Now on in the J.T. Diamond Room, Waitakere Central Library is our Dalmatians out west exhibition. The exhibition features images from Auckland’s Dalmatian community and will run until 30 August 2016.
This is the first in a series of blog posts based on the themes in the exhibition.
Early Dalmatian settlers of West Auckland
The first Yugoslavs to settle in New Zealand are thought to be sailors from the Frigate Novara which berthed in Auckland in 1858. There was then a small influx of Dalmatian migrants, mainly from Podgora, in the mid to late 1870s with many working in the gumfields around Dargaville, Ahipara and Riverhead.
In 1903 the first vineyard in Oratia was established by Ivan and Katherine Vella, the first Dalmatians to arrive in the district, and by 1913 they had six acres of grapes. They also grew apples and peaches on the land.
In 1904 Tony Borich, Mate Borich, Jack Sunde and Stanko and Lovre Marinovich bought 160 acres of land in Oratia.
Ref: Lovre Marinovich with family and friend, West Coast Road Oratia. West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries. DGHS Collection.