St. Joseph, the Worker

This is the holy icon given to the Kimbolton Catholic Church in memory of the Shapleski/Czablewski family’s early Polish immigrants who were sponsored to the New Zealand under the Vogel Scheme. Jakub Czablewski and other peasant hopefuls (including Wisniewski, Wischniowski, Lipinski, Rosanoski and Bielski) left their home villages of Lubichowo, Tczew and Godziszewo on the west bank the Vistula River and just north of Starogard-Gdansk, the provincial capital of modern-day Pomerania, Eastern Poland. (Stettin was the capital while Pomerania was still territory of Germany.) Together with his pregnant wife Marianna (nee Patzer) and sons Franz, Josef, Jakub (junior), Bernhard, plus a baby girl (Martha) born on the ship, father Jakub packed their entire belongings into simple bags and headed north to the port city of Gdansk for the three-month voyage to Āotearoa.

In late 1875 at total of 63 Poles landed in the Special Settlement of Jackson’s Bay in South Westland.

The scheme was a dismal failure due to it’s unsuitability and inept government officials. In 1878 the family all left to pursue their land ownership dreams in other parts of New Zealand, and en route, North John was born in Hokitika. In 1882 Jakob with his oldest sons Frank and Joseph had succeeded in land ballots of 100 acres each along the Kimbolton Road (Otamakapua Block).

Joseph Shapleski married Maryanne Richardson from nearby Homebush in 1895. He donated the original section for the first Catholic Church in Kimbolton. Hundreds of Shapleski family descendants are now spread all over the world, but John Gerke, the grandson of Martha still remains farming here.

Czaplewski Genealogy

Shapleski – Czaplewski (Pomeranian) Baptism Indexes
(All born in the North-East province of Pomerania near the (now) Russian border close to Kaliningrad, what was formerly part of East Prussia):

Parish / Registry office Year Childs name Fathers name Fathers Surname Mothers Forename Mothers Surname
Lubichowo 1838 Jacob Paul Czaplewski Anna Barca
Lubichowo 1840 Marianna Johann Patzer Francisca Brona
Tczew 1863 Franz Jacob Czaplewski Marianna Pacer
Godziszewo 1866 Joseph Jacob Czaplewski Maria Patzer
Godziszewo 1867 Jacob Jacob Czaplewski Maria Patzer
Godziszewo 1871 Maria Jacob Czaplewski Maria Patzer
Godziszewo 1873 Bernhard Jacob Czaplewski Maria Patzer


Pomeranian Death Indexes

Parish / Registry office Year Forename Surname Sex Age
Godziszewo 1872 Maria Czaplewska F 0,5

(Note above that in most Slavic languages a surname ending with an “a” denotes a female with an “i” ending being a male)

New Zealand Births

SS Lamershagen on route to NZ 1875 Martha Jacob Czaplewski Maria Patzer
Hokitika 1878 John Jacob Czaplewski Maria Patzer


(After first settling at Jacksons Bay, South Westland the family and many others deserted this settlement in 1878 due to deprivation and starvation. John was born en route at Hokitika as the family travelled North to the Manawatu.

There were many variations in the anglicised spellings of the family name (that include: Ziglefski, Shaplefski, Chabalaski and more) on various documents classifying the family as German due to the fact their original travel papers were given by the Prussian authorities. Old father Jacob never learned to read and write, so right up to his death, he signed his name with an “X”).

Notes from Christina Reimers (nee Stewart):

There are a couple of places called Turze but thankfully I have managed to narrow it down to two which are down the road from each other.– Turze and Male Turze. (Male, I think means “little”, so “little Turze”),18.608611&spn=0.1,0.1&t=m&q=54.099444,18.608611

My guess is that the children were probably born there… possibly baptised there or in the surrounding area. Turze is about 6km from Tczew.

The catholic church they married at in Tczew is most likely the “Parafia Podwyższenia Krzyża Świętego” (Church of the Elevation of the Holy Cross).

The church in Godziszewo is the catholic church “Parafia Świętego Jana Nepomucena” (The Parish of Saint John of Nepomuk).

Much of the family tree is recorded on
Written by Joseph’s grandson: A G (Sandy) Stewart [email protected]

Leave a Comment