“Home exchanging has become a big part of our lives. In 2000 after my wife, Rita, started tracing her family tree (we are both first generation New Zealanders, now in our 60s), I too took to looking up my family tree.
Back in 1926 my grandparents had arrived in New Zealand from Scotland with their six year old son (my father). My Grandmother was born in Glasgow but died within 18 months of arriving in New Zealand. My Grandfather, born in Inverness, died in the 50's so my father grew up really not knowing of any of his family back in Scotland.
We decided that we could use home exchange to help us in our search for family members; so, in 2010 we made a visit to Scotland. We organised two home exchanges and tracked down ‘Living Family Members’, my Father’s only living cousin and two of his nieces. One of the nieces told us that her daughter had, just a few days earlier, been offered a job interview in New Zealand and been given instructions that while there, if time permitted, to try to track down any living family members from the family that immigrated to New Zealand back in 1926.
Finding family in Scotland allowed my 90 year old father to re-connect to his family there, conversing for the next couple of years via Skype with them. By happy coincidence the daughter that went for the job interview in New Zealand got the position (at a Theological College close to where we all live). She go to know her New Zealand family and spent time with my father (her Great Grand Uncle we think), prior to his death in 2012.
In February 2014 she was offered a new position, as the 7th Anglican Bishop of Waikato and Taranaki, which covers nearly half of the North Island. We are all so proud of her and my father would be too. He may have never known any family back in Scotland, may have never been able to talk to them even, if it were not for Rita and I using Home Base Holidays and the home exchange concept that helped us in our search for our Scottish roots.” - Don & Rita MacLeod.
View the couple’s home exchange offer in Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand (home in photo)