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Piernicki Family


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Anton Ludwik Piernicki (b. 1836–d. 1914) was born at Kłodawa, the son of Jan Piernicki (b. 1782–d. 1848) and Elzbieta Lange (b. 1792–d. 1870). Anton married on 16 September 1860 at St. Jakuba in Kłodawa to Anna Malecka (b. 1836 at Subkowy–d. 1924), the daughter of Michal Malecki (b. 1805–d. 1874) and Krystina Witting (b. 1807–d. 1852) of Lubiszewo Tczewskie. The family born at Zła Wieś were Franciszek Anton (b. 1861–d. 1919), at Kłodawa; Anton Lorencjusz (b. 1863–d. 1932), Marta Cecilia (b. 1865–d. 1938), at Stanisławie; Jan (b. 1868–d. 1925), Jozef August (b. 1871–d. 1872) and Walenty (b. 1873–d. 1966). They left the village of Stanisławie for Hamburg where they set aboard the Dallam Tower on 21 December 1874, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on 17 February 1875.


Piernicki cottage at Allanton. Taken in 1998 by Paul Klemick

Listed aboard was—Anton L. Piernicki age 38, Anna 38, Franz 13, Anton 11, Marta 9, Johan 6 and Valentin 1. The family born at Allanton were Michael (b. 1876–d. 1965) and Peter Paul (b. 1877–d. 1905). On 3 May 1883, Anton purchased section 32 and 34 of Block 11 at Pine Hill in the North Harbour and Blueskin district where Anton moved his family and worked as a dairy farmer. Anna was naturalised as a New Zealand Citizen on 6 March 1901 and Anton was naturalised on 26 January 1904. In 1886, Anton sold part of his property to his son Frank who had just got married and was starting a family.  Anton died at Allanton on 2 February 1914 aged 77 and Annie died in Dunedin on 12 June 1924 aged 87. Both are buried at the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin.

Frank Anton Piernicki married on 13 September 1886 at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Dunedin to Mary Mullian (b. 1859 at Galway, Ireland–d. 1900). The family born at  Dunedin were Anthony (b. 1887), Thomas (b. 1890), Margaret Nora (b. 1892–d. 1893) and John (b. 1893–d. 1894.  Frank worked as a dairy farmer and wood dealer in the district of Pine Hill .

A two-roomed wooden house and effects, belonging to Mr Frank Pernisky, were destroyed by fire on Thursday morning at Pine Hill. Mrs Pernisky states that she left the house about 10 o’clock to look after her cows, and had been away about half an hour when she heard her mother-in-law calling out “Fire!” and on hastening back found the place in flames. Mr Pernisky, who was cutting bush in the vicinity, returned to the house, but was unable to do any good. Mrs Annie Pernisky was the first to discover the fire, and states that the flames were then breaking through the side of the building near the chimney, which it is thought was faulty construction. The building was insured for £70 and the effects for £30 in the New Zealand office, but the estimated value of the property is £20 above these amounts.” 6 Jul 1889, Otago Witness.

Another fire tragically claimed the life of Margaret Nora; Margaret Perimystery, aged 17 months, died from severe burns received on May 6th. The mother was milking the cows at Pine Hill, and left the child in bed, where its nightdress caught fire.” 18 May 1893, Otago Witness.

The family later moved to the Taieri where Joseph (b. 1895) and Michael (b. 1897–d. 1897) were born. Mary died at West Taieri on 25 July 1900 at the of 36. The Otago and Southland Directory lists Frank as a farmer at Momona in 1903. Frank remarried on 13 January 1904 at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Dunedin to Bedilia Tobin (nee O’Gorman) (b. 1862–d. 1934), the daughter of Timothy O’Gormon (b. 1832–d. 1885 and Elizabeth (b. 1834–d. 1903).   Frank died at Duntroon on 20 August 1920 aged 59 and is buried at the Allanton Cemetery.

Anton Ludwig & Annie Perniski, Roman Catholic Block 29 Plot 1B, Southern Cemetery

Anton Lorenz Piernicki appears to have never married and worked as a farm labourer.  He purchased the Pine Hill property from his brother Frank in 1890 and was later working as a farmer at Enfieid around 1915 with his brother John. He died at Oamaru on 23 May 1932 aged 68 and is buried at the Oamaru Cemetery.

Martha Cecilia Piernicka married on 10 November 1881 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in East Taieri to Johan Switala (b. 1857 at Lubiszewo Tczewskie–d. 1933). the son of Jan Switala (b. 1827–d. 1913) and Jozefina Malichnowska (b. 1832–d. 1860).  The family born at Allanton were Joseph (b. 1882), Francis Patrick (b. 1884–d. 1949), John (b. 1886–d. 1926), Martha (b. 1888–d. 1977), Antony William (b. 1890–d. 1956), Michael James (b. 1893–d. 1967), Mary Emma (b. 1895–d. 1970), Annie Magdalen (b. 1898–d. 1960), Alice Josephine (b. 1900–d. 1973), Edward Alexander (b. 1903–d. 1958), Charles Millan (b. 1905–d. 1979) and Eileen Veronica (b. 1907–d. 1929). Described as a very good looking woman, Martha was a fine religious lady. In advanced age she went to early mass and would stay in church until all masses were finished, returning for benediction and rosary in the evening. Martha died in Dunedin on 30 October 1938 aged 72 and is buried at the Andersons Bay Cemetery in Dunedin.

John Piernicki it appears never married and worked as a farmer at Enfield around 1913.  He was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 11 July 1923. He died at Oamaru on 25 January 1925 aged 56 and is buried at the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin.

Valentine Piernicki worked as a labourer at Lumsden during the 1890s.  He married in Canterbury in 1903 to Mary Ellen McKenna (b. 1878 at Wodonga–d. 1951), the daughter of John McKenna (b. 1850–d. 1900) and Margaret Geaney (b. 1852–d. 1925). Mary gave birth to their only daughter, Margaret Frances (b. 1904–d. 1924) at Timaru. Valentine worked as a Police Constable in Oamaru and died at Christchurch on 19 June 1966 aged 93. He is buried at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch.

Frank & Mary Perniski, Catholic Block Plot 2, Allanton Cemetery


John Switalla & Martha C (nee Piernicka), Block 85 Plot 1, Andersons Bay Cemetery


Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 44, 48, 170 & 197.

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. Joseph’s Cathedral, Dunedin: Marriage Register & St Mary’s Church, Milton; Baptism Register.

Kłodawa, Konczewice, Lubiszewo Tczewskie & Subkowy Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.

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


John Perniskie, Roman Catholic Block 29 Plot 48, Southern Cemetery

Valentine Perniskie

Valentine Perniskie, Block 2 Plot 195, Memorial Park Cemetery


Andersons Bay Cemetery – Martha C. Switalla (1865-1938) – Dunedin City Council

Allanton Cemetery – Frank Perniski (1861-1920) – Dunedin City Council

Memorial Park Cemetery – Valentine Perniskie (1873-1966) – (christchurchcitylibraries.com)

Oamaru Old Cemetery – Anthony Perniskie (1863-1932) – Waitaki District Council

Papers Past (natlib.govt.nz)

Southern Cemetery – Annie Perniski (1836-1924) – Dunedin City Council

Southern Cemetery – Anton Ludwig (1836-1914) – Dunedin City Council

Southern Cemetery – John Perniskie (1868-1925) – Dunedin City Council



Compiled by Paul Klemick (2021)