Each year we select a Hutt Valley Rose of Tralee to represent us at the National Final.
The Hutt Valley Rose of Tralee for 2017 was Skye Chadwick.
Skye is a 25 year-old who gives her occupation as "Social Entrepreneur and musician". She is currently helping develop a facility for the residential care of adults with intellectual disabilities as a co-founder of the Hearth Trust.
She has travelled a lot, having lived in 18 different countries, and was co-winner of the Young Wellingtonian of the Year in 2015.
Skye says she is just at the beginning of discovering her Irish background, and has already uncovered fascinating stories about some of her forebears, who came from Co Clare & Co Meath.
For relaxation Skye loves bicycling, hiking and spending time in the bush, and dancing. But especially, playing her violin. She says "I started playing the piano and violin when I was six and music has always been a huge part of my life."
The Hutt Valley Rose of Tralee for 2016 was Hannah Greally.
Hannah is a "local girl", having been born in Lower Hutt, grown up in Upper Hutt, where her family still live, and attended secondary school in Lower Hutt.
She is a 21 year old student at present. She is working towards a Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology and Criminology, minoring in Ecology and Biodiversity. She is also studying online towards a Diploma of Maori Culture/studies.
The Greally family can be traced back to County Galway and County Clare. Their Annaghdown farm is still in the family today.
Hannah's studies keep her very busy, but she has also found time to volunteer in various roles including teaching English in Thailand and helping international students adapt to the New Zealand way of life.
She has a passion for animals and lives on a lifestyle block, allowing her to have pigs, goats, sheep, horses, cats, and dogs.
A self-confessed fried chicken fan, Hannah also enjoys watching cooking shows, Animal Planet, and learning to play musical instruments.
The Hutt Valley Rose of Tralee for 2015 was Esther Welsh.
Esther is a nurse at Hutt Hospital.
Esther's great grandfather was from Ballymena in Co Antrim.
When not nursing Esther is an avid performer, with many qualifications in ballet, jazz and tap over the last 16 years, including completing her Solo Seal Diploma.
Esther enjoys movie nights and cooking with her flatmates and can be seen running along Petone beach to keep fit. She is able to play the bass guitar and has a keen interest in photography. She would like to use her nursing skills overseas exploring the world connecting with a variety of people.
The Hutt Valley Rose of Tralee for 2014 was Lisa Bazalo.
Lisa is 24 and is currently a Lawyer at Buddle Findlay. She went to school at St Marys College in Wellington, and then studied Surveying and Law at Otago University.
Her Irish connections are through Clare (her grandfather) and Galway (her grandmother's family). Her Grandfather Mick Talty has been a card player at the HVIS for many years.
She has awards in Irish dancing and public speaking (including a National Feis title). She has been involved in theatre and dancing for many years both in Wellington and in Otago where she studied.
She has a strong social awareness and has volunteered for a number of organisations including Challenge 2000 and St Vincent de Paul, and currently helps out at the Hutt Valley Law Centre.
The Hutt Valley Rose of Tralee for 2013 was Elizabeth Whelan.
Elizabeth was born in 1987. She is a Television Presenter on Trackside/TAB TV. She attended Wanganui High School (was Dux of her year), and then University of Auckland where she completed a BA/LLB (Hons) conjoint degree.
She says that her Irish Heritage lies with her Paternal grandparents were both born in Ireland. Her grandmother was from Athy Co Kildare and her grandmother was from Annascaul Co Kerry.
Elizabeth is passionate about horse and greyhound racing attending meetings whenever she can. she has a love for fashion with an obsession for hats and dresses. Also has a passion for music achieving Grade 8 AMEB (with Merit) in classical piano in 2001. She worked as the resident pianist at the Northern Club in Auckland for 5 years. Would love to travel to Europe and Ireland and attend the Melbourne Cup one day.
The Hutt Valley Rose of Tralee for 2012 was Catriona Young.
Catriona was born in 1985 in Co Westmeath, Ireland and came to New Zealand three years ago.
Catriona's father comes from Westmeath, while her mother is from Co Offaly. Currently she is an Executive Assistant to a General Manager in Kiwi Rail.
She lists a diverse range of interests and leisure activities - Gaelic Football, snowboarding, heleskiing, traveling and cooking.
She also takes a keen interest in promoting "the uniqueness and beauty of the Irish" within both the New Zealand and the international contexts. She says she takes real pride in her Irish heritage.
The Hutt Valley Rose of Tralee for 2011 was Ailbhe Ryan.
Ailbhe was born on in Dublin and her father was originally from Tralee and her mother from Cavan.
She is currently is a customer service consultant working at Cigna Life Insurance. Ailbhe has a Bachelor Arts honours degree majoring in history and politics and has a Masters in International Relations. With her current role she is doing a Certificate in Financial Services.
She does Irish dancing and loves to cook and bake. In 2007 she volunteered at a school in Haiti and has spent time in Israel and Palestine for her thesis in Arab/Israeli conflict as a student.
The Hutt Valley Rose of Tralee for 2010 was Ashley MacKenzie White. Ashley was born was born on 19 December 1985.
Currently she is an Assistant Advisor & Information Officer for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.
Her mother’s family come from Bray, south of Dublin, in County Wicklow. She also has Irish descent through her father.
She lists her principal interests as collecting tea cups, fine art, craft, books and antiques, writing, embroidery & sewing, in particular cross stitch, baking such as experimenting with cupcakes, walks and travel. She is also a member of numerous galleries and museums throughout New Zealand.
The Hutt Valley Rose of Tralee for 2009 was Lucy McAuliffe, who was born on 25 June 1986 in London, England.
She is currently an Associate Recruitment Consultant, and lists her principal interests as gym and fitness, watching sport, especially rugby, volunteer work, reading and movies. When younger she was a keen Irish dancing student.
Lucy’s father was born in rural southern Limerick. Lucy has a number of cousins, aunts and uncles in the area, and her grandmother still lives on the family farm.
The Hutt Valley Rose of Tralee for 2008 was Aislinn Ryan 13 October 1984 in Wellington.
Currently a student, Aislinn says she loves Irish dancing (both teaching and performing) and travel. After touring with Riverdance and living from a suitcase, she says she gets immense pleasure from making a cup of tea in her own kitchen! She also loves to read, write and enjoy Wellington’s cultural delights – film, theatre, and of course fresh coffee.
Aislinn’s father was born and raised in Cahir, Co Tipperary. His parents were both born in Co Tipperary – the Ryans from Cahir and the Longs from Thurles. Aislinn’s father emigtared to NZ in 1967.
The Hutt Valley Rose of Tralee for 2007 was Therese Hungerford-Morgan, born on 15 October 1986 in Rotorua.
Currently a student, she lists her interests as Midwifery, Tae Kwondo, travel, reading, and guitar.
Therese is of Irish descent rather than birth. Her paternal grandfather was born in Ireland, and her great-great-great grandmother, one Elizabeth Kennedy, was born in Wexford.
In 2006 the Hutt Valley Irish Society selected Emma Coffey as its Rose of Tralee.
Emma Kate Coffey was born in Lower Hutt on 13 August 1982. Emma’s father, Joe, comes from Carrigtwohill, County Cork, and her mother’s father was born in Killarney, County Kerry.
Emma is a Cash and Banking Specialist working for an oil company. Her interests range from Irish dancing – both performing and teaching – to the violin to kick-boxing, traveling, touch rugby, and socialising with friends.
In 2005 the Hutt Valley Irish Society selected Esther Budding as its Rose of Tralee.
Esther was born on 2 May, 1981 in Manchester, England. Her maternal grandfather, Michael Kildunne, was born in a town called Aclare, Co Sligo. Members of the family still live on the land on which her grandfather was born. She has visited the area a number of times and met her relations.
She is currently a solicitor employed in a large legal firm. She says her principal interests are teaching and competing in traditional Irish dancing with the Kildunne School of Irish Dancing. Keeping fit, volunteering at the Community Law Centre, and spending time with her family and friends also occupy her time.
Esther Marie Boyle was the Hutt valley Irish Society's Rose in 2004.
She was born in Wellington in October 1979. She works as a Human Resource Development Co-ordinator.
Her paternal grandmother is from County Down, and paternal grandfather from County Armagh. Her father grew up in Newry, County Down.
When not working or studying, she plays senior tennis at Wellington representative level, competitive netball, running, and enjoys reading and listening to music. She enjoys the varied Wellington cafe scene, socialising with friends and is involved in the Project K Youth Scheme.
In 2002 the Hutt Valley Irish Society selected Vivien Lynch as its Rose. Vivien was born in Upper Hutt on 7 September, 1978. Her mother’s family are from County Tipperary and County Cork, while her father’s family are from Waterford and Wexford.
Vivien is a Travel Consultant whose interests include travel, theatre, health and fitness, floristry, wine and food, and music.
She took the best wishes of the Hutt Valley Irish Society with her the national finals in Hamilton.
And in Hamilton Vivien was selected as the 2002 Air New Zealand Rose of Tralee.
Her prize included a trip to the International Festival and final in Tralee, Ireland.
We celebrate our Hutt Valley Roses, and pay tribute to their embodiment of the Irish in New Zealand.
The Rose of Tralee in New Zealand is at http://www.roseoftralee.co.nz
The Rose of Tralee in Ireland is at http://www.roseoftralee.ie