Sometimes in family history, you come across a story that sounds more like the plot of a sweeping historical saga than a real life event. Such is the case of the story of the Spaniard, Manuel Jose.
|Māori Children on a North Island East Coast Farm, 1937|
Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19370630-51-3
We have two books on the family in the Central Auckland Research Centre, both written by Vivienne McConnell, a Manuel descendant, and her husband, Bob. “Olive Branches” is a meaty history that track’s Manuel’s descendants to the 1980s with photographs and profiles on family members.
"Ole Jose” chronicles the first ever reunion of the Manual Jose clan, held in 1980. For one weekend in December, descendants converged on Tikitini, on the East Coast for a celebration of their Māori/Spanish heritage. At that time two of Manuel’s grandchildren were present at the reunion, including 88-year-old Juliana Rickard, herself the mother of eleven “still living” children, 53 grandchildren, 71 great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren. Subsequent reunions have been held, and even trips to Spain. An article in the publication Te Māori at the time, estimated there were 5000 descendants of this one man. Subsequent estimates put the number at more than twice that today.
|A Māori home in the Urewera Country, 1909.|
Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19091230-10-1
More information is available at www.manueljose.org.nz