First Impressions Of New Zealand
My first impression of New Zealand was not a good one. As I stood on the decking rail (as high as I could without toppling over) I searched the ground below from one end to the other. The little I had been told about New Zealand was untrue. All I could see was concrete and large buildings. Not a mud hut in sight and no one was wearing a grass skirt!
Disembarking Begins With Paperwork!
The reason paperwork comes to mind so vividly is that Mum forgot where she put them. Passports were often mentioned. “Have you got the passports Doll?” was followed by Mum clicking open her handbag, shuffling through the contents then holding up the little books. (Forty years later the fact that I didn’t have a passport was to cause me a lot of problems) Mum completed the searching ritual but with no happy ending this time. However, Mum was nothing if not logical and if she didn’t have them then someone else did. That someone could only be Dad! It proved to be correct and we moved of down the gangway along with 1,088 others. (I looked that up!) They must have breathed a sigh of relief once the passports were stamped, vaccinations checked and our paper work passed over. It was many years later before they realised that the disembarking paper was still in their possession. (Which was just as well for me many years later)
Next Stop, The Train Station
As first impressions go New Zealand seemed little different to my experiences shopping at the Co-op in Stratford. Lots of people bumping and pushing each other and me not knowing where we were going or why! It all changed when we got on the train. I may not have know where I was going but the scenery was as far away from Stratford as you could get. Our trusty paperwork told us our seat number and where we were going. The Milton Transit Camp in Otago. (More about the Transit Camp later) Well, that was news to me I thought we were going to Matamata! Apparently, our destination was changed at the last minute. Of course I was disappointed. What seven year old would choose Milton over Matamata!
If you can relate to my first impression or you have memories of being in a Ted Pound Pom family I would love to read about them in the comments below.