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Trąpski Family

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Frederick Ferdinand Trapski. Danzig to Dunedin

Trąpski, Eduard Wilhelm Carl Frederick (1840-1914) arrived aboard the City of Dunedin from London on 4 October 1869. He worked in Dunedin as a carpenter and died unmarried on 15 June 1914 aged 74. He is buried in the Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.

Trąpski, Frederick Ferdinand (1836-1874) Tusewark?, Gdańsk, the son of a tailor, married on 10 December 1864 at St. Joseph’s, Dunedin to Alice (Alicia) McKenna (1834-1883), the daughter of Charles McKenna. Family—Greytown; Charles Henry (1866-1920), Frederick Ferdinand (1868-1946), Alice Alicia (1870-1929), & John (1872-1944). Frederick worked as a farmer in the district and owned a small house and barn beside the railway. In 1874 Frederick applied for 200 acres of section 1, block 13 at Waipahi. Before the move Frederick was involved in a coaching accident in January of 1874 that interred him to the Dunedin Asylum.

Steadman’s four-horse Waihola coach, driven by T. Aitken, met with an accident on Monday morning, When passing Lookout Point, the pole broke short, and the coach upset, the horses bolting with the front carriage, and dragging the driver for a short distance with them. He escaped, however, without injury, but some of the passengers of whom there were a good number received nasty bruises from the metal. William Mulligan had one of his wrists sprained; and Fred Trapske, a German, was conveyed to the hospital, being severely bruised, but having no bones broken. The other passengers were forwarded to Dunedin by a Caversham bus.” 10 Jan 1874, Otago Witness.

Some of the foreign residents in the Taieri are rather unfortunate. A Frenchman had to be sent to the lunatic asylum a few weeks ago, and last week a German named F. Tropski, had to be sent to the same place. It will be remembered he met with an accident through the upsetting of Mr Steadman’s coach, about six months ago, and although he had been in the hospital for several weeks, he never properly recovered the shock, and his ill-health and consequent inability to earn anything to support his family caused great depression in his spirits, which resulted in his insanity. According to the doctor’s opinion, his case is hopeless. We learn that a few of the gentlemen of the East Taieri are endeavouring to raise a subscription to aid his wife and four children, the eldest of whom is not eight years old. As he has been well-known in the district for over twelve years, we have not doubt the gentlemen will be successful”. 2 Oct 1874, Bruce Herald.  Frederick died on 13 October 1874 aged 35 and is buried in the Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.

Alicia & children moved to Waipahi in the hope of making a better future for the family.

One of the selectors in the deferred payment block at Waipahi, named Frederick Trapski, died soon after he took up his land, leaving a widow and four children very badly provided for, but the widow, with unusual pluck, determined to keep the 200 acred section, and try to put on the improvements required by law. She had some cows, so made butter and sold it, thus obtaining money to procure provisions and fence in the land, but when the three years were up, she had no land ploughed. The Waste Land Board decided that the ploughing must be done, and granted her time to do it. She informed some of the neighbours of the circumstance, and a subscription was at once started, and sufficient money collected to plough the required twenty acres, and we are glad to state that the poor widow has now received the lease she has so well earned”. 27 Jul 1877, CL.

She is reputed to have repeatedly walked the three or four miles to Waipahi to put the butter on the train for sale in Gore. It was often said that the wandering animals were a bit of a problem because of the lack of fencing in the area. Aged only 49 years of age she succumbed to cancer and died on 3 September 1883 and is buried in the Gore Cemetery. Edmund Hayes and Daniel Clarke were executors and guardians of the children aged 17, 14, 13 & 11. The Cooper family in the same district brought up John, the youngest son. Alice, the only daughter at 12, took responsibility for looking after her older brothers.


Frederick Trapski, Roman Catholic Block 29 Plot 25, Southern Cemetery


Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 106 & 155.

Woods Betty, wrote family history, Danzig to Dunedin (One hundred and twenty six years of the Trapski family in New Zealand (1864-1990).

Research Sources

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

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


Frederick Ferdinand Trapski, name plate, Southern Cemetery

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.

O’Hagen Mary, Danzig to Dunedin (One hundred and twenty six years of the Trapski family in New Zealand (1864-1990).

Trapski Graham, Danzig to Dunedin (One hundred and twenty six years of the Trapski family in New Zealand (1864-1990).


Andersons Bay Cemetery – Edward Trapske (1840-191$) – Dunedin City Council


Edward Trapske, Block 31 Plot 66, Andersons Bay Cemetery

Gore Cemetery – Alice Alicia Trapski (1834-1883) » Gore District Council (goredc.govt.nz)

Papers Past (natlib.govt.nz)

Southern Cemetery – Frederick Trapski (1839-1874) – Dunedin City Council





Compiled by Paul Klemick (2021)