There’ll be a touch of Down-Under about Sandwick Hall tomorrow (Saturday February 2nd) as island-based New Zealanders and Australians get together for their annual social.
It’s the second annual event of its kind, organised once again by Kiwi Megan Macdonald, an occupational therapist at Western Isles Hospital.
Megan said: “There’s quite a few of us on the island and it’s nice to get together once in a while with other people who ‘get’ what you are talking about and understand all your funny little quirks.
“Most of us are married to islanders and have kids around the same age, so it’s good for the families, too, to be with other people who know the score.” Megan believes there are more Kiwis than Aussies in Lewis, but there could be some out there who have no idea of this once a year celebration.
“Last year there was a lady there that none of us had met before, so it’s a good opportunity to make connections and, if you’re still homesick, to be with other people who get it.”
The date’s been picked to sit midway between Australia Day on January 26th and Waitangi Day – the national public holiday for New Zealand – on 6th February.
The evening is a mixture of homesickness and celebration, with a pot-luck supper where people bring along favourite dishes – such as Megan’s Mum’s recipe for bacon-and-egg pie, a Kiwi picnic special.
Among the topics under discussion there just might be the regular argument over who invented the favourite dessert, pavlova. Kiwis claim it as a New Zealand brainwave, by a chef honouring the celebrated ballerina Anna Pavlova on her visit to New Zealand in the 1920s.
“But Aussies like to claim it’s theirs,” said Megan. “They like to claim everything that’s good about New Zealand.”
Anyone who wants to join in with the banter and feel at home for an evening is invited to Sandwick Hall from 4pm on Saturday. If you’re not from Australia or New Zealand, but have a special link to the countries, you’re very welcome to join in.