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, age 8, and Amberley, age 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. They have an older brother, Ben, age 15, and an older sister, Desiree, age 13. The Kurtz family’s favorite game to play is Family History Bingo. You have probably 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 her grandma came from Hamilton, New Zealand, to play the piano at Jenneke’s baptism. Since 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 and on her own too. Amberley also loves to read. “She could read books all day,” her dad says. Actually, she could read a book a day for 150 days! That’s how many books she has collected so far.

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

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

There are some things the girls like to do by themselves too. Jenneke loves 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 also 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 has two rabbits that she tends in large cages behind her house. She got the first one nearly two years ago. 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 Amberley is generous with everyone.

Amberley likes to play cricket with Ben. She also enjoys shooting a netball outside her house. 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 kept trying and listening to her coaches, she became a lot better at it.

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

Jenneke and Amberley have a lot in common. They are different in many ways too. 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.

Photography by Shanna Ghaznavi

Above: The Kurtz family playing Family History Bingo. Right: Amberley and Jenneke practice a duet together.

Above: Amberley with two of her rabbits. Right: Jenneke standing next to one of her sunflowers.

The Kurtz family. From left: Jenneke, Ben, Mom, Desiree, Dad, and Amberley.