Sunday, July 10, 2011





Wendy, George, Phyllis' Stella, George
The Danish Vice-consul in Palmerston North, George Petersen, was invested as a Knight of the order of Danneborg at a ceremony preformed by George Lund, of the Danish Legation, Wellington.  This award was for services rendered to Danish People during his ten-year term of office.  Denmark having no colonies of her own, keeps a strong link with Danish settlements around the world. 

Mr. Petersen a tall quite man, sat in his book lined study telling of the interest of rewarding contacts with distinguished Danish people passing through New Zealand as well as those who make homes here. 

New Zealand-born, his father having settled here, he received in 1947, The Danish Medal of Liberation.  Throughout his married life he has developed an interest in research on the history of New Zealand, and is an author of several books. 

His first book, in collaboration with A. G. Bagnall, on the life of William Colenso, was published in 1948.  It depicts missionary work in the Bay of Islands in 1834.  In 1950 , "Pioneering Days in Palmerston North" was published.  He described the fascination of contacts all over the world arising from his research.  During a recent trip he even stayed , in Cornwall, with a grand-nephew of William Colenso. 

George's book "Forest Homes"
In 1956, he wrote, in collaboration with Johannes C. Andersen, a history of the Mair Family, famous soldiers of the Bay of Islands who fought in the Maori Wars.  This was followed by a short legend and history of Taupo.  His latest book, "Forest Homes" is the story of the Scandinavian settlement in the Wairarapa. 

"It all started," said Mr. Petersen, "when I began looking up Maori history and legend to help my wife, Stella, who when we were first married, was writing a series of lessons for schoolchildren." 
Mr. Petersen has one of the best private collection of books on New Zealand, including many rare volumes.  "He knows the inside of them as well as the outside," says Mrs. Petersen.  "They are kept in perfect order and he can quickly lay his hands on any book or information." 

In 1954, Mr. and Mrs. Petersen and their two children visited Denmark for the first time.  They were publicly welcomed in Copenhagen, where they rented a house and lived as a Danish family. 

"In this way we met people in all walks of life," said Mr. Petersen, "Not the least interesting being the butcher, the baker, the grocer.  While touring in Jutland we visited my father's people, who still live on the farm that has been in the family 400 years." 

In April, 1965 George Conrad Petersen published D. G. Monrad, Scholar, Statesman, Priest, and New Zealand Pioneer.

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