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Sunday, 16 March 2014

An Irish legacy

The Mahony family crest.
Since tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd write a bit about my Irish heritage. Back in 1992 relatives of mine put together a family history for a reunion held at St Pat's College in Silverstream. Here's a Readers' Digest version of how I came to have an excuse to celebrate St Patrick's Day and my ancestral links to the Emerald Isle.

Daniel Mahony was born in Ireland the year the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, in 1840. He was the son of John Mahony, from Cork. Being listed as a farm labourer in Dublin, Daniel more than likely left Ireland as a result of the Great Irish Famine 1845-1852. Daniel married Irish lass Catherine Greehy at St Mary's Church in Clapham, London in 1864, and they had three children - Joseph Stanislaus, George Augustine and Mary Ann. In 1874, under the Vogel scheme of assisted immigration, Daniel and Catherine migrated to New Zealand on the Cartvale, heading from London to Wellington.

While in New Zealand the family added two further children, Joseph Watson Mahon(e)y, aka Gus (after his confirmation name, Augustus) and Tom Wilson Mahony. Interestingly, Gus spelled Mahoney with an "e" while Tom left it out. Gus was my great-grandfather. He grew up in Johnsonville and married Esme Dovey before the war, where he saw action in France, before being shot in his right hip in September 1918.

Following the war he had three children, Ken, Ngaire and Noel. Ngaire Esme Mahoney was my grandmother. She met my grandfather, Arthur James (aka Jim) Holden in the 30s, while working at the Empire Box Co. My father, Murray Joseph Holden (named after Gus) was born 1952.