Joy of discovering long-lost siblings relived

By Edith Schofield -

Memories of discovering they had brothers and sisters - or more brothers and sisters than they thought - were shared at a Saturday reunion of seven siblings who were separated in their youth.

The siblings, originally from Dunedin, last met 20 years ago, after one of the brothers decided to track them all down.

Vicky Beauchamp still remembers the night she got a telephone call in which the caller asked her if she had a chair to sit down on.

Dawn Kruishoop remembered she had entered a radio competition, and when a taxi pulled up outside her home she thought it was her winning tickets arriving.

Then she thought the man on her doorstep must be an old boyfriend - but he turned out to be her brother, Les Siuipys.

"I was an only child, but now I'm one of many," said Mrs Kruishoop.

Mr Siuipys had unknowingly talked to his sister, Marjorie D'Arcy, while he worked at the Fulton Hogan company, and Mrs Kruishoop had been unknowingly working for one of her sister's cousins.

Fifty years ago Mr Siuipys decided to try to track down his brother and five sisters, five of whom had been adopted and two fostered, including him, after their parents split up.

Using Social Welfare and Salvation Army records, electoral rolls - and in some cases pure luck - he eventually found them all.

He found one sister, who he knew was in Oamaru but had no idea where, by deciding to knock on doors and ask people if they knew her. The first house he chose was his sister's neighbour.

The siblings came together for a reunion at Tomahawk Hall, in Dunedin, in 1989, and now 20 years on five of them were together again at the hall. One brother and one sister were missing through illness.

One of the biggest changes since the first reunion was the number of children at the family gathering, Mr Siuipys said.

"The numbers have multiplied since then. We have all got grandchildren and some have got great-grandchildren."

Mrs D'Arcy said: "We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Les. That was the best day of my life, that first reunion."

- OTAGO DAILY TIMES

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