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Building a future

The first Spurdle family in New Zealand

Robyn Spurdle & Julie Daymond-King


Out of print


William Spurdle was a carpenter in Dorset when he uprooted his family and emigrated to New Zealand, arriving in 1842. Building a Future follows the lives of this family, and the contributions William and his sons, also carpenters and wheelwrights, made to building the new colony while his wife Sarah and their daughters embraced the trials and tribulations of a new home, building their own families.Spanning the years from 1842 to 1914, Building a Future delves into the families’ backgrounds in Somerset and reflects on their lives and times in newly colonised Taranaki and Whanganui. It explores what drove the Spurdles to leave England with only their household possessions, and celebrates their achievements, such as Fred’s election to the Whanganui mayoralty less than 50 years later. Along the way we read about the tragedies that every family is likely to encounter, and even manage to solve one or two century-old mysteries!

About the author

Robyn Spurdle & Julie Daymond-King

Robyn Spurdle married into William Akerman’s branch, and ever since discovering the family tree that had been created for the 1942 reunion has been immersed in researching the family’s history. Building a Future is a far cry from the sixth form accounting guides Robyn is known for, however, it is her third genealogy book — Spurdle Heritage and Milling the Family Tree being the other two.

Julie Daymond-King is a great-great-granddaughter of William Akerman, and from birth was brought up with the 1942 family tree. Most of her career was spent in science administration and education governance, but her interest in family history led her to compile the database of New Zealanders mentioned in the NZ Woman’s Weekly, issues 1932 to 1959, for the New Zealand Index, The Knowledge Basket.