A History of Helensville and Kaipara – By Charles Staniland West

I recently completed reading the above mentioned book which is the personal recollections of the author’s life in the district from 1884 until the writing of this book in 1952.

While most of the book centers around his working life which was in milling and the shipping of timber he does mention and go into history of the area and early settlers and their deeds.

Kaipara hotel

The second “Kaipara Hotel” shortly before it was burnt to the ground.

You will find a fine picture of the (second) “Kaipara Hotel”. The first was built about 1866 by Ihapere (Isabella) Nelson (nee Stanaway) and her husband Charles Nelson, they ran the hotel for a short period then leased it to others to run and manage. It was burnt to the ground in 1868, at total loss to the lessee. They then rebuilt the second “Kaipara Hotel” and leased it out again. By 1873 they had sold the hotel. (Note – Both Charles Nelson and John James Stanaway appear in the annual lists for Bush Licenses throughout the 1860’s and early 1870’s in the Kaipara district). The fate of the second hotel was that It was burnt to the ground in January 1884, with the loss of two lives and never rebuilt.

Also a picture of the schooner “Lotus” being built at Whakatiwai, on which Charles Nelson helped design and his brother in-law Henry Stanaway was an apprentice in the construction.

Lotus under construction

The “Lotus” under construction.

On page 8 we read;

Some of the oldest houses are there (South end of the town) … and J.C Taylor’s house by the big Norfolk pine. It was built by a Norwegian interpreter named Neilson, who married Captain James Stanaway’s daughter Bella. Nelson Street at the north end of the town was named after him.

On page 24 is mentioned the wreck of the “Rona” in 1880 to which Henry Stanaway searched for. Henry found what appeared to be the remains of the wreck only to discover that it was an earlier wreck together with and the remains of one of its unfortunate crew. From his knowledge of the Kaipara bar he suggested on numerous occasions for the search of the “Rona” to start on the North Head and not the South Head, he was not listened too. Only to be proven to be correct a number of months later when the wreck of the “Rona” was eventually found on the North Head together with the crew of 4, all drowned.

On page 27 under the heading “Early Settlers” we have mention of John James Stanaway, it reads;

Captain James Stanaway was the earliest pilot for the Kaipara bar. He had a lifeboat, and with a crew pulled out over the bar, boarded vessels and guided them in. When his half-caste boys Henry and William were old enough, they went with him as crew.

Henry married Rose McElroy from Ireland, they had ten children who were brought up and went to school in Helensville. There are only two of that generation left, but more of the next.

William married a Maori woman and also had children that went to Helensville school but are scattered now.

Bella Stanaway, daughter of Captain James, married a Norwegian named Neilson and lived in the house occupied by J.C Taylor, the storekeeper by the big Norfolk pine.They had a son who was an auctioneer for the North Auckland Farmers’ Company.

Captain James Stanaway later married a white woman who had some children. After his death she married again and had some more children. There are quite a number of half-caste and white descendants still in the district and making good citizens. In the later part of his life he kept the old two-storied wooden hotel at Tokatoka. It was burned down and a new one built by the highway near the river.

On page 44 under the heading “Fires” we read;

The Foresters’ Hall and Stanaway’s store in 1920.

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