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Tarara: Croats and Maori in New Zealand, monograph by Senka Bozic-Vrbancic
In this recording you will frequently hear the Maori name TARARA, which is the name for CROATIANS
Mai ra ano kua mahi tahi nga iwi Tarara me nga iwi maori i roto i nga mahi keri kaapia i Muriwhenua. Na whai ano i whakatuuria ai e Te Roopu Tarara o Aotearoa he whakangahau Kirihimete hei kohi putea ma ngä whanau i raru nui i te ru whenua. I reira hoki te kapa haka o Ihi Connections e whakawana ana i te po.
Maori and Croatians have worked together for many years, starting with gum diggining in Northland. This year, the Croatian club has organized for the proceeds of their 2011 Christmas concert to go to the Christchurch Earthquake rebuild. Ihi Connections was there supporting the occasion.
Tarara: Croats and Maori in New Zealand: Memory, Belonging, Identity Senka Bozic-Vrbancic
Maori called us Tarara, as we speak so fast... At the beginning of the twentieth century, as Croatians left Dalmatia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire for the brave new world of New Zealand, Maor, now part of the British Empire, were losing much of their land and mana. All were looking for work. They came together on the gum fields of the far north. Many of the Croatians settled, some with mail-order brides, others with Maori women - and a unique community was born. This is the story of that community. Today we can travel anywhere, but we still cannot travel to the past. Drawing from official documents, oral histories, novels, letters, newspaper articles, marriage certificates, and much more, Senka Bozic-Vrbancic explores relationships between Maori and Croats. How has their collective identity been shaped by changing legal regulations from colonial times to the bi cultural New Zealand of today? What does it mean to be a New Zealander? "Tarara" is a provocative contribution to ideas about migration, displacement, and the impact of different social models - colonialism, assimilation, biculturalism, and multiculturalism - on Maori and Croatian identity.
Tarara The cultural politics of Croat and Maori identity in New Zealand Senka Bozic-Vrbancic
Maori and Croatians worked and lived together from the late 19th century
Their histories are intertwined in New Zealand’s Far North
Significant study on indigenous and migrant identity and memory
Well illustrated with historical photographs
At the turn of the twentieth century, Croatians were migrating from Dalmatia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Maori, having become part of the British Empire, were losing much of their land. All were looking for work. They came together on the gumfields of the far north, digging up kauri gum resin for export.
Many of the Croatians settled and married – some to mail-order brides from home, others to local Maori women – and a unique community was born. Drawing on a range of sources, from official historical narratives on the kauri gum industry, to oral histories, novels, letters, newspaper articles, marriage certificates, and much more, Bozic-Vrbancic examines Maori-Croatian relationships on the gumfields and beyond. This is a significant contribution to ideas about migration and displacement and an important discussion of the impact of different social models – colonialism, assimilation, biculturalism, and multiculturalism – on Maori and Croatian identity and memory. The book is illustrated with historical photographs. Review Quotes
'The application of theory to historical evidence is exemplary. Moreover, the sheer depth and intensity of the author’s analysis deserves the highest praise. ...Tarara is a very rewarding read. It shows what can be achieved when historical enquiry and ethnographic fieldwork are combined in innovative and exciting ways.' – NZ Journal of History, Vol. 44, No. 1. April 2010 (reviewed by Lyndon Fraser.
'Dalmatia and the less than romantic experiences of life in the gum fields, including contact and intermarriage with local Maori, are painstakingly described ... the later recollections and descriptions of Far North museums are fascinating as are the reflections of embittered young inheritors of the Tarara identity. Difficult reading but worth the effort.' – Wairarapa Times-Age
'As a full-length study of the Maori–Dalmatian relationship, this book makes a notable contribution to the study of New Zealand. Bozic-Vrbancic...supplements her oral histories with a significant array of historical material, drawing on the work of Hans-Peter Stoffel, newspaper stories, government reports, personal letters, poetry, fiction, photographs, and other ephemera... As a record of experiences in danger of being forgotten, this work is a great success.' – New Zealand Slavonic Journal, Vol. 42
‘Teach the Body’ – constructions of ‘the Maori’ in colonial New Zealand
‘Teach the Body’ – constructions of ‘the Austrians (Croatians)’ in colonial New Zealand
Narratives of the gumfields as home
Maori and Tarara on the gumfields
Visiting the past: Kauri gum stories
Welcome to ‘Our Place’: biculturalism in New Zealand Bibliography Notes Index
About the Author
Senka Bozic-Vrbancic is McArthur Research Fellow in the School of Social and Environmental Enquiry at the University of Melbourne. During the last decade she has worked in New Zealand, Ukraine, Croatia and Australia, completing her doctoral thesis on Maori-Croatian relationships at the University of Auckland in 2004. Her scholarly interests range widely, from indigenous and migrant identity formation, the politics of representation, visual culture and diaspora issues, to nationalisms and multiculturalisms. Her research addresses questions of globalisation, home, belonging, community and transnational connections.
Anthropology, Cultural Studies, History ISBN 978 1 877372 09 4, paperback, 235 x 155 mm, 272 pp, illustrated, $49.95 Published: 2008
The origin of the name of Tarara is most probably related to singing a melody without words, using rhytmical pattern Ta-ra-ra... Dalmatian Croats are known for their passionate love of music. According to late Ljubo Stipišić Delmata, in Croatia there are currently about 400 klapa choirs. This is a unique phenomenon of Croatian music, and not only Croatian.
The Dalmatians/Croatians - Frano Botica
Frano Botica Tarara Maori and Rugby Star
Man, those old Dalmatian gumdiggers were tough. Digging out swamp to get at the petrified kauri gum - as I can tell you from first hand experience - was bloody hard work.
But it was all a means to an end - to own land and carve out a much better life for them here, in New Zealand, a world away from the scrapped over peninsula they came from - Dalmatia, Croatia.
The Northland terrain was rocky and hilly, a lot like what they'd come from. But it was paradise to them. The rocks, mud and hard work weren't going to kill them, not like the constant warring they'd left.
That's what I really like about my Dally rellies, both past and present. They have a single-mindedness that means they really know what they want and they aren't afraid to work hard to get it.
Most of the early immigrants settled in Northland, where they intermarried with the local Maori tribes. It's easy to see why - both cultures are really big on family, cultural identity, a strong sense of 'home', sing-a-longs and food. And neither was particularly welcomed by the English-speaking Pakeha.
They become the Tarara Maori - fast-talking Maori.
(Black and White photo: Taken in the Hawkes Bay near Wairoa where they were working in construction building the railway line. Frano's Grand-father is at the back, his cousin Vic in the middle and his brother Paul is at the front.)
My grandad came to New Zealand just after the WWI. He came from Kocula, a beautiful island off the coast from the city of Split. He went to Wanganui where he joined up with the Ministry of Works, as it was then. I grew up in Auckland but we would get down to Wanganui most school holidays.
My old granddad lived with us for the last six months of his life before he died in 1978. I wish I'd been old enough to ask him more about his life but, well, he didn't really seem to like talking about it anyway. He never taught my dad his language. "What's the use?" he'd say. "You'll never use it."
I really regret that. I can't speak Croatian and I can't speak Te Reo. That was one of the hardest things about doing this doco. I'd be interviewing an old Dalmatian, and he'd lapse into Croatian. I'd wait until he'd stopped and was looking at me expectantly, and then I'd have to say; "Oh, sorry, I can't speak the language."
It's really embarrassing. I felt like I'd let my ancestors down.
Now I'm determined to turn that around. Visiting the Auckland Dalmatian Club was great. Man, those guys really like to have a party. The dance they do is the kola, and of course, they thought it was a great idea to dress me up and show me the moves. I've got two left feet, so I was rubbish, but thankfully the magic of television makes me look not too bad.
Yeah, I'm much better at the haka...
Of course, all this stuff is really difficult anyway, but dancing the kola or playing the tamburica in front of the camera just made it all so much harder.
Until Here To Stay, I hadn't done any television presenting, so I was pretty nervous. I was never very good at learning lines at school, so trying to remember what I was supposed to be saying while walking in the right direction AND looking at the camera? Boy, give me a test against the Aussies any day.
But I got a lot better and I'm really keen to do it again - I guess the Dally in me made we work hard at it!
Frano Botica playing Croatian tamburitza
I reckon my Dalmatian side is pretty strong. I love food, I like a glass of wine, I like to gather around the guitar as the night wears on. I guess I'm also pretty determined - when I want something I go out and make it happen.
From what I've seen I think most Croatian / Dalmatian New Zealanders today are a lot like that. We're MPs, architects, designers, singers,pioneering winemakers, and leading businesspeople, for example.
These settlers have made a huge mark on New Zealand. Some of them I knew about, but others I didn't. They're such great people - loud, emotional, funny, creative, and strong. They reminded me a lot of the people I'd met when I visited Kocula.I don't really think New Zealanders know much about the different people that came here, the cultures they brought, or how it influences Kiwi life today. I think the series will give them a new appreciation of how immigrant groups have moulded New Zealand.
Luckily, with my rugby and playing for Croatia, I've managed to go back a few times and have even been to my granddad's island. I'd love to get back there, but for now my education will be limited to the Dalmatian club.
The first recorded marriage between a Dalmatian gum digger and a Maori was in 1891. Another gum digger, Lovro Petricevich, married Makareta Raharuhi of the Ngati Kuri tribe. Lovro became fluent in Maori, and when he died he was buried on his wife’s marae in accordance with local custom. Their daughter, Dame Miraka Szaszy, was the first Maori woman to graduate from Auckland University.
Dame Mira Szaszy, b. Petricevich, the first Maori woman to graduate from Auckland University
The descendants of Dalmatians and Maori remain proud of their mixed cultural and linguistic heritage. In March 2010 the 11th annual Tarara Day was celebrated in West Auckland, jointly organised by Te Waipareira marae and the Croatian Cultural Society. ‘Tarara’ is the Maori term for people of Dalmatian descent.
The late Dame Mira Szászy DBE, CB, QSMJP, BA, DipSocSci, LLD (Vic) was one of the most outstanding Māori women leaders of the 20th century.
Dame Mira was the first Māori woman to graduate with a degree from The University of Auckland. She was a former President of The Māori Women's Welfare League. In 1990, she was made Dame Commander of the British Empire.
Dame Mira Szaszy, b. Petricevich
Dame Mira made significant contributions in education, broadcasting, social welfare and small business development. In 1993 she received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Victoria University of Wellington in recognition of her contribution to the nation.
On the lack of speaking rights on the Marae for women:
"It's a symbol of oppression. Even the Marae itself is a symbol of oppression for me because it is there that I am denied my very basic right of free speech. But it's not just the free speech ... It is the belief that women have their own wisdom to impart.
"I don't think I have been particularly popular with some men. I suspect that some of that resistance is based on insecurity about their own position, and a desire perhaps to retain the last bastion of power that they have. I understand that our men have lost their forums or their power in society. They're not in industry, they're not in politics, nowhere do they have power, our people. What do you do when you don't have power? You oppress those you can oppress.
"I have been told that to allow women to speak on the Marae would undermine Māori culture and would be its death knell. I said that if that is what Māori culture is hinged on, then I for one wouldn't regret it dying. Because I don't believe it you see.
"I don't believe that giving women their rights as human beings is a destructive thing. I think it's a very positive thing and I believe that the liberation of every human being is part of the development of human society as a whole."
My first love is my family but I love my tribe I know my tribe but I am proud of my race I am proud of my race but I am not racist Therefore I belong to my race but I would serve my nation I would serve my nation but I have a reverence for humanity Because I have a reverence for all humanity I would oppose inhumanity anywhere and everywhere It is because I have this reverence for humanity that I grieve for all who now suffer, and pray for all mankind It is because I believe in God that I have this reverence for humanity. My family, my tribe, my race, my nation Let this be my vision of the future My extended family All creeds, all races, all nations Let this be my new world A part of my own humanity. In the beginning was God All things were made by Him And as many as were made by Him And as many as received Him To them gave He power to become His children This is my destiny This is my prayer
This evening I attended a celebration at Parliament honouring the contribution Croatians have made to New Zealand since the first settlers arrived in 1858.
Today, 150 years later, life is very different for over 100,000 New Zealanders who claim Croatian heritage thanks to the hard work and determination of their (and my) ancestors. They have paved the way for us by embracing life in a new land while at the same time never forgetting where they came from. This pride has been passed down the generations and it was very evident amongst the people gathered tonight to celebrate and remember.
One thing is painfully evident – the early Croatian settlers had an incredibly hard life. They found themselves heading straight for the Far North to become gumdiggers. They were ostracised and treated unfairly. Many were shocked to discover what they had come to. The sense of displacement and the vast cultural differences continued to cause problems for these settlers.
They were so sure of the opportunities here that few were prepared for the reality. Most walked off their ships in Auckland with little money, food, and no English.
And to make things much worse, they were not welcome …
They couldn’t do anything right by the British gumdiggers … They were accused of lowering the price of gum, and of damaging the economy by sending their hard-earned money back home to Croatia.
One storekeeper declared proudly that he had refused on “all occasions” to give credit to the Croatians gumdiggers, but he had “never refused a Britisher”.
Even the Prime Minister, Dick Seddon, described them as “locust-like”, and helped to usher in laws aimed at restricting the number of Croatians on the gumfields. Croatians were made to pay an alien fee, while large areas of Crown land were reserved just for the digger of British extraction”.
… As far as the rest of New Zealand was concerned, Maori and Croatian were on equal standing, at the bottom of New Zealand society.
Source Webby, K., & Misa, T. (2002). Tarara Maori: A forgotten history. Mana Magazine, 44, February-March, 32-36.
Stephen Jelicich points out in his recently published book From Distant Villages, that it was impossible for these early settlers to create any kind of replica of their lives back in Croatia. They had to adapt and change if they were to survive.
On the gumfields they had to reshape their lives and adjust to the harsh, bitter realities of virtual exile, unending toil and the loss of ties with their families left behind in their homeland (p46).
Throughout these tough times the Croatian personality shone through; we are a determined people. The saying, ‘When the going gets tough the tough get going’ really applied then and is equally as applicable to all those that followed later.
The Croatian settlers from Dalmatia were and still are an outgoing people, generous to a fault and welcoming to all who approached then in genuine friendship. Frankness and honesty were notable qualities (p45).
Source Jelicich, S.A. (2008). From Distant Villages: the lives and times of Croatian settlers in New Zealand 1858-1958. Auckland, New Zealand: Pharos.
It is no wonder that a special kind of relationship formed between the Maori and the Croatians at this time. Northland Maori coined the name ‘Tarara’ to identify anyone of Croatian descent. No one is exactly sure how this name came to be however there is speculation that it stems from the way the Croatians rolled their ‘r’s while others say it is because they spoke so fast (Webby & Misa, 2002).
The two groups still have much in common. We both love to eat, love to be noisy, love to entertain. Tarara are boisterous like the Maori and love to socialise. They’re also just as strongly family oriented as Maori. That’s one of the greatest aspects of the relationship. They have an almost identical feeling about life and death, they cry and wail the same as us, that’s why Maori and Tarara got on so well. It was a lucky mix. Simon Petricevich: Son of Lawrence Petricevich, brother of Dame Mira Szaszy.
Source Webby, K., & Misa, T. (2002). Tarara Maori: A forgotten history. Mana Magazine, 44, February-March, 36.
The inevitable happened – Croatian men married Maori women – and the bond became even further cemented as they produced Tarara Maori children. There are countless examples of high profile people in our country who share this compatible genetic make-up. A large number of them were present this evening.
Some things however have persisted over the years such as being stereotyped as a foreigner. Most of us, even though we were born here, have unusual names for example. This automatically signals a possibility to a non-English cultural connection.
I have many stories to tell from my own experiences growing up in the land of my birth which wasn’t the land of my blood. My roots were firmly embedded in another culture based in an unfamiliar land yet I knew I was intimately connected to it. I grew up speaking the Croatian language, eating its food, listening to its music, learning and performing traditional dancing, and socialising with its people who were in the same situation as our family. We had almost no family here so our ethnic community became our extended family. These roots spread far and wide and tonight familiar faces emerged amongst the crowds and took me back to special times that we shared together.
This evening was a big ‘family’ reunion. It was so wonderful to catch up with my extended family that I had not seen for far too long. As I watched my parents while listening to the Prime Minister and other dignatories speak, like Professor Jamie Belich who is now back teaching at Victoria Universtiy in Wellington, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride that I was a Croatian ‘Tarara’ New Zealander.
Jamie Belich speaking at a Parliamentary reception honouring Croatians in New Zealand
It dawned on me that my parents have lived more of their lives in this ‘new’ land than they have in their beloved home country. They, along with many other Croatians, have achieved huge amounts when you consider they arrived here with nothing but their suitcases in hand and a dream. They ventured into the unknown. They were not afraid to work hard to create a better life for themselves and their families once they arrived at their destination, no matter how disappointed they may have been at what greeted them. They have achieved so much despite all the barriers and they should be so proud of this.
For a long time I have wondered who I was. Like the Tarara Maori I too feel like the product of two cultures – Croatian and New Zealand. At times I have found this to be confusing. I walked out of the Banquet Hall in the Beehive tonight feeling a glow associated with the realisation that I belonged. I am a woman of many parts and all of them matter. Just because I wasn’t born in Croatia and just because my Croatian language speaking skills may be rusty my roots are set far from here. I have an extensive biological family on the other side of the world. I am connected to them and I am connected here.
My tree stands tall and strong just like the stunning 1,200 year old Kauri tree Tane Mahuta in Waipoua Forest, Northland. I have an inner strength that comes from a people that is strong, proud and prepared to take a risk rather than sit around and complain. They are people of action yet they never forget what matters above all else – family and friends – oh yes, and having fun together.
There is one thing nagging at me though. What is my family story? How did we get to be here? My great grandfather, my grandfather and my father were all gumdiggers for a period of time. I can see I have some work to do to start unearthing our story – the story of the Sevelj family in New Zealand.
Industrija kauri smole bila je jedinstvena novozelandska industrija (eksploatacija fosilizirane smole kauri stabla) korištena za proizvodnju lakova i linolenuma - koja je trajala od 1840-ih do 1950-ih u kojoj su sudjelovali i hrvatski kopači doseljeni uglavnom iz Dalmacije na Novi Zeland, gdje su lakše ostvariti društveni kontakt s maorskim, nego sa anglosaksonskim kopačima o čemu svjedoče njihovi logori, kao što su Sweetwater, Waiharara i Ahipara . S krajem industrije smole prijateljstva sklopljena na golim visoravnima, močvarama i u rudarskim jamama postala su prošlost o kojoj je malo ostalo zapisano, ali još uvijek postoje sjećanja o društvenim i kulturnim vezama sačuvana i predana mlađim naraštajima
Krajem XIX. i početkom XX. stoljeća i Hrvati i Maori našli su se u globalnoj areni koja je odredila njihove identitete: Maori unutar Britanskog Carstva a Hrvati unutar Austrougarskog Carstva. Maori su izgubili svoju zemlju i postupno se inkorporirali u europsku privredu, što je dovelo do lokalne migracije. Ponekad su čitave obitelji, iz različitih dijelova Novog Zelanda, putovale na sjever da rade kao kopači smole. Istodobno, zbog austrougarske politike prema južnoj provinciji Dalmaciji, brojne su hrvatske obitelji osiromašile te je započeo odlazak mnogobrojnih iseljenika u zemlje Novoga svijeta. Samo je mali broj njih završio u Novom Zelandu, obično na somolonosnim poljima, na krajnjem sjeveru. Industrija kauri smole bila je jedinstvena novozelandska industrija - eksploatacija fosilizirane smole kauri stabla korištene za proizvodnju lakova i linolenuma - koja je trajala od 1840-ih do 1950-ih. Kauri smola prodavana je prekomorskim zemljama, uglavnom Sjedinjenim Američkim Državama i Velikoj Britaniji.
Zbog gospodarskih interesa Britanskog Carstva za industriju kauri smole i njene specifičnosti unutar novozelandske, kao i svjetske, privrede, nastala je kulturna realnost u kojoj su i maorski i hrvatski kopači smole bili stereotipizirani zbog predrasuda i neznanja. Hrvacki kopači smole, koji su se našli izolirani, okruženi nesimpatičnim, čak i neprijateljskim, narodom, otkrili su da je lakše ostvariti društveni kontakt s maorskim, nego sa anglosaksonskim, kopačima. Njihovi logori, kao što su Sweetwater, Waiharara i Ahipara, često su bili blizu maorskih logora, povezani smolonosnim poljima. Maori su više voljeli raditi u skupinama a ponekad su timski radili zajedno s Hrvatima. Obje zajednice imale su obiteljske veze mnogo jače od britanskih doseljenika: Maori svojim plemenskim ustrojstvom a hrvatski seljaci iz Dalmacije putem svojih zadruga. Mješovita društvena okupljanja između Maora i Hrvata postala su uobičajena. Nedjelje su pružale nešto predaha od uobičajene rutine. Bilo je mnogo razgovora, nešto sporta, povremenih okupljanja radi pjevanja i općeg druženja. Neki Maori naučili su svirati hrvatski nacionalni pučki instrument tamburu. Maori koji su naučili svirati tamburu običavali su pjevati pjesme na hrvatskom, a ponekad i na talijanskom, jeziku. Mješoviti brakovi između Maora i Hrvatq bili su uobičajeni. Jedan takav primjer je slučaj Lovre Petričeviča iz Živogošća koji je stigao u Novi Zeland 1904., zaposlio se kao kopač smole i oženio Maorku. On je zacijelo bio jedan od najcjenjenijih Hrvata koji su pripadali maorskoj zajednici. Gotovo 70 godina, sve do svoje smrti, živio je na poluotoku Aupouri. Pokopan je prema maorskoj tradiciji tangi . U početku ni Hrvati ni Maori nisu tečno govorili engleski te su razvili specifičnu bilingvalnu aktivnost, neki su Hrvati govorili loš maorski, a neki Maori loš hrvatski, kasnije je i engleski uključen (trilingvalizam). Da označe svoj odnos s Hrvatima, ne samo jer su oni govorili drugačiji jezik, već i zato što su ih Britanci prikazali kao "različite", kao "strance" i autsajdere, maorski govornici potražili su novu riječ - Tarara - da istaknu ovu razliku između Hrvata i Britanaca. Neki lingvisti tvrde da je glasovna analogija najvjerojatnije objašnjenje te riječi. Maorske slušatelje privuklo je oštro "r" koje Englezi nisu mogli izgovoriti. Zemlja iz koje su Hrvati emigrirali označena je također kao Tarara, tako da u maorskom rječniku i sada postoji zemlja Tarara između Italije i Grčke.
S krajem industrije smole prijateljstva sklopljena na golim visoravnima, močvarama i u rudarskim jamama postala su prošlost, povijest o kojoj je malo ostalo zapisano. Međutim, još uvijek postoje tragovi nekadašnjeg društvenog kontakta na krajnjem sjeveru Novog Zelanda. Na ulazu u Kaitaiu stoji znak na tri jezika, maorskom, hrvatskom i engleskom: haere mai , dobro došli, welcome , kao i haere ra , sretan put, farewell . Ako su oni s neposrednim iskustvom na smolonosnim poljima i umrli, još uvijek postoje sjećanja sačuvana i predana mlađim naraštajima. Kako su članovi Waipareira Trusta i Hrvatskog kulturnog društva (Auckland), koji su organizirali ponovan susret ovih dvaju naroda u Te Rangihiroa Parku u Hendersonu, povodom stoljeća kulturnih veza, rekli: "Životni se ciklus nastavlja".
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