History in the making

Today was a good day! so I really want to share it.

I have finished the antibiotics and am not feeling any worse than normal, which is enough to make me very happy – though I’m not counting my chickens yet. Last time I had antibiotics, I didn’t react until three days later. So fingers crossed for a while yet.

Anyway, today was the last day with my house guest Kieran, so we went for brunch at Olive, and then I took him on little semi-historic tour of Nelson. It was a bit grim but I find it utterly fascinating.

We started at Nelson Cathedral, one of my favourite buildings in the city.


The hill it stands on is called ‘Piki Mai’ – Come Hither – which makes me smile, and services have been held there since 1842. I used to sing in the Nelson College for Girls Choir there. (I once got told off for staring at the beautiful ceiling instead of the Choir Mistress. Always a day dreamer!)


There a labyrinth drawn on the floor in one section, and instructions to walk a sort of spiritual path within it, to the centre. (Apologies for these pictures, I’m no photographer and was just using my phone!)



When you enter, you are supposed to think “I am at the threshold of my opportunity. Do I have the courage to move forward?” I didn’t read the instructions properly, so I ended up thinking this to myself while I stood in the middle, which kind of worked too. I took more photos but nothing really shares the gravitas of being there, so if you get the chance to visit, do!

After that we went to Hallowell Cemetery, Nelson’s first and oldest burial ground. It was used by Europeans between 1844 – 1885, and by Maori before that. It’s a spooky place, for several reasons. One, there are hundreds of people buried there – but only two headstones left. It’s just a tiny grassy field, in the middle of some houses, so you’re wandering over top of the dead. Also, the infamous Maungatapu Murderers were hanged and buried there – but outside the walls, due to the nature of their crime. This was the first murder case Nelson ever had. Interestingly, the names in the above Wikipedia articles are slightly different to the names of the murderers listed on the burial board.



Many interesting reasons for death in those days:



The only remaining gravestones:


This woman is not named, the stone simply says “Beloved wife of Thomas Foy.”



Two children are buried here, aged 10 years and one month respectively. The inscription says “Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kindgom of God.”

Finally, we went to my father’s place, which is a converted historic hotel. It was used for a royal wedding of some sort in 1885 – we have a photo of the wedding, but no details about who is in the picture. So we finished with a tour of the house and a cup of tea in the garden. Very appropriate!