Go green and cel­e­brate shared­his­tory

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - CATHY O'SUL­LI­VAN

It’s the day the world goes green, and on St Pa­trick’s Day New Zealand has its own rea­sons to sham­rock n’roll on Ire­land’s na­tional day.

Ire­land and New Zealand, two small is­land na­tions at the op­po­site ends of the Earth, share much his­tory.

The waves of immigrants who left Ire­land’s shores in the mid and late 19th cen­tury have made a lasting im­pact on Aotearoa, both cul­tur­ally and eco­nom­i­cally.

Our na­tional an­them God De­fend New Zealand was writ­ten by Monaghan-born Thomas Bracken. The Treaty of Wai­tangi was signed on be­half of the Crown by Water­ford-born Wil­liam Hob­son, and the cap­tain of the Orig­i­nal All Blacks, Dave Gal­la­her, came from County Done­gal.

And for 12 years, New Zealand was split into three prov­inces called New Ul­ster (North Is­land), New Mun­ster (South Is­land) and New Le­in­ster (Ste­wart Is­land).

Around one in ev­ery six New Zealan­ders claims Ir­ish de­scent and this coun­try con­tin­ues to be a favoured des­ti­na­tion for Ir­ish immigrants in the 21st cen­tury.

To­day, New Zealand and Ire­land have close co-op­er­a­tion on trade, for­eign pol­icy is­sues such as cli­mate change, dis­ar­ma­ment and hu­man rights and each coun­try looks to each other on ways to pre­serve their na­tive lan­guages.

And so as St Pa­trick’s Day is cel­e­brated through­out the world, in New Zealand, the day is marked by com­mu­ni­ties around the coun­try.

Events to mark Ire­land’s day in­clude the big­gest St Pa­trick’s pa­rade in the South­ern Hemi­sphere in Pon­sonby as well as a fundrais­ing ball in aid of Mercy Hospice and the New Zealand Gaelic Games cham­pi­onship fi­nals. Me­mo­rial Mu­seum, Eden Park and the Michael Fowler Cen­tre in Welling­ton.

For more in­for­ma­tion check out stpatrick.co.nz or look up your lo­cal Ir­ish so­ci­ety or ask on Neigh­bourly.co.nz for more de­tails on events in your area.

CHRIS MCKEEN

The St Pa­trick’s pa­rade in Pon­sonby is the big­gest in the South­ern Hemi­sphere.

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