Road trippers find more to small towns than beauty

Jumping in a car to hit the beach or to go to a favourite spot are fairly standard reasons for a Kiwi road trip, but what about finding out about who you are?

4 April 2016

Road trippers find more to small towns than beauty

Jumping in a car to hit the beach or to go to a favourite spot are fairly standard reasons for a Kiwi road trip, but what about finding out about who you are?

“More and more people are travelling to the regions in search of their history and that’s something we wanted to encourage,” says AA Directions Editor Kathryn Webster.

The Autumn issue of AA Directions shines a spotlight on different parts of the country, from Russell and Thames through to Hokitika, Canterbury, Arrowtown and Otago sharing stories of heritage and New Zealand experiences. It’s currently being delivered to 580,000 letterboxes of AA Members throughout the country.

“There’s nothing like going to a place of personal connection. Sometimes you can stand where your ancestors once stood, and that’s an experience we wanted to inspire New Zealanders to get for themselves, by travelling to find out more about their family origins,” she says.

“A lot of people go overseas to track down their history, but there are many places in New Zealand where these stories have been well-preserved,” she says.

“We found local museums rich with material that provide clues about ancestors who have lived there, or who arrived in New Zealand at that port and, in my experience, those museums have archivists who are really passionate about what they do and are happy to help with enquiries.”

Kathryn found some of her preserved story on an Otago to Canterbury road trip, equipped with clues found in her family tree search as impetus to go ‘home’.

“At one point, I stood looking up at an English Oak planted in Christchurch’s Riccarton Bush in 1867 by my great-great-grandfather James Webster. He worked there as a forester in the 1860s and lived with his wife Catherine in the worker’s cottage, which is where my great-grandfather was born.

“It’s still there. I stepped into the cottage, looking for clues, marvelling. I kept thinking, this is where one strand of the family tie leads – back to this small house,” she says.

The Autumn issue of AA Directions is available to AA Members or online on the AA Directions website.


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

New! Our navigation has changed.

Use this button to access the site content.

 |  Learn more

×