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Tarara – Maori Croats

Australia – At the turn of the twentieth century, Croatians were migrating from Dalmatia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Maori, having become part of the British Empire, were losing much of their land. All were looking for work. They came together on the gumfields of the far north, digging up kauri gum resin for export. Many of the Croatians settled and married – some to mail-order brides from home, others to local Maori women – and a unique community was born, Tarara communty. Migrants from Dalmatia were overwhelmingly male, and marriage to local women, especially Māori, was common. The first recorded marriage between a Dalmatian gum digger and a Māori was in 1891. Another gum digger, Lovro Petricevich, married Makareta Raharuhi of the Ngāti Kurī tribe. Lovro became fluent in Māori, and when he died he was buried on his wife’s marae in accordance with local custom. Their daughter, Dame Miraka Szaszy, was the first Māori woman to graduate from Auckland University.

The descendants of Dalmatians and Māori remain proud of their mixed cultural and linguistic heritage. In March 2010 the 11th annual Tarara Day was celebrated in West Auckland, jointly organised by Te Waipareira marae and the Croatian Cultural Society.
The Maori jokingly named them Tarara, as their rapid conversation in Croatian sounded like “ta-ra-ra-ra-ra” to the Maori ears. Many Croatian men married local wahine (women), founding clans that have left several of today’s famous Maori with Croatian surnames, like singer Margaret Urlich and former All Black Frano Botica. You’ll find large Tarara communities in the Far North, Dargaville and West Auckland.  Now, 100-years later, ‘Tarara Day’ is held annually in West Auckland.

Frano Michael Botica (born 3 August 1963) is a former rugby union and rugby league player. Born in Mangakino, New Zealand, he represented New Zealand at both codes, and also played for Croatia in a rugby union World Cup qualifying match. I love this guy

In first days of croatian rugby team players before match played haka (traditional maori dance) In those days a lot of our croatian rugby players came from NZ and Australia.


Picture taken in Makarska in 1998.

Here To Stay – New Zealand / Dalmatia / Croatia PART 1/5
Here To Stay – New Zealand / Dalmatia / Croatia PART 2/5
Here To Stay – New Zealand / Dalmatia / Croatia PART 3/5
Here To Stay – New Zealand / Dalmatia / Croatia PART 4/5
Here To Stay – New Zealand / Dalmatia / Croatia PART 5/5
Documentary about Croats, Maori and others

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