John the Naval Rating

The second version is much like the first although this time there is no duel, but he still joins the English Navy, becomes a naval rating and that during one of his visits to New Zealand is given a discharge, and he settles in Hokianga, New Zealand.

Taken from the book “The Great Northern Wairoa” by E.K Bradley – Page 23-24

“Originally, James Stanaway had been a navel rating and obtained his discharge at Hokianga where he started exporting spars. He came to Kaipara in 1840 and lived at Tokatoka where he was in a good position by climbing the Peak to see incoming vessels.

The only history that can be gathered of him is that he came from the village of Stanaway near Colchester, Essex, England. He had 2 Maori wives and one European.”

Also from Ada Clark’s family records chapter seven entitled “THE ARAPOHUE SETTLERS AND A SECRET SORROW” we have the following account of John James’s fourth wife;

John James Stanaway was old enough to be Sarah’s father and was a man in middle age who had experienced a life of adventure. Born on 16th July 1813, possibly near the village of Stanaway, near Colchester, Essex, he was a seasoned sea-farer who had once been a naval rating.

 And another twist on this version again, from Ada Clark’s family records chapter seven entitled “THE ARAPOHUE SETTLERS AND A SECRET SORROW” we have the following account of John James’s fourth wife;

“One verbal account suggests that as an early visitor to these shores he was confronted by an unfriendly tribe of Maoris. The chief’s daughter spoke up for him and saved his life. He married her and had three children (Henry, Mrs Brown and Mrs Charles Nelson). At a later date he again married another Maori woman, by whom he had two more children, William and Mary.

 He is said to have obtained his naval discharge at Hokianga where he started to export spars. He came to the Kaipara in 1840 and lived at Tokatoka where he was in a good position to see incoming vessels from the peak. In those days the Harbour or Bar entrances were not marked and as early as 1840 he used to escort ships over the Bar in a lifeboat with a well-trained crew… He earned such an excellent reputation he was the first officially commissioned Pilot in New Zealand.”

From Barney Daniel’s journals he states;

On page one is some detail by the Mariners who compiled this family history. He is described as a Naval Rating but little is known of his rank other than the fact that he must have acquired some skill at his training as a seaman. His visits to N.Z. are not known as to the number but they were probably connected with the requirements of the British Navy to obtain suitable timber for masts and spars. Prior to this, these

I have searched the English Naval records 20 years either side of John’s age prior to 1840, and there are no records of any Stanaway at any rank.

Some of the information given above we know is not correct, but it does highlight a common theme. The account of the Maori girl saving his life is another spin off, of a similar theme.

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