O’Kiwi News

June 25, 2012

Plenty about Ireland has come our way lately – the O’Kiwi lads have been following the Irish rugby team again; a Dunedin writer on days spent in Dublin; an Irish comedy and the sad state of our free-to-air television; a Kiwi girl on current Irish literature; and a book that analyses corruption in Irish politics. 

O’Kiwi lads back on tour

The O’Kiwi lads were back on the road for the All Blacks v Irish test in Auckland, on a tour that probably enjoyed more success than the Irish rugby team.

Later, in the aftermath of the 60-0 hiding dished out by the All Blacks in the third test, Irish fans were calling for the head of coach Declan Kidney. ‘A kidney transplant is required,’ said one fan. ‘A full organ transplant is required,’ responded another.

O’Kiwi On Tour: Jack relaxes in the campervan – it’s a hard life on the road.

Many wondered how a team full of players from Leinster and Ulster, the two provinces that recently contested the European rugby championship in the Heineken Cup final, could fail so completely when playing for Ireland. A similar criticism has for years been levelled at the English soccer team – their outstanding club competition fails to translate into a winning national side. Read the rest of this entry »

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Down on the farm in Ireland

June 2, 2012

So many young Irish are leaving Ireland that when Jackson Martin turned up to work on farms in Kerry and Galway, many locals were puzzled why a Kiwi from the land of plenty would want to work there. He writes…

I had been living in Edinburgh for just under two years and my UK work visa was fast running out so I decided to volunteer to work on farms in Ireland for a few months for the craic. Through the WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) programme I found a farm in County Kerry and another in County Galway that were willing to host a vagrant Kiwi with Irish heritage and try and teach him a thing or two about farming.

Jackson Martin

Jackson Martin in Scotland before departing for sunny Ireland

I really wasn’t too sure what to expect – would I be hosted by hippies singing ‘Kumbaya’ around a camp fire? Or would they be slave drivers looking for a free pair of hands? Read the rest of this entry »


First game of their lives

April 23, 2012

I was up at 6.30am last Saturday for one of the year’s big sporting events. My two grandchildren were having their debut games for the Naenae soccer club in the under-6s and under-7s.

My daughter teased me that I was more excited than her kids. Well, I did buy their new red and lime green soccer boots. And I’ve been searching the web for how to teach kids soccer because although I coached rugby for 10 years, I don’t know much about the technicalities of the round-ball game.

The first game of the season at Naenae Park and the tradition continues

I was at Naenae Park by 8.45am with three grandchildren, my daughter and her partner. The two debutantes looked smart in their black, red and white uniforms, like mini-Manchester United players. Grandchild number three, who is two, loved being part of the action so long as he had a ball too.

It was a scene being repeated all over New Zealand in soccer, rugby, league, hockey, netball and other codes: sun shining, kids everywhere, friendly and sociable parents on the sideline who become anxious, amused or proud as the game starts and their offspring tear about the field. Read the rest of this entry »


Green and orange cupcakes

March 23, 2012
Joanne Doherty

Joanne Doherty, or ‘Jewarne’ as her Dublin friends used to say

St Paddy’s Day brought back memories of exuberant Irish fans at an All Blacks v Ireland game in Dublin, writes Joanne Doherty.

St Patrick’s Day this year was very different – it was quiet! The cicadas in the green bush of our Wairarapa cottage at Waiohine provided the music, the Irish flag was flying at the gate and a friend arrived carrying a basket of green cupcakes with small orange marigold petals on the icing.

The music, the dancing and the craic from our daughter Alice’s marriage to Ben at Waiohine four weeks earlier was still in the air. I think the Doherty family had ‘peaked too early’. Read the rest of this entry »


Working on a wee farm in the west

March 9, 2012

What happens when a New Zealand couple in their 50s decide to leave jobs and home for six months and head to the west coast of Ireland?  Well, lots actually, writes Peter Gibbs…

Peter Gibbs on a Newport farm, Co Mayo.

For two weeks of our six months’ stay in Ireland, we spent a fortnight on a wee farm near Newport, County Mayo in June 2011.

That year was, they say, the coldest summer Ireland had seen in 47 years but we wouldn’t know about that; all we know is every time we went online to check news from home it was warmer in Wellington’s June than in Ireland. Read the rest of this entry »


On the Martin trail

February 15, 2012

Six generations of Martins had worked in his Galway pub, he said, adding that his grandfather’s name was John, his father was Billy, and he had a son named Liam. ‘Well, Billy,’ I replied, ‘I don’t know if we’re related, but my grandfather was Billy, my father’s name was John, and I too have a son named Liam.’

‘Be prepared for setbacks’ is one of the first pieces of advice you’ll get from experienced family researchers. How true, I discovered, as I started to delve into my Martin family history.

In 2004, I went to Christchurch’s Linwood Cemetery where my Irish great-great-grandparents, Michael and Mary Martin (nee Boland), are buried. Thanks to the council’s excellent records, the plot was easy to find in the Catholic section where Michael had been buried in 1895 and Mary five years earlier.

A welcoming sign, but I was looking in the wrong place

I approached the grave site expecting at least a national monument in honour of my forebears. Instead, all I found was an unmarked patch of dry grass and weeds. It seems that on the voyage to New Zealand in 1864, Michael had carved himself a big wooden Celtic cross. His pride and joy had been placed as his headstone. The weather, or vandals, had long since destroyed it. Read the rest of this entry »


More Irish head this way

January 26, 2012

Irish migration to New Zealand is in the headlines on both sides of the globe.

Here, the Dominion Post reports that Irish and Italians are ‘leading the influx of recession refugees’ from Europe. There were 50 percent more Irish migrants in the year till last November than in 2010 (1545 compared with 1030). The Wellington Irish community is flourishing as the jobseekers arrive, the paper says.

Earlier this month, the Irish Times featured New Zealand in a blog site dedicated to ‘Generation Emigration’. The article offered practical advice on visas, finding a job and a place to live, and useful links to Irish organisations.

One link is to a lively Facebook site for ‘Irish people living in New Zealand’. Its followers add all sorts of gems, like this:

Read the rest of this entry »


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