Please feel free to download these articles and use them to inform your own research. Please acknowledge your source if you use something that I have written.

Irish Republican activity in New Zealand

In the 2000s I wrote a pair of articles about Irish Republican activity in New Zealand during the early 20th century. The first was published in a book edited by my friend Lyndon Fraser called A Distant Shore: Irish Migration and New Zealand Settlement.  It was about the Maoriland Irish Society and its radical journal The Green Ray, published in Dunedin during WWI.

“Shaming the Shoneens: the Green Ray and the Maoriland Irish Society in Dunedin, 1916-1922” in Lyndon Fraser [ed], A Distant Shore: Irish Migration and New Zealand Settlement, Dunedin, 2000.

This is a ‘raw’ version of the article that appeared in the Lyndon’s book.  It has longer footnotes I think than what he let me put in the published version.  It owed its origins to one of the fabulous Irish/Scottish Studies conferences that Brad Patterson organised through the now-defunct Irish Studies unit at the Stout Centre in Wellington in the 2000s.  I presented papers at each conference.

The second Republicanism article was in another book edited by my friend Brad Patterson called The Irish in New Zealand.  It is a sequel to the earlier article carrying the story on post WWI when the centre of radical Irish political activity in New Zealand shifted from Dunedin to Wellington.

“Parties or Politics: Wellington’s I.R.A. 1922-1928” in Brad Patterson [ed] The Irish in New Zealand: Historical Contexts &. Perspectives, Wellington, 2002.

This version may also have slightly longer footnotes than appeared in the published version.  This piece also began as a paper to one of Brad’s conference at the Stout Centre.

Sectarianism in New Zealand

In the 1990s I wrote about the infamous “Boxing Day” riots in Timaru and Christchurch that occurred in 1879.

“The Battle of the Borough & the Saige ‘O Timaru: Sectarian Riot in Colonial Canterbury”, in The New Zealand Journal of History, Volume 28, 1994.

This was my first piece of work published in an academic journal.  I tried to make it the authoritative account of the Boxing Day riots in Timaru and Christchurch in 1879.  It seems to have met that standard and been widely quoted over the years.  I rewrote it for a popular audience as Chapter 3 in my Sacred Heart history in 2011.  I wanted the descendants of the Timaru rioters to understand what their forbears had gotten up to, and why.

More recently I wrote about sectarianism in school sports organisation in the 1920s, particularly in Dunedin.

“Taking Off the Gloves”: Sectarianism in New Zealand Rugby in the 1920s, in Ireland and The Irish Antipodes: One World or Worlds Apart, Anchor Books, Australia, 2010.

This piece began as a paper to what turned out to be the last of Brad Patterson’s conferences on Irish studies in Wellington.  It was subsequently published in a pretty obscure Australian publication and I doubt many people have seen it.  I hope this makes it more widely available as I think it tells a pretty interesting story.  Sectarianism has been a minor theme in New Zealand history but it was not as insignificant as some historians would have us believe.

Other articles and writings

“The Greening of Otago:  Irish (Catholic) Immigration to Otago and Southland 1840-1888”, in Work ‘n’ Pastimes: 150 Years of Pain and Pleasure, Work and Leisure. Proceedings of the 1998 Conference of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, Dunedin, 1998.

I presented this piece of work to a genealogical conference in Dunedin in 1998.  I wanted to find out when and how the first Irish Catholic immigrants penetrated the Presbyterian cordon that surrounded the original New Zealand Company settlement in Otago.  It was based on a close analysis of immigration records in the Otago Provincial Government papers at National Archives and of the passenger lists for “Vogel immigrants” to Otago and Southland in the 1870s and 1880s.  Unfortunately the version I have been able to extract here from my over 20-year-old computer files does not include the tables and graphs that presented some of my key data.

This Southern Land: Little Galway on the Southland PlainsRakauhouka Church Centennial dinner, 1994.

This is the text of a talk I gave in 1994 at the centennial celebration of the Rakahouka Catholic Church in Southland.  My great great grandfather, William Scully, from Cloonboo, Annaghdown, Co Galway, gave the land that the church sits on to the Catholic Bishop of Dunedin in 1894.  His farm was just opposite the church.  My talk recapped some of the research I had done on Irish immigration to Otago and Southland and focussed especially on the chain migration of Galway people from the 1850s onward.  I looked it out again in preparation to speak at the church’s 125th anniversary (23-24 November 2019).  It still holds up pretty well and might be useful to other researchers.

“Rutherford Waddell: an Ulster Radical in Otago’s Scottish Kirk”, in Brad Patterson [ed] Ulster-New Zealand Migration and Cultural Transfers, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2005.

One of the Stout Centre conferences made a special focus on Ulster Irish matters in New Zealand and I opted to make a study of the remarkable Ulster-born Dunedin Presbyterian minister Rutherford Waddell.  The resulting publication was published in Ireland and the book cost a small fortune so I don’t think it had wide circulation in New Zealand.  Certainly when a colloquium on Waddell was held in Dunedin a couple of years ago the organisers didn’t seem to be aware of my work, or maybe they didn’t rate it.

“Our Scully History”

I wrote this piece as a Christmas gift for my mother in 2007 rather than for academic or popular publication.  It tells the story of my great great grandparents from Co Galway, William Scully and Annie Finnerty, who were among the pioneer Irish Catholic settlers in Otago and Southland in the 1860s.  Their story will be very similar to those of their fellow Galway pioneers so the background on Irish settlement, especially in Southland, may be of interest to others descended from Southland’s many “Galway tribes”.

Rakauhauka Church 125th anniversary, 2019

In November 2019 I was invited back to Invercargill to celebrations of the St Patrick’s Church Rakauhauka 125th anniversary.  This is the text of the talk I gave at the dinner held at the Ascot Hotel on 23 November 2019.  It draws on my earlier speech at the church’s centennial in 1994 (see above) as well as recent contacts with people in Annaghdown through the Ireland Reaching Out website and from the Annaghdown Historical Society and the excellent research advice and digital sources they linked me to.

“Scottish Catholics in an Irish Catholic Church in a Scottish Presbyterian Settlement: Otago’s Scottish Catholics 1848-1895” in Immigrants and Minorities, Volume 30, Issue 1, March 2012.

This piece was based on my contribution to the first of the Stout Centre conferences that focused on the Scots rather than the Irish.  It gave me a chance to tell the largely forgotten story of the early Catholic Church in Otago when it was a Scottish, French and English institution rather than Irish.  All of course operating in the middle of a Scottish Presbyterian majority population which made for an interesting juxtaposition of identities.

As far from Galway as you can go

This is an edited text of a talk I delivered via Zoom to the Annaghdown Heritage Society in December 2021.  It repeats and extends some of the other material on this page about migration from Galway to southern New Zealand in the 19th century.  The talk was recorded and is available on Youtube for those who want to see it.  I was really chuffed to be invited to deliver this talk and repay some of the help I have received in recent years from members of the Society.  It was great too to have many New Zealand descendants of the original Galway pioneers as part of the Zoom audience.

One comment on “Articles

  1. Kate Healy says:

    Love your writings about Kerry folk in nz my link is Coffey and Healy currens and Tralee

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