22-25 November 2019

70 people attended a Country Bonanza themed Sixties Plus Weekend at Tui Ridge Park. Blessed with beautiful weather, the honoured guests celebrated and grew friendships, enjoyed spiritual fellowship as well as more than a few delightful surprises. Fellowship around worship was especially meaningful to 4-time attendees, Gaylene and Kyrill Bland, who love the opportunity to spend time with their wider church family. This sentiment was echoed by others from smaller church communities.

Pr Justin Strauss from Palmerston North, the guest speaker, built his message on the key passage found in John 15:1-11 which is all about connecting with Jesus and connecting with one another. Sandra Liggett expressed how much the old folk loved closing the Sabbath together by singing their favourite hymns and reflecting in the later evening on the memories of what they got up to at Big camp many years ago.

Mrs Liggett shared more about Sunday, a highly anticipated day, as a mystery trip had been arranged: “After getting into our buses, we headed out. We turned right onto Oturoa Road, but instead of the usual left and then right turn, we took a quick left towards Mamaku. Chatter was noisy as we wondered what on earth is there out here for us? The Blueberry place? Nope! Mmm… where are we off to then?

Suddenly, we arrived at a small car park next to what looked like a large log cabin with a sign that said ‘Railcruising- the ultimate rail experience’. Most of us had no idea what it was. What a pleasant surprise it was to get into these little self-driven railcars and enjoy a 10 km ride through the very beautiful Dansey Scenic Reserve. The outing ended wonderfully with lunch served on a paddle steamer that runs on the nearby lake.”

On Sunday evening, the much-awaited banquet was another treat with a delicious meal,  enjoyed in the dining room which was decorated as a Western Country Bonanza including a chuckwagon to supply the food and a campfire in the centre!!  Several guests had sported their cowboy hats and a  great time was had by all.

This special weekend was really enjoyed and summed up well by Elaine Jackson, who has been attending for 19 years: “The weekend is fantastic because of the opportunity to meet up with old friends and to make new ones, to be fed spiritually and with good food, time to rest and be treated special with the highlight being the much-enjoyed mystery trip on Sunday which is a great draw for many.”

Pastor Kirsten Oster Lundqvist NNZC Communications and media officer with Sandra Liggett

Photos Bryan smith and Sandra Liggett