Mrs M. O’Connell, or Mrs Mick, more often known as “Ceil”, was one of the best loved personalities in the district of Waihemo. She was the former Cecelia Callaghan, daughter of Mr and Mrs P. J. Callaghan, a well known family of Palmerston where she was brought up, and after her marriage to Mick O’Connell came to live at Macraes Flat.
Being of farming stock, she was familiar with the bush ballads of “Banjo” Paterson, and other verse of the Australian outback, so it was no surprise when this gifted person with the vivid imagination and talent for rhetoric, comedy and drama began to copy their style and record local incidents from Palmerston to east of the Rock and Pillar.
True life characters too, found themselves the subject of her verses; the idiosyncracies and manner of these people in the telling, heightened incidents from the commonplace, to one of romantic legend, in a rural setting that was no different from any other farming community in New Zealand.
When she died suddenly on 11th July, 1974, she was mourned by all, and those who were captivated by her charm, ready wit and effervescent personality.
This volume, therefore, is the result of the faithful endeavours of her family and friends, to place on record some of her best known poems, which she herself describes as true life stories.
Evelyn V. O’Connell.
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