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Almost every New Zealander has one or more forebears who sailed from Britain in the nineteenth century to take part in the pioneering process, which built the country that we know to-day.
From a variety of sources, including the diaries of passengers on a number of emigrant ships, the author has told the story largely in the words of the participants themselves, thus giving a unique insight into what life was like during the long voyage (up to five months) down the Atlantic, around the Cape of Good Hope and through the storms of the southern ocean to New Zealand.
The reasons for emigrating, the tearful farewells, the onslaught of seasickness, quarrels, epidemics, storms, fires, shipwrecks, shipboard activities, the fun of “crossing the Line” into the southern hemisphere, and finally the excitement of viewing for the first time the land that they had gone through so much discomfort to reach – all are told in a highly readable way that exposes the reality of life on an emigrant vessel in the days of sail.
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