A plea to find missing relatives published in Mahurangi Matters was answered within hours of the newspaper hitting newsstands.
Sue Gilbert, who now lives in Olney, UK, wrote to Mahurangi Matters seeking help in tracking down her cousin Ian Robertson and his wife Carole.
Sue knew that the Robertsons had formerly lived in Kaipara Flats but believed they now lived in Warkworth. She had been in regular contact with them prior to 2017 but then lost touch and could not locate them.
White Pages and Facebook searches proved fruitless, so Sue thought she would write to the local newspaper.
The day the December 20 edition of Mahurangi Matters appeared, Ian Robertson’s former gardener alerted him that Sue was trying to find him.
The next day a teller at Westpac bank also phoned Ian to say he had been mentioned in the paper.
Ian, 77, who had not seen the newspaper himself, called around to the Mahurangi Matters office to pick one up and was overjoyed to see Sue’s letter and email address.
“It’s the best Christmas present I’ve ever had. I had given up trying to get hold of her. I had tried everything, even emailing the company she used to work for,” he said.
Mutual friends Ros Aldam and Grant Clark had also tried to locate Sue without success.
Ian and Carole, 78, did indeed formerly live in Kaipara Flats but moved to Warkworth in 2019 after Carole became increasingly ill with dementia. Carole is now cared for at the Bethany Hill retirement home in Whangateau.
Shortly after visiting the Mahurangi Matters office, Ian quickly managed to connect with Sue via email and was planning a long catch-up chat with her via Messenger.
He hoped Sue might be able to return to New Zealand for a visit when Covid restrictions allow.
“I can’t afford to go there, but she would be more than welcome to come here,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sue emailed Mahurangi Matters with a “massive thank you” for the help of Mahurangi Matters and its readers.