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Club Garibaldi was established in Wellington in 1882 by the earliest of Italian settlers to the Wellington region. Most of these settlers were from a variety of parts of Italy and saw it as essential that they established an organisation where Italians could meet, share their experiences and help each other.

However the history of migration from Italy to the Wellington area is very much based on what is known as chain migration - the movement of one or two people from a place and, when they have become established in their new homes, inviting others from the old country to join them.

The start of the chain migration was with the accidental arrival in Wellington of a teenager from the volcanic island of Stromboli in the 1880s, Bartolo Russo. After he settled down and carved a niche for himself in the eastern bay area of Wellington called Eastbourne his brothers joined him in New Zealand. A little later they were joined by the Della Barca brothers who visited Wellington while on a round the world voyage. The Della Barcas were from the small town of Massalubrense, a coastal village in the Bay of Naples near Sorrento and Pompeii. They were subsequently joined by the Meo brothers.

They shared one thing in common - they were all fishermen and they recognised the sea bounty that was ready for them around the wild area known as Cook Strait which separates New Zealand's two main islands. The chain migration continued as other family members and friends arrived from southern Italy between the 1890s through till the 1960s. The immigrants came for the same reason, seeking greener pastures and the prospect of seeking Una Buona Fortuna (a good life), and wrote in letters home, alle fine del mondo (to the ends of the earth). The book by this name goes into detail describing the chain migration of Italians, including those who came from the north of Italy and became market gardens in the area of Lower Hutt that is part of the Wellington region.

Founding Members

La Bella Italia

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Antonio e Luisa Cacace Fondatori Della Bella Italia in New Zealand

Antonio and Luisa Cacace Founders of La Bella Italia in New Zealand

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Mediterranean Foods


Joe and Gino Cuccurullo
Founders of Mediterranean Foods

Tony and Rosina Basile