A 1400km car trip is a long haul by anyone's standards, let alone a 92-year-old, by himself, on a road trip around the country.

Former Oamaru man Bob Nicholson made the trip from his home in Tauranga to be at the Bringing Back the Past Waipori Reunion at the weekend.

The reunion was held in Lawrence and at locations near Lake Mahinerangi.

Mr Nicholson had originally planned to make the journey as part of a "last hurrah" around New Zealand with wife Joan (86). However, she died in September.


But this did not stop Mr Nicholson from making the trip to visit the couple's ancestors.

He visited the Waipori Cemetery with about 250 others yesterday.

"It was a must," Mr Nicholson said.

"My wife and I had planned [the] visit to coincide with Easter...

"She loved coming here. This was her family.

"I have made an effort and I'm enjoying it."

Mr Nicholson tried to return to the Waipori Cemetery every six years.

"I think there has been a lot of effort gone in this weekend for people like me."

Along with a trip to the cemetery where a kiosk and two refurbished headstones were unveiled, activities included a meet-and-greet, memorabilia displays and a formal dinner in Lawrence, as well as a Sunday bus trip and lunch at Waipori Station.

Co-organiser Kerry O'Driscoll said Waipori held a "lingering love" for people with links to the former township and area.

Waipori, once a 2000-person gold mining town, went under water in the years following "Settlement Day" in 1924 with the development of Lake Mahinerangi for hydroelectric power.

There had not been a reunion since 1964, Ms O'Driscoll said.

"It's in honour of the township of Waipori and the people that were here in the first place.

"It's been fantastic.

"It's been overwhelming. It's been lovely," she said.