Family Reunion in New Zealand
January 18-19 2013.
The Bates family has a long connection with Donaghmore Parish in the Raphoe Diocese. There are references to the family in the 1795 Flaxgrowers List, the 1857 Griffith Valuations and in lists of wills held in Raphoe, Co. Donegal. The family were also pew holders at the Presbyterian church in Donaghmore.
Breaghy, The Bates Family Home.
The family held land in Breaghy in the Donaghamore Parish as John Bates, the ancestor of the New Zealand Bates, is listed in holding lands (2a-3B) in the registers between 1885 and 1909.
|The Bates Family. George is at the middle rear|
In 1926 John George Orr Bates (b 1892), the son of John Bates, decided to take his family to New Zealand as the land he was farming was to be inherited by his elder brother, David.(b 1890). John G.O. Bates thus joined the diaspora that had already taken two of his brothers away from Donegal and overseas. His younger brother William James (b1895) had already emigrated to Manitoba in 1912 and his other brother, Albert (b1898) had settled in Jamaica in 1918.
J.G.O Bates family of his wife, Matilda (nee Thompson of Carravady) and his three children; Margaret (Stella) (b1919), Gertrude (Wendy) (b1921) and Desmond (b1923) left for New Zealand on the Corinthic in February 1926 and arrived in Wellington (NZ) in late March- early April of that year.
|On Board The Corinthic. The children at play|
The family initially settled at Matarawa, a small farming community near Fordell, about 25 km from Wanganui. John apparently worked for a local farmer until the chance to buy his own small holding in Putiki, Wanganui came up. In 1928 the family moved on to the farm, which they named Carnowen, and into a large farm house, originally built by the local Maori for the Churton family, a Pakeha-Maori family closely connected with the Putiki iwi.
John, worked at the local fertiliser factory as well as working his farm for many years until, with his son, Des, the farm had become an established milk supplier and noted pedigree Friesian herd.
The family also grew with the births of Audrey (1927), Georgena (b/d 1930) and Isobel (b 1938).
|The Bates Family circa 1943|
|Isobel lays a wreath in memory of the Bates family|
In January 2013 a family reunion was held in Wanganui to celebrate the lives of John G.O. Bates, and his wife Matilda and their family as their only surviving daughter, Isobel, was on holiday in New Zealand from her home in Canada. The reunion was also a chance for all the family members to visit thePresbyterian cemetery at Matarawa and to lay a wreath at the family grave site.
The reunion brought together 60 members of the familes of Margaret (Stella), who married Frank Henry Papprill, Gertrude (Wendy) ,who married Hugh Knowles, Desmond, who married Nancy Beattie, Audrey, who married Noni Gestro, and Isobel, who married Robin Patchett. As well, members of Albert’s families, from Australia and Canada, also joined the celebration taking the opportunity to share family memories and family ties.
The reunion has allowed the family tree to be updated with recent births, deaths and marriages recorded and an archive of family photographs and records begun.
The Bates family has close ties to the Elliott, Fulton, Colhoun, Cooper, Roulston and Thompson families of Donaghmore which have been kept up through correspondence and visits over the years.