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Zdunek Family

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DOBEK (Pol) compound names such as Dobiesław, Dobiermir with root dobi. Meaning: resourceful, brave.

SZMAGLIŃSKA (Pol) smagać. Meaning: to whip.

ZDUNEK (Pol) zdun. Meaning: potter, maker of tile-stoves.



Jozef Zdunek (b. 1833–d. 1923) was born at Cisewie on 01 March 1833, the son of Jozef Zdunek (b. 1795–d. 1890) and Teresia Narloch (b. 1801–d. 1840). Jozef married Maryanna Barbara Dobek (b. 24 August 1837 at Zamość–d. 1927), the daughter of Walenty Dobek (b. 1803–d. 1848) and Maryanna Szmaglińska (b. 1804).  Prior to marriage, Maryanna Dobek had a son Mikolej (b. 1863–d. 1941) at Bąk. The family at Bąk were: Franciszek (b. 1865–d. 1928), and at Cisewie; Jozef (b. 1869–d. 1947). Joseph had been assigned as a batman for a German officer.  For saving his life, Joseph received the Prussian Iron Cross for his duties. The family left the village of Cisewie for Hamburg where they set sail aboard the Friedeburg departing on 19 May 1872, arriving at Lyttleton Harbour near Christchurch on 30 August 1872.


Listed aboard were: Joseph Zdonek, age 63, Mariane 35, Nicolaus 9, Franz 7 and Johann (Joseph) 3. The family at Akaroa were: Mary Ann (Annie) (b. 1873–1948), Anastasia (b. 1874–1949) and at Lincoln; John (b. 1877–d. 1943).  Around the late 1880s the family move to Taranaki in the North Island and settled at Tariki Road where the family took up farming.  Financial difficulties in the 1890s drove most of the family back to the South Island.  Joseph and Mary moved to Marshland, near Christchurch, where fellow Poles had settled. Joseph was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 2 August 1899, a labourer at Marshland.

“MAINTENANCE MATTERS. Frank Dunick was ordered to pay 2s 6d a week towards the support of his father. No orders were made against Joseph and John Dunick.” The Press, 12 September 1900, p 2.

Joseph and Mary then moved to Ohoka where Joseph occupied some land.  Joseph died on 21 June 1923 at Ohoka aged 89 and Mary Ann died on August 1927 at Christchurch aged 89.  They are buried together at the Linwood Cemetery in Christchurch. The Iron Cross that Joseph was so proud was given to the Christchurch Museum.


Nicholas and Bertha Dobeck, General Block 26 Plot 274 at Eastern Cemetery in Invercargill

Nicholas Dobeck was born at Bąk on 10 September 1863.  He married 21 January 1895 to Bertha Mary Bielawski (b. 1876 on the Terpsichore–1947), the daughter of Karol Bielawski (b. 1845–d. 1925) and Justine (Augusta) Sztuzke (b. 1845–d. 1888). The family at Inglewood were: Ludovica Mary (b. 1895–d. 1973, at Kaponga; Albert James (b. 1899–d. 1974).  The family moved briefly to Marshland in Christchurch where Nicholas worked as a farmer before moving to the bottom of the South Island. In the district of Invercargill, they had a son, David William Nelson (b. 1904–d. 1986). Nicholas was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 5 January 1932, a labourer at Heidelberg, near Invercargill.  Nicholas died on 7 June 1941 at Invercargill aged 77 and Bertha died on 2 May 1947 at Invercargill aged 71.  They are buried together at the Eastern Cemetery in Invercargill.


Frank Dunick was born at Bąk on 08 October 1865. He was naturalised a New Zealand citizen on 26 November 1890, a settler at Stratford. He took up land at Huiroa with his brother Michael (Nicholas) where they set up the family farm.  However, financial matters forced the farm to be sold and the brothers moved to the bottom of the South Island where Frank worked as a contractor.

Frank Dunick, Roman Catholic Block 8 Plot 94 at Eastern Cemetery in Invercargill

“BANKRUPTCY COURT. Wednesday, July 20. — Before It. G. Bauchope, Esq., D.O.A. PRIVATE DEPOSITIONS. The following private depositions of Frank Dunick, labourer, of Tariki Road, were taken: — I arrived in Taranaki from Canterbury about three years ago I had £13 in cash when I arrived. I lived in Ngaire for a short time, and about a month after arrival I injured my leg by falling from a tree, and was unable to do any work for about three months. In February, 1890, in conjunction with my stepbrother, Michael Dobeck, I took section 10, Block 107, Huiroa, 220 acres, on deferred payment. I refuse to give my interest in this section to my creditors. I have also a perpetual lease of section 53, Block 3, Huiroa, 16 acres. I have only paid six months’ rent on this section. I am willing to give my interest in this lease to my creditors. I have tried to sell my interest in this lease, but have not got an offer. I am living with my father, and have not got any property except the deferred payment section and my clothes. I have been working as a labourer, and partly on small contracts, but on account of the wet weather and illness I only made on an average about 2s 6d per day. I filed as Messrs Curtis and Mackay were pressing me for payment, and I had no money. It did not occur to me that the filing fee would pay 2s 6d in the £ on the amount of my debts. I have lost two horses by accidents, which cost me £6 15s. The first general meeting of creditors was convened for Wednesday afternoon, but lapsed ‘for want of a quorum.” Taranaki Herald, 21 July 1892, p 2

Frank married in 1906 to Letitia Reid (b. 1871–d. 1939).  In 1907, Frank was granted an application for sections, 35, 36, and 37 on Block VIII at Campbelltown Hundred.  The family were: Frank William (b. 1907–d. 1988), William Nicholas (b. 1908), Herbert James (b. 1908), Joseph Gilbert (b. 1909), John Erick (b. 1910–d. 1964), Letitia Marion Alexandra (b. 1911–d. 1944), and Martin David (b. 1913).  Frank died on 25 February 1928 at Invercargill aged 62 and Letitia died on 3 April 1939 at Invercargill.  Both are buried at the Eastern Cemetery in Invercargill.



Joseph and Julia Dunick, Block 43 Plot 113 at Linwood Cemetery in Christchurch, courtesy of Ian Bosley who originally shared this on 21 May 2010 at ancestry.com

Joseph Dunick was born at Cisewie on 11 February 1869.  He married in 1891 to Julia Elzbieta Szymanska (b. 03 July 1873 at Biskupiec–d. 1906), the daughter of Christian Szymanski (b. 1848–d. 1920) and Louise Elisabeth Anna Nickel (b. 1841–d. 1906).  The family at Inglewood were: Julia Elizabeth (b. 1892–d. 1953), and Albert James (b. 1893–1895). In 1894, after working for a time for Frank Zimmerman, Joseph entered into a contract with T. Burckett, where he would sub-lease section one of Block XI at Huiroa for a period of five years. However, he ran into financial difficulty and moved to the South Island.

“BANKRUPTCY. J. DUNICK’S ESTATE. The following additional private depositions in the estate of J. Dunick, farmer, Tariki Road\ were taken by the D.O.A. on Monday— Julia Dunick, Tariki Road, being sworn, said: I am the wife of Joseph Dunick. I was married to him four years last April. I have lived in this district since that time. I lent him in April, 1892, £50, which consisted of £5 and £1 notes. I got the money from my father, Christian Schinanski, of Marshland, near Christchurch. He gave me it as a marriage portion. I got the money in notes which I brought to Taranaki with me. Mr Rody, farmer, Marshland, witnessed my father giving me the money. He did not give me the money in his own house, but in Fookes’ hotel, Christchurch. I lent the money to my husband to enable him to buy cattle and do some fencing. I did not lend it to him for any stated time, but he was to give it back to me when I wanted it. 1 asked him for the money when he sold the horse and trap. He gave me the money early in April of this year, shortly after he sold the horse and trap at Inglewood and the cattle at Stratford. I received a notice from the Deputy Official Assignee to return the sum of £40 which my husband gave me. I have not sent him the money because I have not got it. I have spent it. I gave my husband £4 4s, to pay to his solicitor Mr Weston. I have been in Hawera office since that time. I took all the money I had to Hawera. I cannot say how much I spent in Hawera, it was about £5. I cannot say in whose shops I spent the money. I have two children and these things were bought for them and myself. I bought one black dress at Hawera. I bought a print dress in Inglewood at Mr Smith’s, I paid him about £3 for that and other things. I bought groceries from the Chinaman at Inglewood about £1. I bought throe bags of flour and three bags of sugar from the Moa Farmers Union which cost about £3. My husband paid this with money he got from me I have about 10s. left and I cannot say how the balance was spent. I swear to this. My husband went down to Canterbury before he bought the stock and farm. He went for a trip to see my father. I do not know for what purpose my husband went to see my father. He said he would try to borrow some money from my father. He was away about a fortnight. On his return he told me my father could not afford to lend him any money. I do not know why my husband sold his farm and stock. He did not tell me anything.


Julia and daughter, Kathleen Margaret Dunick, Block 43 Plot 113 at Linwood Cemetery in Christchurch, courtesty of Ian Bosley who originally shared this on 21 May 2010 at ancestry.com

Franz Zimmerman, farmer, Tariki Road, being sworn, said: I know Joseph Dunick, farmer, Tariki Road. I have known him for three or four years. He worked for me about two years ago. He worked for me at different times off and on. I was and am on friendly terms with him. I have had dealings with him. The first was, I think, buying some sheep last spring from him — 56 sheep, 53 with lambs, and 3 without. I paid 10s each for those with lambs, and 6s each for those without lambs. I also bought 14 yearlings some short time before last Christmas. I paid him £2 9s 6d each for them. I paid £10 or £12 at the time, and the balance last January. I do not think I gave him more than £12 at the time of purchase. I do not think I paid him £20. I bought at an auction sale a horse, cart, and harness, the property of Dunick, for £30 10s. I bought these on or about 29th March, and paid the auctioneers. Sometime in 1892, rather more than three years ago, I endorsed a promissory note for £40, given by Joseph Dunick to Mr O. M. Curtis. The currency of the promissory note was 12 months. Mr Dunick did not pay it when it was due. I knew this because Mr Curtis sent me notice. In consequence of this notice, I saw Mr Dunick, and he said he would see Mr Curtis. I afterwards saw Dunick, and ho said he had seen Mr Curtis, who said it was all right. I received no further word from Mr Curtis. About 18 months ago he asked me how Dunick stood, and I said I thought he was all right. l am perfectly certain I only received one letter from Mr Curtis relating to this bill — the one letter I have previously mentioned. [A copy of a letter from Mr Curtis, dated 30th June, 1894, to Zimmerman was read.] This, I think, must have been the letter referred to, as it was to the same effect. I gave this letter to my little girl to play with. I do not think I have seen it since. I cannot say when I gave it to the little girl, I think it was before 31st March I gave her the letter. I did not pay anything to Mr Curtis in respect to this bill, not even the interest. When Mr Dunick returned from Stratford after the sale of the cattle in March last, he told me he had paid Mr Curtis the amount of the bill. I said I thought you had paid it long ago, but he said he only paid it now. When he asked me to endorse the promissory note or bill, lie said he was borrowing money to buy cattle with. He bought some cows and young stock, but l cannot say how many. He had before he borrowed the money 2 horses, 6 cows, and about 10 or 12 young stock. He was then living on the Education Reserve. I bought section 19, block 7, (now known as section 10) Huiroa, 110 acres, on 23rd March last. I paid him £275 for it, and permission to live in the house for 6 months. He first asked me to buy the section. Sometime before Christmas I paid the whole of the purchase money. I paid him £2 in February. I do not remember the particular day, but it was in February. I paid him in notes. I agreed to buy the section 4 or 5 weeks before the completion of the purchase. I paid the balance of the purchase money in Mr Samuel’s office when the existing mortgage was paid off. It was paid off before due, and a premium paid for doing so. I cannot say why he was so anxious to sell. I paid him the £2 to make him go to Christchurch. He was going to Christchurch to try and borrow money from his father-in-law. It was understood if he succeeded in borrowing the money he would pay me the £9 back again, and it was also understood ha would not sell the property if he succeeded in borrowing the money from his father-in-law, but if he failed in borrowing, I would take the land for £276, less the £9 I had advanced to him. Ho was away about a fortnight. He saw me when he returned from Christchurch, and told me he could not get any money. I then said I suppose I will-get the land for £275 if I got the money from my bankers and he said yes. It was at this interview that it was arranged he should have the right to remain for six months. He did not give me any reason for wishing to sell the land. He did not tell me what he was going to do after the sale I asked him but he said he did not know what ho was going to do. I have been in the district sixteen years and know something about the value of properties in it. I know Vickors and Stevens, I do not know what they valued it for, for the purpose of mortgage. I think £2 10s. per acre full value for it at the time. I thought I had got a bargain. I know I had got it cheap.” Taranaki Herald, 28 May 1895, p 2.

The family born at Belfast, near Christchurch, were: Andrew (b. 1896–d. 1979), David (b. 1897–d. 1972, Mary (b. 1898–d. 1989), Annie (b. 1900–d. 1975), Agnes Lily (b. 1902–d. 1974), John Joseph (b. 1902–d. 1974), Alice Ada (b. 1904) and Kathleen Margaret (b. 1906–d. 1907). Julia died on 27 August 1906 at Christchurch aged 33 and was buried at the Linwood Cemetery in Christchurch.

Joseph remarried in 1908 to Mary Boyd (b. 1886–d. 1911) and had a daughter, Mary Amelda (b. 1911–d. 1911) who lived for only two months.  Mary died on 22 May 1911 at Lower Styx Road in Marshland aged 25 and is buried at the Linwood Cemetery in Christchurch with her husband Joseph and daughter Mary Amelda.  Joseph remarried in 1911 to Mary Corey (b. 1877–d. 1920) and the family were Rose Mary (b. 1913–d. 1977 and Bernard (1915). Suddenly Mary died at Ohoka on 18 July 1920 aged 42 and is buried at the Linwood Cemetery.


Mary and daughter, Mary Amelda Dunick, Block 43 Plot 113 at Linwood Cemetery in Christchurch, courtesy of Ian Bosley who originally shared this on 21 May 2010 at ancestry.com

“SUDDEN DEATH. At 1.30 p.m. on Sunday Mrs Mary Dunick, aged thirty-six years, wife- of Mr John Dunick, a farmer of Ohoka, dropped dead while carving dinner. Dr Henry Crawshaw attended Mrs Dunick nine months ago, when she met with a trap accident, but could not give a certificate of death, as he did not think the accident had anything to do with death. Deceased was supposed to be in exceptionally good health up to the time of her death. An inquest will be held at Kaiapoi this morning. An inquest was held at Ohoka this morning before Mr V. G. Day, S.M., Coroner, concerning the sudden death: of Mary Dunick, aged forty-two years, wife of Mr Joseph Dunick, farmer, Ohoka-. A verdict was returned in accordance with medical evidence that death was due to disease of the mitral valve.”  The Star, 19 July 1920, p 7.

Joseph remarried in 1921 to Agnes Frances Boland (b. 1884 at Darfield–d. 1922), the daughter of Francis William Boland (b. 1852–d. 1913) and Annie Whyte (b. 1859–d. 1935), but in the following year, Agnes died on 15 August 1922 at Ohoka aged 38.

Joseph then remarried in 1923 to Elizabeth Watson (b. 1885–d. 1948). Joseph was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 25 March 1937, a farmer at Ohoka and died at Kaiapoi on 7 Jul 1947 aged 77.  He is buried with his first wife Julia at the Linwood Cemetery in Christchurch.

“FUNERAL NOTICES. DUNICK—The Funeral of the late Joseph Dunick will leave our Chapel. 19 London street, Christchurch, This Day (Wednesday), July 9. at 8.40 a.m., for St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Manchester street; Requiem Mass 9 a.in., and thence to Linwood Cemetery. John Rhind.” Press, 9 July 1947, p 10

Elizabeth died on 20 Sep 1948 at Christchurch and is buried at the Linwood Cemetery.



Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 20, 21, & 167.

Research Sources

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

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

Szymanski, Martha, provided family information 2022.

Wiele Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.



Frank Dunnek (1865-1928) – Invercargill City Council (icc.govt.nz)

Joseph Dunick (1833-1923) – Find A Grave Memorial

Joseph Dunick (1869-1947) – Find A Grave Memorial

Mary Ann Dunick (1837-1927) – Find A Grave Memorial

Nicholas Dobeck (1863-1941) – Invercargill City Council (icc.govt.nz)


Compiled by Paul Klemick (2022)



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