John James Stanaway was one of nine children born to James and Eleanor Stanaway form Camberwell, Surrey, on 16 July 1813. Both his parents were originally from Probus, Cornwall, England.
It remains a mystery how John arrived in the South Pacific with various stories and accounts. We do know that by 1839 he has made passage to Hokianga, New Zealand aged about 26, then, further south to the Kaipara region by the 1850’s. The majority of his life was spent on the banks of the Wairoa River where he was one of the first settlers and founder of the small village of Tokatoka.
His occupations where many and included; Captain, Master Mariner, Pilot & Assistant Pilot, Harbour Master all at the Port of Kaipara, New Zealand, Post Master, Hotelier, Bush Licence Holder, Store Owner, Gum dealer, Forman, Carpenter and Sawyer.
John died on 17 August 1874, and is buried in the Tokatoka Cemetery, on the banks of the Northern Wairoa River. He was sixty one years old, and left four wives and 16 children.