The story of The Rose of Tralee

The Rose of Tralee

The Roses:

Laura Young, representing the Auckland Irish SocietyLaura Young - Auckland

Laura was born on the 24th of September, 1986. She is currently working part time as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Political Studies Department at the University of Auckland, and for Marie Kelly of Kidz Psychology as a Tutor. She has a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws degree and is completing an Honours degree in Political Studies. Laura's ambition is to be a diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Laura's Irish heritage comes from her paternal Grandmother, Hannah McGettigan, who was born in Lifford, Co Donegal, and her maternal Great Grandparents, the Twomey's, from Abbeyfeale in Limerick. Laura has been an Irish Dancer for the last 15 years, involved in both the competitive and performance side of Irish Dance.

Laura's interests are reading, travel, cooking, trivia, watching all sorts of sports, and completing daredevil activities such as bungy jumping and sky diving!


Kimberley Farthing representing the Waikato Irish SocietyKimberley Farthing - Waikato

Kimberley was born on 1 March 1988, exactly 120 years after her maternal Great Great Grandmother was born in Antrim, Ireland. Her paternal Great Great Grandmother was born in Limerick, Ireland.

Kimberley graduated from WINTEC in 2008 with a Bachelor of Media Arts, and is currently working as a wedding photographer in the Waikato. She is also starting her own photography business.

She loves to dance and has been involved in various styles since she was 8, including Jazz ballet, Hip Hop/Funk and Ballroom/Latin American. Kimberley enjoys camping and the great outdoors. A goal for this year is to hike the Tongariro Crossing. She loves spending time with family and friends, cycling, traveling and eating steak'n'cheese pies.


Anna Mills, representing the Taranaki Irish SocietyAnna Rose Mills - Taranaki

Anna was born in 1984. She is a Dental Hygienist in New Plymouth, having gained a diploma in Dental Hygiene from Otago University. She currently works at two practices.

Her Grandfather's four grand parents immgrated to New Zealand in the 1870's. The FitzGerald's and the Power's came from County Tipperary, the Verdons came from County Rosscommon and the Leo's came from County Cork. She still has a family connection in Tipperary.

Anna's interests include: Travel, fashion, Cooking, Irish Dancing, Snowboarding, WaterSkiing, The gym, Swimming and Taranaki Young Professionals.

Ashley MacKenzie-WhiteAshley MacKenzie-White - Hutt Valley

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.

Karen Lynch, representing the Christchurch Irish SocietyKaren Lynch - Christchurch

Karen was born in 1984 in Co Cork, Ireland. She comes from a farming background in Macroom, Co. Cork. She moved to New Zealand about 3 years ago and works as a paediatric nurse in Christchurch Hospital.

Karen is involved with the GAA in Christchurch and loves music and singing including playing guitar. She loves the outdoors including activities like trekking, caving, cycling and swimming as well as her Gaelic Football. She loves the easy going culture of New Zealand and the vibrancy of Christchurch and the proximity to all the outdoor activities she enjoys.


Elizabeth Sara, representing the Otago Irish SocietyElizabeth Sara - Otago

Elizabeth Alexandra Sara was born on 3 December, 1986.

Her Irish connection is through her maternal grandmother, Dorothy Juliana Margaret McMillan, who was born in Kells, County Wicklow. where her father worked as a butler on the Rockfield estate.

Elizabeth is currently completing a Bachelor of Education, Primary teaching degree at Otago College of Education, with a view to doing post-graduate study in Educational Psychology and design. Income is earned through a part-time retail job.

She says her interests include tramping (she's trying to get through all the 'Great Walks'!), swimming, music (she sings in a church group, plays the harp, and is teaching herself the guitar), photography, sewing, making and fixing things, writing and watersports.


Nicole Gourley representing the Invercargill Irish Society.  Photo courtesy: Ashley Mckenzie, Southland TimesNicole Gourley - Invercargill

Nicole was born on October 3rd 1988 in Invercargill. She lived in Dunedin for a few years after school but has moved back to Invercargill. She works as a photographer at The Southland Times, and is completing a Bachelor of Commerce. (She says she want to be a photographer who can do her own accounts!)

Nicole's Irish ancestory comes predominantly from her Mother's family. her maternal great-grandfather came from Galway, and she has two great-great-grandfathers on her mother's side who also came from Galway. On her father's side, her great-great-great-grandfather was from Northern Ireland.

She says that in her spare time she's a big theatre fan - watching it, being onstage, or backstage. She also uses spare time for freelance photography work for clients and she and boyfriend are in the process of starting their own business.