Family Business : An Italian New Zealand Story

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General Fields

  • : $45.00(NZD)
  • : Canterbury University Press
  • :
  • : 230x170mm
  • :
  • :
  • : 9781927145333
  • : 45.0
  • : Canterbury University Press
  • : September 2012
  • : general

Special Fields

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Barcode 9781927145333


Bartolo Barnao first sailed into Wellington in 1902, aged 13, and began work in the fish trade. Eight years later he revisited Stromboli to marry the bride who had been chosen for him by the parish priest in his village. Bartolo and Giuseppa returned to New Zealand and raised their five children in Palmerston North and Wellington. In this fascinating book, Italian literary scholar Vincent Moleta traces the story of his grandparents’ childhood on Stromboli at the end of the 19th century; of Bartolo’s year as a cabin boy on a steam trawler sailing out of Napier; of his two years driving a cart of freshly caught fish through the night from Makara Beach to the fish market in Wellington; of the death in 1911 of the couple’s first child; of the family company set up by Bartolo and his brother Giuseppe, which came to dominate the fish trade in the central North Island. We learn of the enormous family rupture 1930 that saw Bartolo sell up and move to Wellington, settling in Island Bay and establishing, in the teeth of the Great Depression, Barnao’s Fish Market in Lambton Quay, which became a Wellington institution. Vincent Moleta paints a lively picture of life in Island Bay, New Zealand’s ‘Little Italy’, from 1900 to the 1960s: of the Catholic tennis club socials and the Fascist club meetings of the 1930s; of Italian weddings; of the New Zealand tour of the Italian grand opera company in 1949. He weaves these events and themes into a moving account of the family’s moments of joy and sorrow, taking their story up to 2004 and the death of his mother, Rosina Barnao Moleta. The book sheds light on a little-understood strand in New Zealand’s post-colonial history, and the rich culture the Æolian migrants brought with them