This is the tale of how a branch of the Stead family came to be established in New Zealand in 1963.
I had been working as an instructor at Ogwen Cottage, an outdoor pursuits centre on the shores of Llyn Ogwen in the Snowdonia National Park, North Wales. John Ireland also worked there on a casual basis, as did Dereck Price. So there is the team, duly assembled.
|Passport pictures. L to R: Dereck Price, Tony Stead, John Ireland|
One weekend John turned up with a book titled: FIRST OVERLAND, by Tim Slessor, and instructions for me to read it. During the next week I read, and enjoyed, the account of a group of Oxford & Cambridge graduates who made the first complete overland trip from U.K. to Singapore by Land rover.
When John arrived the next weekend he was keen to find out my impression of the trip while also pointing out that he already had the Land rover. I was initially very sceptical as it had cost Slessor’s team over 5000 pounds each, a sum that was totally out of our reach. However, John had done his sums and worked out that we could actually do it for a fraction of the cost.
So the dream became a planning exercise and on April 2nd, 1962, we finally hit the road heading for New Zealand, and what I would still rate as one of the most enjoyable years of my life.
The following narrative is taken verbatim from the day-to-day diary that I kept throughout that year and ends with our arrival in Christchurch in late March, 1963.
Tony Stead, Oamaru, 2011