Ackouri (Bacos) Family
Habib Abdallah Bacos married Saada Hannah Ackouri. They were the parents of four daughters and one son.
Habib was well educated and spoke several languages fluently. He was a highly respected member among his fellow countrymen, a quiet well-mannered man. He became a naturalised New Zealander.
Saada, at an early age, with two older brothers, and accompanied by the Coory family, boarded an Austrian ship bound for Australia. With other countrymen and women they journeyed the long miles to far away lands, and after a short time in Australia eventually arrived in Wellington. (The older brother had left the ship earlier and settled somewhere in Chile). After some months in Wellington, they moved to Dunedin.
Saada married Saleem Coory on 9th April 1899. Sadly he and his great friend, Saada’s brother Michool, both died in the Typhoid epidemic of 1899.They are buried together near Timaru.Michool’s wife Sissy and their children returned to Lebanon. Saleem and Saada’s daughter Saleema was born 1900 and died aged 13.
Saada subsequently married Habib Bacos, and they lived first in Carroll St, the centre of the Lebanese community. Then with some other families they moved to Filluel St where they lived for some years.
Habib and Saada had five children:
Emily died aged 14 yrs.
Mary married Eric Polson. They settled in Wellington and had four children. Mary died aged 70 yrs
Rose married Ron McDonald. They lived in Dunedin and had four children. Rose died aged 80yrs
Eileen married Winter Ferris. They lived in Dunedin and had two children. Eileen died aged 71
Joseph married Grace Noeline Rogan. They lived in Dunedin, then Wellington and had three children. Joe died aged 85. Currently (2005) Noeline has moved back to Dunedin.
Habib, being much older than Saada became unable to work so she loaded the babies’ pram with drapery and other items and boarded the train for Central Otago, then from Clyde pushed the pram to the farms where she sold her goods. She became a favourite with the women, often arriving in times of illness or birth, when she would don her apron and take over the household until the farmers wife regained health. Saada cooked many a Lebanese meal,which was spoken of years later to her granddaughter Margaret who lived for a time in Cromwell. Many of the then elderly remembered Saada from when they were children, and they would delight in passing on the experiences they had with her...(Reference - Otago Daily Times feature story 3-11-1997)
Habib Bacos died in 1939 aged 79. Saada was a widow for four years then married Lahood Mansour, a widower whose motherless children had been raised alongside her own. She was then 64 and so happy, Lahood brought back the humour in her life, they purchased a lovely home near the main shopping area at 41 York Place, did some major renovations including a new bathroom and kitchen. Just a few short years later, Saada suffered a major stroke, only just holding on to life. She awoke to find that memory, speech and movement was denied her. Her husband Lahood gently provided for her needs. Her strong spirit prevailed and though she never fully recovered she did manage to shuffle about the house with two walking sticks.
Lahood Mansour died in 1951, and Saada’s daughter Eileen moved in along with her husband and children and cared for her mother.In 1961 Saada went to live with Rose’s daughter Margaret. Five months later on Mothers’ Day she died aged 82 yrs. She is remembered for her courage and spirit. Despite the challenges, Saada welcomed all to her home. Generosity and compassion were her motto – So typical of the Lebanese people...
Habib and Saada’s descendants currently (2005) number approximately 170.