9 February 2010
Auckland was my first port of call on the New Zealand part of my trip and I spent a most enjoyable extended lunch addressing the Auckland Burns Club. A most knowledgeable audience responded exceptionally well during a Q&A session and we had songs and recitations of the highest calibre including a magnificent rendition of ‘Scots Wha Hae’ by Doug Robertson (bottom right)to close proceedings. President Tom Shiels (middle) presided over proceedings and Pat and I were presented with beautifully carved wooden pens as a memento of our visit. These had been carved by our host, and Club Secretary, David Small, ( second from right) and pictured below with his wife Beth and ‘Lass’ their cairn terrier.They could not have been kinder hosts and gave us a memorable start in our exploration of New Zealand's North Island. I was also given a bound copy of a poem entitled ‘An Epitaph and Eulogy for Robert Burns” written by Charles Colquhoun Rowan, a member of the Club. Later in the day I paid a visit to the very fine 1921 Burns Statue in the Auckland Domain Gardens.