Dear Members of the Old Irish list,
Ladies and Gentlemen I am seeking your help.
I am from the Athenree Homestead Trust, which is a community charitable
organisation set up to restore the old settler homestead of Captain Hugh
and Adela Stewart, who were part of the largest organised migration of
settlers from Ireland to New Zealand around the end of the last century
(circa 1875-78). 4000 settlers were brought from various parts of Ireland
to settle and develop the land and townships in the Bay of Plenty region of
New Zealand. In particular the Athenree homestead was to become the gateway
to the Western Bay of Plenty, holding Balls, and parties and receiving
Prime Ministers, Arch Bishops, and other dignitories. Around this homestead
grew up the communities of Katikati (founded by George Vesey Stewart Hugh's
brother), Waihi, and of course Athenree.
As you may or may not know presently we are trying to gather more and more
support, both financial and community support to carry with us to approach
some major funding agencies to encourage them to assist us further in the
restoration and development of the Athenree Homestead.
My reason for contacting you is with the hope that you would be able to
help us in this regard. Ideally if your group could donate half a million
that would be splendid, okay you can stop laughing now......! I'm hoping
that your group may be able to write a nice letter of commendation after
reading our web-page supporting, and endorsing the restoration project, and
encouraging others to get involved in this worthwhile community project
that stands not only to benefit the local and national New Zealand culture
but also strengthen links between Ulster and Irish groups throughout the
North and South Magazine (of New Zealand) are presently preparing an
article on the Homestead, since one of the editors read Adela Stewart's
book three times. The radio show "A little bit of Ireland" with Oliver Lee
on Access Community Radio 810 AM Auckland will also be doing a program on
the Homestead in April.
We are now linked up with the Irish Kiwi Connection, an online Internet
group based in Dublin organised by Angela McCarthy who is doing her final
year of her Phd in Modern History at Trinity College Dublin, and who also
maintains the Ulster New Zealand Trust web-page of Ballance House. We also
have links through the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs link to
Irish-NZ groups. Please view our web-pages, the address you will find on
We are also now assisted by the American Social Anthropologists John and
Betty Messenger of Columbus, Ohio who visited the Homestead recently having
their pictures taken in front of it and proudly displayed in the local Bay
of Plenty Times Newspaper (November 1998).
Recently we also had a small feature on the online enzine the Irish
Emigrant a mailing list that goes out to more than a thousand people world
wide, and the response was very positive.
So much is going forward; we now have permission to reprint the book An
Ulster Plantation by A.J. Gray one of the original founders of the Katikati
township, permission was given by his grandson Murray Gray, and
preparations are underway. Also in the box of goodies that he presented us
with was also an ethnographic depiction in the form of William John Gray's
"Emigration Diary" - from March to August 1875 from Belfast to London and
London to Auckland aboard the ship Alumbagh, which I have now transcribed
from the rough copy in preparation for publishing.
We are really excited at the way things are going, and with the re-pilling
now just beginning look forward to gaining more and more interest, and
donations to the aim of completing the restoration over the next couple of
I look forward to hearing back from you and having further interactions
with you in the future.
Yours sincerely, John Marshall
/\ __ __ \
~~| _ | ____ _____ ____ |
/ ||_| | |____| |_____| |____| |
[log in to unmask]
Admin' Support: John Marshall
+64 (07) 549 1807