New Zealand is one of the countries that have been heavily influenced by the Irish. And in honour of St Patrick’s Day, this article is listing down that significant contributions and the influence of the Irish on New Zealand.
15-20% of New Zealanders have Irish ancestry
Many New Zealanders are of Irish descent. According to historical facts, many Irish people immigrated to New Zealand after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The first governor of New Zealand was Irish
Captain William Hobson, who was born in Ireland, was sworn in as Governor and Commander in Chief of New Zealand in May 1841. He was also one of the three authors of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The North and South Islands originally had Irish names
South Island was originally named “New Munster” after the Irish province where Captain William Hobson was born. North Island, on the other hand, was called “New Ulster.” They were later renamed in 1853.
An Irishman wrote NZ’s national anthem
Journalist, politician, and poet Thomas Bracken wrote the poem that would later on become New Zealand’s national anthem. He moved from Ireland to New Zealand in 1869.
An Irishman formed NZ’s first political party
John Balance formed the Liberal Party, the country’s first political party, in the 1870s. Before that, however, he and his wife were living in Ireland. They moved to New Zealand in 1866.
The first All Blacks captain was an Irishman
The legendary Dave Gallaher, who went on to become the captain of “The Originals” for the 1905-1906 Tour of Britain, France, and America, was originally from Ireland. He was born in the Emerald Isle in 1873. When he turned five years old, he and his family moved to Katikati, where he started playing rugby.
There are more than 65 Irish pubs in NZ
Thanks to their tasty food, folk music, and Guinness, New Zealanders can’t get enough of Irish pubs. In fact, there are at least 65 Irish pubs and bars scattered across New Zealand, according to the Consulate General of Ireland.
Auckland’s Sky Tower is lit up green on St Patrick’s Day
The tallest manmade structure in NZ turns green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day every year.
Irish workers were accused of spreading STIs in Christchurch
Irish workers helping out in Christchurch’s rebuild have been accused of spreading sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, the accusations were never proven to be true.
NZ doesn’t have snakes because of the Irish
Legend has it that when snakes attacked St Patrick during his 40-day fast, he drove a sword into the ground and its tip touched New Zealand. This saved Ireland and New Zealand from the snakes.