A Kiwi in search of her ancestral tribes

Peter Dominic Gaffaney ~ working man

I have this newspaper clipping (or rather, a scan of it) that tells a bit about my great grandfather Peter and his working life.  He was a livestock buyer for Messrs Borthwick & Sons in Waimate, South Canterbury.  He had obviously been given a promotion up to Rangiora, North Canterbury, and the  article is about the farewell he was given on leaving Waimate.  I’m not sure which publication this article appeared in, nor the exact date, but it would have been around 1928.  I must ask my father more about him!

Eloquent Tribute (Peter Gaffaney) - part one

Farewell tribute to Peter Gaffaney (publication and date unknown) - part one

Eloquent Tribute (Peter Gaffaney) - part two

Farewell tribute to Peter Gaffaney (publication and date unknown) - part two




Mr Peter Gaffaney, Messrs Borthwick & Sons’ stock buyer in Waimate district for some nine or ten years, who has been transferred to Rangiora, was tendered a farewell by a large host of friends at a smoke concert held in the Silver Band Hall last night. Those present were fully representative of the farming community, stock dealers, and the general community, and the gathering was a happy and enthusiastic one.

Mr G.A McCulloch, Wahao Forks, presided.

After the Loyal Toast had been honoured, the chairman proposed the toast of “The Guest of the Evening.” Mr McCulloch said the large attendance was a tribute to the guest more eloquent than words. During the many years as a fat stock buyer in the Waimate district he had won popularity. He always looked on the bright side of life, possessing a jovial disposition and plenty of Irish wit. He was above all a shrewd judge of stock, one of the best in the Dominion. (Applause). Mr Gaffaney had attended to his business, and would work day and night if necessary. The speaker had done a good deal of business with the guest of the evening and could say that any dealings had been of the most pleasant nature. He was always obliging and fair and a real good sport. Mrs Gaffaney was also held in the highest esteem throughout the district. The speaker was sorry that Mr Gaffaney was leaving, but it was pleasing to know that it was for betterment, and probably a stepping stone to something better still. The speaker hoped that while resident in North Canterbury he would visit Waimate occasionally. He would meet with a hearty welcome. (Hear, Hear). The speaker wished the Gaffaney family every prosperity and health in the future.

The toast was drunk with musical honours.

Mr C. L. H. Gunn endorsed the remark that Mr Gaffaney was proficient at his work. Being an agent he was in the best position to judge the guest’s capabilities, and he could say that while there were some as good there were none better. As an agent, he was also sorry that Mr Gaffaney would now be missing from the yards. Relations with him had been of the best. He was sure Mr Gaffaney would do as well in North Canterbury as he had in Waimate. He extended stock agents’ best wishes for his success in Rangiora, and the healthy and happiness of his wife and family.

Mr F. O’Boyle said he had known Mr Gaffaney probably longer than anyone in the room. Mr Gaffaney was always out to make the best deal he could, and he thought he had made many a good deal for Messrs Borthwick & Son.

Mr S. I. Fitch said he knew Mr Gaffaney in a private capacity, and he knew him as a jolly good fellow. His popularity was amply testified to by the attendance that evening. He joined in the good wishes of the others.

Mr D. Borrie, an opposition buyer, said he had always got on well with Mr Gaffaney, and he endorsed the remarks already made. On behalf of the fat stock buyers of the district he extended best wishes.

Other speakers were Messrs J. Simmons, H. Matheson, S. R. Wood, E. C. d’Auvergne, T. Twomey, J. Dench, M. Cooney, W. Boland, R. R. G. Rattray, J. Heath, M. Leonard, F. Hansen, E. B. Harrison, J. W. Halliday, J. Gibson, D. Wise, T. Fleming, and G. Miller.

The toast of ‘Mrs Gaffaney’ was also enthusiastically honoured.

In making the presentation of a wallet of notes, Mr G. B. Creemer said that during residence in Waimate, Mr and Mrs Gaffaney had been his neighbours, and they had been fine neighbours. In business, Mr Gaffaney was undoubtedly a live wire; and his departure meant that Waimate lost a good citizen and the farmers a good friend. It was pleasing to know that well-earned promotion had come his way. He was certainly a first-flight judge of stock, and also he was a fair dealer. The gift was a token of the esteem in which he was held generally.

Mr Gaffaney was loudly applauded on rising to reply. He said he could hardly find words to express his gratitude for the tribute paid him. He was sorry to be going for he felt he was leaving the most friends he had ever met in his life. He had been nine or ten years in the district and he did not think he had met so many friends in that time before. He must say that his time in Waimate had been the happiest of his life. Everything had gone smoothly, and he only wished that where he was going it would be as easy. He believed he was leaving one of the best districts in New Zealand as far as fat stock was concerned. The people of Waimate were the finest he had ever met, and he had been in many places in both the North and South Islands. He thanked one and all for the handsome present, and repeated that he was sorry to leave the Waimate district.

The toast of “The Freezing Industry” was proposed by Mr Fitch and responded to by Messrs Borrie and Matheson; Mr C. L. H. Gunn proposed the toast of “The Farming Community”, which was responded to by Messrs E. C. d’Auvergne and E. B. Harrison; Mr T. Twomey proposed the toast of “The Sports” which was responded to by Messrs G. E. Bray, F. Hansen and W. F. Boland. Mr R. Harrison proposed the toast of “The Ladies,” Mr Solomon replying.

Other toasts honoured were those of “The Pianist,” “The Press,” and “The Chairman”.

Items were given by Messrs H. Matheson, D. Cooney, M. Leonard, S. Razell Wood, F. Hansen, and D Wise, (songs), Messrs D. Newall and S. I. Fitch (recitations), and Messrs J. Heath and Weiheipihana (duet and haka).

Messrs T. H. Walker and Soloman were the capable accompanists.1

  1. “Eloquent Tribute”, undated clipping from unidentified newspaper; digital image; scan from Gaffaney family papers, 2006, supplied by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; original privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], grandson of deceased.


Lost and found (and lost again)


Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!


  1. Peter Dominic Gaffaney

    The Waimate farewell function was held on 30/10/1929 at which PDG was presented with a gold Hunter pocket watch inscribed inside the back cover “Presented to Peter Gaffaney by Waimate friends 30/10/29”. It was bequeathed to me, his grandson, on his death in 1954 and is in perfect working condition to-day (7 Feb 2012)

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