Beauden Barrett Family History

Overview

Beauden John Barrett was born on May 27th, 1991 to Kevin and Robyn Barrett in New Plymouth in Taranaki province, New Zealand.  He grew up on the family’s dairy farm at Pungarehu, a small town on the Taranaki coast, with his seven siblings.

The family was rugby-mad and all five brothers played the game.  Beauden and his older brother Kane were the first to make their mark.  Kane had to retire from the game in 2014 after suffering a concussion.  By that time Beauden was already playing Super Rugby with the Hurricanes and had made his national debut with the All Blacks two years earlier in 2012.

Beauden soon began to be considered amongst the New Zealand greats of the game, following such stars as Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.   He had started with the All Blacks as a fly half, but later switched to full back.

Blessed with devastating speed, a laser-like boot, and smart game management, he won the World Player of the Year award in 2016 and 2017 and was also a nominee for the award in 2018.  He played for New Zealand in the 2015 and 2023 World Cup finals, scoring a try in each of these games.

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Beauden’s Ancestry

According to his father Kevin, Beauden’s great grandparents had Irish parents, although they themselves had been born in New Zealand.  The family were more English on his mother’s side.

From Beauden’s mother Robyn Barrett nee Sinclair and from her mother Barbara Sinclair nee Redin (born in Taranaki) came ancestors who had crossed the Tasman Sea from Tasmania.  Before that were English convicts who had been held on Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean.

From Kevin’s mother Mary Barrett nee Goodin came English arrivals from Worcestershire and Kent, with a little Irish and Swiss thrown in.

However, the Irish side, although less documented, is what has given the Barretts their identity.

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Irish, Catholic and Dairy Farmers

Taranaki is a mountainous and coastal region on the western side of New Zealand’s North Island.  It is not reported who were the Irish Barretts who arrived there.  Most likely they came in the 1880’s as a son Edward was born in Taranaki in 1891.

What they handed down to their descendants was an identity with Ireland, their Catholic faith, and their farm.

The Kiwi-born son Edward joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force during World War One, serving as a driver in Egypt.  His mother Mary was recorded at Pungarehu then as his next of kin.  After the war he returned to Taranaki and the family farm.

He married late.  He and his wife Johanna both died in the mid-1950’s when their son Edward (better known as Ted) was just a teenager.  Ted inherited the family farm.

Ted combined farming with a love of sports.  He had played rugby at school, but it was not his passion, as it was his sons’ and grandsons.’  Instead he concentrated on cricket and did a little boxing.  In later life he served as Commodore of the local Yacht Club.

When Ted died in 2019 he was much missed by his family and friends.

“With great sadness we announce the sudden passing of Ted, surrounded by his loving wife Mary and family at Taranaki Base Hospital.  Dearly loved and cherished husband of Mary for 57 years. Loving father of Phillip and Fiona, Christine, Kevin and Robyn, Tommy (deceased), Leonie and Peter, Kathryn and Jacob. Adored Grandad Ted of all his grandchildren and his great-grandchild.”

Ted and his wife Mary raised six children, three boys and three girls.  The two elder sons – Phillip (nicknamed Fifty) and Kevin (nicknamed Smiley) – ran dairy farms next to each other along the Taranaki coast.  The other son Tommy sadly died young as a result of a car crash.

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Smiley Barrett

Kevin Barrett played rugby.  He was a Taranaki club stalwart, a tough durable number eight who appeared in 167 matches and scored 99 points up until his retirement from the game at the end of 1999.

And despite all the injuries and adversities that he suffered on the pitch, he continued to smile.  “It just cropped up one day in rugby circles when I was in my early 20’s, ” he said. “I don’t know who came up with it. But I’m always smiling, I guess, and the name stuck.”

Kevin and his wife Robyn raised eight children at their farm – five boys and three girls.  All of the boys played rugby.  And no fewer than three of his sons went onto to play for the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks.  In 2023 the three Barretts – Beauden at full back, Scott at lock forward, and Jordie at center – were all in the All Blacks team that reached the World Cup final in Paris against South Africa.

After his retirement, Kevin had heard about a farmer in Ireland who was looking for a farm manager in Meath.  Looking for a new challenge and seeking to re-connect to his Irish heritage, he left home with his young family in early 2000 and stayed there for 16 months.  “It was the best thing we ever did,” he later said.

Back in New Zealand Kevin was the inspiration for his sons’ rugby prowess.

But there were other factors as well.  The outdoor life on the farm made them supremely fit.  Legend has it that the boys’ mum would make them run barefoot home from school rather than take the school bus which, given its stops and detours, they would often beat.  And all the boys went on to attend the Francis Douglas Memorial School in New Plymouth, a keen rugby school.  All five played in its first XV.

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Beauden Barrett’s  Family Tree

 

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