Here To Stay - Monday 30 April

Here To Stay Monday 30 April, 7.30pm

Self-confessed ‘bog-Irish’ actor Theresa Healey takes a trip into the rugged hardship of the West Coast, as well as the big city convents and schools, to discover the legacy of the hard-drinking, yarn-telling, song-singing Irish in ‘Here To Stay’ (tonight at 7.30pm on TV ONE).

Healey says it was interesting to discover how much influence the Irish had, and continues to have, on Kiwi culture. While taking a good look at her own family heritage, she gained a deeper understanding of how hard it was for her ancestors when they arrived in New Zealand.
“It’s amazing to see how they really shaped everything we do now. They were very hardy people, loved being here and never went back but you can see how their determination has carried through.”

She says Kiwis have a certain outlook on life: “We aren’t scared to move around and are not afraid of giving things a go. It’s that real DIY attitude that exists.”

While learning the impact the fightin’ Irish had on New Zealand’s sports teams, music and cultural life, Healey chatted with Irish-Kiwi icons such as Neil Finn, Sean Fitzpatrick and Peta Mathias. She says it was often a case of realising, “Of course they’re Irish”.

“So many people have Irish heritage in New Zealand but it’s not until you think about it that you realise how many.

“Irish names are just so Irish! They speak so loudly that you can’t get away from that heritage, it’s just there in your name and you never lose that. It follows on down the generations.”

Tonight’s ‘Here To Stay’ sees Healey wonder whether it’s possible for a Catholic to join the Orange Lodge in New Zealand and learn just how Irish music, melancholy and madness have intermarried with Kiwi culture.

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