The Ziman Family

Jacob ZIMAN was born in Russian Poland, came to New Zealand in 1878 and became a naturalised New Zealander in 1880 at the age of 23(38) After spending a period in the Wairarapa and Wellington, he arrived in Auckland, became a member of the Auckland Stock Exchange, and later entered retail business as a jeweller, purchasing a shop from E Louis in 1911. For some years he was prominent in mining circles in the West Coast of the South Island and Waihi. Mr Ziman was President of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation in 1912. He married Rosalie Cohen of Wellington and together they had six children, Ralph, Bessie (married Heineman 30 th March 1910), Solomon, Louis, Vera and Harold.(39) His obituary in the NZ Herald 27 th April 1942 records that he died on 24 th April 1942 in his 86 th year.

On 14 th June 1978 Vera Ziman wrote of Braemar: (40)

The smallest Courtville was certainly the home of the Jacob Ziman family…However the house was not built by my family…we filled the spacious home..2 storeyed in the front and 4 at the back comprising 6 bedrooms, dining room, drawing room, study, breakfast room, kitchen (as large as most modern flats, complete with gas range, coal range, to which was attached a large boiler providing gallons of hot water, which was piped throughout the house) maid’s room, walk-in pantry, storeroom, 2 bathrooms, linen room. As the diningroom was on the floor at Eden St level and the kitchen and breakfast room (same size as the room above it) there was a lift (hydraulic) between the kitchen and 2nd pantry. There was a system of speaking tubes between all floors to avoid calling & running up & down stairs… In retrospect I realise Braemar was indeed a spacious late Victorian home. In latter years, when I had a flat in the “Large Courtville” I visited friends in the “Annexe” and laughingly compared the 1960s-70s with my girlhood days.

Vera Ziman took over the running of her father’s jewellery business. She retired as a jeweller in 1970 and was made an Honorary Life Member by the Jewellers Association. In 1985 she completed 50 years as a Justice of the Peace and was actively involved for many years with the Womens’ International Organisation. She was the youngest of the six children and cared for her father after her mother died. Vera Ziman died in 1984 at the age of 92.(41) Ralph Ziman was still a practising lawyer at the age of 87. Solomon Ziman was Auckland’s first Rhodes scholar, entered the Indian Civil Service and later, as Secretary of the Government of Bombay, sat in its Legislative Assembly.(42) By 1971 Sol’s oldest son John was professor of Physics at Bristol University and a member of the Royal Society in London. Timothy Ziman, younger son of Harold Ziman, became the third of his name to win academic honours when he scored more than 700 marks to gain a University Scholarship.

After his death, the family of Jacob Ziman donated his manuscripts and letters to the Alexander Turnbull Library where they are retained in the Rare Manuscripts room. Mr Peter Ziman, son of Ralph, lives in Papatoetoe with his wife and kindly provided some of the information to assist this project. (43)On 21 st January 1996 Timothy Ziman, visited Braemar with his French wife Lamya and wrote in the visitors book “ my father lived here from age 0 to 10 “.(44)



(38) Register of Naturalised Persons to 1949, file 1880/1154; held at the Auckland Public Library
(39) Obituary NZ Herald 27 th April 1942 (with photograph)
(40) Letter Vera Ziman to Mr Williams dated 14 th June 1978.
(41) Various clippings from file Z2 : Ziman , Miss Vera , held at the Auckland Institute and Museum Library. (NZ Jewish Chronicle Sep 1993, Hashofar Sep 1962, Auckland Star 16 th March 1971.)
(42) Goldman , L.M.,The History of Jews in New Zealand (A.H. & A.W. Reed, 1958)
(43) Photograph taken by John Sweetman at Braemar 17 th May 1995: Susan Sweetman and Peter Ziman.
(44) Photograph taken by John Sweetman at Braemar 21 st January 1996: (left to right) Timothy Ziman, his wife Lamya and Timothy’s uncle , Peter Ziman.