By Staff Reporter “The Oamaru Mail”

Reprinted with permission from “The Oamaru Mail”. Publication date Tuesday, January 15, 2013

“One of Otago's early pioneering families has been remembered with a programme of events to celebrate their association with the region which began 150 years ago.

New Zealand descendants of Robert William and Jane Botting have just completed a programme of events celebrating the arrival of these early pioneers of North Otago.

Seven generations later, more than 70 members of the family, which has spread throughout the country and across the globe, met in the Maniototo and Waitaki Valley to see the countryside where Robert and Jane made their homes, and to acknowledge their hard-earned successes against the challenges they faced while providing a new life for their large family.

Family spokesman Russ Botting said the events inter-leaved to some extent with the activities of the Naseby Gold Programme, which was celebrated recently.

This was considered appropriate by the reunion planners because Robert William Botting and his sons were gold-miners in the 1860s and 1870s in the Naseby, and later in the Livingstone areas, as well as being butchers and farmers.

The Botting family held several anniversary events at the Maniototo Rugby Club Lounge.

“An evening get together and supper kicked off the programme and provided an informal occasion for meeting family relations of bygone years, and younger family of the present age” Mr Botting said.

“The official opening, a barbeque dinner and after-dinner speeches followed and this was an opportunity to present, in a leisurely manner, an historical background to the anniversary celebrations, which were well received by old and young alike”.

The last anniversary event in the Maniototo was held in Ranfurly where family members attended a church service at the Ranfurly Presbyterian Church led by the Reverend Des Botting, who presented a sermon entitled More Precious than Gold.

“The grand anniversary dinner was held on Sunday night at The Homestead in Oamaru, and a further highlight event was the graveside memorial service and wreath laying at the family grave at Livingstone Cemetery” Russ Botting said.

“Led by the Reverend Des Botting, this was a service of dedication for the new footer stone, a memorial to Jane and Robert William Botting, their son Frederick, and a grandson William, who were buried in that grave site well over one hundred years ago.

“This was a very well-attended event conducted on a calm and sunny morning with country sounds providing a back-ground to our tribute to the memoryof Jane and Robert William Botting, a memory that lives on in us, their descendants.

Mr Botting said the celebrations wound up on Monday afternoon following a tour of Kurow's historic St Albans Anglican Church and Vicarage, where some members of the family once worshipped.

“The limestone and kauri building is a visible reminder of the important role played by the church in the growth and development of small rural communities in North Otago which were historically significant to the Robert William Botting Family and to the beliefs and ideals they channelled into the communities in which they lived.” Mr Botting said.

HISTORIC GATHERING: Members of the Botting Family came together for a 150-year celebration. The descendants gathered at The Homestead, venue of the grand anniversary dinner.
                                                                                                         PHOTO SUPPLIED

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