MARA VITASOVIĆ was born on February 2, 1953 in Te Kopuru, in the Northland, New Zealand, in the family of Andrija Skokandić from Žrnovo and Neda, née Šestanović from Lumbarda, both places on Croatian island of Korčula. Her father came to Sweetwater in New Zealand to dig gum. When he earned enough money, he bought a farm in Ruawa in 1938. Then, in 1951, he went to Žrnovo to visit his family, and on that occasion he also met his wife.
Mara, who was born two years later, spoke Croatian all her life. In her native Te Kopuru, there was a hospital where many women from the Dargaville area came to give birth, and many Dalmatian children were born there.
Mara graduated in 1973, and soon after married Jure Vitasović. She got a job as an elementary school teacher in 1974, but put it “on hold” for 25 years while she raised her three daughters. She also helped her husband grow strawberries on their farm for 40 years. She returned to her teaching job and worked for 10 years, balancing her duties at school and on the farm. She is now retired, so she devoted herself to activities in the Dalmatian Cultural Society in Auckland. For her own pleasure, she grows flowers, especially dahlias, roses, lilies and anything else she likes.
Neda Šestanović, Mara’s mother
Birthday picnic of the Vitasovich family
Branka Bezić Filipović