About O’Kiwi

Understanding our Irish past

Welcome to O’Kiwi. This site is for you if

• your granny comes from County Cork

• potatoes taste better than pasta

• you enjoy a pint on Paddy’s Day

• there’s a leprechaun at the bottom of your garden, and

• your toe taps to a fiddle.

Your granny doesn’t really have to be from County Cork. It’s just that everyone who claims Irish heritage seems to say that. And a lot of Kiwis claim Irish ancestry – around 20 percent.

Although five of my great-grandparents were Irish, I never grew up thinking about leprechauns and shamrocks. But in New Zealand the signs of an Irish past are everywhere – in Irish societies, Marist clubs, Irish pubs, schools, church parishes, our names. I hope to draw on these by gathering stories, interviewing people, dipping into research about our Irish history, and drawing on family genealogies already assembled.

Many others have a similar interest. I’ve listed opposite some links to excellent sites with Irish content, including genealogy connections and news and events.

But as a third-generation Kiwi I think there’s a gap. I want to understand what an Irish heritage brings to New Zealand today. And I want to have a bit of fun finding out. I’ll be posting thoughts on such themes as the ancestral trail, the Celtic drinking gene, and why we tap our toes to Irish music.

This project has been on my mind for some time. Maybe since I was six, and came second in the banana-eating contest for boys named ‘Patrick’ at Our Lady of the Rosary parish hall in Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt. It was Sunday evening, St Paddy’s Day and the hall was packed.

The MC, Jack Maybury, a 1960s’ radio and quiz show host, called all Patricks up onto the stage. Twenty convent boys in black short pants lined up. The challenge was to eat a banana then whistle a song. I scoffed my banana in a flash and should have won, but I daren’t whistle first. Earlier that day, Mum had told me off for eating too fast. So I waited a split second for another kid, Chris Hamilton (who had been given a dispensation to enter because his second name was Patrick), to whistle first, then I followed. I won a bag of bananas for my efforts.

Have a think about what you’d like to see here. Please pass this on to any friends and family who might be interested. Even better, if you have a story about your heritage, a joke, or a photo, a link, some news, send it in. Just hit the ‘Leave a Reply’ button at the bottom of this post.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Pat Martin

(This page was originally posted as Welcome when the site was launched – see the bottom of that page for Comments)

4 Responses to About O’Kiwi

  1. Mike says:

    Hi Pat, I am also a researching the Martin family history. I found your site when I read about Michael & Mary Martin in a book entitled “the Silver Tussock”. I have database of 1700 relatives-many are from the Martin family. When you are back in NZ I would be keen to share information on the family history. Mike

    • Pat n Pip says:

      Hi Mike, It would be great to catch up on some family history when I’m back in NZ. Here in Timor I don’t have most of my notes or family records. It was good to see the forbears get a mention in the book ‘The Silver Tussock’.
      Regards, Pat

  2. Neil Martin says:

    Pat,
    My name is Neil Martin. My great grandfather and great great grandfather were both called Anthony Martin. I have Anthony Martins death certificate naming his parents as Michael and Mary. Anthony Martin the son of Michael and Mary was born in 1839-40 by my calculation. I found a possible link to his baptism in co. tipperary. so googling martins of Tipperary I got your website which mentions Anthony martin as the older brother of your great great grandfather James. Some where i came across james i think it was as the person who arranged Anthonys burial. all seems to align …Highly likely we are related.

  3. Pat n Pip says:

    Hi Neil, Good to hear from you. Yes, definitely related I’d say. Interestingly, my middle name is Anthony, which was also my father’s middle name. He would have been given that name by my grandfather, most likely in honour of his uncle (your great – grandfather).
    In my letters at home from various relations (I’m living in East Timor, on a VSA assignment until April next year), I’m sure there’s one which says that Anthony, being the eldest of the clan ,was the first to come to NZ and that the rest followed later. Stay in touch and I’ll dig through my material once I’m back home.
    I’m guessing you’ve read this piece on my visit to Ireland and Tipperary researching the Martin family history – https://okiwi.net.nz/2012/02/15/martin-family-history/?
    What part of NZ do you live in?
    Regards, Pat

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