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SURNAMES & THEIR ORIGINS
BIELICKI (Pol) biel (noun). Meaning: white, can also mean swamp, root seen in many place names.
RYDZEWSKI (Pol) rydz. Meaning: edible species of agaric (a name of various fungi, including mushrooms and toadstools), or rydzy – reddish-gold colour.
SZULC (Ger) Schultheiß, Schulze. Meaning: Village headman, mayor.
SLIWIŃSKI (Pol) śliwa. Meaning: Plum-tree, sloe (small wild plum).
TALEŃSKI (Pol) tal. Meaning: a piece of land.
August Waleny Rydzewski, a labourer, (b. 1828–d. 1905) was born at Zakrzewko in February 1828, the son of Albrecht Rydzewski (b. abt. 1790–d. 1840) and Helena Bielicka (b. abt. 1794–d. 1840). August married on 1 May 1853 at St. Malgorzata in Miłobądz to Rozalia Maryanna Sliwińska (b. 10 March 1832 at Łukocin–d. 1909), the daughter of Andrzej Sliwiński (b. abt. 1783–d. 1853) and Barbara Taleńska (b. abt. 1782–d. 1857). The family born at Miłobądz were: Anna Franciszka (b. 1854–d. 1857), Jan Franciszek (b. 1857–d. 1935), Maryanna Rozalia (b. 1859–d. 1932), at Suchostrzygi; Klara Matilda (b. 1862–d. 1862), August Jozef (b. 1863–d. 1864), Franciszka Paulina (b.1865–d. 1944), Marta Elzbieta (b. 1867–d. 1868), at Małżewo; Paulina Anna (b. 1869–d. 1951). The family left the village of Małżewo 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: August Rydzewski age 43, Rosalia 40, Joh. F. 16, Maria 15, Francisca 7 and Paulina 3. The family was sent south to Scroggs Creek on contract work with Brogden and Sons to lay the southern railway through the Taieri.
“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: —August Resewski, sections 10 and 11, block XX. 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
As the railway headed south so did the family. Alongside Bucholz’s farm in the Waikaka Valley, August purchased part of section eleven on Block one on 28 February 1878 where his son John also built their family home. While in the valley, August worked as a farmer and labourer and later moved to Gore. Here August and Rosalia were both naturalised as New Zealand citizens on 20 November 1899. August died on 29 November 1905 aged 77 and Rosalia died on 18 October 1909 aged 77. Both are buried at the Gore Cemetery.
“FUNERAL NOTICE. The friends of the late Mrs Mary Rosella Regefsky are respectfully invited to attend her Funeral, which will leave her daughter’s (Mrs Wm. Robertson) residence, East Gore, on WEDNESDAY. October 20, at 2 p.m., for the Gore Cemetery. O. Kelly, Undertaker.” Mataura Ensign, 19 October 1909, p 2
John Francis Regefsky was born at Miłobądz on 23 April 1857. He married on 12 September 1880 at Mckay’s Hall in Gore to Josephina Szczepańska (b. 15 November 1861 at Trzcińsk–d. 1955), the daughter of Jakob Szczepanski (b. 1837–d. 1914) and Barbara Ciesnikowska (b. 1832–d. 1865). The family born at Hokonui were: Agnes Elizabeth (b. 1881–d. 1961), at Croydon; James August (b. 1883–d. 1947), at Waikaka Valley; Clara Barbara (b. 1885–d. 1975), Ellen Frances (b. 1887–d. 1969), John Francis (b. 1890–d. 1924), Joseph (b. 1893–d. 1907), Josephine (b. 1895–d. 1976) and Frances Victoria (b. 1901–d. 1989). John worked as a farmer at Tokanui Gorge in 1897 and was residing in Gore in 1902.
“Southland Land Board. The tender of John Regefski (L 9 15s) was accepted for work on the Otakarama road advertised by the Knapdale Road Board. Another tender was received offering to do the work for a little less, but the writer did not make it clear whether his tender included the gravelling or not; hence it was rejected.” Mataura Ensign, 19 February 1889, p 2
“Southland Land Board. John Regefsky offered one shilling an acre per annum for coal-mining rights over section 18, block 1, Waikaka, containing 32 acres. The Knapdale Road Board suggested that it would be well to deal with the land in order to make someone responsible for keeping down the gorse on it. — Ranger to report.” Southland Times, 6 August 1891, p 2
“WYNDHAM NOTES. (From Our Own Correspondent.) Early on Saturday morning a fire destroyed the home of Mr John Regesky, dairy farmer, Menzies Ferry. The fire evidently originated in the sitting-room, where a fire had been burning the night before. Mr and Mrs Regesky escaped through their bedroom window. and rushed to another part of the house to awaken other in mates. Nothing was saved but one pair of blankets. A defective chimney is thought to be the cause of the fire. The house was valued at £2OO, and was insured for £100; and the furniture (£150) was insured for £IOO.” Southland Times, 7 December 1910, p 2
“MILITARY SERVICE BOARD. SITTING AT GORE. James Angus Regefsky, farmer, Edendale (Mr Davey) applied for a rehearing of his appeal on the ground that his brother had developed a serious illness. Medical certificates were put in in support of the application. The farm was held by the father and two sons.—Mr Davey said the Regefsky family was one of the largest suppliers to the Edendale factory, and supplied a ton of milk per day. Being a dairy farm there was practically no possibility of obtaining labour. —The Chairman said he thought Messrs Wright, Stephenson and Co. should put their shoulders to the wheel and come to the applicant’s assistance. Another factor in the case was the nature of the brother’s trouble. The appeal would be adjourned pending inquiries as to the applicant’s nationality.” Otago Witness, 19 December 1917, p 6
“CLEARING SALE AT EDENDALE. MONDAY, JUNE 30, 1919, At 10.30 o’clock. WRIGHT, STEPHENSON AND CO., LTD., have received instructions from Messrs John Regefsky & Sons (who have sold their farm) to sell by public auction as above — CATTLE. 37 Good DAIRY COWS (2nd to 5th calvers), in calf to purebred Ayrshire bull. 14 Two-year-old Springing HEIFERS 1 Two-year-old STEER 10 Yearling HEIFERS 2 Yearling STEERS 3 Fat LAMBS. HORSES. —3 Draught Geldings (4 to 7 yrs), 1 Draught Mare (8 years), 1 First-class Cattle Dog, 1 Sheep Dog, Coolie Pup. IMPLEMENTS, ETC.—McCormick Binder, McCormick Mower, Macalister Ridger (the above are almost new), Colonial Roller, Broadcast Drill and Seed Box, Spring Dray, 2 Tip Drays and Frames, Storrie Swamp Plough, DJ. Plough, set 5-leaf Tine Harrows, Blocks and Chains, Scuffler, Seed Cleaner, set M.H. Discs (new), Wheelbarrows, Scalding Trough, Collars and Hames, 2 sets Saddles and Breechings, L.-Chains, Riding Saddle, Swingletrees and Chains, 250 Empty Sacks, Strainer, Posts, Barb Wire, Wire-netting, Planks, 37 Fowls, Tools, and a quantity of Sundries, etc., etc. Quantity HOUEHOLD FURNITURE. The Cows are a good lot, and we can recommend buyers to attend this Sale. LUNCHEON PROVIDED.” Southland Times, 25 June 1919, p 8
John was naturalised a New Zealand citizen on 24 August 1926 while working as a labourer at Woodlands. He died at Mataura on 11 October 1935 aged 78 and is buried at the Mataura Cemetery.
Marianna (Mary) Rosalia Regefsky was born at Miłobądz on 19 August 1859. She married on 24 November 1875 at St. Mary’s in Invercargill to Johan Valentin Schultz (b. 29 August 1846 at Dalwin–d. 1893), the son of Jakub Szulc (b. 1815–d. 1851) and Anna Zawadzka (b. abt. 1816–d. 1861) The family born at Hokonui were: Frank Joseph (b. 1877–d. 1953), John August (b. 1879), Martha Elizabeth (b. 1881–d. 1943), Joseph James (b. 1882–d. 1966), Thomas James Andrew (b. 1884–d. 1885), Adam (b. 1886–d. 1886), at Gordon (East Gore; James Paul (b. 1887–d. 1973), Alexander Andrew (b. 1890–d. 1963) and Thomas Andrew (b. 1893–d. 1972). Although Mary never fully came to grips with the English language and struggled with it throughout much of her life. She was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 24 August 1926 residing at Gore. Mrs. Mary Hoffman, daughter of Frank Schultz, recalled in 1987.
”It was marvellous what they did… they made their own bread, everything was homemade… oatmeal cakes and fruit cake.”
Doris Schultz said as a child she would go to the home of Mary (her grandmother) each day after school and do chores for her. At times she struggled to understand her grandmother but remembered her fondly and said she was always very, very kind to her. After a long battle with cancer of the liver, Mary died at Gore on 22 January 1932 aged 72 and is buried at the Gore Cemetery.
Francisca Paulina Regefsky was born at Suchostrzygi on 09 March 1865. She married on 23 February 1887 at the church of the Blessed Sacrament in Gore to William Robertson (b. 1866–d. 1929), the son of James Kent Robertson (b. 1836–d. 1901) and Barbara Mark Stenson (b. 1841–d. 1904).The family were: Barbara (b. 1887–d. 1946), Mary Jane (b. 1890–d. 1947), William August (b. 1906–d. 1981) and James Kent (b. 1907–d. 1954). William died on 3 June 1929 and Francisca died at the Little Sisters, Andersons Bay, Dunedin on 11 June 1944 aged 79. Both are buried at the Andersons Bay Cemetery in Dunedin.
“DEATHS. ROBERTSON.—On June 11, 1944, at the Little Sisters, Anderson’s Bay, Francisca, dearly beloved wife of the late William Robertson, of Gore, and dearly loved mother of Mrs T. Ryan (Queenstown), Mrs O. Swan (Dunedin), William (Invercargill”), and James (Dunedin); aged 81 years. R.l.P.—Requiem Mass at the Little Sisters on Tuesday, June 13, at 6.30 a.m. Private – interment.—Cole and Son. funeral directors.” Evening Star, 12 June 1944,
Paulina Anna Regefsky was born at Małżewo on 26 August 1869. She married on 7 April 1896 at Gore to Thomas Reginald Johnston (b. 1872–d. 1948), the son of Thomas Johnston (b. 1839–d. 1911) and Frances Woods (b. 1843–d. 1919). The family were: Wallace Reginald (b. 1897–d. 1974), Frances Ada (b. 1898–d. 1993), Charles Godfrey (b. 1900–d. 1966), Ivy Rosalind (b. 1901–d. 1974), Thomas Henry (b. 1903–d. 1982), Violet Hilda Alice (b. 1905–d. 1983), Robert William (b. 1912–d. 1989) and Mary Margaret (b. 1914). Thomas died at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Dunedin on 15 July 1948 and Paulina died at Dunedin on 11 May 1951 aged 81. Both are buried at the Andersons Bay Cemetery in Dunedin.
Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 23 & 170.
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.
Hurrell Maria, Gore, supplied photos and family information.
Kłodawa, Lubiszewo Tczewskie, Miłobądz & Tczew Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.
New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs Naturalisations, Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Compiled by Paul Klemick (2022)
The Polish Heritage of Otago & Southland Charitable Trust
Chairperson ..... Ewa Rozecka-Pollard
Phone ......+64 3 477 5552
Secretary ..... Anna McCreath Munro
Phone ..... +64 3 464 0053
facebook ..... Poles Down South