A group of cousins have come together, many for the first time, to find out more about their family's centuries-old history.

After a four-day reunion, organiser Maurice Eddy said 11 cousins - all of them grandchildren of John Scarrott - attended the event, with some coming from as far away as San Francisco, Sydney, Canberra, Wellington, New Plymouth and Auckland.

The family trace their New Zealand history back to Emanual Scarrott, who arrived in Hawke's Bay and settled in the Tikokino area in 1855.

However, Eddy said the family could also trace their roots back to the 1400s in England, where family legend has it they were originally descended from gypsies.

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"In fact, the Scarrott name in England is a very widely known name in the circus industry and they were all gypsies, but we cannot find an actual link to the gypsy Scarrotts and we all grew up believing we were gypsies.

"I'll continue believing I am a gypsy but we were unable to find a cross link. About three people have tried but we haven't been able to find one."

The family name was also well-known in Tikokino and Bayview, where the family had operated a vineyard.

Eddy said the family had been delighted to be able to get together again.

"This is the first time that we have actually had a reunion and for quite a few of us, we've never actually met each other before.

"There were six of the cousins that I had not met before.

"It has been a wonderful experience."

The reunion, at the Napier RSA, also coincided with an 82nd birthday of one of the cousins.

"She was so thrilled, absolutely. When you get into your 70s and you get to meet cousins you didn't know the first time, it's great. The friendship bonds will continue."