2000 Shetland Hamefarin

With Hamefarins staged in 1960 and 1985, and with one planned for 2010, a “25-year rule” has been established. The exception to this was in 2000, when a special “Millenium Hamefarin” was held. This took place from Friday 19th to Sunday 28th May 2000.

Connections between Shetland and New Zealand have been particularly strong since the first Hamefarin. A series of organised group tours to meet with the Shetland Societies throughout New Zealand were organised and 330+ Shetlanders had met with many friends and relatives prior to the Millennium, and encouraged them to return to the islands of their forebears. It is a recognised fact that there are more Shetlanders in New Zealand than in Shetland.

Around 140 Hamefarers made their way to Shetland for the event. The majority were from New Zealand and Australia, but others came from Canada, England and the USA to revisit their roots. At the Civic Reception to greet the newly-arrived Hamefarers, a message was read out from New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, whose forebears departed Shetland in 1874.

As in 1985, activities were not solely confined to Lerwick and Scalloway. Activities put on for the Hamefarers took them to Virkie, Sandness, St. Ninians Isle and Whiteness, among other places. During the Hamefarin, the Shetland Family History Society staged an interactive conference over 23-25th May, entitled "Tracing Sons and Daughters of Shetland". This included historic talks and tours, and beginners courses in genealogy.