Category Archives: Uncategorized

SS Minnie Casey

While searching the internet for more information on the Stanaway family I was in the Archway Records site. I found a record which relates to Henry Stanaway. – it reads…

W Kelly, Constable, Helensville – Sunken Boat – reported by Captain Henry Stanaway, Master of “Minnie Casey” in Kaipara Harbour. Report by Jean Marie Paitry, Fisherman. Dated 1897.

Minnie Casey

SS Minnie Casey later in life when owned by the Stanford’s.

Captain Henry Stanaway was master of this vessel, when operated as a ferry, the above report appears to be late in the life of the vessel as a ferry on the Kaipara.

Jean Marie Paitry was a Frenchman, a foreign legionnaire who deserted ship in New Zealand, and worked on ships in the Kaipara Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf.

A search of the vessel Minnie Casey revealed the following, from the “Back Roads Blogger” site we read …..

Constructed in 1875 by Sims and Brown, North Shore for Irish entrepreneur, Jeremiah Casey and named after one of Casey’s daughters she measured 101.7ft x 15.8ft x 7.55ft and fitted with two 25hp steam engines. Casey used her on the Auckland to Mahurangi run until 1878 when the vessel was transferred over to the Auckland to Kaipara run.

In the same year, the Kaipara Steam Navigation Company begun by William Colbeck started up in opposition. Colbeck offered a substantial sum to buy the vessels Casey was using on the run and the offer was accepted.

By 1880 Colbeck’s company was running at a loss and measures taken to sell off two vessels ss Kina and ss Tongariro both costing the KSNC more than what was coming in.

In April 1883 the Minnie Casey collided with the brig Syren at Te Kopuru wharf and both vessels became entangled. Eventually, they were cut free and a subsequent enquiry resulted in the Syren being apportioned the blame for the incident.

By the end of August 1883, the Kaipara Steamship Navigation Company board announced it was in trouble – debts were being called up and desperate measures were required. A decision was made to sell the company assets including vessels Durham, Minnie Casey, and Kina as well as the City of Cork and the Lily.

In December of the same year, all vessels and assets were sold to the Northern River Steam Navigation Company. During 1885 all three vessels on the Kaipara run were given full overhauls and returned to service.

In December 1885 the Minnie Casey collided with the Tangihua:

At two o’clock this morning, when the steamer Minnie Casey was on her passage from Dargaville, she collided with the; steamer Tangihua off Beacon Point, Wairoa River. On the steamers meeting the Tangihua suddenly starboarded her helm, running; completely under the bows of the Minnie Casey, which struck her on the starboard side. All on board the Tangihua jumped on the Minnie Casey, and the former steamed about without control for eight minutes and sank in deep water. It was a pitch dark night but all the lights were burning. The cause of the collision was the Tangihua’s helmsmen starboarding instead of porting. The Tangihua was owned by Captain Seymour and was uninsured. The Minnie Casey was slightly damaged in the port bow.
Press, 21 December 1885, p3.

In January 1888, the vessel narrowly avoided being burned to the waterline when the heat from the boiler caused a pantry to combust. The fire was discovered before it could take hold on the vessel and put out.

In 1899 the Minnie Casey was sold to Sandford for use as one of the first fishing trawlers in the Hauraki Gulf and remained in use until 1908 when she was finally laid up at Rakino Island and put up for sale. She was sold and broken up in 1909.

We do not have any employment information related to Captain Henry Stanaway as yet but we could suppose that he, more than likely worked, in some form or another, for all the owners of the ferry companies operating in the Kaipara, namely –  Casey, Colbeck and the Northern River Steam Navigation Company.

Little Jems – 136 years old!

Every now and then when searching for information on a family member you come across a “little jem”. The one this week is a letter written by Henare Stanaway in 1884 (136 years ago)!

It is a small moment in time where we get a taste of what was happening at that time the life of Henare.

He is 34 years old and is writing a letter to the Customs Department in Auckland. It appears as though he is toying with the idea of moving from his current employment as a River Captain on the Kaipara Harbour to become a Master on a steamer operation out of Auckland to the ports of Mahurangi, Coromandel or Thames.

In beautiful writing it reads;


May 27th 1884

To Hill Esqr

Collector Customs


Dear Sir,

Will you be kind enough to let me know if a man holding a River Certificate would be allowed to take charge of a steamer trading from Auckland to Mahurangi, Thames or Coromandel much obliged. Yours Respectfully

H Stanaway


Letter to the Customs Dept. – Archway Records

The reply was in typical Maritime speak, but the answer was no. see below;


Henry Patrick Stanaway – Update

I Have been on the hunt for more Stanaway information and have come across the following information on Henry Patrick Stanaway. (His web page also has been updated).

From the NZ Graphic Magazine dated 05 May 1909 on page 31 – we have a picture showing the Executive Council of the New Zealand Railway Officers Institute, in conference at Wellington.

Henry is in the back row 3rd from the right as we look at the picture. It suggests he was more than just a clerk for the Railway.


Taken from NZ Graphic Magazine, 05 May 1905 page 31

Lalus Summers a Gt-Gt-Grand Daughter

They say you can’t keep a Stanaway down. Currently with most of the world in lockdown over Covid-19, I am please to inform you all about a descendant of JJ Stanaway who not only contracted the deadly virous but survived – all at the age of 92 years young!

Lalus Summers (nee Castle – the daughter of Lennis Castle nee Stanaway) at the age of 92 was interviewed on WSB TV in the States when she went home the other day after 33 days in Emory Hospital in Atlanta. She had other underlying health issues but successfully recovered from Covid-19.

Report By: Christian Jennings WSB TV2 ATLANTA
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A 92-year-old DeKalb County woman survived COVID-19 and hopes her story gives others hope.

She spent 33 days in the hospital.

A few days after she got out, she spoke with Channel 2′s Christian Jennings about what got her through.

“Home is the best medicine and I’m just very thankful to be here,” said Lalus Summers.

Summers did her hair and put on lipstick for our interview. She said she feels like her spry self again. She was released from the hospital on May 11.

The 92-year-old has come a long way since this time last month when her family feared they may never see their “Nanna” again.

“I guess I thought I was going to die. Thankfully I didn’t,” Summers said. “I was just praying that I wouldn’t.”

Lalus Summers

After developing a fever, Summers took a COVID-19 test. On April 9, the results came back positive and she was admitted to Emory University Hospital.

“She could only last on the phone for about three minutes and she finally said, ‘Leslie, I’m just so tired. I love you,’ and she dropped the phone and that was just so scary. She was so weak,” said her granddaughter Leslie Elliott.

Summer’s daughter and granddaughter said by April 13 she was given just hours to a few days to live.

“You feel very helpless. You can’t be there, you’re not face-to-face with her or the doctors or anything but she somehow rallied,” said daughter Jane Summers Going.

The family said when she was at one of her lowest points, a nurse played a YouTube video for Summers; an Andrea Bocelli performance live from Italy, knowing Summers is a lifelong lover of opera.

“It made a difference to let her remember and hold onto something other than ‘I’m in a hospital room and I have an oxygen tank,’” Elliott said.

Lalus Summers2

She felt the love and embraced it and it strengthened her.

“In a time where we have seen so many suffer, and the future remains uncertain, we also stand in awe of people like Ms. Summers who still have much to teach us about resilience,” Emory Dr. Raymund Dantes said.

Lalus Summers is Great-Great-Grand-Daughter of Capt. John James Stanaway

  • Capt. John James Stanaway
  • William Stanaway
  • John James (Jack) Stanaway
  • Lennis Castle nee Stanaway
  • Lalus Summers nee Castle


Ripiro Beach: A Memoir of Life After Near Death


The Stanaway family story has been enshrined in Caroline Barron’s book Ripiro Beach: A Memoir of Life After Near Death (Bateman NZ, June 2020).

John James Stanaway and Witaparene Minarapa were Caroline’s great, great, great grandparents. The twist is, she didn’t find that out until she was in her late 30s. She spent subsequent years tracing her family history—to Tokatoka where J J’s grave is, and to Kohukohu where he first arrived—eventually leading her to Ripiro (Baylys) Beach.

This is one powerful read. I found it riveting, at times confronting, moving and passionate. It’s a very brave book.

Dame Fiona Kidman

A vivid and profound journey into family secrets and the unknowable past. 

Paula Morris, author of award-winning novel, Rangitira

An unflinching, revelatory journey into the author’s family past, and also her own psyche.

Owen Marshall, author of award-winning novel, Harlequin Rex

Caroline’s emotional intelligence lights up all those deep dark wells of motherhood. I saw myself, and so many mothers, in these words: the heartbursting glorious hardness of it all.

Catherine Woulfe, Books Editor, The Spinoff

This book of yours is going to be well received. Your journey, both physical and spiritual, emotional and cognitive, tells a New Zealand story, a story that is inclusive, and that is the greatest gift of all. Thank you Caroline. There will be many who see themselves in your pages.

Rosetta Allan, award-winning author of Purgatory and The Unreliable People

Ripiro Beach is a sincere, well-written and very savvy memoir. 

Nicholas Reid, review on Reid’s Reader blog.

Barron’s courage to keep turning towards that which caused so much pain, confusion and damage, in pursuit of authenticity, connectedness and the soft glimmer of new joy, is something to behold. This could be any New Zealand woman’s story, for make no mistake, it is a uniquely New Zealand story. It is everywoman and yet it is intensely personal and, as the blurb says, ‘relentlessly honest’. 

Brenda Channer, Martinborough Bookshop Facebook review

Your book is absolutely beautifully written, with universal themes, and has profoundly affected me in a positive way . . . I now know my way forward through the gaps.

Sally, Parnell

It has been a long time since a book has given me pause and every few pages, I found myself going on little memory journeys surrounding Dad’s adoption and some dark history as well. I am sure your book will have a positive impact with anyone that reads it, as it did for me.

Guy, Titirangi

For more information or to buy a copy, please visit her website:

Author Photo 2020

Caroline has offered to sign and inscribe each book bought by Stanaway whānau—just mention it in the notes when you purchase. Ripiro Beach is also available at all good bookstores.

New Portrait of JJ Stanaway

During some correspondence with Polli Marriner and Colleen Stanaway recently. Colleen was reminded of a portrait of a young John James Stanaway. I will let her tell the story…..

I was reading her (Polli’s) posts on your website trying to work out what she might think I could help her with and saw the comments about JJs portrait. If you have seen my reply you will know that I recalled taking some photos of it probably 30 plus years ago.

“I must have been interested in the family story even then. I wasn’t living at home then but I remember Mum saying that Uncle Graeme turned up with it one day when they were farming at Tokatoka then took it away some time later but they never knew where it went.

In a way it doesn’t surprise me to hear it is on the marae at Naumai, as I now know a lot of Kataraina’s descendants lived in Naumai which is not far from Tokatoka.

It is weird that I went to school in Ruawai with some of them and also with some descended from Sarah Ann’s family but didn’t know it. The family tree hadn’t been recorded then.

Anyway the original photos must be here somewhere but much excitement I found a scanned copy which will save me from frantically searching through a huge box of old photos.”

Well Colleen has copied me in on the portrait see below. Any ideas when this may have been painted? (Original size approximately 550mm wide x 700mm high)

Wirimu Taniwe – Wesley College 1896

I have come across a centaury celebration booklet published by Wesley College. It lists past students of the college. Back when the college was still located in Three Kings, Auckland in the year 1896, we have a new entrant by the name of TANIWE, Wirimu (STANAWAY, William).

Willaim Stanaway 1896

Exert from Wesley College Roll.


With that name he must be one of JJ’s descendants, but which one?

I have narrowed it down to one of two contenders;

  1. William Alfred Henry Stanaway 1875 – 1900 (Son of William Stanaway)
  2. James William Stanaway 1880 – 1921 (Son of Henry Stanaway)

From their DOB’s William Henry would have been about 21 years old and therefore perhaps on the too old side of things. He may have been sent to the College in order to change his ways – there is a gap in our records at this time (1895-1898).

James William would have been 16 years old and perhaps more likely to have been sent to the boarding school for a period. We have no records of his early years. His father was known to use Taniwe in lieu of Stanaway.

Wesley College Three Kings 1897

I would like to hear from anyone who can confirm the TANIWE, Wirimu (STANAWAY, William), mentioned in the Wesley College records.


Thanks to some detectives we have uncovered some more information.

It appears that William started at the school in 1896 and studied at the school for at least 3 years.

We have a report from the Auckland Star, dated 10 December 1897, which published the results for that year, in which it has William in the Lower division (we assume the junior part of the school) recording a score that year of 365 points, having studied catechism, arithmetic, composition, transcription, geography and reading.

The following year the New Zealand Herald reports on 19 December 1898, William again at the school, this time in the Second Class (We assume the intermediate part of the school) recording that year he studied in 8 subjects and scored 65 points.

Mystery Boy Photo Bomb – 1905

The photograph below is of the Aratapu Second Juniors – Winners of the 1905 Caps, under the Northern Wairoa Rugby Union. In the back row is Alexander Stanaway (back left), then standing to the left, as we view the photograph, is a young boy. He has managed to get himself into the photograph.


Aratapu Second Juniors – Winners 1905 Caps – Alexander back row on left – Sir George Grey Special Collections.

My comments on Alexander Stanaway’s page that he could be one of his younger brothers.

I was having a look at Montrose Stanaway – the only picture I have of him is when he was in his mid twenties. Never the less have a look at the comparison below.


I don’t think that they look too dis-similar. The photograph of the boy is dated 1905, this would make Monty about 12- 13 years old (Alexander would be 18-19 years old). I think they have similar ears and jaw lines and round forehead.

The boy could be Charles or George Stanaway?

Or no relation what so ever. Let me know your comments please.



Stanaway Military Medal – 73 years today

I was informed by Vince Stanaway that today marks the 73rd year to the day when Sargent Vincent Stanaway (his dad) earned, through the battle for Cassino, the Military Medal (MM).

Vincent is the son of John Aloysius Stanaway and the grandson of Henare Stanaway.

Vince has kindly shared some insight on his fathers military exploits.

  • Name: Vincent Stanaway
  • Last Known Rank: Sergeant
  • Serial No: 63019
  • Date of Birth: 28 July 1918
  • Occupation: Grocer
  • Address: Helensville
1940 1944

Sargent Vincent Stanaway – left in 1940, right in 1944


Cassino –  Italy, this town was considered the gateway to Rome, if the Allies could take it they would open up the road (Route 6) and the railway link all the way to Italy’s capital city. The Allies needed to capture Cassino, the Germans needed to hold it.

Capturing Cassino however was never going to be an easy task. The landscape in which the town sits at the base of the mountains and with a narrow passage through to the Liri Valley had always presented a very strong defence against attackers in past centuries. It also had the vantage point of the Benedictine monastery on top of Monte Cassino, from where defenders could see virtually anything happening in the approaches to the town below for miles.


The Germans also strengthened the town and positions around the hillsides with concrete and steel structures to create strongpoints for their machine-guns and mortars. And around the town they had broken river stop-banks and flooded the pastures to ensure tanks and vehicles approaching could only use the roads, which of course the German artillery had “taped” firmly in their sights. Furthermore any attack on the town by the Allies would involve crossing the Rapido River  so the Germans had destroyed the bridges to make this more difficult.

It was 73 years ago today that the Second Battle of Cassino was taking place, and this was the first of three battles the New Zealanders were directly involved in there. On the 15th of February 1944 a large force of 142 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses, 47 North American B-25 Mitchells and 40 Martin B-26 Marauders of the United States Army Air Force bombed and destroyed the Abbey on the top of Monte Cassino (the imposing mountain behind the town of Cassino).


We pick up Vincent’s involvement from the 24 Battalion Official History page 231-232 – we read;

“March the 15th dawned with a clear sky, and at half past eight, in bright sunshine, the first wave of bombers flew over Cassino to drop their lethal cargoes, and thereafter until midday squadron followed squadron in successive waves, raining high explosive on the town. The wisdom of moving all troops back behind a safety line was amply demonstrated by the number of bombs which fell near C and D Companies’ former positions. During intervals in the aerial attack O’Brien’s gun crew, consisting of Corporals Stanaway and Bryant, fired on enemy pillboxes around Point 193 and then went to ground again as soon as the bombing was renewed. Eventually the platform of loose stones which served as an emplacement was shaken down by the concussion of the bombing, and they were obliged to cease fire. Since nothing more could be done, the crew retreated to B Echelon, leaving their gun behind, and were subsequently employed in the arduous and dangerous duty of carrying supplies to forward troops. Stanaway received the MM as an immediate award for his conduct on this occasion.”



“Prior to the bombing of Cassino on 15th March, 1944, this non-commissioned officer, who was in charge of one of the unit’s anti-tank gun crews was, at his own request given permission to remain with his gun crew 500 yards inside the bomb line to engage known targets on point 193 of Monte Cassino. After the first flight of bombers had dropped their bombs, considerable movement was observed around the pillboxes on the feature and severe toll of the enemy was taken by fire from his gun. He maintained his gun in action till the concussion from the bombing threw the gun off line. When the bombing was completed, he ordered his crew to swing the gun into position and carried on with his task thereby restricting the fire of the enemy till the feature was taken. The excellent qualities of leadership, determination and courage shown by this non-commissioned officer during this and other battles were outstanding.”


We have included photographs of Vincent’s medals, which include;

  • Military Medal (MM)
  • 1939-1945 Star
  • The Italy Star
  • Africa Star
  • Defence/War and NZ Service Medals


Arch Scott mentions Vincent Stanaway in his kiwi war book “Dark Side of the Moon”

….the fertile mind of a prankster who knew how to sail “close to the wind” where any lesser mortal would have floundered…

Vince says – “pretty much the old man to a tee. He was usually two sheets to the wind as well!”




Web Page Updates 15.03.2017

We have added to the Rowlands branch of the web site (Phoebe Stanaway and Donald Rowlands) – now these are still draft but are a start on these pages.

The pages we have started – but not finished –  are;

If you have further information or corrections to any of these pages (or others) please let us know by “leaving a reply” at the bottom of that particular page.