Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Stanaway Wedding?

I have received some correspondence from Kerry Stanaway a descendant of Henare Stanaway along with the attached photograph. The photograph was copied to Kerry from one of his relatives Lynette McManemin the great grand daughter of Margaret McElroy, who was Henare’s wife, Rose’s sister.

Stanaway Wedding

Stanaway Wedding party – Lynette McManemin Collection.


Emails have been flowing around on who the people are in the photograph, the date and occasion.

We have so far come to the following;

  1. This is a wedding photograph
  2. Date – somewhere between 1900 to 1910
  3. Perhaps the couple seated are Henare and Rose Stanaway – see comparisons below
  4. Due to number 3. above we have to assume then it is one of their children’s wedding
  5. If we are correct with the dates then it could be either – Joseph and Ethel (1902), James and Elizabeth (1904), or Henry and Emily (1906) – at this stage I am not sure if this could be John and Nora (1911) as Rose had passed away in 1910.

Authors Note – I have since had some correspondence that we do not think the couple are Joseph and Ethel

The clue to unlocking this may lie with the 2 gentlemen standing – The gentleman on the left looks very similar to Archibald Stanaway.

Authors note – Do all three men in the photograph have the same nose?


In Henare Stanaway’s comparison – can we confirm these are one in the same person, same chin, nose , similar facial hair and brow.

Authors note – It is possible that Henare looked more European in appearance in latter years much like his older half brother William, and much like my grandmother did

Henry Comp

Rose Stanaway nee McElroy comparison

Authors note – I believe this looks very much like Rose

Rose comp.

We would like help especially from those descendants of Henare and Rose Stanaway who may be able to identify who the people are and who’s wedding this is. Please leave a reply below.

Many thanks to Lynette McManemin for sharing this photograph – hopefully someone out there can help answer these questions.