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family history

A visit to Ireland 20 years ago sparked Pat’s interest in family history and led him to set up O’Kiwi, a heritage website for Kiwis with a Celtic connection. A recent posting was inspired by a documentary on Shane MacGowan, the Pogues front man whose family came from the same part of Tipperary as his Martin forebears.

Dick and Maggie White 1915 webPat has been to the villages and towns where all eight of his great grandparents are from—five Irish and three English—and is currently writing the story of his maternal grandfather, WW1 veteran Richard White (pictured left in 1915 when he married Pat’s grandmother, Margaret O’Neill, five weeks before sailing off to war).

He has also written the history of a Wellington family, based on oral history interviews with family members, that traces their Irish and South Island origins.

Pat is currently enrolled in a Massey History paper, ‘New Zealand Military History: 1899 to 2001’. Both his grandfathers fought in WW1, and his father Jack spent four years in North Africa and Italy in WW2. The paper examines the impact that wars and conflict have had on our politics, society and culture.

Mum and Des, portrait youngCentral Otago 1930s

Pip’s memoir, Song for Rosaleen, incorporates the family history of her maternal forbears, the Waigths and Kearneys, who arrived in New Zealand from Ireland in the 1860s and 1870s.

It includes the memories of Pip’s mother Rosaleen and her younger brother Des (pictured), captured in an oral history interview, of growing up in the small central Otago town of Roxburgh in the 1930s. They were were the children of local mayor and orchardist John Harry Waigth and his second wife, Mary Elizabeth Kearney.