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Agnes Broomfield was a 32-year-old hat trimmer at the time of her marriage to Robert Addison, a carpenter, in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 19 August 1874. She was Edinburgh-born, the child of Margaret Fairbairn and her husband, Joseph Broomfield. Little else is known of her early life. Robert...
Story: Addison, Agnes
1888–1964Farmer, photographer, geologist, explorer, archaeologist, ethnologist
George Leslie Adkin was a self-taught scholar with the skills and integrity of a professional. Most of his working life he farmed with little profit or pleasure. His real interest was in geology and archaeology, and in the back room of his small farmhouse he worked late making meticulous...
Story: Adkin, George Leslie
1882–1959Greengrocer, horticulturist, wine-maker
Chan Hock Joe was born, according to family information, in 1882, at Ha Kei, Tsengshing (Zengcheng) county, in China's Guangdong province. He was the son of Chan Yook Ngan, the principal of the local school, and his wife, Ng Chu Hwa. By the time he emigrated to New Zealand around 1905 he had...
Story: Ah Chan, Joe
1928–2000Supermarket and takeaways entrepreneur
Tom Ah Chee was the driving force behind the Foodtown supermarket empire, which accelerated the societal shift from the era of local grocery stores to one of large-scale supermarket chains. The son of a successful family of Chinese produce merchants, he and his business partners established the...
Story: Ah Chee, Thomas Henry
1900–1966Lawyer, community leader
Henry Ah Kew was born in Auckland on 22 September 1900, the son of James Ah Kew and his wife, Mellie Guey, also known as Mary Fong. Henry’s father, whose Chinese name was Yan Kew, was born in the Chinese province of Guangdong. He moved to Victoria, Australia, and in December 1871 arrived in...
Story: Ah Kew, Henry
1897–1968University professor, historian, peace activist
Willis Thomas Goodwin (Bill) Airey was born in Auckland on 7 January 1897. His father, Walter Henry Airey, an inspector of schools, had died three months earlier, leaving a widow, Margaret Avon McDonald, and seven children. Henry's death was a serious blow for such a large family. Three friends...
Story: Airey, Willis Thomas Goodwin
1867–1934Community worker, political activist
Jessie Fraser was born at Ecclesmachan, Linlithgow, Scotland, on 14 April 1867, the daughter of Janet Hearne and her husband, Walter Fraser, a ploughman. With her parents and three younger sisters, Jessie emigrated to New Zealand on the Canterbury, arriving at Lyttelton on 2 September 1874. A...
Story: Aitken, Jessie
1849–1921Merchant, mayor, politician, churchman
John Guthrie Wood Aitken was born on 6 February 1849 near Kilchenzie, on the Kintyre Peninsula, Argyllshire, Scotland, the son of devout Presbyterians Isabella Tudehope and her husband, Robert Aitken, a farmer. John was educated at the grammar school in Campbelton and then worked in Glasgow...
Story: Aitken, John Guthrie Wood
Ann O'Connor Warner was born on 15 February 1842 at Oxford, England, to Sarah Lyne and her husband, Robert Warner, a shoemaker. Ann became a teacher at the parish school of St Ebbe, Oxford. While there she met Charles Alabaster, who was the curate of St Ebbe and also taught at the school. They...
Story: Alabaster, Ann O’Connor
Fanny Jane Davis, who rose to international prominence under the stage name Frances Alda, was one of the first of a long line of New Zealand opera singers to achieve such fame. She came from a strong musical background: her maternal grandparents, Fanny and Martin Simonsen, were important opera...
Story: Alda, Frances
1854–1942Newspaper proprietor and editor, orchardist, land agent
George Edwin Alderton was born on 25 August 1854 at New Malden, Surrey, England, the son of Sarah Crockwell and her husband, Charles William Alderton, a secretary to a loan company. His family emigrated to New Zealand aboard the Lancashire Witch in 1865, and settled in Whangārei. In 1875...
Story: Alderton, George Edwin
1876–1962Presbyterian deaconess and missionary
Jessie Alexander was born probably on 2 June 1876 in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of Scottish parents Mary Munro and her husband, William Alexander, a carpenter. The family came to New Zealand a year or so later and lived in Dunedin. Around 1909 they moved to Wairoa, Hawke’s Bay. In...
Story: Alexander, Jessie
1882–1957Subeditor, poetry anthologist, newspaper editor
William Frederick (Fred) Alexander was born on 20 July 1882 at Little River, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand, the eldest child of William Francis Alexander, a storekeeper, and his wife, Elizabeth Sarah Phillips. Alexander senior later established a coach service from the railhead at Little River...
Story: Alexander, William Frederick
1888–1978Professor of law, politician, parliamentary Speaker
Ronald Macmillan Algie was born in Wyndham, Southland, on 22 October 1888, the son of John Alexander Algie, a postmaster, and his wife, Agnes Macmillan. Algie was educated at Arrowtown, Thames High School and Balclutha District High School. After a period as a pupil-teacher, he entered a law...
Story: Algie, Ronald Macmillan
1852–1945Shipping company director, businessman, politician
Ewen William Alison was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on leap day, 29 February 1852, the son of Jane Cameron and her husband, Alexander Alison, a shipwright. The family moved to Devonport in 1854, and Ewen went to the Church of England School, North Shore. At the age of 13 he took his first...
Story: Alison, Ewen William
1882–1957Teacher, botanist, scientific administrator, writer
Harry Howard Barton Allan was born in Nelson on 27 April 1882, the youngest of six children of Emma Maria Lewis and her husband, Robert Allan, a clothier. Harry attended the local Boys’ Central School, where the headmaster, F. G. Gibbs, introduced him to botany. He then won a scholarship to...
Story: Allan, Harry Howard Barton
1897–1979Presbyterian minister, professor of theology
Born in Wellington on 18 August 1897, John Aitken Allan was the son of Scottish-born parents Eliza Ann Steel and her husband, William Allan, a prosperous draper and founder of the firm Veitch and Allan. His Presbyterian family was actively involved in St John’s Church: William was an elder and...
Story: Allan, John Aitken
1900–1966Geologist, university professor
Robin Sutcliffe Allan was born at Dunedin on 7 September 1900. His father, Joseph Allan, was a farmer at East Taieri, and later agricultural editor of the Otago Witness. His mother, Emily Salmond, Joseph’s second wife, was the daughter of William Salmond, foundation professor at the...
Story: Allan, Robin Sutcliffe
1884–1945Socialist, editor, writer, political reformer
Ernest John Bartlett Allen was born at South Hinksey, Berkshire, England, on 29 March 1884 to Ellen Bartlett and her husband, Spencer Henry Allen, a butcher. Allen must have shown considerable intellectual ability for he studied European languages at Oxford, probably around 1900. He married...
Story: Allen, Ernest John Bartlett
1920–2012All Black, captain, coach; clothing manufacturer
One of just four men to have both captained and coached the All Blacks in test matches, Fred Allen was arguably New Zealand’s best rugby coach of the amateur era. He was certainly the most successful; the team lost none of its 37 matches during his tenure, winning all 14 tests. A traditionally...
Story: Allen, Frederick Richard