Visit to link Diocese of Wellington, North Island New Zealand, by Doreen Earls
Visit to link Diocese of Wellington, North Island New Zealand, by Doreen Earls

One of the lovely things about belonging to the Worldwide Mothers’ Union is that Branches and Dioceses can have links across the world. Mostly those links are through correspondence, but occasionally it is possible to meet members in or from those places. Last year we had the great pleasure of having a visit from Perdita Bentall of Wellington Diocese, New Zealand with whom Clogher Diocese is linked.
This year, I had a wonderful opportunity to return the visit to Wellington Diocese. On Sat 6th August, accompanied by my sister Laura Rogers and neice Katie, we travelled from Brisbane, and were met at Wellington Airport by Mrs. Perdita Bentall, President of Wellington Diocese Mothers’ Union. We travelled approx 40 miles north east of Wellington to her home at Waikanae, just about a 5 minute walk from the beach.
Next morning we attended Waikanae Anglican Parish Church, where the service was led by Rev Tim Bustin, and a very warm welcome awaited us. We just felt ‘at home’ at once. After the service and morning tea, I gave a PowerPoint illustrated talk about our Diocese of Clogher and how Mothers’ Union is reaching out into the Community. I also gave an insight into our way of life and how in a farming community each season involves different types of work. Our visit took place in their winter, but daytime temperature were around 10 - 12oC.
Quite a few of the ladies had held the role of Diocesan President or Provincial President of Mothers’ Union in New Zealand. It was a very memorable occasion as I was able to meet the two previous Diocesan Presidents who I had corresponded, with, Leila Pilkington and Anne Town. Lady Margaret Norman widow of a former Bishop of Wellington also attended
After lunch, Perdita had arranged for us to visit two Diary Farms, with her son Hugh, a local vet in Levin. The first farm had a rotary parlour, milking 50 cows at once, with just two operators. The herd in total numbered 400, in summer. The other farm had a herringbone parlour and milked 150 cows. For us it was amazing to see the cows milked in winter, and heading back out to the grass.

Early next morning we set off to visit another branch of Mothers’ Union in Masterton, approximately 100 miles away. We had several photo stops as a permanent reminder of the beautiful scenes in front and behind us. On arrival at Epiphany Church Masterton, we received a very warm welcome from Mrs Marjorie Nevin and her team of Mothers’ Union Ladies and a few men. We were provided with a delicious buffet lunch in the hall. After lunch we moved for a service in Church , after which I gave an illustrated talk on Clogher Diocese. I was presented with a copy of a folder, designed for the visit of Lady Eames in 1997. This folder gives an insight into the work of Mothers’ Union in Masterton and the industries of its surrounding area. This, for me will be a lasting memento of my visit.
Some of the ladies then took us the ‘Museum of Childhood’ in Masterton and we met the owner Diana Stidolph. We were all taken back to our child hood with the displays of toys, and were amazed the see the ‘Janet and John’ Reading books, there!
Perdita and I stayed Monday night with Marjorie Nevin and Laura and Katie stayed with Bernice Olsen. On Monday night Marjorie organised a ‘Ceilidh’ for us. A number of people formed an informal band to lead singing. The evening opened with the singing of the song ‘Haere Mai’, which is Maori for ‘Welcome’. We were really very touched by the singing and the welcome. Individuals/groups, including ourselves offered items. Next morning, the weather was exceptionally lovely and we left Masterton for Wellington, travelling via Greyton and Rimutaka Hill. Everything was looking its best. We first of all visited Wellington Cathedral where we were introduced to the Dean, Very Revd Frank Nelson.
After viewing Parliament Buildings, and the Supreme Court of New Zealand, we took the cable car and got some stunning views of Wellington.
Next morning we left early for Wellington Airport. We had a very scenic drive through Wellington, along the shoreline.
We then flew to Queenstown, a skiing resort in South Island. It was a gold rush town in the 1860’s. The town sits regally on the shore of Lake Wakatipu among dramatic ranges. The lake and mountain landscape make it suited to all kinds of adventure. We probably photographed the most stunning views of our whole trip here. We made a visit to Coronet Peak, the nearest ski field, and experienced the atmosphere there.
We also visited Walter Peak High Country Farm on The Earnslaw Vintage Steamship
We departed for home on Sat 13th August, just hours before the whole of New Zealand hunkered down for the freezing storm from Antarctica which would have kept us grounded for a number of extra days! Had we planned a later departure, we would have missed our connecting flight in Sydney, so we were very thankful indeed that for a smooth journey home!

Front Row: Laura Rogers, Sally Mathieson (Leader AAW Waikanae) Doreen Earls, Lady Margaret Norman (widow of a former Bishop of Wellington) Leila Pilkington (Past Diocesan MU President) Perdita Bentall (Diocesan MU President, wearing the beautiful brooch that came from Belleek Pottery!)Photo by: Beverley Shore Bennett

Anne Town, Former Diocesan President of Wellington Diocese Mothers’ Union, Doreen Earls, and Leila Pilkington, Former Diocesan President, Wellington

Date: September 2011