At the start of the Forum’s meeting on the 3rd of April members stood in silent memory of Jim Wilkie, a long-standing member who died recently at the age of 95.
The guest speaker was John Gilleghan, a regular visitor appearing for the sixth time. John’s talk was titled New Zealand Panorama and described a tour of the country he undertook in 2004.
He began with a short history of New Zealand which was discovered by the Dutchman Abel Tasman (900 years after being settled by the Maoris) who named it Staten Island, believing it to be a single island. It was renamed New Zealand by the Dutch government who never actually claimed the territory which was claimed for Britain by Captain James Cook.
John illustrated his talk with some brilliant photographs backed by the occasional piece of music. He started his tour in Christchurch, his pictures showing the appeal of the city before the devastation caused by the earthquake in 2011. He then enjoyed a circular tour of the South Island calling at many small settlements and landing by helicopter near the summit of Mount Cook, the highest mountain in the country.
His tour then took the ferry to the North Island visiting Wellington and Rotorua before reaching its end at Auckland from where John flew home. Mike Earle proposed a vote of thanks to John Gilleghan for a fascinating talk.