had failed overnight and after Dad had fixed the freezers, the man gave him the contents; some sharks, barracudas, groupers, mostly big fish, which Dad heaved onto the back of the truck. When he got home, he dug some trenches through the garden and dumped these fish into the trenches. For years we dug up fish scales. It took the neighbour fully five years to get to know Dad well enough to ask him the burning question, “What were you trying to grow when you sowed the fish?”

Frank and Peter at Sadie’s 1958.

Frank and Peter at Sadie’s 1958.

Dad wasn’t a big man – I suppose five feet eight – but he always had physical jobs and so kept very fit. You know he built his mother’s house in Haumoana when he was only 15, don’t you? In Hyla Rd. It was originally a shed on a section his mother bought with £100 her brother sent her. Levi Tearle, her father-in-law sent her £80 and with that she dug a well. The house Dad built is still there and the well is still there. He left school and went to work for an apiarist, so he knew a lot about bees and how different honeys are made. Then he went to work for a builder and during World War II he was building houses in Wellington.

He wasn’t allowed into the army because he had had rheumatic fever as a boy and it had left his heart with an irregular beat. He had also had mumps at fifteen and that left him deaf in one ear. He met Mum in Wellington and after they were married he had work as a builder in Whakatane, a farmer in Te Aroha, a refrigeration engineer and a joiner/fitter in Rotorua so he knew his way around wood and metal. That’s well documented – everyone here will know what a lovely job he made of building his own house in Hahei and how talented he was with his lathe – what you may not know is how unbelievably strong he was.

He and Mum used to gather strays and one of them was a lady called Marlene and her boyfriend. Now, he was a weightlifter, bigger than Dad, with muscles on muscles that he liked to display. One day he and Dad replaced the big ends on this chap’s car, filled the motor with oil and tried to start the car. The starter motor did nothing, just growled, so Marlene’s boyfriend took the crank handle and gave the starter motor a hand. Still nothing. I can see him in his singlet, sweating in the warm autumn sun, muscles bulging as he strained to turn the motor over. Still nothing. “I’ll have a go,” said Dad, stepped forward, set his feet, grabbed the crank handle in both hands, and turned it over, just like that. But the motor hadn’t made a sound. Dad pulled the crank out of the hole and we saw that he had made a very tidy 360-degree worm in the middle of the crank handle. “You don’t have to have lots of muscles to be strong, you know,” he murmured to me later.

Frank and Sadie, Haumoana 1967

Frank and Sadie, Haumoana 1967

The third thing that stands out so powerfully about my dad is that he was so generous. He gave so willingly of his time and of his patience and of his considerable talents. He was kind, outgoing and friendly. You know all the work he did here in Hahei for the fire brigade and for his local water supply. You know that he did the work only because it needed to be done; he never asked for recognition and he never asked for pay. He did the work because one day he put his hand up and said, “I can do that,” and he did, not just for that day, but for years and years and years. My dad didn’t do things by halves; if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

When you think of him today, think of his family here in England also grieving for a lost cousin and friend. He was very, very moved when they came to see him and to correspond with him over these past few years. Thelma Shepherd, Sheila Leng, John Wallace, Jenny Pugh, Norah Lowe, Ivor and Iris Adams and lastly Roland Adams, his cousin who sent him his first lathe in about 1930 – the very one he worked his magic on for me, for his model motors and for the people in Hahei. I have spoken to all his English family, many more than just the list above, and each of them wishes to send you their heartfelt greetings and their deepest sympathy.

Frank and Genevieve, NZ 1994

Frank and Genevieve, NZ 1994

Is it too much to say that for all my life Dad has been my hero, the one person I never wanted to let down, the one man I always hoped would be proud of what I do? I shall miss him. I shall miss his presence in the back of my mind as I walk around London and get to know the world so familiar to his parents, composing the letter that I write to him each month about what I have seen and what I have discovered. I shall really, really miss him.

Ewart Tearle

St Albans 2002


Jason Gordon Tearle, 1979, Hamilton, NZ

This little plaque in the Hamilton Lawn Cemetry, Newstead, marks the grave of my own son, Jason Gordon Tearle, born 3 Jan 1979 in Hamilton NZ. He was helping his school raise funds for a tour of England to play cricket. One of the venues was to be Rugby School. He was struck by a car and tragically killed.

Gravestone, Jason Tearle, Hamilton

Gravestone, Jason Tearle, Hamilton

His school, Hamilton Boys High School, commissioned a memorial called the Jason Tearle Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually to the best all-round Year 10 student in the school. To date almost every recipient has gone on to become Head Boy.

Jason Tearle Memorial trophy

Jason Tearle Memorial trophy

While he was actually born in Waikato Hospital, in Hamilton, Jason was a son of the Waitomo District, in the King Country. Here is his memorial on the window of the Millennium building in Te Kuiti, NZ.

Memorial, Te Kuiti

Memorial, Te Kuiti

Jason’s branch is also John 1741.

We met the first of our English relatives in the summer of 1993, when John and Corinne Wallace came to see us with photos and news of Levi and his family. John took this photo of Jason, and taught him a few things about cricket. This visit was the beginning of our association with our English family and was the inspiration for Jason’s desire to go to England on the cricket trip. John’s mother, Sheila, was one of the three women who came to see us late in 1994 and to plant the walnuts from Wing in the story I have told on Thelma’s page.

Jason during John and Corinne's visit

Jason during John and Corinne’s visit

Jason had a very good sporting and academic record. He played soccer and cricket for King Country and was capped for his role in a King Country v Taranaki tournament in Taupo. At HBHS he was in the choir, he was learning the guitar, played soccer and he was, of course, selected for the cricket squad to tour England. He was in the the first five in all of his academic subjects and, as the Headmaster pointed out was “A good kid.” It was because of his all-round excellence that the school determined to remember him with a major school trophy, named in his honour, and given to a boy who has those qualities. She told us that Jason would probably have gone on to be Head Boy, which is why she is not surprised that most of the recipients of the trophy have done so.

The last photo of Jason, 2 weeks before his death

The last photo of Jason, 2 weeks before his death

 Elaine is tending the two seedlings that grew from the Wing walnuts. One of them was planted out on the farm with a service by Rev Fred Day of Te Kuiti, conducted in Latin.

Elaine Tearle and Wing Walnut Tree

Elaine Tearle and Wing Walnut Tree


Marguerite Matilda (Tia) Tearle, 1921, Wellington, NZ

Here is the obituary I wrote for Mum’s funeral:

For my mum, Tia Tearle.

For longer than I care to remember, I have dreaded this day because from this day forward I have to face the future without Mum.  I can no longer ring her up and talk to her, and I can no longer write to her.  All I can do now is to commune with the memory I have of her. But this day had to come; death is one of life’s absolute certainties, it happens to us all and there is no appeal.

The Queen recently said, “Grief is the price we pay for love.” The hurt and the pain we feel, and the tears we cry, are all because of the love we have for Mum.  But in spite of that, however sad we feel and however much loss we suffer, today is not a tragic day; it is a day of rejoicing in a life full of richness and many friends, full of laughter and a wicked sense of humour.

Tia Tearle, Lakeside Flats Rotorua C1952

Tia Tearle, Lakeside Flats Rotorua C1952

Although poverty was a constant companion in her childhood, Mum grew up in a relationship with her father and older brother Maurice that was rich with incident and variety. I shall be forever grateful to her younger brother, my Uncle Dick, for coming to New Zealand a few years ago and helping her to lay the ghosts that had so haunted her life and the memories of her family. James Ewart Dawson was a tall, gaunt man of immense physical strength and strong moral fibre, with a wonderful laugh and a generous, humane nature. Her father gave her from his huge heart the unbounded generosity which so enriched her life. He also gave her a lifelong love of horses. This was a mixed blessing.  “Racehorses,” she used to say, “kept us poor.” But it was a passion she shared with her father and through it she met jockeys, trainers and some memorable horses.  She had even groomed the mighty Phar Lap.

James Ewart Dawson, Tia’s father (left) with Maurice, her brother, at the Wellington races. James was known as Lofty by all who knew him. The Dawsons were from Lisburn and Belfast.

James Ewart Dawson, Tia’s father (left) with Maurice, her brother, at the Wellington races. James was known as Lofty by all who knew him. The Dawsons were from Lisburn and Belfast.

My Mum was also a lady of definite opinion and she hated pretension.  She was home early one day from her job as a nurse’s aide in Rotorua Hospital when I was still in Intermediate School.  She was sitting with her neighbour at the table in the window of our Western Heights house and she was alternately laughing and crying.

Tia and Frank’s wedding cake

Tia and Frank’s wedding cake

“They’ve sent me home early,” she said. “This horrible woman had moaned and complained about everything from the moment she woke up. When we made her bed she wanted to be left alone.  When we left her alone she complained because we hadn’t adjusted her pillows.  I took her the morning’s porridge.  It was nice and warm, I had poured the milk on it and there was a heap of brown sugar just as she liked and she said to me, “What’s this stuff? I don’t want porridge today I want toast.” I couldn’t stand her any more! I said to her, ” Well if you won’t eat it you can wear it,” and I threw the plate of porridge all over her.”

She had genuine steel in her, too. I was very sick in my third form year and Mum stayed home to look after me. I was hot and feverish and she rang the doctor, but he was busy. I can still feel the resolution and determination, I can still hear that icy tone as she instructed him to come and see me. And he came. After his examination he declared I had tetanus, but it should be treatable because it had been diagnosed at an early stage.  I ate pills the size of Oddfellows for a week, but it may well be possible that she had saved the life of her middle son.

Tia’s boys. I’m the one in the middle, in my school cap and jersey. The boxing is around a pipe that fed hot mineral water into a very large bathing tub. It was closed later due to fears about poisonous gas.

Tia’s boys. I’m the one in the middle, in my school cap and jersey. The boxing is around a pipe that fed hot mineral water into a very large bathing tub. It was closed later due to fears about poisonous gas.

So what are the memories of my mum that I shall particularly treasure?

Mum drove me to Hamilton each month for a year to see Mr Davies, the orthodontist, who straightened my teeth.  Gertie the Anglia could run at 45mph “cruising nicely,” said Mum and 60mph downhill with the wind behind her.  We drove up the narrow, winding metal road through the Mamakus and Mum would curse at the car in front if it slowed her down on an especially steep, windy bit. “Look at that,” she fumed, “a bloody great Vauxhall. That silly bugger’s got more power in his car than a dozen of mine, and he slows me down on tight corners like this. It’s all right for him, but Gert takes a long time to get back to speed if she’s slowed down right now.” She tooted and the car ahead surged away. “See?” she said. “He just needed reminding to concentrate on his driving and stop thinking about his floosie in Rotorua.” I don’t remember a single conversation – if we had one – but I remember the feeling of being special because Mum was doing something for me alone.

Tia and Frank cut the cake.

Tia and Frank cut the cake.

During the summer of my 6th form year – my second 6th form year, I think – Mum didn’t go to work and she asked me to come home for lunch. As I walked along the road behind our house I could see the house across the gully and Mum would wave to me from the dining room window. When I arrived home we would sit at the table in the window and eat our lunch.  It seems to me now that every day was a sunny day because I can only remember blue skies and bright sunlight across our back yard.  There are few more precious memories in my life.

Tia comes home with a new baby, our sister Tups.

Tia comes home with a new baby, our sister Tups.

I had trained for weeks to do well in our annual High School Cross Country race. The day of the race was sunny and warm and we ran up the very steep slope of Ngongotaha Mountain, down the newly sealed roads and then past our house in the last mile of the event. I was exhausted. Suddenly I heard Mum’s voice. “Go, Ewart – you’re third!” I couldn’t believe that Mum had come outside to watch me run. I don’t know why, but I was really surprised. I tried to run down the boy in front of me but he heard me coming and kept surging away any time I got closer than about 50 feet. I ended up third, all right. There is a little corner of my mind where I can still hear Mum encouraging me.

Tia and Maurice Dawson. Morrie ended up slightly brain-damaged after a fall from a pony, and died in his late middle-age, never marrying.

Tia and Maurice Dawson. Morrie ended up slightly brain-damaged after a fall from a pony, and died in his late middle-age, never marrying.

She taught me a lesson about women. Whenever it was Dad’s birthday, or at Christmas time, I would get him something he wanted, like a drill or a chisel, so when I was about 10 and Mum’s birthday was coming up, I heard her complaining about her eggbeater being almost useless and a lot of work to get it to go properly. So I bought her an eggbeater for her birthday. To my utter horror she just cried.

“What’s the matter? What have I done?”

“It’s my birthday and you have given me tools,” she sobbed.

“What should I have done?”

“You don’t buy a woman tools,” she said. “I am not someone who just works for you all in the kitchen. You could have bought me something nice, like perfume.”

I had never thought of her as a woman. I was shocked. It is a lesson I have never forgotten and a lesson I have completely subsumed.

Frank, Tia and Gertrude the Anglia at Sadie’s, Hastings, Hawkes Bay, 1958

Frank, Tia and Gertrude the Anglia at Sadie’s, Hastings, Hawkes Bay, 1958

For the last 20 years we have taken our Christmas holidays at Pauanui. Every year we have had Christmas with Mum and Dad and for the past 10 years or so, they have travelled to Pauanui on Jason’s birthday, the 3rd of January. It has been a time that brought us closer together and given our children a good sense of their grandparents.

She had so many friends! Any time you sat in Mum’s living room for more than an hour, you would meet someone who was just dropping in to say hello. Some of them were her friends and neighbours calling in to give back a plate that Mum had given them full of biscuits, some were calling in to give her a present. Some of them were the stray pups she picked up as part of her AA work, calling in to get a little encouragement, a few words of advice or a good kick up the bum.  

Frank, Tia, my brother Graeme and his children, with Elaine sitting. Pauanui, Christmas 1994.

Frank, Tia, my brother Graeme and his children, with Elaine sitting. Pauanui, Christmas 1994.

Mum’s fundamental belief was that nothing would happen of its own accord – you had to want it to happen first. If you wanted change in your life, you had to recognise that change was necessary. Until then no-one could help you, and she wouldn’t hesitate to say so. She had half a lifetime of helping people and she gave them the help they needed, even if it wasn’t always what they expected. People loved her because she gave. But she had a keen eye for the bludger and she didn’t suffer fools at all.

So in the midst of your sorrow, reserve a space for happiness and laughter.  Mum had a huge and infectious laugh and if her sense of humour didn’t always overwhelm her immediately, she could see the funny side once she calmed down.  Today is a time of music because she loved to sing and dance and play; today is a time of sadness and tears because she is gone and we shall not see her again in our lifetime; and today is a time for laughter and telling stories. She was our Mum; no-one can ever take her place and we shall love her for ever.

In a little chapel in our wonderful St Albans Cathedral two small candles are burning bravely. One is for my beautiful son and other is for my lovely, lovely mum.

Fly towards the Light, Mum, for in the Light there is peace.

Ewart Tearle

St Albans 2002