Marco Fosella

Marco Fosella was born in Florence, Italy in 1846, the son of a distinguished engraver.

He initially worked in ‘commercial pursuits’ in Paris but at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war he enlisted with the International Ambulance service. He served in the Battle of Sedan and was a recipient of the 1870 medal.

In 1875 he decided to try his luck abroad and sailed on the ship ‘Gutenberg’ for New Zealand, accompanied by his young bride Ottavia. They had five children of which three daughters survived to adulthood.

He opened a clothing factory in Wellington which was very successful. When the Manawatu line began opening up land, he was one of the first to purchase on the coast, where he started dairy farming before settling in Levin. It was there that he established a drapery business.

He took an interest in local affairs, as member of the Levin Fruit Growers Association was one of the greatest advocates for opening a fruit canning works in Levin. He sat on the Borough Council, School Committee and was captain of the boating club.

Marco died at Wellington on 24 September 1921. His obituary included:

‘Cosmopolitan in his toleration and outlook, he all the more appreciated the freedom and opportunities he enjoyed in a British Dominion, and while still evincing  a pardonable pride in the land of his birth, he was a loyal and self-sacrificing citizen’.

At her death in 1923, the newspaper wrote of Ottavia that she was ‘justly popular for her sterling character and the breadth of her sympathy which made her always anxious to render assistance where needed’.

Plot: *Public 2/M/260

Marco Fosella from Kete Horowhenua ‘Reproduced from 75 years in Levin.’
Stamped on back with black ink – Horowhenua Historical Society. Acc. No. Date
The business premises of Marco Fosella, Tailor & Draper, General Store, western side of Oxford Street, Levin. This shop was built in 1897 and was situated where Robyn Bates Pharmacy is today (2001). A group of largely unidentified people stand in front of the shop, however, the man second from the left has been identified as Marco Fosella. Horowhenua Historical Society Inc.
Fosella plot.