McPherson family to celebrate pioneer
The descendants of one of Pahia's pioneer settlers will celebrate 150 years of family in Southland this month.
Relatives of Scottish immigrant Archibald McPherson, who arrived in Bluff on the Helensea in 1863 and was one of the first settlers at Pahia, near Colac Bay, a decade later, will look back on a century and a half of family history at Easter.
Great-grandson Lex Dudfield said his ancestor almost missed out on New Zealand life, after he was nearly shipwrecked on the rocks of Solander Island, at the entrance to Foveaux Strait.
His wife, Sarah, had been widowed after her first husband, William Niven, drowned at Orepuki but, despite these dangers, the pair had enjoyed Southland, Mr Dudfield said. "That's all they knew in those days, so they thought they had a good life."
One of the interesting family tales involved Archibald's daughters, Jessie and Ethel, and his step-daughter Eliza Menpes, who were among the first women to traverse the Hump Range in 1904.
The crossing was so novel it featured in the Otago Witness newspaper and would have been hard work, Mr Dudfield said.
"In those days it would have been quite an effort.
"They wouldn't have had tramping boots or shorts. They would have worn dresses."
Mr Dudfield said the reunion would involve a picnic and dinner today followed by a tour of Pahia and a barbecue tomorrow.
Another of Mr McPherson's great-grandsons, Tim McPherson, still farmed on part of the Pahia plot bought by Archibald, although the original homestead was gone, he said.
He expected about 150 people to attend the picnic.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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