Sophia Harris carefully tended the small rose plant on the months-long voyage from England to New Zealand.
She, her husband Abraham and their five children came to New Zealand on the ship Bolton. She had brought with her a single rose, small, pink and frilly, stuck in a potato. It would go on to be one of the first roses to survive in her new home.
Sophia was born October 30, 1811 in Terling, Essex, England to James and Jane Harris, one of nine children.
She married Abraham Harris (born August 25, 1810 in Broomfield, Essex) when she was 19. They were first cousins and they had six children (one died aged 4) before they came to New Zealand.
Along with everything they owned, was a cutting of Rosa multiflora 'Carnea', a rambling rose, generally believed to be one of the first roses in New Zealand - or at least the first that survived. One theory was that the high water content of the potato helped keep the rose alive.
After arriving they moved to Taita, where Abraham was in the sawmilling business. They went on to have another seven children.
They faced a great number of trials - including being forced to leave the land they were on during fighting.
The next generation of their family went to the Wairarapa.
Abraham died October 22, 1874 and Sophia on September 21, 1888, both are buried at the cemetery at Christ Church in Taita.
The oldest roses in New Zealand - some in largely their original form - can be found at the Bolton St Cemetery (ironically Bolton St is named after the ship the Harris family arrived on).
When the land was allocated for the graveyard in 1840 some of the early settlers, like Sophia, planted roses. To this day the cemetery is home to 210 of the oldest heritage roses in the country.
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