A Kiwi in search of her ancestral tribes

The old homestead, Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ

"Belper", Arowhenua, South Canterbury (late 1800s)

“Belper”, Arowhenua, South Canterbury (late 1800s)

This is the original home of Michael Gaffaney and Margaret Brosnahan, and I’ve posted this photo in an earlier post.  I’m not sure when it was taken, but at the recent family gathering in Temuka, the photo was displayed with the following note:

Michael and Margaret Gaffaney with, probably, their five eldest daughters, Susan, Annie, Margaret, Ellen, Kate and their eldest son, Thomas.

Their son Thomas died in 1900 at the age of 28, and if it is indeed him on the horse, he looks considerably younger, so I’m guessing this photo is at least a decade earlier than that.  (Where is Jayne Shrimpton when you need her??)

"Belper", Arowhenua, South Canterbury, NZ, c.1915

“Belper”, Arowhenua, South Canterbury, NZ, c.1915

I have a copy of this photo, but was never sure who the children were, or when it was taken.  At the Temuka gathering, it was displayed with the following caption:

Belpher [sic] House approx 1915-16
Tom Gaffaney, Peggy Barron, Albert Halley


"Belper", Arowhenua, South Canterbury, NZ, 1989

“Belper”, Arowhenua, South Canterbury, NZ, 1989

This is a photo my father took in 1989, possibly just before the house left family ownership.

"Belper", Arowhenua, South Canterbury, NZ, January 2012

“Belper”, Arowhenua, South Canterbury, NZ, January 2012

This is what the house looks like today – a bit run down and unloved. (And yes, I should have moved a bit closer, so that darn post was not in the way.)  Apparently many of the character features of the house are long gone, and it’s in need of serious repair.  That didn’t stop me asking my cousin to let me know if it ever goes up for sale!


Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ ~ Those Places Thursday


Who the heck are these folks?


  1. Cathy Reynolds

    Hi, My Greatgrand father was Alexander Barron who had a son James Barron who farmed at Sherwood Downs South Canterbury where my Father Douglas Renton Barron was born, I am looking on the net about my side of the family and see a Andrew Barron and are wondering if your Andrew is related to my Barron side. I see your Andrew died 1915 at wellington but dont know anything else. I do know I have a margaret who married a Ernst Halliday as Merv who lives at Te Anau told me. Kind regards Cathy

    • Tracey Barron

      Hi Cathy
      My great grandfather was the James Barron from Sherwood Downs. I went back there with my father for a small reunion of the families who lived in the area several years ago.

      • cathy reynolds

        Hi Tracey,
        Are you related to me, if so where do you fit into my family as I know Dad had 4 brothers which I met but that was along time ago, as they have all died now. I think most of them lived in Ch-Ch. I have lived in Perth Australia for a big part of my life but did go back to catch up on all my brothers & their family.
        thanks for responding
        CHEERS Cathy

      • cathy Reynolds

        Hi Tracey,
        I gather that you could be related to me so who are the names of your family as I know all of my fathers side brothers.
        Thanks Regards
        Cathy Perth WA

        • cathy Reynolds

          Hi Tracey,
          My brothers are john who lives in Papanui, kevin who lives in Napier, judith whom died 20years ago & christopher who lives in Nelson my Dad was Doug & his brothers where Max, Ian, Charlie & Alan Barron. My Mum was Maisie Barron.I stayed with uncle Alan & aunty Cath in ch-ch in early 1973 but took off to aussie & thats where I have lived since, so where do I fit with your family tree. thanks cathy

    • Olwyn

      Can Cathy please contact me regarding Sherwood Downs. Thanks.

    • Olwyn

      Can Cathy please contact me regarding Sherwood Downs. Thanks. olwynbw@gmail.com

  2. Hello: I have some questions and observations about this house. Is the “Belper” house the house that was located close to the Arowhenua hotel, same side of the street? If it was then it was the house last occupied by my aunt Mrs. Julia Gaffaney. I spent a lot of time there during my childhood and know it very well. It had had many changes over the years, primarily bedrooms to accommodate the family over the years. May Gaffaney (only girl of the Julia and Michael marriage) was my godmother. I remember a lovely long sweep of a driveway, lovely garden. Then to the side of the house there were berry bushes – gooseberry mostly. I have all kinds of memories of the home.
    It is my recollection that the house came to a rather ignoble demise, having been used by police to train their dogs. The house I am talking about is now demolished.
    If you think this is Belper house, I would be interested in hearing from you.
    Regards, Anita

    • Maggie

      Hi Anita – it’s definitely not the same house. I’m having trouble locating it now on Google Maps, but I do know that Belper House isn’t nearby the Arowhenua hotel. I spoke to my father who knows more about both houses, and he’d love to correspond. Will send on his email address to you. Many thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. Kelly Williams

    Hi ,my names Kelly .
    I have received the news that by blood I am also related to this Barron family in temuka.
    My mother was born in Temuka in 1952 and her parents and grandparents lived there.
    There sir name is Haar.johan and Olive were her grandparents .
    Does anybody know how the two family are connected?

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