Christchurch City Libraries is privileged to host Wilma Giordano Laryn at Auaha Hīhī/Spark Place, He Hononga | Connection, Ground Floor, Tūranga on Friday 4 November 2022 from 6pm to 7pm. Wilma will present her memoir Tales from the Wood's Edge.
Wilma and her family migrated to Christchurch from Italy in 1996 and lived here for 22 eventful years (experiencing the Christchurch earthquakes and the Port Hills fires). During this time Wilma and her husband started Cracroft Chase Vineyard. Wilma was also very active in voluntary work: she presented the Cartolina radio programme, hosted a TV cooking series, helped organise the Ciao Italia Festival, coached the opera chorus, and was president of the Dante Alighieri Society. In this latter role she started the very popular Italian Language School.
In advance of Wilma's presentation, we took the opportunity to ask her a few quick questions.
Why did you leave Italy?
We were a middle-aged couple with a young child and an old dog. We were in search of an adventure, for us and the young one.
What made you choose to come to New Zealand and specifically Christchurch?
Italy is such a beautiful country, that it’s difficult to find another place you would like to move to. We came first on a long holiday to see this New Zealand so many talked about, and we loved it. Both Auckland and Wellington had appeal, but when we reached Christchurch, we all felt at home and decided that was the place for us.
What were the biggest challenge and the biggest joy of being a migrant?
The challenge was not to be missing what we had left behind and was always present in our hearts; the joy was a whole new world to explore: its nature, history, habits, and culture (actually multiculture) in all its aspects.
Why did you choose to set up a vineyard? Did you have any previous experience in the field?
Our experience was more in appreciating a good glass of wine than making it! When we bought our vast property in Cracroft we wondered what we could make of it; not being familiar with farm animals, we thought of growing vines there. The New Zealand wine industry was growing and we were happy to add to it, choosing a variety like Pinot Gris that was still little known then.
What can we look forward to on Friday night?
A simple presentation of the book and, I hope, plenty of talk about our common (or uncommon) experiences as Italian immigrants. I’d like to celebrate the release of this book not just as my personal achievement but as a moment of joy for the whole Italian community and for the many communities who call Christchurch home.
Books will be available to buy directly from Wilma on the night ($30, cash only, please) or you can borrow a copy, opens a new window from Christchurch City Libraries. You can also contact Wilma through her Facebook page: Wilma’s Tales Racconti di Wilma.
Looking forward to seeing you there!