Island’s farming history a great tale
farm on the island’s 525 acres.
Vella’s sailing experience must have proved useful; he would row out to the island each day, except during busy seasons when his family would join him on the island. After Vella’s death in 1929, the farm was run by two of his sons until 1951.
The last cattle were removed from Mana Island in 1986. A restoration project has been undertaken by DOC and assisted by the Friends of Mana Island, but there are still some remnants of the island’s sheep farming past, including Vella’s woolshed.
The only inhabitants now though are of the native variety.
This photograph shows Vella with his second wife, Elizabeth, and their children, outside their cottage in Paremata.
Famous family: Mariano Vella and his family outside their house at Paremata, ca 1895. Back row, from left, Mariano Vella, Elizabeth Vella holding Mattea (Martha), Elizabeth’s cousin; front row, from left, William, Ida, and Andrew. (ATL ref: 1/2-201331-F). Photographer unknown. Paul Philip Vella Collection.