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Irishtown Hamilton East 1864-1940

This study offers an alternative historiographical perspective on the Irish in New Zealand. This study found that an Irish enclave existed in Hamilton ftom 1864-1940. It was fragile and soft-edged, but despite continual pressure for assimilation, it thrived. Unlike previous investigations of other Irish communities in New Zealand, it was found to have had a strong provenance, to have been predominantly Irish and Catholic, and to have expanded without interruption. It displayed exclusive pattems of religious/cultural behaviour and traits documented in overseas studies. It is investigated in three parts, and over three generations. First, the Irish in the founding military settlement are considered. The statistical and demographic evidence for the development of the community over the next two generations is then presented, and finally the experience of life in the community and legacy for the third generation is documented through oral histories. The Irish militiamen were identified from the New Zealand Army records, and Catholic Irish civilian settlers were traced through traditional sources. Some of their direct descendants and others were interviewed. In this way, a composite picture was constructed ftom the beginning of the enclave forwards, and from the end back. It was found that a core group of Irish militiamen, supplemented by Irish Catholic civilians, facilitated the development of the Catholic Church, around which the community gathered. This thesis is a small contribution to the history of the Irish in New Zealand, about whom little research has been done. lt has provided conclusive evidence of at least one Catholic Irish enclave. It is hoped that it will serve as a useful basis for comparison with studies of other similar communities.
Type of thesis
O’Shea-Miles, C. (1999). Irishtown Hamilton East 1864-1940 (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11913
The University of Waikato
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