Village gardening article reconnects Milford Track mates


A chance sighting of an online retirement village gardening article has meant the reconnection of long lost friends from 22 years ago.

Richard Zeilnhofer had been searching for Christchurch resident Trevor Houston, the friend he’d met while walking the Milford Track back in 1999. It was the first time in New Zealand for the German born Richard and the trek and friendship with Trevor was something he never forgot.

After losing contact with Trevor after he moved into a Bupa Cashmere View Retirement Village and had returned mail from his old address, Richard began an online search 22 years later to find his Milford Track mate.

The last 22 years went very fast and I never forgot my only trip to New Zealand and the laughs and stories from that trip. Then I found Trevor in a gardening club article on the Bupa website and I was pleased to have the chance to connect with him again,” Richard says.

Since reaching out, emails have gone back and forth between the duo as they catch up on life from the past two decades. Richard now lives in Bavaria, in the South of Germany, with his wife and daughter. Trevor, who still has a keen interest in gardening and lawn bowls, has moved into the Bupa Cashmere View Care Home next door to the village, where staff print out Richard’s emails for their resident.

Trevor says he was surprised when he received communication from Richard, but once he saw the photo they’d taken from that trip with a fellow Australian traveller, he remembered fondly their four day trek from long ago.

“It’s been so many years since we walked the track and at first it took me a while to remember him. It’s been nice to hear from him again.”