Dec. 17, 2019, 3:52 p.m.
The first marriage between local Māori and early Dalmatian migrants was commemorated on Tararā Day this year, 127-years after the wedding took place in Kaitāia.
The wedding between Andrija Kleskovic and Erina Kaaka was conducted in 1892 by Kaitāia’s first missionary, the Reverend Joseph Matthews. Andrija, who was later known as Anaru Tuna amongst Māori, was one of many young men that migrated to Aotearoa from Dalmatia at the turn of the twentieth century.
A recent descendant of this Māori-Croatian marriage, Penetaui Kleskovic, explains one of the many meanings of Tararā included their love of the Māori people and music.
“To my understanding, the word Tararā derived from the Croats love of music and in particular, their guitar playing.”
“The union produced many children - our kuia Ma Jones was the mataamua. Some have gone on to become great league players, a politician and many other things. There’s a notable big build to the Tararā and we like to talk,’ said Penetaui.
A plaque to commemorate the union was unveiled at the Tararā Open Day. The event brought many of their descendants together to celebrate.