Spanish television to make Manuel José documentary

BUENOS DÍAS DE NUEVA ZELANDA: Descendants of Spanish trader Manuel José: (standing) Aidan Edwards, Abigail Sadlier, Walton Sadlier, Natalia Mahani, Noah Mahani-McCabe, Edda McCabe, Thomas Rangihuna, Walter Akroyd, and (sitting) John Manuel, Whetu Manu, Ellen Akroyd and Olive Tamatea. Manuel José arrived on the East Coast in 1830 and his descendants are excited that a Spanish documentary team will visit them in September. Picture by Liam Clayton

THEIR 2007 “sentimental journey” to Spanish ancestor Manuel José’s village of Valverde made them international celebrities. The olive tree planted more than 180 years ago by the seafaring trader survived a fire and is still alive, and now a Spanish television company plans to film José’s East Coast descendants, known as Paniora, in September.

“They phoned to say they want to make a documentary about Manuel José from the time he landed to the present day,” said Rangitukia man John Manuel.

Samuel and Juan Manuel of the Radio and Television Public Corporation of Spain emailed Mr Manuel to say the documentary would be dedicated to the story of Manuel José de Frutos and his descendants in New Zealand.

“We would like to have a glimpse of the Paniora family two centuries later, how their customs and traditions used to be and how they have changed.

“We feel very close to the story of your family and we want to tell it in this particular way to the whole of Spain.”

Mr Manuel is a fifth-generation descendant of the trader who was born in Valverde in 1811. After two trips away, he returned to set up a store and lived on the Coast for the rest of his days with his five wives. Two were sisters and the other three were their cousins.

THEIR 2007 “sentimental journey” to Spanish ancestor Manuel José’s village of Valverde made them international celebrities. The olive tree planted more than 180 years ago by the seafaring trader survived a fire and is still alive, and now a Spanish television company plans to film José’s East Coast descendants, known as Paniora, in September.

“They phoned to say they want to make a documentary about Manuel José from the time he landed to the present day,” said Rangitukia man John Manuel.

Samuel and Juan Manuel of the Radio and Television Public Corporation of Spain emailed Mr Manuel to say the documentary would be dedicated to the story of Manuel José de Frutos and his descendants in New Zealand.

“We would like to have a glimpse of the Paniora family two centuries later, how their customs and traditions used to be and how they have changed.

“We feel very close to the story of your family and we want to tell it in this particular way to the whole of Spain.”

Mr Manuel is a fifth-generation descendant of the trader who was born in Valverde in 1811. After two trips away, he returned to set up a store and lived on the Coast for the rest of his days with his five wives. Two were sisters and the other three were their cousins.

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Trudy J Wikotu, Australia - 2 months ago
I am interested in this story which is part of my family history.

Christina Manuel - 2 months ago
I am interested in this story which is part of my family and I like many family members live in Australia. Would be nice to read or see this documentary when finished.

Ana, Samoa - 2 months ago
I am a descendant through my mother, Elizabeth Goldsmith. She was brought up by her grandfather, Oliver, and his second wife. My mother married a Cook Islander and eventually settled there. So, there is a Cook Islands connection. My mother, sadly, has passed but her grandchildren and great-greatchildren still live in Rarotonga.