Two years ago I studied Iwi Environmental Management at Te Wananga a Aotearoa. My motivation was to improve my undertstanding of development and sustainability issues relating to the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, the Maori.
As part of the course, students were required to produce and present their whakapapa: the history of their family’s origins and development.Knowledge of one’s whakapapa is an essential part of one’s identity as a Maori. Perhaps the most polite question you can ask a stranger in New Zealand is “where do you come from?”. Increasingly, other migrants to New Zealand are researching their personal whakapapa.
Today, I recieved notice that my cousin had obtained an heraldic coat of alms, ostensibly from Normandy, north-west France, dated 1696. This information conflicted with my own research that identified our family as refugee protestants who had migrated to England from the French town of Malaloy, near Nancy in north-east France. They arrived in Middleton, Lancashire in 1635 and established a silk-weaving enterprise.
From UK census records, I suspect that the name Mellalieu was newly-created by these refugees from Malaloy in England. The name may never have existed in France.
Accordingly, I have made available to our family the research I conducted as a facebook photo album, as a basis for the family’s further investigation.
If any other Mellalieu-named person wishes to view my research, they can view the photo album of my keynote presentation here:
Mellalieu, P. (2008, May 28). Whakapapa Mellalieu: The geneology and history of the Mellalieu family. Presented in partical fullfilment for the requirtements for the Certificate in Iwi Environmental Management at Te Wananga a Aotearoa, Mangere, Auckland. Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=240803&id=735589897&l=0dc68ac5ae
For a sample from my presentation, on tumblr, see here.