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Rekowski Family

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PACHOLSKI (Pol) pachoł. Meaning: boy, lad.

REKOWSKI/REJKOWSKI (Pol) rak. Meaning: crab, cancer.

ZYMON (Czech) zeman. Meaning: yeoman, squire or Szymon (Simon).


Franciszek Rekowski (b. 1833–d. 1920) was born at Stanisławie on 24 September 1833, the son of Mikolej Rekowski (b. 1798–d. 1872) and Maryanna Gędzierska (b. abt. 1797–d. 1865).  Franciszek married on 16 November 1856 at Church of the Holy Trinity in Lubiszewo-Tczewskie to Johanna (Julianna) Pacholska (b. 13 December 1833 at Swarożyn–d. 1893), the daughter of Michal Pacholski (b. 1798–d. 1840) and Agniszka Zyma (b. 1792–d. 1862). The family born at Stanisławie were: Paulina Katarzyna (b. 1859–d. 1942) and Michal Jakob (b. 1862–d. 1872), at Lubiszewo-Tczewskie; Rozalia Anna (b. 1865–d. 1866), Franciszek Marcin (b. 1867–d. 1868), Jozef August (b. 1869–d. 1870) and August Franciszek (b. 1871–d. 1943). The family left the village of Stanisławie for Hamburg where they set sail aboard the Palmerston on 29 July 1872, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on 6 December 1872.


The remains of Francis and Julia Rekowskis cottage at Akatore in the 1980s

Listed aboard were: Franz Reikowski age 39, Johanna 39, Paulina 9 and August 11 months. The family was sent south to Scroggs Creek on contract work with Brogden and Sons to lay the southern railway through the Taieri. The family soon moved to Waihola where they had the youngest member of the family—Rose Mary (b. 1876–d. 1949).

The following letter to Frank Rekowski, was written by his brother-in-law, Franciszek Treder, the husband of Justyna (née Rekowska) from Tczew. Johanna’s brother, Michael Pacholski, arrived and settled in Adelaide, South Australia in 1877. The immediate stop to cheap migration to New Zealand from 1876 diverted many to Australia, making any chance of a family reunion that more difficult. The Kostrzewski family are half siblings to Johanna and Michal Pacholski. Letter was translated by Peter and Heinke Matheson.

Dirschau, 7 June 1875 Praise be in Jesus Christ. Beloved brother-in-law and sister-in-law, and friends. I take up a pen (feather) to write a few lines to you, and I hope to find you in good health. Your kind letter reached us safely with the money and I have distributed it just as you said, 8 thaler to Duszynski 8 thaler to Kositzrener (unreadable) and another 7 thaler to Kositzrener’s widow. We received the letter on 4 June 1875. We are all well, thank God, and thank you dear brother-in-law many thousand times.

Dear brother-in-law, we are in deep sorrow. Our dear son Franz Treder died of typhus on 20 March. You can imagine how we are feeling, losing our only son.

Dear brother-in-law, my wife cannot get over her distress. She is crying the whole time. She can’t forget (the loss of) her son, just 22 years old. We all rejoiced about your letter, that dear God has kept you thus far in health and happiness.

Dear brother-in-law, things are really difficult for us. We are in debt and the 17 Thaler will hardly be enough. I am constantly having to do service and everything is so dear. I now have to pay 36 thaler for rent. What is your opinion, dear brother-in-law? Does it make sense that my wife and I should join you, but there isn’t money, money for the journey. It’s such a long way. For my wife is afraid now and I am too.

Dear brother-in-law, write to us if you think it would be worth it. If it would be worth it, we would like to come, but if so, we would ask you to send us money for the journey for you know, dear brother-in-law, that it is expensive (to go) from Dirschau to New Zealand. I won’t be too old. I am 45 years old, my wife, too. So please inform us, dear brother-in-law, if it will be worthwhile. We send our greetings to you all and thank you from the bottom of our hearts that you sent us the money, but I had to give 1 thaler 20 silver groschen to Uncle Reikowski. His wife died on 10 May 1875 at Pustkowie near Malsau. Kostrzewa has remarried, the wife of Jacob Dulski, who died. The widow Kositzrener has already received 50 thaler, sent from her sister in New Zealand. She had a hard life till then, Duszynski told me. She wanted to go with Piernicki to New Zealand. He left on 20 March but she had to stay behind. The address of Pacholski that you used in Hannover is correct but he has moved away from there, but no one knows where. For he has not written to Duszynski for more than a year. Duszynski will write to you himself.

Dear brother-in-law, that’s all we have to write about. Thank God we are all well thus far and greet you all warmly and commend ourselves to your whole family, and may dear God grant you the best of health.

Dear brother-in-law, I do beseech you to write back quickly, for I would like to come over to you next summer if dear God keeps us in health and life, as in the month of July the sea is quieter than in Spring or Autumn. Live well, then until we see one another again. May dear God grant that we may be reunited with each other.

Signed Franz Treder, with Justine Treder.

For all eternity Amen to Franz Rekowski in New Zealand.


Part of original letter to Franz Rekowski dated 7 June 1875


The following is the letter to Frank Rekowski written by his brother-in-law, Jozef Duszynski, husband to Katarzyna (née Kostrzewska). The letter in parts was undecipherable due to the farmhand writing. Letter was translated by Peter Matheson.

Liebschau 21 June 1875 Dearly beloved Brother-in-law and sister, we received your kind letter on 5 June, which gave us great joy, we thought already that you had died all these years as you had not written for so long.

My dear brother-in-law and sister, things are still bad for us, the wages (unreadable) have still not increased. We have to work for the same daily pay and on top of that we have very heavy duties in Stenzlau (unreadable) there is only one man, Krause (unreadable) and from Liebschau there are 2 men for we have to thresh all the corn and carry away the oats (habern) which is very heavy I would like very much to come to you, but it costs me too much. The… is still away from us. She wrote to me from Hamburg that I should give the Rosalia money but I have not… so have stayed here till after 4 weeks she wrote that she is in service at Arl then with…. is away from Hamburg but I would now like to send my two daughters Rosa and Larba (probably, Barbara) to you and if they would like to be with you then they can also have with us … I cannot come any other way but I have not enough money.  …from Michael some things come for I send then I will send my two daughters also.

Dear Brother-in-law, when we read your letter, we wept for joy. We hugged and kissed the letter, revere the Mother, it is as if we had to kiss and then can the money (translation uncertain) that you are so good to us.

Dear Uncle and… wait for us and…. (unreadable). Now we greet and kiss you all most heartily. Thank God healthy therefore you too that always may write health. Now I must finish this letter and greet you and your wife and children… the Fräulein and… both Seeweger (unreadable).

… Josef Duschinski of Liebschau.

Josef’s whereabouts are unknown but his wife, Katarzyna, died at Lubiszewo Tczewskie on 29 October 1886.


“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: —Franz Rekowski, sections 10 and 11, block XVI. 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, Francis owned two acres to the value of £100 in Waihola and 83 acres to the value of £207 in the Milton area. It is said the sod chimney of his house at Akatore was still standing during the 1980s. Francis was engaged in farming all his life and owned a small farm at Louden’s Gully where he was reputed to have been very careful and thrifty. He was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 26 June 1912 while residing at Loudens Gully. Julia died at Milton on 31 July 1893 aged 59.

“FUNERAL NOTICE. THE Friends of Mr Francis Rekowski are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of his late Wife, Julia Agnes, which will leave his residence, Loudon’s Gully, for the place of interment, Fairfax Cemetery, TO-MORROW (Wednesday), August 2nd, at 1 o’clock p.m. JOHN DICKSON, Undertaker.” Bruce Herald, 1 August 1893, p 2

Francis died at Raurekau on 20 November 1920 aged 87 and is buried with his wife at the Fairfax Cemetery near Milton.


Paulina (Polly), Barra (née Rekowska)


Paulina (Polly) Rekowski was born at Stanisławie on 04 November 1859.  She married on 14 October 1896 at St. Mary’s in Milton to Francis Joseph Barra (b. 31 October 1858 at Gniszewo–d. 1932), the son of Peter Albrecht Bara (b. 1827–d. 1904) and Eleonora Wilhelmina Maas (b. abt. 1828–d. 1909). Polly carried a vivid recollection of the journey out to New Zealand and from all accounts it is clear that she enjoyed every minute of it. During a water shortage on board the Palmerston, she was approached by the captain and offered all the water she desired in an exchange for a kiss. She laughed it off as only a 14-year-old teenager could. The family born at Waihola were: James Francis (b. 1898–d. 1979) and Herbert Peter (b. 1899–d. 1993). The family moved to Louden’s Gully where Polly died on 2 December 1942 aged 83 years.  She is buried with her husband at the Fairfax Cemetery near Milton.


Mary Ottrey ad August Francis Rekowski in 1896


August Francis Rekowski was born at Lubiszewo-Tczewskie on 07 August 1871.  He married on 14 October 1896 at St. Mary’s in Milton to Mary Ottrey (b. 1874 at Tokomairiro–d. 1927). the daughter of George Albert Ottrey (b. 1842–d. 1898) and Bridget Connolly (b. 1830–d. 1905).  The family born at Waihola were: Francis (b. 1897–d. 1980), at Akatore; Mary (b. 1900–d. 1959), George (b. 1902–d. 1983), Sidney James (b. 1910–d. 1941) and Stillborn (b. 1913–d. 1913). August purchased section three of block two in Akatore on 29 October 1898. August was farming or labouring in the Moneymore area and was understood to be as careful and thrifty as his father. A cheerful and jolly gentleman, he would often play his squeeze box for the grandchildren when he visited. August was elected as chairperson onto the Akatore school committee in 1907 and was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 23 February 1921.

“Messrs Annicich and Rekowski have started opening up the quarry on Mr Brown’s property, London’s Gully, under the arrangement come to between the Bruce County Council and the settlers in that district, whereby the Council undertake the quarrying and breaking of the metal, and the settlers cart and spread it.” Bruce Herald, 22 January 1914, p 2

“Keep yourselves cosy during the winter months, Sawn firewood supplied by Mr A. Rekowski, Akatore.” Bruce Herald, 29 May 1916, p 5

“MILTON NOTES. PERSONAL. Mr and Mrs A. Rekowski, who have been resident in Akatore, Glenledi, and Milton district during the past 50 years, will leave tomorrow to take up their future residence at South Dunedin.” Otago Daily Times, 17 March 1927, p 7

August died at Moneymore on 18 October 1943 aged 72 and is buried with his wife at the Andersons Bay Cemetery in Dunedin.

“Obituary.—The sudden death occurred at Moneymore, near Milton, on Monday evening, of Mr August Francis Rekowski, an old and well-known resident of the Tokomiairiro district. He came to New Zealand as a baby in 1870, and his family settled at Glenledi, where he was educated. He later worked on Wain’s Estate, Glenledi, and in 1886 married Miss Mary Ottrey, and they settled at Akatore. where deceased farmed until 1921. and then moved to Milton. He was a very enthusiastic gardener, and also took an active part in all local functions. He was predeceased by his wife in 1927 and is survived by two sons and three daughters —-Messrs Francis (Methven), George (Tokoiti), Mesdames L. M. Carruthers (Moneymore), M. McNeill (Palmerston). and Miss Marion (Dunedin).” Evening Star, 22 October 1943, p 4

“DEATHS. REKOWSKI.—On October 18, 1943, at Moneymore, August Francis Rekowski, of Milton; aged 74 years. R.l.P.—Private interment at Anderson’s Bay Cemetery on Wednesday, 20th inst., at 11 a.m.—J. R. Wilson, funeral director.” Otago Daily Times, 19 October 1943, p 1


Picture of

Francis and Julia Rekowski, Block 11 Plots 39 & 40 at Fairfax Cemetery near Milton


Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 23, 36, 43, 155, 170 & 196.

Research Sources

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

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

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

Fairfax Cemetery Records, Dunedin Public Library.

Lubiszewo Tczewskie Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.

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.

Francis Barra and Paulina (nee Rekowska), Block 11 Plots 155 & 156 at Fairfax Cemetery near Milton


August and Mary Rekowski, Block 85 Plot 55 at Andersons Bay Cemetery in Dunedin


Andersons Bay Cemetery – August F Rekowski (1871-1943) – Dunedin City Council

Fairfax Cemetery – Francis Rekowski (1833-1920) – Find A Grave Memorial

Fairfax Cemetery – Julia Rekowski (1833-1893)- Find A Grave Memorial

Fairfax Cemetery – Paulina Agatha Barra (1859-1942) – Find a Grave Memorial




Compiled by Paul Klemick (2023)



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