Feb 27, 2010

Amazing Discovery!

Scientists pointed their telescopes toward a mysterious and large object heading toward earth expecting it to be an astroid or undiscovered comet and they found THIS!
Theories and speculation are rife but the most widely accepted opinion is that God is sending us a "BUTTON" 

Denvor Post. Child Poverty Project

If you have half an hour work your way around this project in pictures. Its an eye opener its in Colorado USA. There are some great pictures here and  lots of personality and humour comes through along with the underlying story of poverty.

Denvor Post. Sport Picture Action.

Here is a 100 plus shots (undated through the day) of cool sport action.

Ngauruhoe Volcano at Sunrise

This is an active volcano in the central North Island of New Zealand.
Eruptions at Ngauruhoe have rarely been more than nine years apart.
The volcano has been quiet since 1975 – the longest break in activity in its recorded history. In 1975 an eruption produced pyroclastic flows and a 10km high ash plume

Feb 25, 2010

Laugh for the day.

Doctor examining a woman who had been rushed to the Emergency Room, took the husband aside, and said, 'I don't like the looks of your wife at all.'

'Me neither doc,' said the husband.

'But she's a great cook and really good with the kids.'

Feb 24, 2010

Stan Walker. Black Box (YouTube video)

Saga Ruby

One of the more traditional looking cruise ships to visit Tauranga. 700 passengers so very small by current standards. Kind of lovely I thought.

Feb 20, 2010

The Boys (Paul & Rob) mid 80's

Family History Update...the Italian Connection

Further to the post Our Family's Italian Connection from 2nd Jan 2010.
Ok we have some progress mostly thanks to Graham Whitt (author of the original infomation).
Graham is a direct blood decendant of Antonio and Felistea Wett. Early in the 1900's Grahams grandfather (or Great grandfather)? changed his family name from Wet (or Wett) to Whitt.
NOTE this is only an update and the story may evolve.
Our Wet (Wett) connection is via my Grandmother Agnes Leohnora Reed (nee Wet) her parents were Antonio and Felistea and she was brought up in that family.
However, and this is the newsy bit, it looks like Agnes Leohnora was not Antonios child or Felistea's. Its fairly likely that she is Felistea's daughter's (Lydia) child. Lydia's father was Thomas Durham Felistea's first husband who died not long after arriving with his family in NZ from England.
Therefore while we have and adoptive relationship with Antonio our blood line on our grandmothers side goes back through Lydia/Felistea/Thomas Durham etc.
Graham Whitt (This gentleman is really on to this geneology stuff) has send me a very cool overview of what he now understands to be Felistea's story. Note some of the comments reflect the exchanges we have been having as we share infomation.
Graham has not included Agnes Leohnora in the story as we can't find her birth certificate.
But we have good reason to draw an interim conclusion that Agnes Loehnora was in fact Lydia's child so until proved otherwise we will hold that understanding. Also it is unclear who her father may be.
Graham's email to me follows.

Hi Mike,

Your email was a real surprise, and it is wonderful to think that this lady has remembered so much from her connection with the Wett family.

I have garnered a lot of information about Filistea and her early life, before she met and married Antonio Wett. The following is a brief over-view - I am sorry if some of this is repeat information of that I passed on before (I’m losing track of what I have and have not told you):

 Filistea was born in Crediton, Devon (near Exeter on the south coast of England) in about 1837. In her early life she lived with her mother (Sarah FROST) and her maternal grandparents (William & Elizabeth SARGENT) at Crediton and Exeter. William Sargent was a schoolmaster in Crediton, although by the 1851 England Census, he was listed as a ‘pauper’ (formerly Schoolmaster). I can find no England Census records of Filistea’s father, but on her marriage certificate to Thomas Durham, her father’s name was given as William FROST, a baker.

 Filistea married Thomas DURHAM in Southampton, on 10 March 1861. Thomas’ profession was given as ‘shipwright’.

 Just prior to their emigration to New Zealand in 1865, Filistea and Thomas had a daughter, Lydia Filistea DURHAM, born in Bideford, Devon, near Filistea’s hometown of Crediton/Exeter.

 Thomas DURHAM was born in London in about 1817 and for some time was a ‘ships carpenter’ in the Royal Navy. He died in Collingwood on 27 March 1868, at his nephew’s (Joseph Durham BRACE) house. It was reported in his obituary that: “he died after a ‘long and painful illness’, and that he was formerly of the ‘Her Majesty’s Royal Navy’, and that he was ‘present at the relief and capture of Lucknow, for which he wore a medal, as also Crimean and Burmese medals.”

 Filistea also gave birth to a son, Joseph DURHAM, in ‘her residence’ at Haven Road, Nelson, on the 6 April 1868 (about 10 days after the death of Thomas Durham at Collingwood). Joseph died of fever at Collingwood, in about 1873, aged 5 years. It is likely that he was staying/living with his father’s nephew, Joseph BRACE, where his father had died in 1868.

 Given the above, it is possible that Filistea and Thomas came to NZ from India, although the Nelson Evening mail of the time records that: “Mr & Mrs Durham & Child - Arrived in Nelson, New Zealand, aboard the ‘Water Nymph’, from London, on 12 December 1865.”

 There are 2 other children, listed as Durham children, which I believe were Filistea’s children, whether or not Thomas Durham was the father is debatable. The first of these was Eliza Margaret DURHAM, born in 1867, but who died at 2 months. The second was Elizabeth Agnes DURHAM, born in 1870 and who went on to marry a William Joseph HARNESS.

 I have been able to trace that Lydia Filistea DURHAM had 2 children before her marriage, in 1887, to Albert Edward LETTE. The first was Elizabeth Agnes DURHAM, who was born in Sept. 1881, with her father being given as John HOLDANE, although the St Mary’s Catholic Church records in Nelson show she was baptised as Elizabeth Agnes WETT.

 Lydia’s second child was Thomas Alexander DURHAM, with there being no record of who the father was. I have also not been able to find out much about Thomas.

 Lydia died in about 1948 and I have not, as yet, traced any children from her marriage to Albert Lette.

 I am not sure about the story of Filistea being a maid in waiting to Queen Victoria. My search of England Census records does not show her having lived in London, nor that she had come from a family background that royal staff would have come from in those days. Would be something if she did though.

 The ‘slashing’ and ‘badly injured’ references to Filistea certainly match what I have found out. In addition to the story, which I have previously told, of Antonio stabbing Filistea, Filistea herself was also (in 1869) involved in an altercation with a woman friend who hit Filistea with an axe, injuring her quite badly. This woman was sentenced to 6 months jail.

I am currently working through about 50 newspaper cuttings/reports, from historic Nelson newspapers (from the ‘PapersPast’ database at the NZ National Library), on both Antonio and Fislitea. When I have finished these and put them in some sort of order I will send my notes to you – they make for very entertaining reading. Many refer to the Reed family.



Feb 18, 2010

Fat loss & Fitness

Click the title to see a well written common sense article.
I don't know about you but there is so much hype out there on this subject it can be challenging to cut throught it all to the real guts of the matter. As this guys states 70% of overweight problems comes from what you stuff in your face! So while I don't have any major weight issues, as the years rock on the gut seems harder to control despite about 7 workout a week! Well just maybe its thoses daily beers Mike...ever think about that?
Seriously, modern life for office bound people is tough when it comes to weight and fitness. For me its about keeping sugar down (yeah right!), "good" fats & oils, sweat inducing walking or cycling and grunty strength/resistance workouts....and a few cold ones!
Anyway enjoy the read and the common sense that comes with it.

Bunnies & Rocks

Feb 14, 2010

Feb 12, 2010

Christmas Day at our place

Thanks Ky's good shots.

Sky Tower Auckland...again!

Will someone stop me taking shots of this? I can't resist a new angle.
The top shot is what it is and the bottom one is an "artisticly" modified extract.

Totara St Mt Maunganui...circa '84

I took this shot in the mid 80's (company car at the time). Locals will know that this street has radically changed now. I mean was there any body home in NZ in those days? Is any body here now? Just kidding.
Its fasinating to look back at changes happening around us even in a short 20 year period.

Feb 11, 2010

Cruise Ships Departing Tauranga

Two ships left on the high tide last night. There is something magical about these beauties.

Feb 10, 2010


One for the girls. This is where you go if you want to look at or buy some of the gear the celebs are wearing.
Apparently its hot righ now. Click on the Title above.
This is one successful business.
Today, Gypsy 05 has grown into a well sought after brand with representation in over 1,000 stores world wide. Furthermore, with a strong celebrity following, Gypsy 05 has graced the pages of major publications both here and abroad. Since the creation of this brand, Osi and Dotan continue to push the envelope in creating a truly distinctive collection.

Feb 7, 2010

2010 Tauranga Airshow

We spend a couple of hours there and the organisers had done a tremndous job of setting it all up. Shame we don't have any really hair raising aircraft in this part of the world. Most of the machines on display were over 50 years old! Note the exaust distortion from the first jet over the Vampire (twin tail) in the last shot.

Feb 6, 2010

Hewletts Rd mid 80's.

Locals will barely recognise this road was it not for the cement silos.

Flight over the Mount area

The two bottom photos are extracts one showing Bay Park Stadium. The other suburbia of the day.

Feb 4, 2010

Coffee..serious coffee!

Nelson has this cool coffee shop.
Can't recall the name but all it does if coffee.
You sit at communal tables and enjoy the company.
But what impressed me the most was their coffee roaster. It was right there in the shop.
Check out this baby it's like one of those old Trains...the steam driven ones!

Feb 1, 2010

Tropia, Southern Italy.

A modern day view of the small port at Tropia.
Relates to the story in the post below.

Our Family Italian Connection. (My Great Grandfather)

Update. See post 20 Feb 2010 called Family History update

On my mothers side her dad, my grandfather (John Henry Reed) was married to Agnes Leohnora (nee Wett) my grandmother.
Her father was Antonio Wett (my great grandfather).
Antonio and John Henry were more than inlaws. They were  friends and they were both fisherman well known in the Nelson region. They are burried side by side at the Wakapuaka cemetery in Nelson. The Reed and Wett families were close as the story shows.
There are a few grey areas yet to be resolved.
For example Graham Whitt's story states Antonio and Felistea having 3 children and our research shows there were 4 children and this is confirmed by a book written by William and John Henry's brother Edward called "TED" where he states that Antonio and Felistea had 4 children and my grandmother was the last to be born. Almost 10 years after the last child noted below. So if my research is correct it would mean that two Reed boys married two of the Wett girls. William and Agnes Pauline and John Henry and Agnes Leohanora (The latter being my grandparents)Of course its possible that Felistea may not have been Loehnora's mother!

Here is Antonio's story. Written by Graham Whitt. (I intend to contact Graham)

Antonio Wett


Antonio Wett was an early resident of Nelson, arriving there in about 1866. In the following 44 years, until his death in 1910, he married, had a family and worked as a fisherman in and around Nelson and Collingwood.
Antonio Wett [ca 1890], Nelson, Nelson Provincial Museum
Click image to enlargeHe was born Antonio Francesco Paolo Bagnato, in about July 1837, in the small Calabrian town of Tropea, in Southern Italy. Bagnato was Antonio's Italian name, but he ‘anglicised' this name, on arrival in NZ, to Wett: ‘bagnato' means ‘wet' (as in wet and dry) in Italian.
He was generally known as Antonio Wett, although in a number of documents and records, Antonio's surname, and that of other members of his family, varies between WET and WETT. There are also records of him being called Tony Wett and Tony Bonyarto.
Little is known of Antonio's journey to New Zealand, other than that he initially arrived on the West Coast in about 1866, before making his way to Nelson1. It is possible that, given the origin of many of the sailing vessels arriving on the West Coast in about 1865-1866, he came from Victoria, Australia, with those pursuing gold on the West Coast and other goldfields.
On the 27 August 1890, Antonio became ‘naturalised'. The papers for this event shows that: he was 53 years old at the time of naturalization; that he was born in "Tropea, Naples, Italy"; that he had lived in New Zealand for 26 years (meaning that he had arrived in NZ in about 1864); and that he was known as ‘Antonio Wet'.
Antonio is recorded in the 1880 Census of Italians in New Zealand, carried out by Gerald Perotti on behalf of Luigi Marinucci, Italian Consul General in Australasia (1874)2.
Antonio's Marriage
On the 12 March 1870, in Nelson Wesleyan Church, Antonio married Filistea Durham. Filistea's maiden name was Frost and she was born in Crediton, Devon (Nr. Exeter) UK, in about 1841.
Filistea was married to Thomas Durham, a shipwright who had served in the British navy, when she arrived in Nelson aboard the vessel ‘Water Nymph', from London, on the 12 December 1865. They had a daughter at the time of their arrival in Nelson and a son was later born, just prior to Thomas Durham's death in March 1868. Nothing is known of these children after Thomas' death in 1868.
Antonio and Filistea were known to have lived in Haven Road and Russell Street in Nelson. Nelson Museum has a copy of plans for a house (‘cottage'), drawn by John Scott, 20 April 1894, for Antonio Wett. It is believed that this may have been for his house in Haven Road, as Wises Directory have him living in that street in about 1895.
In his later years, and at the time of his death, Antonio lived at the Wakapuaka Pa. Antonio and Filistea could have also possibly lived in Collingwood, as at least two of their children (Andrew & Agnes) were born there (in 1872 and 1876.
From newspapers of the time, it appears that Antonio and Filistea's marriage was somewhat ‘tempestuous', if not violent at times. On the 3 June 1880, Antonio was arrested for stabbing Filistea at their home. It apparently arose from a domestic argument.
Newspaper stories of the subsequent trial noted that: ‘the domestic row was a continuation of many that apparently happened in the household'; the "woman by her intemperance and immoral conduct frequently driving the unhappy man almost to distraction"; the ‘stab wound was prevented from being worse, and probably saving her from being killed, by the whalebone stays of her chemise'.
Antonio's story was that his wife was drunk and had "annoyed him to such an extent that he had thrown a butcher's knife, which was on the table, at her". Filistea told the Supreme Court that she thought the knifing was ‘accidental' and that Antonio did not intend to stab her. Evidence was given that Antonio was a "sober, industrious and inoffensive man". He was however found guilty of ‘maliciously wounding' and was sentenced to 2 months hard labour.3
Antonio's Children
There were three children known to have been born to Antonio and Filistea, Elizabeth Ellen, Andrew James & Agnes Pauline.
Elizabeth was born in Nelson on 17 May 1871. She unfortunately died young, on the 7 August 1897, under strange circumstances Her death resulted in a Coroners Inquest4. She is buried at Wakapuaka Cemetery, next to her mother and father.
Andrew was born in Collingwood (Golden Bay) on the 24 October 1872, and baptised at St Peter & Paul's, Waimea West, on 5 December 1872. Both Andrew and Elizabeth were known to have attended St Mary's Industrial School in 1882.
Andrew married Ada Booker, the daughter of a Blenheim stone mason, on the 23 February 1898. They had three children: Ronald Hector James; Herbert (Bert) Antonio; and Sydney Noel. Andrew died on the 11 August 1920 at Porirua, near Wellington. He is buried in the Karori Cemetery.
Andrew changed his family name from Wett to Whitt, in about 1913, which is the family name by which his descendants are known today.
Agnes was also born at Collingwood, on the 5 April 1876; some records show her second name as Paulina, which may reflect Antonio's influence in her naming, as his mother was named Paola (an Italian version of Pauline).
On the 7 November 1894, Pauline married William REID. William Reid's occupation was given as fisherman, the same as Antonio Wett and it is possible that the families knew each other.
Agnes died on the 1 July 1922, aged 46 years and is buried in Wakapuaka Cemetery along side her husband, who died on the 29 December 1942.
Antonio's Death
Antonio died on the 5 October 1910, at the Nelson Hospital. He is buried in the Wakapuaka Cemetery, along with his wife and daughter Elizabeth.
His death notice stated5:
"Mr Antonio Wett: An old city resident, Mr Antonio Wett, died at the hospital this morning at the age of 74. "Tony" had been well known character about town for over 40 years, having arrived in Nelson from the West Coast and having followed his vocation as a fisherman ever since, except when laid aside by sickness"
Another notice stated6:
"Antonio Bonyarto, better known as Tony Wet, was a fisherman of Italian parentage, and a powerful swimmer at the Regatta Day held each Boxing Day. In the event ‘Hunt the Duck' he would always represent the duck, and would stay under water for long periods while other swimmers would try to catch him. He died 5 October 1910 in Nelson Hospital, aged 77 years.
" Written by: Graham Whitt