Review: Irish in the Blood, by Marie Gray

Pic20171207_05.jpgA Family History – an oldie but a goodie, rediscovered

This is the story of a family before and after emigrating to New Zealand in 1887, and is the answer to the question Marie and indeed her uncles and aunts often asked her grandfather (their uncle), to which the answer was an infuriating “Tell you one day.”

After his passing, Marie’s husband encouraged her to travel back to Ireland to find answers. She did so, and more. After receiving only hints of knowledge during her visit, she returned to New Zealand and began a full journey of research, aided by her grandmother’s journal, kept whilst travelling on the powered steamer Cuzco under Captain Murdoch.

Husband and wife Patrick Magill and Mary-Jane Pic20171207_07
(née Campbell) sailed with their children James (Jim), Mary, Robert (Bob) and Annie, heading to South Africa (Capetown), then east to Australia (Melbourne). There they took the Governor Arthur up the Yarrow River, to visit with Uncle Jack, who had travelled out some years before to try his luck at the gold fields. After losing his friend, he settled to the land, now a flourishing homestead.

The Magills shipped to New Zealand aboard the Arawata, arriving in the Hawke Bay Ahuriri port close to Napier.

Gray relates the events as she saw and heard them, and those of ancestors she has cleverly written as a narrative built from tales told by family members back in the old country. Her place in the genealogy of the family is included.

A delightful story,  told with both regret and wit, and you may have trouble getting your hands on a copy. But if there’s any Irish in you, you’ll find it.

Published 1997, by Hodder Moa Beckett Publishers Limited, Auckland, NZ
ISBN: 1-86958-481-3



Tuesday, 3rd February, 1931, was different. Even before it happened, the air had a hot, sticky feel to it, a sort of a gasp before a coughing fit.

“There’s something eerie going on,” mumbled Pat Scott mysteriously. “You wait! Look at the clouds coming over from Raglan Harbour.”

Jess ignored her prattle.

“There’s someone riding along the road for Te Akau. It’s not Len or Mr Magill either, Pat Scott yelled. She crossed herself devoutly.

The figure became clearer. “It’s the police from Ngaruawahia. Holy Mary Mother of God. What’s happened?”

“A message came through from Napier, Pat. Have you got the Magills staying here?” said the policeman.

Pat Scott flopped into a chair sideways, legs sprawled over the arm rests.

Jess came forward with her chin up.

“What is it Sergeant? I’m Jessie Magill.”

“Sorry to tell you, ma’am, but there’s been a mighty big earthquake in Napier. The town’s in ruins and the whole place is on fire. We got this message from Naval Headquarters. There’s no electricity or gas. They’re cut off completely. Here’s your telegram.


“By the way, ma’am, two ships are on their way down the coast with supplies and a medical team aboard.”

“Thank you, Sergeant,” Jess said mechanically. “Are there many casualties?”

“Afraid so, ma’am, but we can’t give numbers yet. I;ll go and find the men.”

Da went white and started blowing his nose. “It sounds desperate. We’d better get going….”


My Dalek Has a Puncture by Simon Fisher-Becker

Doctor Who fans don’t often get to hear a lot about the people
with a small recurring partFront cover image in the show–and Simon is quite funny.
He first appeared as ‘Dorium Maldovar’–the large, blue intergalactic Black Marketeer–in a brief exchange with Dr Song (then played by Alex Kingston) in 2010. Almost immediately he was called on to appear at Sci-Fi fan conventions he kindly describes as “part car boot sale, part antiques fair–crossed with a zoo”.
When asked about his autobiography, he set about the challenge. In this, the first of a planned trilogy, he explains the source of the title and also what to expect in the following two books.
The memoir is well structured, following a time line from his origins his career, and those who have influenced him. The anecdotes are entertaining and the entire memoir lets us “hear” his voice and personality. Beginning on stage at age sixteen as Mr. Bumble in a school production of Oliver, he also appeared as the Fat Friar ghost in Hufflepuff House. He tells of his many other performances, and includes anecdotes of other film and stage personalities and professionals he has worked with or befriended.
Within the pages, Simon explains what works for one who wants to become an actor, and much of the advice can be paraphrased to apply to any career beginner. His Trials and Tribulation are ironically amusing.
Overall it is thoroughly enjoyable to read–amusing and insightful–one of three “must own” books by the man who played Dorium Maldovar

Publication date: 2015
ISBN: ebook: 978-1-909 163-79–9
print: 978-1-909 163-80-5

Publisher's logo Buy Link
Click to buy from Publisher


Or for eBook and/or Print:

Amazon Logo
Click to buy via Amazon

Remembering: a mosaic of memories

a mosaic of memories
(a century of remembering)


Ynys FRASER’s idea

These memories of life in early Rotorua
have been meticulously gathered by
Ynys FRASER and Alison BROWN,
who interviewed a selection

of Rotorua people in their nineties or more,

whom had been drawn to live in Rotorua

at some early stage in their lives.
Photographic portraits of interviewees
are included

Alison BROWN, chronicler

Rotorua residents are able to buy from
McClouds Booksellers
(Tutanekai Street, Rotorua).
Would-be purchasers from out of
the Rotorua area (including overseas)
may inquire via email about price and charges, at


         Ynys – the Foreword

ISBN 978-0-473-18961-7

[Dudfield Bryce Printers of Rotorua
         You are welcome to comment on this Post.
         If you have read the book, please Rate the book itself?