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Orłowski Family

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ANYS/ANIS possibly from (Ger) Hans or equivalent Jan or from the son of Annis (Eng), the popular pronunciation of Agnes – Pure/chaste.

BRANDT/BRANT (Ger) Hildebrand. Meaning: Dweller on a farm cleared by burning or dweller near the (brant) steep.

DEMER/DEMMER a variant from Dempster (Eng, Scot). Meaning: Occupational name for a judge or arbiter of minor disputes.

FILIPOWSKI/PHILIPOWSKI (Pol) Filip. Philippos (Gk) – Lover of horses.

GRABOWSKI (Pol) grab. Meaning: hornbeam or, grabic – to rob, or grabie – rake.

MAŚLAK/MAŚLEWSKI (Pol) masło. Meaning: butter or maślak – kind of mushroom.

ORŁOWSKI (Rus) Orlov & (Pol) orzeł. Meaning: Eagle or descendant of one with eagle-like characteristics. From the nickname Oryol – eagle.

PAROBKIEWICZ (Pol) parobek. Meaning: Farmhand, hireling.

SZULC (Ger) schulze. Meaning: village headman, mayor.

WIŚNIEWSKI (Pol) wiśnia. Meaning: Cherry-tree or wiśniak – cherry wine.

WODKOWSKI (Pol) wodka. Meaning: Vodka.

ZYNDA a name especially popular among Kaszubs.


Jozef Aleksander Orłowski, (b. 1813–d. 1895) was born at Małżewo in March of 1813, the son of Wincenty Orłowski (b. 1772) and Katarzyna Szulc (b. 1777). Jozef married on 5 October 1834 at St. Małgorzata in Miłobądz to Brigitta Parobkiewicz (b. October 1814 at Czarlin–d. 1906), the daughter of Michal Parobkiewicz (b. abt. 1775–d. 1831) and Anna Wodkowska (b. 1776–d. 1836). The family born at Pszczółki were: Anna Maria (b. 1837–d. 1910), August (b. 1840–d. 1930), Maryanna (b. 1842–d. 1843) and Jan (b. 1844–d. 1927), at Skowarcz; Wincenty Walenty (b. 1847–d. 1848), Maria Rozalia (b. 1849–d 1857. at Liniewko) and Jozef (b. 1852–d. 1934). In 1872, some of their children migrated abroad and ended up in New Zealand. Jozef and Brigitta left the village of Elganowo for Hamburg where they set sail aboard the Friedeburg on 10 May 1875, arriving at the Port of Napier in the Hawke’s Bay on 24 August 1875.


Listed aboard the Friedeburg were: J. Orlowski age 62 and Catharina (Bridget) 55. They travelled south to the township of Waihola where family had settled. Bridget was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 26 September 1900 residing at Waihola. Joseph died on 9 August 1895 aged 82 and Bridget died on 26 June 1906 aged 92. Both are buried at the Waihola Cemetery.


August Orlowski, courtesy of Toitu Settlers Museum Collection


August Jozef Orłowski, carpenter, was born at Pszczółki on 26 May 1840. He married on 17 October 1869 at St. Jan Nepomuncen in Godziszewo to Franciszka Paulina Anis (b. 28 January 1849 at Szczerbięcin–d. 1939), the daughter of Szymon Anis (b. 1798–d. 1865) and Regina Demer (b. 1804–d. 1890). The family born at Trzcińsk were: Franciszek (b. 1870–d. 1872) and Maria (b. 1872–d. 1952). They left the village of Trzcińsk for the city of Gdańsk where they sailed first to Hamburg.  Here they set sail aboard the Palmerston on 29 July 1872, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin, on 6 December 1872.

Listed aboard were: August Orlowski age 32, Francisca 22, Franz 2 and Maria 1 month. It is believed Franciszek died aboard the Palmerston. The family was sent south to Scroggs Creek on contract work with Brogden and Sons to lay the southern railway through the Taieri.

“R. W. Capstick reports having sold, on Monday, the 14th inst., at noon, on account of the Waste Lands Board, the following township and rural sections; — Township of Waihola. August Orlowski. Block XXII sections 8 & 9 at £3 each. Waihola (From our own correspondent) Nearly the whole of the land in the Waihola Hundreds except the bush reserve is now in the hands of private parties. There appears to have been quite of late a mania for land in this district, from rough hilly blocks of two or three thousand acres, to quarter acre township sections, some of the latter fetching very good prices considering their situation.” Bruce Herald, 05 August 1873

The family born at Waihola were: Martha (b. 1875), Annie (b. 1876), August Joseph (b. 1878–d. 1963), John Andrew (b. 1880–d. 1971), Bernard (b. 1882), James (b. 1884–d. 1970), Alexander (b. 1885), Michael Francis (b. 1889) and Fanny Clara (b. 1891–d. 1980). According to the 1882’ Return of Freeholders, August owned three acres to the value of £220 at Waihola. August worked as a carpenter and was naturalised on 13 June 1887, residing at Waihola.

AUGUST ORLASKI V. FRANK JANKOWSKI. Claim, £5 5s, balance due on building contract. Mr. Reid for plaintiff, Mr. Taylor for defendant. Plaintiff deposed that in December last he was employed by defendant to build a house, nothing being said as to the rate of wages. He completed the contract, which took 34½ days, and he charged 12s per day. The defendant had paid him £23 13s, leaving a balance of £5 5s still due. The defendant stated that he engaged the plaintiff to do the work at 9s per day, and that the payment of £23 13s was given as payment in full. This evidence having been corroborated by a disinterested witness, Mr. Reid intimated to the Court, that he could not ask for a verdict in favour of his client. His Worship expressed himself that the evidence was conclusive in favour of defendant, and gave judgment accordingly, with 10s 6d professional costs.” Bruce Herald, 25 July 1879, p 3

“MAGISTERIAL. R. M. COURT, MILTON. Tuesday, 9th June, 1885. (Before W. H. Revell, Esq., R.M.) Civil Cases. Police v. August Orlowski. Defendant, who did not appear, was charged with permitting 2 head of cattle to stray on the railway line at Waihola. Fined 5s, and 9s costs. SAME V. JNO. PHILLOWSKI. Charged with allowing 1 calf to wander at Waihola. Fined 2s, and 7s costs…” Bruce Herald, 12 June 1885, p 3

“LOCAL AND GENERAL. A man named Augustus Orloiski was received into the hospital last week suffering from a broken leg. It appears that while working in the bush near Waihola a log rolled on to his leg, fracturing the bone below the knee.” Otago Witness, 7 September 1888. p 10


Franciscka Orlowski (nee Annis) & Bertrand.


In 1899, August helped do the major work on the building of the Catholic Church, St. Hyacinth, and doing any repairs on his own accord when required. In appreciation of the work that had been done to the church, the Parish presented August with a bible, which is still in the family today. It is also noted that August helped build the Waihola Hall and was regarded as a wonderful tradesman of the old class. He had only a few basic tools and no modern machinery. August also tried his hand at farming and it is believed that his sister Annie and himself wanted to buy some land but were turned down by the council because there was an abundance of fire-wood on it. Fanny was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen around 24 February 1900, a resident of Waihola.

Magistrates Court Milton. No: 52. 13th December 1906. Prosecutor: R. J. Gossage, Stock Inspector. Person Charged: August Orlowski. Offence:  Being the occupier of certain land in Clarendon District did not during the portion of the year 1906 dem such land of noxious weeds. Plea:  Not guilty. Decision:  Reserved – Convicted and fined 10/-, costs 3/6 – 20/02/07

“Waihola Notes.  The winter is trying to our old folks; at present there are no fewer than three confined to their beds. Mr F, Payne is on the mend; Mr T. Andrews has been in feeble health for some time past, and Mr A. Orlowski, senr., is also somewhat seriously ill.” Bruce Herald, 31 May 1917, p 5

In 1921 August Orlowski (son of the original builder) presented to the church of St Hyacinth a water-font made of Oamaru stone.

Descendants of Bernard (b. 1882), also known as Bertrum, go by the family name Luskie. The story goes that Bertrum was cutting off pine saplings in the forest near Waihola in the company of his father, August, and one of his sons. Bertrum was busy axing away, obviously not taking too much care, when August said that he better take care or else he will lose his hand. Not taking much notice, he accidently cut off a couple of fingers from his left hand. With that August burst out laughing, seeing only the funny side. Bertrum stomped off and with that he changed his religion and name to Luskie.

August died on 26 June 1930 at his residence in Waihola aged 90. Fanny died on 20 October 1939 aged 90.and is buried with her husband at the Waihola Cemetery.

“MRS A. ORLOWSKI. The last of the earliest settlers of Waihola, Mrs Augustus Orlowski, died at Milton on Friday at the age of 91 years. She was born near Chestochova, Poland, her maiden name being Francesca Anis. A few years after her marriage to Mr Orlowski they sailed from Danzig with their two small children about 70 years ago for London, on the first stage of their journey to Now Zealand. They arrived at Port Chalmers by the ship Palmerston and stayed in barracks in Dunedin for a short time prior to removing to Waihola, where Mr Orlowski carried on the trade of a builder. Later he purchased a farming property, which he carried on till his death about seven years ago. The deceased took a keen interest in church affairs. She is survived by four sons and four daughters —Messrs Augustin (Milton). John (St. Clair), Bernard (Dunedin), James (Oamaru), Mesdames Anderson (Dunedin), Erwin (Waihola). Clark (Palmerston). and R. Tisdall (Middlemarch). ”  Evening Star, 25 October 1939, p 5


August Joseph and Francisca Orlowski at Berwick 1904


Franciszek Orłowski, who was two years old at the time, may have died on the journey out.


Maria Orłowska was born at Trzcińsk on 09 June 1872.  She married on 27 June 1893 at the House of Mrs Wisnesky in Waihola to Robert Henry Anderson (b. 1873 at Dunedin–d. 1943). The family born at Dunedin were: James George (b. 1893), Margaretta May (b. 1896–d. 1916), Isabella Irene (b. 1899–d. 1968) and Arthur Alexander (b. 1902). Robert died at Dunedin on 25 January 1943 and Maria died at Dunedin on 16 March 1952 aged 79. Both are buried at the Northern Cemetery in Dunedin.


Jan Orłowski  was born at Pszczółki on 29 July 1844.  He married on 6 November 1870 at St. Jan Nepomuncen in Godziszewo to Anna Jozefina Maślak (b. 17 June 1843 at Dalwin–d. 1925), the daughter of Jan Maślak (b. abt. 1815–d. 1890) and Maryanna Żynda (b. abt. 1815–d. 1883). Prior to marriage, Anna gave birth to three children, but all died as infants.  The children born at Miłobądz were: Clara (b. 1865–d. 1866), Joseph (b. 1867–d. 1868) and child (b. 1869–d. 1869). Jan and Ann had their first child, Maria (b. 1871–d. 1963) at Mały Turze.  Here they left for Hamburg where they set sail aboard the Palmerston on 29 July 1872, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on 6 December 1872.

Listed aboard were: Johann Orlowski age 28, Anna 29 and Maria 1. The family were sent south to Scroggs Creek on contract work with Brogden and Sons to lay the southern railway through the Taieri. The family born at Waihola were: Voleska (Lucy) (b. 1873–d. 1949), Francis (b. 1875–d. 1952), Julia (b. 1879), Minnie (b. 1881–d. 1946) and Lewis (b. 1883–d. 1958). It is believed one the houses they lived in stood at the Milburn Lime Works.

“MILTON. BREACH OF THE VAGRANT ACT. Hannah O’Luskie, a German, charged John Diasarch, also a German, with using insulting language in a public place, at Waihola, on the 4th inst. The defendant not understanding English, Mr F. Julius was called and acted as interpreter. The complainant gave evidence respecting the language used by the defendant. A female German witness corroborated the complainant’s evidence. The defendant admitted that the evidence given by the previous witnesses was correct, but stated that similar language had been used by the complainant. His Worship cautioned both parties and bound the defendant over to keep the peace for six months in the sum of £10 in bis own recognisance.” Bruce Herald, 15 February 1878, p 5

“WASTE LANDS BOARD. Mr Charles Hilgendorf, on behalf of the undermentioned persons, applied that they should be allowed to purchase the respective areas held by them at Waihola under license from the late Provincial Government, under section 29 of the Land Act, 1872: —Johann Orlowski, sections 16 and 17, block XXI. It was explained that the applicants were Polish immigrants. It was resolved to recommend the Government to allow applicants to purchase at £3 per acre.” Bruce Herald, 9 August 1878, p 6

According to the 1882’ Return of Freeholders, John owned one acre to the value of £120. Johann worked as a labourer residing at Waihola and was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 13 June 1887. With the opening of the Catholic church of St. Hyacinth in 1899, Johann gifted four large silver candlestick holders and is believed to have made the two milking stools.

“LAND BOARD. Clarendon. —Mr John Orlowsky wrote asking that the remaining portion of bush reserve in the Clarendon district, containing 380 acres, be surveyed into sections for settlement, in order that he might obtain portion of the same, — Referred to Ranger Hughan for a report as to whether the whole or what part of the land could be opened for settlement purposes.” Otago Witness, 25 September 1890, p 20

“Taieri Beach. ACCIDENT. Rather a nasty accident happened to Mr John Orlowski the other day while he was engaged leading in turnips. His dray upset and Mr Orlowski got both his legs badly crushed, but luckily no bones were broken, and I hear he is getting better.” Bruce Herald, 30 June 1899, p3

Johann and Anna later moved south to Milton where they retired. Anna was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 6 June 1900, a resident of Taieri Beach. 

“Keeping Pigs In Milton. PERMITTED BY ANCIENT BYLAWS. A subject of considerable importance as affecting the general cleanliness of the “clean little town” of Milton, was thoroughly discussed at last Wednesday evening’s meeting of the Borough Council. Mr Jno. Orlowski wrote complaining that the inspector had given him notice to destroy his pigstye. He had complied with the notice, but other people within the borough were being permitted to keep pigs, and he wished to know the “why and wherefore” he should be singled out and compelled to destroy his pigstye, which was not within two chains of any premises, “Now we come to pigs,” remarked the Mayor, after other business had been transacted. “Ah, ha; this is better,” gleefully responded Cr Moroney. The Mayor remarked that Mr Orlowski was perfectly justified in asking why others were allowed to keep pigs within the borough whilst he was refused. He hid questioned the inspector regarding the other pigs, but apparently, a cording to the ancient by laws, they were within their legal rights, with perhaps an exception where one owner kept a pigstye adjoining railway land; three other styes were adjacent to other owner’s lands. The question arose whether pigs should be permitted to be kept within the borough. The by-laws regulating this subject were ancient, and were adopted on 13th March, 1889, when Milton was not so well populated. The by-laws scarcely met present-day requirements, particularly when infantile paralysis and other infectious disease were spreading. In reply to a question by Cr Henders son, the Mayor stated the inspector was justified in ordering the destruction of the premises. Cr Wilson stated he had received complaints from persons living within the vicinity, and had referred the ratepayers to the Borough Council. They had complained about the stench, and also the plague of rats from the piggery. Cr Moroney: You can get strong smells anywhere within the borough; the only trouble does not arise from piggeries. After further conversational discussion, Cr W Hitchon moved that no objection be taken against anyone keeping pigs within the borough, provided the provisions of the by-law are complied with. Seconded by Cr Moroney. Cr Hitchon expressed the opinion this was only shelving the question. The Mayor: Do I understand that the “old by law shall be adhered to? Cr W. Hitchon : Yes, Cr Wilson stated he was not satisfied with the motion. Keeping pigs was not permitted in other boroughs, even smaller than Milton. No matter how clean a pigstye was kept that would not keep away the rats, “We don’t want rats,” concluded Cr Wilson. Voices: Who’s got rats? Cr Wilson then remarked that the Council should not continue working on methods adopted thirty or forty years ago. Could the by-law not be amended? The Mayor: That introduces Ihe question of new by-laws. It would be preferable, and cheaper proportionately, to amend the whole of the by-laws. Cr W, Hitchon took exception to Cr Wilson’s remarks. If pigstyes were kept in clean condition pigs created no greater nuisance than cattle or horses. There were stables within the borough which were kept worse than pigstyes. Eventually the motion was carried, with a recommendation that the Council’s by-laws be amended as quickly as possible.” Bruce Herald, 17 April 1916, p 5

Anna died on 23 May 1925 aged 82 and John died 22 December 1927 aged 82. Both are buried at the Fairfax Cemetery near Milton.


Maria Orłowska was born at Mały Turze on 04 June 1871.  She married on 20 March 1893 in Sydney to Arthur Thomas Harrington (b. 1869–d. 1903). The family were: Margaret Minnie (b. 1893–d. 1970), Julia (b. 1895–d. 1896), Mary Katherine (b. 1896), Arthur Thomas (b. 1898–d. 1982), George John (b. 1901–d/ 1980) and Josephine (b. 1902).   After the death of her husband, Mary then remarried on 10 August 1905 at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Dunedin to Richard William Anderton (b. 1872–d. 1946). The family were: Hector Archibald (b. 1905–d. 1984), Dorothy Harriet (b. 1907–d. 2000) and Richard David (b. 1909). Mary died at Wingatui on 23 August 1963 aged 92 and is buried at the East Taieri Cemetery.


Lucy Stewart, Rose, Denis Hassett, Anna and John Orlowski


Jozef Orłowski was born at Skowarcz on 21 February 1852.  He arrived at Glasgow in Scotland, where he set sail aboard the Oamaru on 24 October 1877, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on 13 January 1878. Listed aboard were: Joseph Orlowski age 25. He travelled south to Waihola where the extended family resided. Joseph married on 9 October 1880 at St. Mary’s in Milton to Pauline Philipowski (b. 08 September 1858 at Sobowidz–d. 1946), the daughter of Jan Piotr Filipowski (b. 1835–d. 1899) and Rozalia Julianna Grabowska (b. 1834–d. 1908). The family born at Waihola were: Victoria (b. 1881–d. 1972), Rose (b. 1882–d. 1967), Edward Adolph (b. 1885–d. 1969), Ignatius Joseph (Arthur Joseph Taylor) (b. 1887–d. 1939) and Bernard (b. 1889–d. 1934). Joseph worked as a labourer and was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 13 June 1887, a resident of Waihola. The family later migrated to Melbourne in Victoria, Australia where they lived out their remaining years. Joseph arrived in Victoria in July 1888 aboard the Tarawera, while the rest of the family arrived sometime later. The family born at Northcote were: Daniel O’Connell (b. 1891–d. 1943) and at Trentham; John (b. 1893–d. 1936). It is believed here Joseph had a B.S.A. bicycle franchise and his son Ignatius ran one in Auckland. Joseph died at Essendon in Melbourne on 17 September 1934 aged 82 and was noted as a sculptor. Pauline died in South Melbourne on 14 May 1946 aged about 88 years and both are buried at the Hiedleberg Cemetery in Melbourne.


Notable People: Oldest New Zealander, Madeline Anderson died aged 111, granddaughter of August and Francisca Orlowski.


August Orlowski and Francisca (nee Anis), Rayina Annis (nee Demer), Joseph Orlowski and Bridget (nee Parobkiewicz), Block 7 Plots 12 & 13 at Waihola Cemetery, courtesy of Paul Klemick


Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 23, 29, 30, 33, 34, 45, 48, 155, 170, 196, 197 & 198.

Research Sources

Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973, FamilySearch.

Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara O Te Kawanatanga; Land Records.

Bobowo, Godziszewo, Łęgowo, Lubiszewo Tczewskie, Miłobądz & Trąbki Wielkie Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.

Catholic Diocese of Dunedin, St Mary’s Church, Milton; Baptism Register.

New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs Naturalisations, Births, Deaths and Marriages.

New Zealand Government Property Tax Department, from the rates assessment rolls, Return of Freeholders of New Zealand 1882, published 1884.



John and Anna Orlowski, Block 11 Plot 138 at Fairfax Cemetery near Milton, courtesy of Paul Klemick


Richard Anderton and Mary (nee Orlowska), Block PB Plot 168B at East Taieri Cemetery

East Taieri Cemetery – Mary Anderton (1871-1963) – Dunedin City Council

Fairfax Cemetery –  Anna Orlowski (1843-1925) – Find a Grave Memorial

Fairfax Cemetery – John Orlowski (1844-1927) – Find a Grave Memorial

Northern Cemetery – Mary Anderson (1872-1952) – Dunedin City Council

Waihola Cemetery – Augustus Joseph Orlowski (1840-1930) – Find A Grave Memorial

Waihola Cemetery – Brigetta “Bridget” Parobkowitz Orlowski (1814-1906) – Find A Grave Memorial

Waihola Cemetery – Fransciska “Fanny” Annis Orlowski (1849-1939) – Find A Grave Memorial

Waihola Cemetery – Joseph Orlowski (1808-1895) – Find A Grave Memorial


Compiled by Paul Klemick (2022)



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