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Auckland Library’s Family History Expo 2015

Report—The Auckland Library’s Family History Expo was an entertaining weekend the first weekend in August 2015.

It was disappointing that many of the schools that had planned to attend had to call off at the last minute but we had young teenagers from Kadimah School in the city and one of the Irish Interest Group’s leading lights brought 4 of her students from James Cook High School.

The opening event was started by ex NZSG President Michelle Patient and a Panel of Genealogists answering her questions. The Panel featured Ben Mercer (Ancestry), Seonaid Lewis (Auckland Libraries), Helen Smith (Genealogical Society of Queensland), Gay Williams (New Zealand Society of Genealogists) and provoked a lively exchange of ideas of where the panelists think Genealogy is heading.

The Panel discussion was followed by light refreshments and then the key note speaker – David Lomas (Missing Pieces, Lost & Found) took the stand to talk about how the programes got started, why they changed the name each year (it’s to do with how NZ On Air funds new TV programes) and then he gave us some background on some of his most memorable programes and showing some clips from over the years. There was not a dry eye in the house by the time he had finished. Unfortunately for us but perhaps fortunately for David, time ran out for too many questions as we had to leave the building at 8pm.

On Saturday the business end of the Expo got underway and while there seemed to be a lot of people around – not a lot of them were interested in the displays – as most were heading to the different lectures and workshops.

The Māori Interest Group had a stand, situated next to the Pacific Islands Group table. Our initial positions were right outside the door into the Whare which was being used as a lecture room. There was a constant stream of traffic in and out the door all day on Friday which made it difficult for us to talk with visitors to our stands. On Saturday morning I decided it was time to move across the atrium to the centre area which was vacant and re-sited our table and the Pacific Island’s Group for Christine Liava’a. She was very surprised by her new location when she arrived in but was pleased about the easy access to power cables from the new site.

Our volunteers over the weekend were Sue Slight, Lorraine Rice, Owen Ormsby, Don Hayward and Trevor Mosley. I had volunteered to man the table both days, but was convinced that an uncle’s 90th birthday would have far more ‘family history’ interest. So, with the kind offer from Sue Slight to mind the desk on Sunday morning –  I took off for Richmond in Nelson and some quality family time. As there should always be a reward for helping friends, Sue was in her ‘Ngati Pakeha’ T-shirt as Māori TV came around on Sunday morning and got her 15 minutes of fame on Te Kaea on Sunday evening. Sue was interviewed by Raniera Kingi from Auckland Libraries for the programe and appeared on screen for a good five minutes – with some really good shots of our table with my own whakapapa on display. Well done Sue.

Lorraine RICE.