The Irish Society was formed in 1948 with the first National Feis being held in Christchurch in 1950. For many years, Gaelic Football and Hurling were played as part of the Feis festivities. The teams taking part were original made up of the Irish emigrants who came over in the 50’s and onwards to build the cities in New Zealand.
In October 1996 Wellington hosted an Inaugural General Meeting of NZ GAA. It was at this meeting that Christchurch GAA was officially formed. The following year the Christchurch team took part in their first formal tournament when they played in the first New Zealand Club Championship in Feilding on the North Island.
In the following 2 tournaments, Christchurch were defeated in the Final and unfortunately interest began to fade, people left or moved on, and the club fell away.
A number of players, however, still got together once a year for a few weeks and would go to Wellington to play a one-off annual game.
In 2008 the Gaelic Games in Christchurch were once again resurrected by a number of Kiwi lads, who were married to Irish women attempted to get things going. It was around this time that Owen McKenna placed an advert in the Newspaper in a bid to find more players. Owen McKenna soon became a driving force of the Christchurch GAA in its current form.
Owen McKenna originated from the parish of Truagh in North Monaghan. He lived in Christchurch with his New Zealand wife Sarah and their children Grace and Tadhg. He loved the Kiwi lifestyle but remained a true Irishman at heart and his passion for the GAA never faltered.
In October 2009 Christchurch GAA seen two 7 a-side teams travel to Wellington to take part in, and subsequent win, a GAA tournament.
The 2010 season was quieter with only an internal club tournament being held on the Feis weekend in October.
Tragically, on the 22nd of February 2011, aged only 40, Owen McKenna lost his life in the devastating Earthquake, leaving behind his heartbroken family and friends both in New Zealand and Ireland.
In April of the same year, Wellington hosted a tournament which saw the participation of the first Christchurch Ladies team. The ladies competed with Wellington and Hutt Valley for a Cup named the in honour of the late Owen McKenna.
It was also in this year that Christchurch hosted its first National tournament in years. A total of with 7 men’s teams and 3 ladies teams took part. Christchurch were triumphant in the men’s completion but unfortunately Wellington’s Ladies saw off Christchurch ladies challenge in the Final.
In more recent times, the Irish community of Christchurch has grown steadily as many young Irish immigrants have come to help in the rebuild of The Garden City, but none empty handed. They brought their love of the GAA with them and thankfully Christchurch GAA was there to welcome them.
In response to this and the growing interest in the Gaelic Games within the rest of New Zealand, it was decided to make Christchurch GAA an official club and a General Meeting was held on February the 12th in the Irish Society Hall. It was here that the first committee was formed.
Unanimously it was agreed that the Club would be named after the man whose passion was instrumental in Christchurch GAA, Owen McKenna
Christchurch McKenna’s GAA Club is an incorporated with The Registrar of Incorporated Societies.
Our Rules are available on http://www.societies.govt.nz and if you click here below.
The Christchurch McKenna’s GAA Club