We live in Paraparaumu Beach, Kapiti, New Zealand. Our house overlooks a lovely lake, and we are close to the beach. What a lovely place to live!
Our house overlooking Kotuku Lake
Sun setting over Kapiti Island
Click on the links below for information about our various activities.
Our story Important events in our lives.
Family news What's happening in our family.
Recent travels Photos and travelogues from our recent trips to the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, Hawaii, Norway, Rarotonga, the UK, Europe, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, USA, Canada, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Scandinavia, Russia, Shetland Islands and Turkey.....
Ministry news What's happening in our various ministries.
Bible Studies This link takes you to Ross's website where there are lots of Bible Studies you can freely download and use.
May 2016. Debbie turned 40.
We went to Melbourne to celebrate Debbie's 40th birthday.After a great party we looked after the children for a few days so Debbie and Fraser could have a holiday together. We survived quite well!
We then had a lovely time driving from Melbourne to Adelaide, following the Murray River. See Melbourne to Adelaide 2016. You can watch the short video we made of this trip here. We love the Murray River!
Then it was back to Melbourne for JJ's 10th birthday.
Ross has a new hobby: making model ships!
His first model was of the Marie Jeanne, a French tuna fishing boat from the early 20th century. The model was built in the same way as the original and took 4 months to construct. It is very detailed!
You can watch a video showing the construction of the Marie Jeanne here.
His second model was of the PS Pevensey. This paddleship was renamed the PS Philadelphia for the mini-series "All the Rivers Run". We have been on a short cruise on the PS Pevensey, out of Echuca on the River Murray.
The model of the PS Pevensey took nearly 3 months to make and it was not made from a kit. Ross worked out a plan for it based on photos of the PS Pevensey. You can download the plan and make the model yourself if you like! Click here to download the plan: Pevensey plan
You can also watch a video showing construction of the PS Pevensey here.
April 2016. Cruise to Fiji and Tonga.
We went on another wonderful cruise, this time to Fiji and Tonga on the "Pacific Pearl". We were accompanied by our friends from America, LaDonna and Tony Cheatham and we sure had a great time!
Read all about our cruise here.
Watch the video we made for the cruise here. Cruise to Fiji and Tonga
Click here to read our 2015 newsletter.
Our family in 2015: Phil, Debbie, Dan, Ross, Heidi, Blake, Kathy, Michael, JJ (front), Sarah, Isla, Luke, Fraser
October 2015. Kathy turned 60.
We celebrated Kathy's 60th birthday in style!
We had a soiree with many of our local friends and watched a video showing 60 years of Kathy's life. You can watch this video by clicking here: 60 years
Our church, Gateway Christian Fellowship, completed its ministry to elderly people in the Kapiti area and closed down after 11.5 years of faithful service. We had a huge input into the church during the last 7 years, and it was extremely enriching to be part of such a wonderful fellowship. See Gateway Christian Fellowship. We will continue to support the elderly people who so enjoy being in our home, and will now be able to have more time for our other community activities.
Click here to watch the video we made which shows the history, people and ministry of Gateway Christian Fellowship.
We had a wonderful holiday in Asia. We started with a lovely week in Langkawi, Malaysia, then met up with Debbie and her family on beautiful Panglao Island in the Philippines.
A week later we flew to Hong Kong and joined the Celebrity Millennium for a 17 day cruise visiting Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and China. You can read all about this holiday by clicking here: Asia 2015.
You can also watch YouTube movies of the trip here:
Langkawi Kuala Lumpur Panglao Asia Cruise on the Celebrity Millennium
Blake turned 5 and has now started at Belmont School. He is sure to be a model pupil (especially as Sarah is teaching at the school!).
February 2015. Visit of Norwegian family.
Five members of our Norwegian family visited New Zealand and we took them on an exciting (and sometimes emotional) tour of the North Island. Together we visited the places where Kathy's grandfather, Harald Oskar Andersen, lived and worked. We also met with NZ members of Harald's family, thus completing a joining of families that begun in 2010 when we visited Norway. (See story here).
Magnar and Rosa Haraldsen; Ross and Kathy Callaghan; Vera, Wenche and Roar Haraldsen.
Check out the video we made of this great family experience. The video shows the places where Harald lived and worked in NZ (1904-1962) and highlights some of the great family experiences we had, and the wonderful cultural and tourist experiences we shared. Harald Andersen's life in New Zealand
Along the way our amazing story was featured in two newspapers. You can check them out here:
Waitomo News Kapiti news
Here is our 2014 Christmas Newsletter. Christmas 2014
We also recorded a Christmas song and put it on YouTube. Click here to listen: Come on ring those bells.
This year we had Christmas with the Stevens family:
Michael, Sarah, Blake and Isla with Kathy (Granna) and Ross (Poppa)
We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary with our family in Melbourne. Check out the video our family made for our anniversary by clicking here: 40 years. Check out the slideshow of our 40 years together by clicking here: Family story
We were married on the 31st August 1974 at Glenfield Presbyterian Church, and have had a wonderful time together over the last 40 years. Amazing how Kathy hasn't aged at all in 40 years!
2014 40 years earlier
Celebrating 40 years: Fraser and Debbie, Dan, JJ, Luke, Ross, Kathy and Heidi. August 2014.
To celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, we went on a wonderful trip to the United States and the Caribbean. We spent time in Los Angeles and Miami, then took a 2 week cruise around the western and eastern Caribbean on board the 'Carnival Glory'. Fabulous! Afterwards we spent a few days in Washington DC.
What a great way to celebrate 40 years together! You can read all about this trip by clicking here.
You can also watch our videos for this trip by clicking here: Caribbean cruise California Miami Washington DC
We had a lovely holiday in Port Stephens, New South Wales, with Debbie's family and then drove north to the Gold Coast and Brisbane, visiting with Geoff and Andrea Grigg, and Mike and Gaye Carman. You can watch the video of our trip to Port Stephens by clicking here: Port Stephens.
Main events of 2013.
Blake, Sarah, Isla and Michael. End of 2013.
Sarah and Phil, 2013
Cunningham family 2013. Back: JJ, Fraser, Luke and Heidi. Front: Debbie and Dan.
- We spent Christmas with our family in Melbourne. It was lovely to catch up with Debbie, Fraser, JJ, Heidi, Luke and Dan, and also Phil and Sarah.
- In November 2013 Kathy went to Hawaii to enjoy the Sweet Adeline International Competitions and to catch up with old friends.
See below for details of the amazing way we made contact with the family Harald left behind in Norway. Meeting our Norwegian family in 2010 and again in 2012 were two of the most enriching experiences of our lives. Harald died
over 50 years ago but his legacy continues in the new relationships we have established between his families in Norway and New Zealand.
- In August 2013 Ross completed writing his book "Tomorrow I'm going to disappear". The book is 'faction' - a fiction novel based on fact. It tells the story of how Kathy's grandfather, Harald Oskar Andersen, came from Norway to New Zealand in 1904. You can read the book by clicking here: Tomorrow I'm going to disappear.
- In June 2013 we went on a wonderful trip to the Pacific Islands.First we went on a 10 day cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia on the 'Pacific Pearl'. The cruise was brilliant and we had good weather (and calm seas!) all the way. Next we flew up to Fiji and stayed at the Smuggler's Cove resort, just out of Nadi. What a gorgeous place! Beautiful beaches, lovely sunsets, plenty of interesting activities.... We loved Fiji!
Click here for a full description of our trip to the Pacific Islands: Pacific Islands 2013. Click here to watch our video of the cruise on the Pacific Pearl.
After a week in Fiji we flew to Melbourne to look after the grandchildren while Debbie was in New Zealand, and then enjoyed a reunion at Glenfield Presbyterian Church (where we were married in 1974).
- In April 2013 Phil
and Sarah left for Melbourne, Australia. They sold their NZ
business and set up a new business selling badges and T shirts
online and at youth conventions.
Now two of our children live in Melbourne so we will no doubt be visiting there quite often!
- Sarah and Michael's daughter Isla Grace Stevens was born in April 2013.
Isla was 4.32kg and came into the world quickly and easily. Blake was
rapt to have a new sister and Granna and Poppa to have a sixth
- In March 2013 we had a lovely holiday with Debbie and Fraser and the children in Forster, New South Wales, Australia. Watch the video of our time in Forster by clicking here: Forster
Main events of 2012.
- Our family all got together for Christmas 2012. Click here to watch the video of our Christmas celebrations: Christmas 2012. Here is our family photo.
Back row: Debbie, JJ, Fraser, Heidi, Sarah, Blake, Michael
Front row: Dan, Sarah, Phil, Luke, Ross, Kathy.
In September/October 2012 we went on a great Cosmos tour of Central Europe visiting Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Austria. Read about our trip here and watch the amazing video we made here. On our way home we stopped over in the United Arab Emirates, visiting Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Click here to read about this visit or watch our video here.
Before the Cosmos tour we had a wonderful time in Norway catching up with family we met when we were there briefly, two years ago. (See below for the amazing story of how this came about). You can read about our visit to Norway here.and watch videos here: Folk and Viking Museum, Bringing in the sheep, Life in Norway. Visiting the Valdrez Mountains.
On our way to Norway we had a week in Hawaii, cruising on the Pride of America. You can read all about this trip here. You can watch the video for this trip by clicking here: Hawaii.
- Debbie and Fraser's new baby Dan Caleb was born on the 29th August 2012. A new brother for JJ, Heidi and Luke!
- In March 2012 we had a wonderful holiday in Rarotonga. You can read all about this trip by clicking here.
Main events in 2011.
- In 2011 our travels took us to America. We started with a few days in New York, then tried to find information about Kathy's great, great grandfather in Connecticut. After this we visited with friends in Kansas and in Oregon. Next we went on a Gaither Gospel Cruise to Alaska. How wonderful! Click here to read the daily log for this trip.
The meeting with the family in Norway was a very special experience! Kathy had been researching the life of her grandfather, Harald Oskar Andersen. What a fascinating story it turned out to be! Up till recently we thought Harald had come from his home town of Nannestad, Norway in 1904, jumped ship in New Zealand and that his ship had sunk afterwards. Kathy's research at Archives New Zealand showed that Harald was actually put in prison when he reached New Zealand for stealing a suit, and she was able to obtain a photo of him and lots of interesting background information. You can read the article Kathy wrote about this in the NZ Genealogist here: NZ Genealogist March/April 2010. (The file will take a little while to download). We decided to visit Nannestad on our upcoming trip to Norway and thought that just one day there would be plenty, as the only thing we knew about Harald's past life was where he was born. We knew of no family in Norway. Just before we left home Kathy wrote to a local newspaper in the area where Harald lived to see if they were interested in a story, either about him or about her trying to find her Norwegian roots. She included the article from the NZ Genealogist. The editor said "Yes" and passed the story onto a reporter to write and publish. What happened next is incredible!
Main events in 2010.
The reporter got a call from his own cousin, who had seen the article, telling him that their great grandfather had the same name, date and place of birth. Could this possibly be the same man? They started searching records and found that indeed their great grandfather and Kathy's grandfather were the same man!! So not only was the reporter a relative, but we had now discovered a whole new family in Norway! We didn't know they existed and they didn't know we existed!
We soon had many emails from our very excited Norwegian family with lots of photos. It appeared that Harald had 2 children before he left Norway and the offspring of those children had finally discovered what had happened to him. They thought that he had 'disappeared' in 1903 and was possibly lost at sea. It was strange to see photos of strangers from the other side of the world that looked like Kathy's father!
We then came on another interesting aspect of the story. One of the older Norwegian family members described something that had never been mentioned before. Apparently Harald's son had said that Harald and 3 other men had got in a fight in 1903 and a man had died. Harald must have thought he was guilty of murder and got a job on a ship so he could 'disappear'. As it turned out the man died from hitting his head and no one was charged with his death, but Harald never knew this. He had already disappeared. No-one in Norway knew where he went and (to our knowledge) Harald never contacted any of his family in Norway, not even his mother or partner Anna. Harald's Certificate of Discharge told us that he ended up in NZ and that he 'failed to complete his voyage' in 1904. Kathy later learned that he had been put in jail when he arrived in New Zealand, for stealing a suit.
Harald married Andrina Louisa Gertrude Sandison (Kathy's grandmother) in 1916 and they had 6 children (including Eric, Kathy's father). Harald had not married the woman with whom he had the children in Norway so he was not a bigamist!
When we met with the family in Norway we had a wonderful day! We were taken to visit many of the significant places in Harald's life, and in the life of his children and their families. We also met most of the living relatives in a very moving family get-together. It was incredible to see how similar in appearance many were to Kathy!! We now have lots of new friends (and a much bigger family!). We are very grateful to everyone who made this such a special day! Read all about the day here: Meeting with the family in Norway
This amazing story has also been published in the September/October issue of NZ Genealogist and Magnar and Kathy are on the front cover!! Read all about it here: NZ Genealogist September/October 2010
For more information about Harald and Andrina and their family, go to the 'Grandparents' section of our website. Click here: Grandparents.
- Sarah and Michael's son Blake was born in March, 2010. Blake was our 4th grandchild.
- After 5 years we stepped down from the leadership of our Church, Gateway Christian Fellowship and the church is now closed. We still have lots of involvement with the people of Gateway, including meetings in our home and many fun social activities. See Gateway Christian Fellowship
- We are now fully retired. This gives us time to for our community work. We provide entertainment for elderly people in our local community by showing our travel movies; running 'soirees', and leading singalongs for elderly people in Kapiti retirement villages and rest homes. See our "Entertain Kapiti" website for details.
- Ross is playing golf again and is playing quite well despite his bad back. He got down to a 7 handicap and even had a 69 recently, something he last did about 50 years ago.
- Kathy is no longer a Sweet Adeline. This was a major decision after 15 years of singing barbershop. She values how much she learned, and the friends she made through the barbershop craft. Kathy is now singing with the Kapiti Women's Choir.
- Kathy is still working on researching our family history. After a time on the committee for the Kapiti Genealogical Society she now does genealogy research for others, which takes up quite a lot of her time.