Category Archives: New Zealand

Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ ~ Those Places Thursday

Temuka.

I finally got to visit this very special place last month.

My grandfather’s cousin was celebrating 50 years of life as a nun, having a jubilee Mass and lunch afterwards, with many family members invited.  I was pretty keen to attend, despite having to travel halfway round the world, and when I found out it was to be held in Temuka, I started booking my flights immediately.

Near Temuka, in Arowhenua,  is where my great great grandfather, Michael Gaffaney,  bought his first piece of land in New Zealand, after immigrating from England in 1858.  And it’s where he and his wife, Margaret Brosnahan, brought up their 14 children.  Their original house still stands, though it’s no longer owned by family.  The farm, however, is still in family hands, run with pride and passion by my cousin (second, once removed), who gave us a tour with marvellous commentary.  Who knew farming was so scientific nowadays?  (Not this townie, at any rate.)

Belper Farm, Arowhenua, near Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ

Belper Farm, Arowhenua, near Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ

The celebration was wonderful, and a great chance to meet many relatives for the first time.   Mass was celebrated at St Joseph’s church, which was built in 1879 at the instigation of Father Louis Fauvel, a French priest.  He baptised my great grandfather, Peter Dominic Gaffaney, on 16th August 1879,  before the new building was completed.  My great great grandmother, Margaret, donated  two of the many beautiful stained glass windows in the church. (The cost was apparently equivalent to a year’s wages, so the farm must have been doing pretty good!)

Blessed Virgin Mary & St Gabriel, windows donated by Mrs M Gaffney, St Joseph's church, Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ

Blessed Virgin Mary & St Gabriel, windows donated by Mrs M Gaffney, St Joseph's church, Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ

I can’t wait to visit again!

Those Places Thursday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

St Joseph’s church, Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ ~ Wordless Wednesday

St Joseph's church, Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ ~ January 2012

St Joseph's church, Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ ~ January 2012

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Travelling

Hmmm… I don’t seem to be doing so well on my blogging resolutions so far this year.  But!  I have an excellent excuse.  I have just spent 13 days in New Zealand – primarily a genealogical excursion – and have been too busy, and too far from a wifi connection, to  post.  I have met some wonderful relatives and visited places with family connections.  And, of course, discovered more treasures stashed away at my parents’ house!

Postcard from… Wellington, New Zealand

City and Harbour, Wellington NZ

City and Harbour, Wellington NZ 4073

This postcard is one of many in an album that belonged to my paternal grandparents. I’m not sure of the date of this, perhaps 1950s or 60s? Hopefully I’ll be able to find out a bit more when I talk to my father, who has the album now.

We arrived in Auckland yesterday, after 26 hours in the air.  Despite travelling with three young kids, it didn’t seem to take long at all.  Can’t imagine spending three months in a boat (unless it was a fancy cruise ship).

Today we have a short one hour flight to Wellington – will be fantastic to see my home town again!