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A Blast from the Past

Much has happened on the archives front since the previous post about the first NZCMS mission partner going to Japan.

With the merging of background documents complete, we devised a process that adheres to the Privacy Act of 1993, which dictates that permission must be granted by those who have returned to New Zealand since 1993 to archive material about them.

We have called on a small team of Christchurch volunteers to help sort files in preparation for sending them to Auckland to be archived. As we do this, we skim the material to decide if it will be archived or destroyed. It wasn't long before chuckles could be heard around the table, as some interesting finds were uncovered, particularly from files of those who returned to New Zealand quite some time ago.

I soon noticed that Shirley McNabb, who with her husband Neil, served in Tanzania between 1969 and 1983, was particularly engrossed in a letter as she sorted the files of the Crouchers, who were also in Tanzania. Shirley had found an aerogramme, written by the Crouchers in 1970, which described Shirley and Niel's wedding in considerable detail! We learnt that Janet Baskill was Shirley's bridesmaid and wore a blue dress. We also learnt that Neil was attended by Alf Chipman, an Australian CMS mission partner working in Kenya, whom Neil had met at St Andrew's Hall in Melbourne and again at language school.

On the night of the wedding, there was a gathering at the Bishop's and Mrs Wiggins' home at which many mission partners were present. In fact, Bishop Wiggins had another wedding-related responsibility: he iced the wedding cake!

As I lead this task of archiving at NZCMS, I am constantly amazed and not infrequently amused at the interesting facts and antics described in the Mission Partner's newsletters. Of course, I shouldn't be surprised because I'm sure I related several antics from my time in Pakistan and the time Anthony and I spent in Cambodia!

Anne McCormick, NZCMS Archivist

3 thoughts on “A Blast from the Past

  1. I find these reminiscences fascinating as having been a m ember of CMS for a long time the names are familiar and I have met some of the partners at Spring Schools. Then I try to recall more details. For example was Janet Baskill a pharmacist. It would be nice if they could be printed in a booklet.

    1. Hi, Barbara. Janet Baskill was a nurse and nurse tutor at Murgwanza Hospital for most of her time in Tanzania. She did some administrative work for the Diocese prior to her return to New Zealand. I am in the process of updating our records prior to archiving them so we have a comprehensive picture of the work of NZCMS mission partners over the years. Unfortunately, at this stage at least, there are no plans to publish this information.
      Anne McCormick, Archival Assistant

  2. Wow a fantastic story, I live in West Otago now but I come for special occasions to Christchurch, and two weeks ago after attending early morning Holy Communion. Shirley and Neil suggested we all go and have a coffee together, due to the fact that our home church is being EQ ..I also remember Anne when she attended St Paul’s Papanui and have prayed for her for many years

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