John Fraser or Johnny Parepa son of Jane Fraser nee Smith and Alexander Fraser

Excerpt from Te Karere Mai te Whanau a Neke Vol 1 Issue 3 (September 1995) Written by Phil Murison.

I have been pressured by circumstances and Glenn Williams into writing a "profile" on John Fraser. It is indeed sad that the memories and memorabilia of John are so few, or perhaps more accurately, difficult to find. His mokopuna have no memories of him, and, indeed his children's recollections of him are sparse.

He was born in 1872 at Clifton, a small town near Balcutha in Southland. What his parents, Jane and Alexander Fraser did there we do not know. Our next official acknowledgment of his exitstence is the 1892 Maori Consesus as "No. 261, Johnny Parepa, male over 14 years, quarter-caste, Invercargill.

We have hazy memories from his oldest daughter, Eileen, (my wife's mother) saying that he left home having "fallen out" with his father, but this is at best rumour. On 2nd April 1904, John and Elinor Jane Gourlay were married at the home of the bride's parents, Henry and Louisa Gourlay in Tory St Petone. John and Elinor had four children, Eileen, Alexander, Donald and Elinor. Eileen told that her father worked as a courier with the NZ Express Company Ltd. She had memories of going with him on Sundays to feed, water and groom his draft horses, and, just occasionlly being hoisted up "for a ride" on horseback.

It must have been horrendous for the young family and their mother, when on 12 February 1915 John Fraser died of peritonitis. Eileen aged 9 years and her younger brothers and sister can hardly be criticised for their brief memories of him.

In the ensuing years, Elinor maintained her family by running a boarding house in Wellington. There are stories told of those sea going sons of Jane Simpson staying with her when on shore leave. We can only rejoice that Te Whanau a Neke has bought the descendants of Jane Simpson and John Fraser together again.

Page last updated 31 Aug 2011