62 members, including New Zealand Founders National President Alan De La Mare, went on our annual “Christmas Coach trip” at the end of November. This year we ventured into the beautiful Hawke’s Bay countryside between Hastings and Ruahine Ranges. The trip proved a special delight for many as they had never ventured off the main roads.
Access to our lunch venue at Hawkesridge Olive Grove and Winery at Maraekakaho was rather precarious for our usual 57 seat coach; two smaller coaches managed it perfectly. The name and logo were chosen to symbolize the contour of this property and the hawks that soar along the ridge formed by the ancient Ngaruroro River. Our lunch setting was idyllic, with indoor and alfresco dining. Wine tasting, platters, pizzas and “sweet treats” were thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Following a short drive, we arrived at our next venue, Tuna Nui Homestead on the Taihape Road at Sherenden. Members were privileged to tour this magnificent homestead once owned by Major General Sir Andrew Hamilton Russell, and view a striking portrait hanging above the lounge fireplace of the Russell family’s famous ancestor. Sir Andrew, known as “The Forgotten General”, was highly decorated for his outstanding service and command roles in the Gallipoli and Somme campaigns of World War I. Christmas cake, juice and wine prior to our departure was enjoyed outside in the garden. Our members reminisced over how fortunate our Branch was in 2021 to hold all planned outings and meetings.
1. Alfresco dining at Hawkesridge Winery
2. Tuna Nui homestead
3. Members gathering for afternoon tea