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Why Did the Pioneers Come to
New Zealand?

There are many reasons that lead a family to emigrate from a homeland. in the case of the Puhoi pioneers, a whole group of families from South Egerland villages in Bohemia, reached New Zealand over the Years 1860 - 1880. The instigators of this emigration were two men:

PYNSON WILMOT LONGDILL of London, England, who came to New Zealand in1859. His sister Emily had married MARTIN KRIPPNER of Mantau, Bohemia.

Longdill promoted the idea of emigration to New Zealand; Krippner lead the first emigrating families on the venture. Through-out the 1840’s -1880’s in Europe there was a restlessness of spirit that drove many people to seek new lives in new homelands. Townsfolk sought better opportunities for trade and crafts; farmers looked for land to develop. In Europe the traditional farm areas were becoming too small for increasing families.

To the European, Australia & New Zealand were on the other side of the world, very distant from the homeland and family relations. To go was virtually exile but it was a chosen exile and not an enforced one. The choice was made and the emigrants left the old homeland with high hopes for their future.

The Puhoi Pioneers were mostly of farming origins and like many people of the land, were cautious by nature. They needed to be fairly certain that a secure livelihood could be built in the new country so New Zealand Government’s offer of free land was a strong incentive to emigrate. Land....this the Egerland farmer understood. It was the need to posses a place where the family could put down its roots and grow securely that drew the pioneers from the old homeland to New Zealand, half a world away.

If the Englishman Longdill had not been related to the Egerlander Krippner it is quite possible that many of the families would have chosen America and then there would have been no Puhoi Bohemian story.

In 1859 the great decision was made to travel to New Zealand when Pynson Longdill had already settled in Parnell Auckland.

The Krippner family traveled to Hamburg and took a packet steamer to London where they boarded the “Lord Burleigh” for the long voyage. With the Krippners were:-

Joseph & Margaret (Scillen) Pankratz.
Elizabeth Turnwald, (her sister Anna, married Josef Karl, my gggrandparents.)
Martin, Dorothy (Nath), & Josef Scheidler.
Johannes Krippner, brother of Martin.

The vessel sailed from the Downs on the 18th November 1859 with 123 passengers. The party arrived in Auckland on 22nd March 1860.

Elizabeth Turnwald married Johannes Krippner on 11 August 1861 at Orewa, North of Auckland.

From what scanty information that is available, it would seem that considerable correspondence must have gone between New Zealand and the homeland members of the Krippner family. As a result of the Government Land Grants, Martin Krippner enthused a brother, Michael, to enlist the interest of families in the villages of the Staab region. By the beginning of 1863 a group had made plans to emigrate to New Zealand. They came from a number of small villages and hamlets centering around the town of Staab in South Egerland, a farming area of Western Bohemia in the Austro-Hungrian Empire.


The Long Voyage to the Other Side of the World

At midnight on the 26 February, 1863 the first group of 83 pioneers gathered to say their farewells at the railway station in Staab.

The Immigrants:
Michael, Barbara (Schischka), Anna, Theresa and Johan Krippner.
Johan, Anna (Schischka) Joseph, Johan and Carl Rouch. (Rauch)
(Barbara & Anna were sisters their parents were Josef & Maria (Dittrich) Schiscka from Mantau)
Johann, Elizabeth (Kopera), Margaretha and Elizabeth Titner. (Pittner)
Josef, Anna (Turnwald), Johann the Baptiste, Joseph, Carl, Wenzall, and Andreas Karl. ( A son Edward Patrick was born on 17 March 1863 at sea, in the English Channel.)
Anton and Barbara (Lans) Turnwald, (brother of Anna, above, & Elizabeth, from first ship)
Michael & Maria (Dobner) Tesentry (Jesensky)
Peter, Margaretha, (Turnwald) Dorothea and Anna Glatz
Lorenz, Anna, (Waiher) Bartholemeus, Lorenz, Joseph, Katherina and Elizabeth Turnwald.(Not related to our Turnwald family)
Wenzell,Maria, ( Woller) Martin and Maria Kaes.
Johan & Anna (Paul) Raunan. (Rauner)
Anton, Margarethe, (Mathiowetz) Joseph, Barbara and Anton Russek.
Thomas, Anna (Podlesak) Anna and Andrew Pietrer. ( Becker or Pecker)
Joseph, Margaretha, Anna, Catherina and Johann Paul
Johann & Elizabeth (Harterezern) Schollum
Anna Dobner
Maria Schischka( dau of Martin & Anna Meiser)
Anna Schober
Theresa Schuster
Cecilia Glatz
Maria Pilisach ( Podlesak)
Katherine Raunuen ( Rauner, m. Martin Tolhopf )
Maria Russek
Elisabeth Pilisach (Podlesak)
Martha Worshop
Anna & Stephen Schischka,( brother & sister children of Martin and Anna Meiser)
Benedict Remiger
Paul Straka
Monsal Litzhum, ( Wenzl Fitzthum)
Wenzl Bayer
Johan Kreim
Wenzl & Martin Dallkoph (Wenzl & Martin Tolhopf)
Martin & Johann Ranunan (Rauner)
John Schollum
John Soutrap
Wenzell Reisma
Martin Schischka (m. Anna Meiser, Anna didn’t come to NZ.)
Joseph Wlack (Flachs)
( Taken from the passenger list of the “War Spirit” anything in Brackets ( ) I have added.)

February is a great month for snow in that part of Europe and certianally on that 26 February it was bitterly cold. The sense of adventure was strong and hopes were high. Even so there must have been some who would have held momentary doubts as to the wisdom of leaving homeland and relations for ever. They were realists, enough to know that it was unlikely that parents and close relatives would ever be seen again.

From Staab the train took the emigrants to Pilsen and on to Prague , the centuries old capital of Bohemia. Most of the travelers had never seen Prague and they must have looked at it with wonder at the fine buildings and the magnificent Charles Bridge over the city’s Vltava River. Later their descendants were to hear often their memories of the bridge and its series of statues lining the sides of the promenade. (I am one of the descendants, and it was stories from my grandparents that lead me back to Prague and the villages of Chotieschau, Mantau & Lossin.)

The highlight of the Prague visit was the group’s audience with Cardinal Schwarzenberg, Archbishop of Prague. He blessed them and gave them his fatherly advice. Reminding them that of their own choice they were taking the great step of going to a new homeland to build new lives for themselves and future generations. He called upon them to pledge their allegiance to their new homeland and to do it in full spirit. New Zealand was already established in the Catholic Faith and he prayed that they would one and all remain loyal to their faith.

Since 1863 Puhoi has kept the Faith and the church of St. Peter & Paul there is the sign of the people’s loyalty to their belief.

From Prague the group traveled slowly by train across Europe to Hamburg where they would sail from the port of Altona by packet steamer to London which would be their port of embarkation for New Zealand. They stayed in Altona for approximately a week and during that time Johann Schollum married Elizabeth Hartzeren, on 5th March 1863. At the same time the city was in gala garb to mark the visit to the town of England’s Prince of Wales, Prince Edward with his new bride Princess Alexandra. Although the decorations and the illuminations were for the royal couple, it seemed to be a good omen that such festivity should mark the departure of the Bohemians.

The ship for the long voyage was the “War Spirit”. She was 1234 tons and her master was Captain JR.. Luckes. The vessel was built in New Brunswick, Canada and was launched in 1854. Captain Luckes was aged 37 years when he took command of the “War Spirit for her only voyage to New Zealand.

The “War Spirit” left Gravesend, London in the evening of Thursday, 12 March 1863. Passing down the English Channel, and along the southern coast to drop off the pilot at Dartmouth, this took six days and then on Wednesday 18 March, the vessel headed down the Atlantic. Crossing of the equator came on Tuesday 7 April. No record in detail has been passed down of the happenings of the voyage. On Monday 4 May they passed the Meridian of Greenwich at 44 deg south and continued to sail eastwards through the roaring forties towards Australia.

Then on Friday 15 June, tragedy struck. The vessel was in latitude 39’ south and longitude 157’ east. This position was in the south Tasman Sea and a little east of Bass Strait, separating Tasmania from the Australian mainland. On this particular day a sudden squall hit the War Spirit. She rose high on a turbulent sea , whipped by a strong gale. The ship made a sudden lurch to leeward with such force that crates and small cargo broke free from their lashings In the midst of this tumbling chaos, Lorenz Turnwald was struck heavily by a falling crate. Within two hours he was dead of severe injuries.

Anna, his wife, and their five children, faced the sad prospect of arriving in a strange new homeland without the support of a husband and father. That week must have been a hard one for the family, especially on 22nd June when came the long awaited cry of “Land Ho” That brought anticipation and renewed hope to the rest of the Bohemian pioneers, but to the Turnwald family it merely emphasized their great loss.

From the Downs to Auckland the ship had made a passage of 104 days and on the evening of Saturday 27 June 1863 the “War Spirit” anchored in Auckland Harbour.

On Monday 29th June 1863 the Bohemians were taken by cutter from Auckland to Wenderholme at the mouth of the Puhoi River. Arrangements must have already been made for canoes from Te Hemara’s village to convey the new arrivals up the river to the landing that was to become central to Puhoi. The date 29 June, being the arrival time in Puhoi , it naturally figures more strongly in the memories of the pioneers. To them it was Puhoi not Auckland that was of importance. (To this day 29 June is celebrated in Puhoi, with dancing etc. held in the hall the pioneers built.)

(Taken from “ DOWN THE YEARS” a scrapbook chronicle of Puhoi. 1861 - 1986 by Marjorie Hurrey.)
All in brackets ( ) I have added.
Marie.
Griffiths <bmgriff@xtra.co.nz>
8 Robinson Street
Grovetown 7321
Blenheim
Marlborough
New Zealand

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Revised:
12 March 2003