Amberley and Jenneke Kurtz of Wellington, New Zealand


Amberley and Jenneke Kurtz of Wellington, New Zealand

Do you know what an “oma” and an “opa” are? Jenneke and Amberley Kurtz do. “Oma” and “opa” are Dutch for “grandma” and “grandpa.” Jenneke (8) and Amberley (10) know even more than this about their family history, including their Dutch ancestors.

They live in the Tawa Ward of the Wellington New Zealand Stake with their parents, Julie and Dick Kurtz. They have an older brother, Ben (15), and an older sister, Desiree (13). The Kurtz family’s favorite game to play is Family History Bingo. You probably have never heard of that game before, because the Kurtz family made it up. Playing it helps them learn the names of their ancestors, a little bit about them, and how they are all related.

Jenneke loves Family History Bingo. She loves her oma, too, and was really happy when she came from Hamilton, New Zealand, to play the piano at Jenneke’s baptism. Because her grandma doesn’t live nearby, they don’t get to see each other very often.

For her baptism, Jenneke received a set of scriptures, which she has started reading with her family in the mornings—on her own, too.

Amberley also loves to read. “She could read a book all day,” her father says. Actually, she could read a book a day for 150 days! That’s how many books she’s collected so far.

Amberley likes to cook, especially pasta. Her mom says that she should have been born in Italy instead of New Zealand because she likes to cook pasta so much.

Both girls enjoy doing things with their family, such as going on walks, going on vacation, and fishing.

The girls like to do some things by themselves. Jenneke likes to take care of plants. She grows sunflowers in the garden and likes to work outside. Last year, some of her sunflowers grew to be even taller than she is!

Besides gardening, Jenneke likes to spend time with animals—especially her orange cat. With Desiree’s help, Jenneke runs a cat-feeding business. She visits many cats in the neighborhood to feed them for other families.

Amberley likes animals, too—especially rabbits. She wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. She keeps two rabbits in large cages behind her house. She takes good care of them and feeds and cleans them regularly. “Amberley is really kind,” Ben says—and not just to her animals. Desiree says that Amberley is generous with everyone.

Amberley likes to play cricket with Ben. She also enjoys shooting a netball outside her house. (Netball is something like basketball and is played with a soccer ball.) She is a good netball player and has been player of the month at her school three times. When she first started playing, she was having trouble catching the ball. But as she listened to her coaches and kept trying, she became a lot better at it.

Both girls play musical instruments. Amberley is in her fifth year of piano lessons, and Jenneke is learning to play the recorder. Sometimes they play duets.

Like most sisters, Jenneke and Amberley are alike in many ways, different in other ways. Amberley is quieter and likes sports; Jenneke is more outgoing and likes to garden. But even though they are different—as different as a piano and a recorder—they play together in harmony. They both hope that someday their descendants will learn about them and about how much they love their family and the gospel. Maybe their descendants will learn those things in a game like Family History Bingo.

[photos] Photographed by Shanna Ghaznavi

[photo] A ship docked in windy Wellington

[photo] Jenneke standing next to one of her sunflowers

[photo] The Kurtzes (from left): Desiree, Amberley, Mom, Dad, Jenneke, Ben

[photo] A view from beautiful Scorching Bay

[photo] Piano-recorder duet