Kaye Dragicevich ~ Historian ~ Author
A first class presentation of which Kaye can really be extremely proud. Excellent work in my view - Kaye has produced what anthropologists would term an ‘ethnography’ With refinements it could well have been presented as a thesis.
Goy Yelavich MA (Hons), Dip Tchg
Goy Yelevich and Sylvia Dean looking over a proof of A history of Awanui
Great book and must comment that despite the pain of a more expensive print the quality of the photographs in particular and the overall production far out-way that extra cost! Well done.
Curator Te Ahu Heritage Museum - Kaitaia
What an amazing production!!! I was so excited when I found the parcel at the front door----just dropped everything and sat down to read –and reminisce. Our dad would have been so proud that he featured in a book about the town he loved so much.”
Margaret Matterson (nee Spalding) Titirangi.
This book is a high quality pictorial history of a community in the Far North of New Zealand. Awanui has had the unique distinction of being an important hub of coastal communications from the early days of Pakeha settlement until gradually transformed into a small market town on a road transport junction, where the east coast road from the south met the main road going north from Kaitaia to Cape Reinga.
This History of Awanui is meticulously researched and judiciously written. It is generously illustrated with high definition black and white photographs provided by many local citizens, the Far North Regional Museum and many other museums, especially from the Northwood Brothers photographic works. The author’s Willow Creek Press and Warkworth Printing have done a superb job of production. All contributors are to be warmly congratulated for their collective enterprise; this book is actually the outcome of a community project and deserves to become part of the legacy of many families and libraries nationwide.
The book is a major extension of Kaye’s earlier work, Awanui, Town of the Big River, 1850-1950. It traces the patterns of early settlement, the development of public services, clubs, businesses and institutions, outlines major historical events, and records the major families of the district.
The project was an act of faith with a limited initial print run, until brisk sales required a supplementary printing. It is just reward for the author’s entrepreneurial determination and home-based marketing. It also marks her emergence as a major historian of the Far North. I wish her every success in her next venture, a history of the Dalmatian people in the Far North, and invite all New Zealanders interested to support her.
Professor Reynold Macpherson PhD
A HISTORY OF AWANUI.
I cannot believe how much I didn't know and how much I have forgotten about the town that I grew up in.
Kaye Dragicevich has done an awesome job of her second book on this topic.
It is approx 300 pages (compared to 75 in the first one) of information and memories.
A must have for all past and present Awanui residents.
Don't lend your copy to anyone you'll never get it back.
Helen Dean - Kerikeri
Such a wonderful work you are doing, brings enjoyment, lots of memories, and no doubt a few tears as well, and allows us to step into their life and what it was like back then.
The Gumfield Collection & A history of Awanui
Both books arrived in good condition and beautifully packaged.
A wonderful pictorial vista of the Far North a century ago - what a treasure
for the Dalmatian community.
Well I know my grandparents lived and worked with these people and my father
was born among them so I wonder which ones they knew as I turn the pages.
I'm pleased I saved a bit of gum from a sack in 1964. My grandfather was Frank Bernsee.
Your well produced book is already a vital heirloom, and will sell out.
Thank you for the wonderful book on behalf of George, myself and our family - and to let you know it arrived safely.
I am sure it will be a valuable source of history for generations to come.
Your work is truly appreciated.
George and Olga Yuretich
The Gumfield Collection is a total winner, once word gets out amongst Dalmatians for a start they will be scrambling for a copy like I did. You are no doubt experiencing that already. Goes much further than a normal book, it has the x factor.. Photography is brilliant, as I turn each page I love the fact I'm visually transported so vividly back to a time I've heard so much about. Have a few books on early Dalmatian history in NZ and slightly later but this is the best I have come across for this era, not only for its comprehensive and interesting content but for its appeal to the wider sector. It is a valuable educational resource.
You do a wonderful job which is nice for us to see but equally it gives a bridge to our grandchildren and beyond for the future.
I am having a ball reading The Gumfield Collection and discovering relatives of mine in many of the photos. I found a great grandfather and grandfather together in one photo as well as others of interest. I have passed on your information to other relatives who might like to purchase your book.
Your book is one of the best collated history books to come to hand. It is worthy of a movie and shows the true determination of the men who left their homeland to create a better future in a faraway land. It makes me realise how few hardships we have endured over the years since, because these hard working men paved the way for us all to have a better life – we salute them and I personally salute my father Ivan (Surkic) Batistic and ancestors Jakov (Surkic) Batistic and Nickola (Surkic) Batistic who all worked in the Gum Fields. My father Ivan is not featured in any of the photos, however Jakov and Nickola are – a real treasure. Thank you for putting together a masterpiece.
Hazel Greve nee Batistic
Pioneer Dalmatian Settlers of the Far North
What a fantastic book, I can't get my nose out of it. Having been born at Wainui, had my school holidays up there, family up there, taught up there, and finally married and brought up our little ones up there, we know and love the Far North so much. To read the history of the people we know and love so much is really something special. Kaye has done so much research, its unbelieveable and so beautifully told as a story. Thank you for all your hard work so others can enjoy this story of the Tarara. Love being one.
Much love and appreciation.
Pamela Foster - Auckland
I would also like to thank Kaye Dragicevich and all of her helpers for putting together the Pioneer Dalmatian settlers of the far north book.
Its absolutely brilliant, informative and something to treasure always.
We love it.
Gayle Burrows - Auckland
Hi Kaye - what a surprise to come home to my book at the doorstep and what a beautiful book recording all the history - so well laid out and easy to read. And what wonderful photos - I can share all with my grandchildren.
Thank you ever so much for putting this important historical information together in such a beautiful book !
Christine (Fredatovich) - Auckland
I received my books today just awesome have been "hugging " them most of the day the stories I have read are truly amazing we will be forever indebted to you Kaye this book will be treasured by our familys for many years THANK YOU SO MUCH
Gaylene Brooker-Hughes - Tauranga
Thank you and all your helpers for producing this amazing book, a history which will not be lost for our children, grandchildren and generations to come, a credit to you all, and family's who provided nostalgia of their parents and families. "Hvala Puna".💐📓
Jessie Devcich Warkworth
Thank you for all the work you have put into this book Kaye Dragicevich - it looks amazing & I look forward to meeting you on Saturday! 😊😊
Linda Venables - Auckland
Thank you so much for this amazing book. Am so loving just dipping and reading. So interesting for this nz/Irish girl and not even a local.
Margaret Tolladay - Far North
Thank you, Kaye, for my copy of Pioneer Dalmatian settlers of the far North... just love it so many amazing stories and photos of all these amazing people and their lives, will be treasured, you must be very proud Thank you
Kathy Yelavich - Cambridge
Enjoyed the morning so much. Lovely to see so many familiar faces. What a treasure we have in Kaye's book -many many thanks to everyone who put this all together ! Wish I could have stayed longer. Bonus to spend time with my bestie from Kaitaia College! (XOXOX)
Ima Reid - Kaingaroa
I've just been perusing over the new book and it's fantastic! So many lovely stories and wonderful photos. Thank you Kaye, this is going to be a very important family treasure for us. You and Frank should be so proud!
Angela Zidich Ward - Kaitaia
I just had the 2 books delivered I am so excited 😆 I shall be reading all weekend. It feels and looks amazing. So proud of you. All your hard research has paid off. Thank you so much from the Urlich family. 💝
Maria Eichmann - Auckland
Kaye Dragicevich I just cant put down my copy of your book Pioneer Dalmatian Settlers, it is absolutely fantastic, so well written, and the first 3 stories I read have made me cry, I am lost beyond words to describe how incredible this book is, well done to you and all your hard work over the last 4 years Kaye..... People, if you havent ordered a copy, do so today, you wont regret it, it is magnificent ....thank you Kaye for all your hard work.
Toni Burren - Kaitaia
We agree the book was well written. We cant stop reading the stories. It will be a book my children will treasure always. My parents were two beautiful people and to be included in the book was such a pleasure with photos you included as well. Thank you.
Maud Juranovich - Auckland
Yesterday I was both honoured and excited to highly and urgently recommend to our Principal - Mr Jack Saxon that we must purchase a book. After my 'feedback' he told me to order two copies! - 1 x for our Social Sciences faculty and the other for our library - What a taonga for every NZ home that have Tarara connections. The photographs and additional history give us all something ..that money can't buy! So thank you and the team for your 'gift' to the nation.
May you continue to have the energy, drive, enthusiasm and eyesight to continue writing our local history. I look forward to hearing about your next 'challenge.'
Mareea Paitai - Kaitaia College Careers/Counsellor/Scholarships
The Gumfields Northern Wairoa to the Far North
My family and I have immensely enjoyed both your books on early settlers and Gumfields. Some of the stories and photos still send shivers down my spine when I re read and re look at them.
Vodanovich Law Kumeu.
For the Far North native or the new resident, Kaye Dragicevich's books are essential guides to modern local history, and especially to the Dalmatian people who did much of the hard work. All are worth reading, but if I have to choose one book, it would be her new "The Gumfields - Northern Wairoa to the Far North." Each picture of the lavishly illustrated volume tells something you may not otherwise have known about this place. The exhaustive indexing is as easy to use and valuable to the casual reader as to the working scholar.
Your book arrived safely and what a gem you've put together! It will be a family taonga for years to come.
So pleased this book is available again. My uncle, Nick Tordeich lent me his copy. Has photos of both my Great Grandfather on my mother's side and grandfather on my dad's side who both dug gum in the Northern Wairoa. My family roots are firmly planted on Korcula, specifically Zornovo.
It is truly not an exaggeration to tell you that I am thrilled to own this. So many parallels of the Far North immigrants and those here to the Pacific Northwest. I am so impressed that you put this opus together in such a relatively short span of years. I hope that someday, someone here can do as fine a tribute to this corner of the world. I hope that someday our paths will cross. Your work in preserving our heritage is so important, and so valued.
I knew absolutely nothing about the gumfields and the gum industry before reading your book, and your interweaving of the New Zealand story with the Croatian story is very well done, a good model for other regional histories that feature their immigrant citizens. Truly loved the inclusion of details like the passport, which I know resonates with many of our PNW Croatians as so many hail from Dalmatia. Ephemera like that really makes our history come alive, as do the sad stories like the one of the young immigrant who ended his life, a letter from home found at his side. There is great stuff for a screenplay here!
Mary Sudar Acker
Member of Croatian Heritage and Genealogy
Port Orchard Washington
Pioneer Dalmatian Settlers of the Far North traces the lives of men and women from Croatia’s central Dalmatian coast and Adriatic islands who migrated to New Zealand from the end of the 19th century onwards. This book is foregrounded by a description of the social and political situation in Dalmatia at the time. At the end of the 19th century, many had to leave the region due to diseased grapevines and other crops, and others left fearing the gathering storm clouds of World War I.
The book gives information about life in Dalmatia one hundred years ago and tells of the ‘final farewells’ that occurred before the departure of the pioneers to the other side of the world. There are detailed stories of over two hundred families, with information about their circumstances back home, how they made the journey, who they travelled with, and how they made a home and found work in the Far North. Early on, many of the men worked in the gumfields extracting kauri gum – a back-breaking job, but one of the few open to young, and otherwise unskilled young men. Their homes were rustic stantys made from sacking stretched over a ti-tree frames, vastly different to the stone and shingled roofed houses they had lived in on the Adriatic coast or islands. The Dalmatian settlers continued well-known traditions from home: fishing, grape- and fruit-growing, wine-making, playing soccer, singing klapa songs and making music with tambura. And they added some new ones to their repertoire like rugby, beauty pageant competitions and sheep grazing. Between the lines, one can sense the uncertainty and trepidation that any newly-arrived person must have felt arriving in a foreign country.
What is evident is the determination and the desire of the settlers and their children and grandchildren to make the most of the opportunities that life in New Zealand presented them.
Kaye Dragicevich has succeeded in not only providing a rich and vivid account of the early pioneer Dalmatian settlers. She has written an engaging description of everyday life in the Far North, and more generally of New Zealand society over the last century. It's a tremendous book and evidence of a lot of hard work.
Dr Jim Hlavac
School of School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, Monash University
Kaye Dragicevich's comment that her book Pioneer Dalmatian Settlers of the Far North contains the "stories of some 200 Dalmatian families" (p. 19b) is a far too modest claim for this fine result of her enormous work.
Her stories contain not only data and chronolgy but put families into context with other families, they also contain notable loners such as Peter Yelavich or George Urlich. Those, where only few data are available also receive at least a short paragraph (pp. 352-361) and not forgotten either are those who served in WWI and WW II (pp. 16-19). Successes, failures as well as tragedies and sorrow are related, and anecdotes and humour, rounded off by excellently produced pictures complete the individual stories. Indexes make it easy to find individual names of settlers and their connections within the community. Clearly outlined tables with names and dates of the pioneers' children enable researchers to locate the second generation for further study.
I had the privilege to interview several of the oldest people mentioned in the book during my recordings of their spoken Croatian dialects in contact with English and Maori during the 1970s and early 1980s. Upon reading Kaye Dragicevich's stories these men and women re-emerged in my memory as if they were there in front of me. Kaye Dragicevich, who had to rely on secondary sources, has gained a fine insight into these people, their aspirations and also their fears, and into the process of integration in the new country (the "nova domovina" - "the new homeland", as they called it).
But this book is far more than stories and genealogies for the Croatian/Dalmatian community. Within the individual stories it contains a contribution to the history of the integration of the Croatians, Maori and the various peoples from Britain, the story of gumdigging and the development of the Mangonui County in general. Few smaller communities of New Zealand have been so well documented as the Croatians from Dalmatia. Kaye Dragicevich has made a great contribution to the history of New Zealand's North, and its range of interest will reach beyond New Zealand.
ret. Assoc Professor University of Auckland NZ
Muhlebundtestr 4 Switzerland