(and the rest of the 5 week trip to New Zealand)    Click here to skip directly to the convention pictures.

Go to PhotoPoint to view many quality pictures of the Hopkirk Convention, thanks to Bill Fejfar.

February 27, 2000 Anne and I flew to Los Angeles and meet cousins Jack and Priscilla Hopkirk, along with Jack's sisters Dorothy Hopkirk Ackerman and Ellie Stevens.  We lost a day travelling to New Zealand and arrived on the morning of February 29, 2000.  From the airport in Auckland we travelled to the Harbor and took a ferry to our Bed & breakfast on Waiheke Island.  That day we took a little tour of Waiheke Island, in Auckland harbor. On March 1, 2000 we took a tour of the Auckland Harbor and visited Kelly Tarlton's.   Late in the afternoon we visited cousin William S. Hopkirk and his family.

Scene from our Bed & Breakfast on Waiheke Island.

On March 2, 2000 we left Waiheke Island and boarded the Sky Princess around 1:00pm. We then went back to the harbor and explored the Americas Cup Village and then we decided to have a drink before reboarding the cruise ship at 5:00pm, for our 6:00pm departure. See what happened while we were in the Americas Cup Village.   After finally getting back onto the ship, we got a glimpse of Black Magic. It is the tall black mast in the picture, surrounded by hordes of exhuberant Kiwis in their vessels.

On March 3, 2000 we cruised to the Bay of Islands, and then visited Cape Reinga.  Cape Reinga is the furthest north point on the north island that is easily accessible.  There is actually a little tip of the north island to the east of Cape Reinga that is slightly further north, but it is not easily accessible.  Cape Reinga is the point where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean and the waters are very choppy.  Cape Reinga Lighthouse.  For a little more detailed info about the lighthouse read the Plaque on the Lighthouse.  Then the 2 buses took us down a riverbed and stopped at the base of a sand dune. The driver then asks if there are any volunteers to go down the sand dune on a bogey board. Out of two busloads of people there was only one volunteer!!! That's right, I was the only idiot. Weeeeeee, down we go!!!!

We then sailed on to Tauranga City and spent the day. Next we sailed down the east coast past Napier, Hastings and Havelock North and arrived in Wellington.  Anne and I rode the funicular railway up the hill to the beautiful city park and gardens. See the lovely Wild Irish Rose(Anne) in the Garden. We then located the graves Robert(1816-1900) Hopkirk and many of his descendants in the cemetery next to the gardens.  Tombstone pictures... #1     #2
We arrived back to our ship and we were pleasantly suprised by the appearance Bob Hopkirk and his son John.  They took us on a wonderful whirlwind trip around the city.  We visited the location of Alexander(1823-1907) Hopkirk's first dwelling. Then on to the school and church where Hopkirk's of prior years have been prominently involved.  Next we visited the church where William(1857-1936) Hopkirk was an elder for 48 years. Inside the church is a plaque honoring William.  As we were leaving the church we were approached by a woman who said what were you doing inside the church? We said the side door was unlocked and we went in to get a picture of a plaque honoring a distant relative.  She said no one was supposed to be inside because the Prime Minister was due to arrive at any moment. We decided that we better leave, as we didn't want a visit by a couple Yanks to overshadow that of the Prime Minister.

Then it was on to Christchurch, where we saw the wizard in all his glory.  He was ranting on about how the reason the world is in terrible shape is all the fault of woman. I thought he was humerous, Anne did not.  :-)
We also visited the beautiful city park.  Does every town in New Zealand have a lovely park? It sure seems like it. The Avon River runs through the park. You can ride a gondola boat if you like.

Then on to Dunedin. Another lovely town.  Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world, is located here. Then it was on to Fjordland National Park and the stunning scenery. We cruised through 4 sounds. I think they were Thompson Sound, Break Sea Sound, Milford Sound and a fourth one. The old memory is failing me.

Then we cruised across the Tasman Sea for a couple days and arrived at Hobart, Tasmania.  We saw Kangaroos, Koalas, Tasmanian Devils, Walabees(?) Then while Anne went shopping I went to the Irish Pub....It was great, they were having an Irish session......about 20 people all playing different instruments......Anne had to drag me out of there to catch our ship.  I really liked Hobart.

Melbourne was our next stop.....yet another beautiful city down under. We were suprised to find a John F. Kennedy Memorial  in Melbourne.

Our final cruise stop was Sidney, were we met cousins Tim and Dominic Hopkirk. We had a great time sucking up some suds at a local watering hole. We also saw the some sights in the Opera House

Then we flew on to Christchurch and met cousins Muriel Knox (pictured L-R are Dorothy Hopkirk Ackerman, Muriel Knox, and Ellie Hopkirk Stevens)and her daughter Kathy (pictured with myself, John K. Hopkirk) at the airport.  After our brief layover, we flew on to Queenstown.  We spent two nights at the Millbrook Resort.  What a wonderful place.  I wish I'd brought my golf clubs and a lot more spare time. Now I know how the rich people live!!
We visited historic Arrowtown and I found out why I really love New Zealand. We bought 2 double scoop and 2 single scoop ice cream cones for $6.40 New Zealand. That worls out to $3.20 US. The same thing would have cost over $10 US in the States......ICE CREAM AT A 70% OFF SALE!!! And NZ ice cream is wonderful!!!!  We enjoyed a wonderful ride on the old steamship the Earnslaw.  That was a treat....on the way back across the lake they hand out songbooks and a  piano player leads in fun sing-alongs. We next headed over the Southern Alps and down to our elk ranch stay in Hari Hari. We back-tracked a little the next day and visited one of the few places in the world where there is a glacier in a rain forest! See one of our New Zealand sunsets. On our way out of Hari Hari up the west coast of the South Island we had to cross a long one lane bridge that was shared with a train. I asked our proprietor what the chances were of meeting a train there. He said you'll never meet a train there. Here is the bridge   and here is the sign saying large vehicles drive slowly(does that include the trains? Then here is the Train that we would never see!!!  Then it was back to Christchurch, over Arthur's Pass, and our flight to Wellington.

After arriving in Wellington we did a quick whirlwind tour(to the vista point overlooking the city and harbor, and the rose garden, arboretum and Robert Hopkirk(1816-1900 burial site) before heading to our lodging in Waikanae, a little way up the west coast. The next day we were fortunate enough to schedule a meeting with cousin Jolene and her daughter.

Next we headed up the coast and stopped to visit cousin Allan Hopkirk . Allan is the last living descendant of Isabella Home and William Hopkirk whose father was born in Scotland.  While we were there his neice also stopped by on her way to the convention.

Then it was on to the convention.  After viewing the convention pictures, please return here to see the balance of the trip.

Sunday we travelled to Makahu area....a Hopkirk stronghold!  On the way we had to pass through the Makahu Tunnel.  Here is the plaque outside the tunnel, explaining the history of the tunnel and the Hopkirk connection to the tunnel.

A few miles past the tunnel we arrived at the Hopkirk Farmlands. Over 5000 glorious acres. Here is a picture from the top of the world.....well almost, anyway.  Here is a picture from above the clouds.  Here is a view of Mt Taranaki.....notice the hawk sweeping past on the right-hand side.  Don and Eila Hopkirk are the proud owners of this beautiful part of New Zealand, and their son Will owns over 5000 sheep and about 1000 cattle that he runs on this spread. Will is a hard worker. He has to be, just to maintain the countless miles of fencing, let alone manage his herds of livestock.  Here is Eila in her beautiful garden. It was out of season, but still very impressive with its meandering paths and ponds.

Don's brother James and his wife Molly(pictured with cousin Laura from the USA) live nearby and they also have a magnificient garden.. Also at Jim and Molly's was an old manhole cover manufactured by the J. Hopkirk Co.

After a lovely day in Makahu, we rested up for our long drive over the narrow road....much of it a gravel road....or as they say in New Zealand, a "metal road" to Lake Taupo and the final few days of our adventure.  I didn't see any metal, just dirt, rocks and dust.  :-)


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updated November 12, 2000