Conflicting Accounts

Now would be a good time to look at the various accounts, or versions as to how John James Stanaway arrived in New Zealand. I have so far uncovered four versions, each one could be correct; however some have more records than others.

Some versions have come from what has been passed down through the many generations. I will present each one and let you make up your own mind which one he may be.

As far back as the 1960’s when the Marriner’s started researching John James Stanaway’s pre-New Zealand life up until today, we have yet to completely untangle fact from fiction, the truth from stories.

Barney Daniel summed up what we have all been trying to do in his journal he states;

There is a certain amount of this illustrious man’s early life that is clouded with some uncertainty and presumptively I have endeavoured to fill up some of the gaps.

We have all tried to fill up some gaps.

So far I have the uncovered the following accounts;

John the “Gentleman”

John the “Naval Rating”

James the “Whaler”

John the “Waterman” & “Convict”

We may never know how John James Stanaway came to be in New Zealand, but either way before he arrives we know John has married, and has been able earn a passage for himself and his now pregnant wife to New Zealand.

He would no doubt require provisions and tools, so he must have had some means of support at least for a short period of time.

Until more evidence is uncovered (and this may never happen), I choose to keep my personal feeling on what his background may have been off this site, I would rather leave it open for further discussion and debate.

As it was once explained to me “Treat this section like a buffet, take from it the bits you like, but don’t spit on the bits you dont”.

Just because we cannot find information or uncover facts does not rule out what has been passed down is not in some way true and correct.

Times have changed and so have social standards. Where once family secrets were covered up for fear of ridicule or becoming an outcast of society, affecting not only you but your entire family’s reputation are no longer around.

2 thoughts on “Conflicting Accounts

  1. Murray Wright

    Congratulations on your excellent research and presentation. It’s a great read. I am in genealogy contact of one of JJ’s descendents – a Kiwi living in the US. For my two cents worth I’d say John the waterman is the most likely. I would discount the gentleman for the reasons you give. The whaler is 20 years too old and a 17 year old in 1830 would hardly be a 3rd mate of a whaler – more like a greenhand. BTW, implied in your notes is that the mutiny on the Harmony happened in December 1830 whereas it was one year later. Possibly you already have these but I found a photo of JJ’s house in 1898, a possible sighting in Australia mid 1839, and vessels to NZ 1839-40. All the best.


    1. gregorypaulskinner Post author

      Thanks for the comments – anything you have would be gratefully received, I don’t have any records of him coming to NZ so would be very interested in what you have – I will contact you directly via your email – Regards Greg



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