About ‘Jewarne’

I was born Joanne Mary McPadden into a large Catholic family of nine brothers and sisters - a kiwi with several Irish great grandparents.

I first lived in New Plymouth, under Mt Taranaki before moving to Wellington when I was ten - when I was sixteen and a student at St Mary’s College I read Leon Uris’ ‘Trinity’ and knew deep within I was Irish.


My book, ‘Mind Y’self Now,Jewarne’ is dedicated to Myles, Bridget, Catherine, John, Bernard, Elizabeth, John and Mary, from the clans of McPaddens, Clunes, Roddens, McElwains, Dohertys, Whelans, Kirwans and Phelans. These Irish ancestors of ours danced and cried at the crossroads in their counties of Donegal, Clare, Fermanagh, Leitrim and Waterford before their journeys to live in Aotearoa New Zealand…..the Irish cultural, spiritual and historical influences linger for many generations.

‘Mind Y’self Now, Jewarne’ is my tale about life in Donegal and Dublin. It records my observations and experiences of contemporary rural and urban Irish life, my reflections on Ireland’s ancient and often painful history, its future hopes and my great love and delight in the ‘craic’ enjoyed by its people – no word in English can sum up the magic, the fun, the conversation, music and commotion of Irish people ‘being together’ - craic says it all.


This story crosses the border to include my reflections of both Northern Ireland and the republic in the South. When the young ones left several Irish counties in the island of Ireland to come to New Zealand, their mammys cried their tears at the crossroads. By returning home to Ireland to my counties and parishes and the derelict family cottages, I present a gift to the old mammys - the story of their families in the new world, and an opportunity to dry their tears.


Living at Te Wakaiti community in the Wairarapa for two decades, provided me with a journey of biculturalism with the tangata whenua of New Zealand, the indigenous Maori people who are steeped in their culture and whakapapa or clan genealogy - going 'home' to live in Ireland was about discovering mine.

I now live at Sunshine Bay - Jack fishes on the harbour, our front lawn, while the grandchildren and I explore 'Crab Beach' as they have renamed it!