A Visit to Waipu New Zealand

by Joe MacMillan
(British Columbia)

Ste. Anne's Bay, Cape Breton Island, Canada

Ste. Anne's Bay, Cape Breton Island, Canada

Our family grew up on Cape Breton Island on the northern end of Nova Scotia, Canada. Away back in 1830 our forefathers emigrated from the Island of Barra in the outer Hebrides of Scotland.

One of the most beautiful areas of Cape Breton Island is Ste. Anne's Bay. Situated on the shores of this bay are a couple of small villages, but back in the 1850 era the shores of this bay were bustling with men and women building ships, preparing clothing and preserving food for a long voyage to somewhere other than Ste. Anne's Bay as life here was just simply too harsh.

At that time the Rev. Norman Mac Leod and his followers, some 800 strong, built 5 ships and sailed for Australia, eventually finding their way to the Waipu area of New Zealand.

They had stopped in South Africa where they met the governor who offered them a large tract of land. They decided to continue to Australia where they could not find suitable land. So they sailed to New Zealand and that is now history.

Growing up in Cape Breton we didn't realize this in the twentieth century as life on the island today is much easier that back then.

Our family spent many wonderful days picnicking on the beaches of Ste. Anne's. On a warm summer day nothing could be nicer.

In 1990 one of our daughters gave up her job at a hospital, gathered her savings together and headed off to see the world. Arriving in New Zealand, she heard there was a settlement with some Scottish folks with ties to Cape Breton and managed to find her way to Waipu.

At Waipu she met up with a very nice lady who was one of the descendants from Ste. Anne's who invited her into her home in typical Cape Breton fashion. The lady proceeded to loan her a book on the Rev. Mac Leod and allowed our daughter to take it home for us to read.

We will never forget her kindness.

Our daughter worked on a sheep farm for some weeks and, like most young travelers, managed to bungee jump off a bridge.

To this day we still remember the kindness shown to our daughter by the wonderful people of New Zealand.

Beate's reply: Thank you Joe for this beautiful story. It is always fascinating to find out how close the ties between the people on our planet are.

Joe, a fellow SBIer, publishes about the Whistler outdoors. The Whistler Blackcomb is a major ski resort in North America about 125 km from Vancouver in Canada.

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