kolff: history: persons: kolff in new zealand: 1

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Kolff in New Zealand

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tak ccb Name of the article: Kolff in New Zealand, Kees and Tora and their descendants (1950 - today),
by Hans Willem (Willy) Kolff (CCB XVIIoo), includes a link to the (Dutch) biography of Tora Kolff-Gerretsen
New Zealand Kolff family celebrate 50 years of residency

On 14th December 1950 the family of Kees (Cornelis) Kolff landed on the Wellington Harbour from Sydney in the unusual way by means of a Sunderland Flying Boat of the Australian airline TEAL. The family group consisted of Kees's wife Tora and their five sons between the ages of 4½ and 14 as well as their 11 month old daughter. Kees himself had come half a year earlier to find work and accommodation. He was already 48 years old.

It was the last stage of a long journey from Holland which they had left on 25th October. They had sailed on the Sibajak from Rotterdam via the Suez Canal, Colombo, and Perth to Syndey. Here the family were required to stay 2 weeks longer than originally planned because the daughter had got the German measles and they were not permitted to continue to New Zealand until she was non-contagious.

Kees was born in 1902 in South Africa where his father practised medicine, but at the age of 6 the family returned to Holland. As a young adult he lived in Indonesia until the world depression struck in the early 30's. He returned to Holland where he met his wife-to-be. In 1934 he married Tora Gerretsen back in Indonesia where he lived the following 5 years. He was on leave in Holland when the war broke out and was unable to return. Having returned to Indonesia alone after the war was over, he quickly discovered that the political situation was far to unstable and dangerous to live there with the 5 sons he was now the father of. Work was difficult to find in Holland, especially with his working skills and experience. The plan to emigrate to New Zealand was taken in 1949.

Life was not easy in New Zealand , but the freedom from overcrowded Holland and the beautiful scenery and pleasant climate outweighed the sometimes tough daily conditions the family lived under. Furthermore New Zealand had well developed health and education systems being of considerable benefit to the family.

See also: Biographies: From the Lowlands to the Hills by Tora Kolff