Chaos and Complexity; Magic and Mystery

Welcome to the World of Victor MacGill PhD

Victor MacGill
When the Dragon Stirs
Gonna LAy Down my Sword and Shield
Gonna Lay Down my Sword and Shield
Monika de Neef at The Wayfinding Entrepreneur

Life and Family

This section covers my family life. There is information about some of the influential people in my life, and information on my genealogy. 

My ancestors on my father's side come from Russia and Scotland and on my mother's side from the East end of London and the Channel Islands. My first ancestor to arrive in New Zealand arrived in 1863. I was born in Wellington, but lived in Nelson from the age of three months, when I was cared for by a foster family. I was fortunate to have one foster family through my upbringing and my whole life.

I was brought up in Nelson, but went to Christchurch to attend university and lived there for 13 years efore heading South to Dunedin, where I stayed for 27 years. Then I had two years in Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia before returning to Nelson. After five years in Nelson I shifted to Christchurch with Monika for two years and then back home again to Nelson.


My father, Dacjo ( Da-chyo)) as born in Dunfirmline, Scotland and came to live in new Zealand at the age of five. He went to the University of New Zealand and gained a B.Sc. He married my mother, Frances Emily Hamon just after the war. Dacjo worked in civil aviation and later became a Patent Examiner. My mother was a Theosophist. It was through reading in the Theosophist library in Wellington that Dacjo found a book on Buddhism and became a Theravada Buddhist.
Dacjo's other passion which remained with him all his life was Esperanto, the International Language. The flag above is the Esperanto flag and the creator of Esperanto, Ludovic Zamenhof. His name Dacjo is an Esperanto version of David which could be translated as 'Dave'.
My parents had three children, my brother Stefan, my sister Rowena and me. We all speak Esperanto. Our mother died in 1962. Dacjo eventually retired to a Buddhist monastery near Kyoto in Japan, called Kyoto Syudoin, where he stayed for seventeen years. After that he shifted back to Dunedin, New Zealand where we bought a house and I cared for him until a car accident in 1997. He died from his injuries four days after the accident.
Dacjo meeting the Dalai Lama with me in the background in 1992
Ludovic Zamenhof, inventor of Esperanto


My Dad

Donald John (Peter) Clarke

Here is the eulogy I gave at the funeral ... 
I am here today to talk about my Dad. His life spanned four generations, so he is Dad, grandad and as a great grand father he is sometimes known, ggpa. A while ago he asked me to research his family tree and it proved to be pretty complicated. His mother died when he was only nine months old. He and his brother were cared for by an uncle and aunt. Another brother stayed with his father and sister stayed with friends.

His father worked for the Post Office, so the family shifted to Invercargill, Masterton before finally settling in Nelson. He went to Auckland Point School and Nelson College. Like Dad, I was brought up as a foster child. Dad was very particular to make sure I knew about my parents, because he was devastated when he was told that the people he thought were his parents were his uncle and aunt and the people he thought were his uncle and aunt were in fact his parents. He was legally adopted then.

At age fourteen, Dad went to work as a delivery boy for Jas J Nivens, an Engineering company. Today people tend to work for a new company every few years. Not only did Dad work for Nivens for 45 years when he retired, but he stayed on while the company changed from Jas J Nivens to Kidd Garett. I remember going to see him once at a work conference in Christchurch. I entered the room hearing many conversations about profit margins and market share. I finally found him in the corner talking about the schnapper he caught the weekend before.

For many years he worked as a travelling salesman and was away from home one week in the month. It wasn’t like it is today. He caught the Newmans bus to Blenheim and then hired a bicycle to get to all the businesses he had to visit there. Later on the company gave him a new Zephyr and later still a Hillman Hunter.

Dad met Mum when they were both 15. Dad had a friend whose father ran a bakery. One day he walked in and met Mum. Dad said Mum got to him through his stomach with the cream sponges with lots of cream.

In 1942 at age 18, Dad joined the army. He upset Mum because he wouldn’t get married while the war was still on. They finally married in 1946. But during the war Dad was sent to be a guard in a Prisoner of War camp in Featherston, risking his life for the freedoms we take for granted so often these days. He was on final leave preparing to go overseas to the islands when the war finished. While in the army he had to cut the whiskers and mould off the old bread for bread pudding. He never ate bread pudding again.

Dad had a brother, Toby, who joined the air force and died in a bombing raid over western France at age 22. I had the real privilege some years back of going to the grave in a small churchyard with a 300 year old church. His grave and those of other three who died in the same aeroplane have been well looked after by the local people. Dad also had a brother Geoff and a sister, Peggy who died in a car accident.

We just can’t talk about Dad without talking about Okiwi Bay. We have six generations who have been going down the bay. My grandad started going down to Okiwi Bay by horseback just after the war. At first we stayed at the wharf at Mum’s dad’s batch by the wharf. Many of you will remember grandad as Poppy. We would go there for our holidays and go out fishing in his launch. Dad taught all the generations about fishing and boating, about putting bait on hooks. I remember his advice that you should never go out to sea without a second small motor in the bow. He said, "Don’t go to sea without a seagull up your nose."

Our familyEvery Labour weekend the Okiwi Bay Fishing Club would come to life. A band of hardy friends would go down to the wharf to go fishing, play music and drink copious amounts of alcohol. One year grandad’s old organ was eaten by borer so it was decided to throw it off the wharf. They had a service with one person dressed as a minister reading from the nearest book they could find to a bible, an Oxford Dictionary.

They had fishing competitions with trophies which hung on the wall of the batch. For some strange reason, the one that stood out for me as an impressionable young lad was the one for catching the biggest fish at Bessies Point. The trophy was shaped just like a woman’s breast.

The American Mythologist, Joseph Campbell wrote about the everyday hero, people like you and me, and Dad. He was writing about people who like ordinary everyday lives, but when the situation arises, they become true heroes. One morning we were at the batch at the wharf and I was sitting outside eating my usual breakfast of toast dunked in coffee. Inside toast on the gas primus toaster had caught fire and was threatening to burn the whole batch down. My dad grabbed the toaster. I looked up to see him rushing past me with his hands on fire and hurled the toaster into sea.

Eventually we bought our own batch with one dining room/lounge, a hallway and two bedrooms. We cooked on a coal range and the toilet was a long drop out in the trees. With a growing family we next shifted down to the next corner and bought the big two storeyed "Marsanne" that is still our batch today. After retiring Dad was able to spend more time down the bay.
Another time he was helping Wayne pull the boat in, when the boat hit his pocket and broke his false teeth. They went back to the batch and glued them together again. Dad put his teeth in and said, "They don’t taste very good", but he put up with it and kept his teeth.

When Dad’s health was not that good, Trevor Harvey spearheaded the job to make alterations to the batch, adding a ramp and an upstairs toilet, so Dad did not have to negotiate the very steep staircase.

Dad’s sense of humour meant nobody could get past the batch without him having them on. He had something to say about everything and always loved joking with people.

The Church has always been very important for Dad. While we lived in Tipahi Street, we all went to St Peters Anglican church and now here at St Barnabas. Dad has always tried hard to get to services and buying the scooter helped him get up to the services. We would like to thank Peter, the minister of this church, for his support over the years and right up to today.

The last years for Dad were difficult times with declining health. Life became an increasing struggle and increasingly painful. In spite of that he would always talk to me about how precious and wonderful life is. Mum worked tirelessly night and day to care for Dad through all his times of ill health. She was the one who took his readings for his diabetes twice a day and sat hour after hour at his bedside in hospital. It was also Mum who had to push his scooter free after Dad drove it into a pothole. Dad also had friends who kept contact; in particular Peter Lister, Duncan McCormack and Donald Steele. I am sure there are many other people I have not mentioned. He will be missed by many people.

Like any family we had our tough times and things were never perfect. Dad gained the name grumps, and not without reason. He could be grumpy and stubborn. I work as a Probation Officer and everyday I see what happens when people do not have a good supportive family and I realise all the more what a precious gift I received to be brought up in our family. I am the wrong person to say it, as the one who left to live at the other end of the South Island, but it is so important to maintain our strong family links. I think the best way to remember Dad is to keep his vision alive and keep the family strong for another four generations and more.
Dad’s grandson Darryl and wife Erica are soon to have a baby that Dad will not get to see. Although this is sad, the strong family bonds that Dad, and Mum of course, worked on so had, will ensure that the baby grows up with a strong family structure and in a supportive environment to grow up coping with life’s difficulties. Dad has always been there for us, no matter what has happened in our lives. We do not have to be famous or important to be an everyday hero.

Dad, you will be greatly missed by our whole family and by your many friends. Dylyn expressed well yesterday when he told us that "last night I had the biggest cry of my whole life".

My family tree through my father's side

Around 1700
Robert Morham m
Christian Matheson
Euphemia Bell
(2nd wife of Robert Morham)
Around 1750
Robert Morham m
Margaret Kenmore

Robert Morham m
Jane Edmonstone
Around 1800
Robert Morham m Janet Aird
Lewis Armitage m Jane Morham
Around 1850
Helen Armitage m Stevenson MacGill

Alexi Gregory 
(2nd partner)
David MacGill m Frances Hamon
Around 1920
Stefan MacGill
Loes Demmendal
Ilona Koutny
Maria Soponyai
Rowena MacGill
Victor MacGill m
Francesca Bolgar

Pam Sauer
2nd marriage
Around 1950
Karina MacGill
Hajnal MacGill
Sonja MacGill
(mother Maria)
Emerald MacGill