The Christchurch Irish Society is your society!

We are our membership, but it takes time and dedication to run the various aspects of the society, all of which is done by a merry band of volunteers.

If you would like to contribute your knowledge, expertise, experience or enthusiasm to the growth and improvement of the society, please let us know.

Otherwise we’re happy for you to just enjoy the results of our collective efforts! Why not check out who these volunteers are so the next you are at one of our events, you can introduce yourself to them.

Our Executive Committee

Kieran McErlain

Kieran McErlain

President

Greeting to you all, born and bred a kiwi, my Irish Heritage goes back to my grandparents on my father’s side coming out to New Zealand in the 1920’s and on my mother’s side back in the 1890’s. Family line trace back to County Antrim and County Kerry, both of which I visited back on the 1987 when I competed at the World Championships in Galway.

I have had an involvement with the society from a very early age and the family remain strong members of the society, my interests include dancing, music and sports, having danced for many years and played both Gaelic football and hurling a number of years ago. I have been on the executive for the last 5 years and took the role of President on in 2017, looking forward to building stronger links with all the Irish in Christchurch.

Tricia Radford

Tricia Radford

Secretary

Although I was born in New Zealand, I have a strong Irish Heritage through my father Hugh McElevey who comes from Crossmaglen in South Armagh and came to NZ in the late 1940s. My mother Colleen McElevey (nee Carroll) also had a strong Irish heritage, so it was only natural that I should travel to Ireland in my early 20’s to meet my Irish family. To this day there is a very strong connection between all of us and it was great to welcome many of them to Christchurch earlier this year and to introduce them to our Irish Club.

I am married to Michael whose Mother’s family came from Armagh and we have 2 gorgeous daughters Kate and Emma. I work as a PA and Administrator for the NZ Seed Industry and in my spare time, while not engaged in Secretarial work for the Irish Society, I am learning to play golf and Tango dancing and study Italian.

Stephen Roche

Stephen Roach

Treasurer

Born and raised in Christchurch, married to Kath with 3 adult children, my Irish ancestry is at the great-great-grandparent level but a fondness for Irish culture has always been part of my family. Kath’s father in Nelson, Dave Allen (not the short-fingered one), is an Irish native from County Cork who came out on a Dutch boat (go figure) in the late 1950s so we have had plenty of encouragement from that source.

For work, I’m manager of the Catholic Shop on Manchester Street and finance administrator for Habitat for Humanity on Waltham Road. In my spare time, I’m trying to play golf more often and enjoy watching football (i.e. the round ball) whenever I can.

We’ve been members of the Society for many years now and I was previously Treasurer in 2011-15, taking up the role again earlier this year. I always look forward to the social events that the Society provides and encourage members to participate whenever possible.

Anne OConnor

Anne O’Connor

I have was involved with the Christchurch Irish society at a young age as a dancer with the Gaelic Dancers.  I took a break for a number of years while persuing my career and recently rejoined in the last 3 years.

My Family has originally came from Ireland and have very strong roots and I still have family living in Dublin where I have traveled to several times.

I am working for a construction company in Christchurch as the office manager and enjoy only working Monday to Friday after doing 30 years as a shift worker.  I am single with no dependents and enjoy the freedom this gives me.

Anne OConnor

Michael Campbell

I was born in Lisburn just outside Belfast and grew up in Andersonstown (Falls Rd) through the start of the Troubles. My family then moved to Ballymena and I went to St MacNissi’s College, Garron Tower (originally a castle belonging to Lady Londonderry and later Winston Churchill then a school) as a boarder. I worked for Winemark and Guinness in Belfast then migrated to New Zealand in 1993 with my wife, Mary who is also from Belfast (Turf Lodge) to get away from the ongoing troubles. In June this year (2018) we celebrated 25 years in New Zealand). I’ve worked for wine companies and educational organisations since then. Mary is a midwife, working at Christchurch Women’s Hospital in Fetal Medicine. We have three sons, one is living in Wellington, one in Adelaide and one is still at home with us.

As I was adopted I have researched both my adopted family, my mother being one of 12 and my birth family where my birth mother was one of 11 and my birth father also one of 11. My adopted mother was from Tyrone and her family are steeped in the Tyrone GAA football team where my cousin is the manager.

It would appear between Mary and I that we are related to just about everyone in County Down. My (adopted) sister still lives in Dromore and we have had the opportunity to go home with our boys for both good and bad reasons over the last 25 years.

I speak French, Irish and studied Latin at school and I am learning te reo Maori at the moment. As a youngster I learnt Irish dancing and still enjoy ceilidhs.