Caught before the age of seven
I didn’t stand a chance really. Baptised Patrick Anthony, convent school at five, altar boy at seven, and a father who ate a cooked breakfast every day of his life.
I had two uncle Pats, one on each side of the family. When I was a boy, they’d laugh and say, ‘Never met a bad Pat yet.’
And then Mum, who insisted that any knives left lying across each other on a kitchen bench or table would cause trouble.
‘Uncross the knives,’ she would say when we were doing the dishes.
‘Because I said so.’
‘Because it will start an argument.’
‘How does crossing knives start an argument?’
‘Just uncross them.’
‘But how do crossed knives start an argument?’
‘See, it’s already started.’
One nil to Mum. Now I’m 56 and I’ve moved on. I have three beautiful grand children who have Samoan as well as Irish and English heritage. They’ll inherit a different New Zealand than the one my forebears came to. But that’s looking ahead.
Looking back, I’ve visited Ireland three times. In 2009 I was on the trail of my Martin ancestors, near the village of Terryglass in northwest Tipperary. From Paddy’s Bar, the local pub, I bought half-a-dozen ‘ancestral polos’. Part of the clan above are wearing them (from left): brother Mike, nephew Adam, sons Jackson and Liam, and meself, at our Kiwi ancestral homeland in Lower Hutt, on Christmas Day at my sister Teresa’s.
Finally, a word about Jack and Joanne Doherty, who will feature later in stories about Ireland and being an ‘O’Kiwi’. Without them this site would never have got underway, so a special thanks for all the encouragement.
And thanks too to my clever daughter Meg for the striking O’Kiwi logo.