Excerpt from Te Karere Mai Te Whanau a Neke Newsletter. Vol 1 Issue 1 December 1994 Glenn Williams Editor.
Theophilus Daniels said that the settlement of Codfish Island (Whenua Hou) by the sealers and their Maori wives commenced about 1818. The men, seamen, rough and toughened by the privations and hardships of their calling. The women of Waitaha, Kati Mamoe or Kai Tahu descent no doubt lured by novelty and advantages more perceived than real. A roll call reveals the intriguing nick names of the seamen, Long Harry, Black Swan, Ned the Nailer, Jack the Bowman, Portugee Joe, Bungaree, Cranky Smith, Ton the Bean, and Shaving Face just to name a few. Among the Maori women were Wharetutu, Neke, Pi, Puru, Hinekino, Te Whareriro, Pip and Kaiea.
Our story concerns those who left Sealers Bay on Codfish Island for Murrays River (Otaki) to set up as small village of their own. They were George Newton and Wharetutu. John Newton and Pi, Joseph Davis and Kaiea, Daniel (Cranky) Smith and Neke, Joseph (Portugee Joe) Antonio & Pura, Edward (Ned the Nailer) & Hinekino, Thomas Greenwood & Tamaiareka. So their village (kaika) comprised of at least eight families.
They were families.! George Newton and Wharetutu had twelve children (which today has grown into over 5 thousand descendants). Thus, the village population by 1850 must have totalled about fifty.
On Tuesday 6th February 1844, Bishop Selwyn sailed into Murrays River and married or baptised all who could be persuaded. Among those married were Neke and Daniel Smith their union resulting in four children Mary Ann, Jane, Thomas and Samuel.
It seems likely that when Jane's second brother Samuel was born in 1848, Neke died in childbirth. When Bishop Selwyn called again at the settlement on 12th February 1851, he reports, "Daniel Smith absent at Hawkes Bay, His wife Neke is dead and one child living with Greenwoods". So with Mary Ann 41/2, Jane 2, Thomas barely 1 year old, poor Neke dead giving birth to Samuel, Daniel Smith either distraught or uncaring makes off to Hawkes Bay, young Samuel goes to Greenwoods and Thomas is adopted by Thomas Jackson and his wife Elizabeth nee Lee. Mary Ann and Jane seem to fade from recorded history at this point, but, gathering "straws in the wind" or maybe just using my inagination I fill in some of the detail.
At 2 years of age Jane was taken into the care of Joseph (Portugee Joe) Antonio and his wife Pura. Remember, Joseph and Pura had come form Codfish Island with Daniel and Neke, and Joseph stood as witness at their wedding. They were friends in an age when this implied a responsibility.
In historical records Jane has many aliases, whilst she was baptised Jane I have no doubt that Neke had another name for her in Maori. I suspect that it was Parapara. Commissioner H.T. Clarke lists her as Jane Parapa, and she is also shown as Parawha Smith and Jane Parepa. Recording and spelling was even less precise in those times than it is now.
Brought up by Joseph and Pura as a sister to Johanna and Susan Antonio, I suggest that Jane or Parapara eventually lived with her first husband, David McKenzie Senior on Horsehose Point, Stewart Island. From there springs this story as told by Samuel Smith, son of Susan Smith nee Antonio and Urban Smith, to the well known historian Olga Sansom.
Excerpt from Te Whanau a Neke Trust Newsletter - "Te Karere Mai te Whanau a Neke" Vol 1 Issue 1" (Dec 1994) Editor Glenn Williams.
On the South Head, a green patch on Horse Shoe Bay Point homes have eyed the sunrise. The remains of Brookland's home (Cornish family Brouchland) are there. A tall tree grows through the kitchen floor and out of the roof and well above it clumps of daffodils flower in the grass on the hillside. but earlier than that, Brookland home was the thatched treefern cottage of Parapara and her husband with its open fireplace and surround of big stones from the rocks below, a very snug home.
Parapara was an Anthony from Taiaroa Heads, a sister of Johanna Gomes and Susan Smith, the pioneer mothers of Bravo, Paterson Inlet. Now Parapara was like a fish in the water. Unusual this. Even in my day few fishermen or their wives were strong swimmers, those that were seemed to excel. Take Tommy Chaseland of old, who swam the six miles of wretched sea to Tautuku Beach when a Whale with determined fluke smashed his whale boat to smithereens. He was one, Parapara was another.
The eldest Goomes boy was called Terekau which mean't "Fat little Huhu Grub", a name of affection given to a plump little boy. His aunt Parapara, then childless, loved that "fat little huhu grub", so when he fell out of a dinghy and in no time was out in the swift current someone had to think quickly. Parapara ran to a high rock and leapt in with good timing to grab him by the hair as he passed by. That wasn't all. She also saved her husband from drowning on another occasion and she saved their boat. It was a big open whaleboat, which was hauled up at the end of the day by block and tackle on the Horse Shoe Foveaux Strait. She threw off her clothes, got in through heaving bull kelp, swam out and brought the boat, their only meams of a livelihood, back to safety (told to me by Sam Smith, a nephew of Parapara).
The above quotation leaves some questions. The family of Joseph and Pura Antonio is not recorded as including a daughter named Parapara, and the reference to Taiaroa Heads raises a query yet to be answered.
In 1861 on 11th September Jane Smith (or was it Parapara? married David McKenzie, a Sawyer. Perhaps it was not coincidental that David McKenzie Jnr was granted Ten Acres of land on the North face of Horsehoe Point - was this their parents home? David Jnr was born 27th January 1863 and his half-brother Thomas was born to Jane on 17th April 1985. Thomas's father was Thomas Robinson, but young Thomas was given the name Mckenzie.
David Snr. was probably dead, Jane and her family needed support in a harsh environment and Robinson was that, he and Jane had another child Jane Mathilde born 23rd June 1987. Three years later Jane and Alexander Fraser were married by Rev Wohlers on Ruapuke Island. In the marriage record, Jane is stated as a widow, obviously McKenzie Snr was dead. Of Robinson we hear no more.
Did Alexander Fraser bring stability to a thus far tubulent life? I doubt it. Their first son Henry, was baptised on the day they were married as was Jane Mathilde. In the ensuing years, came John, Alexander, Frances and William. Jane and Alex apparently moved from the island to the Mainland of Bluff then Invercargill and eventually Dipton. It was here after only 34 years of a chaotic and exhausting life, suspended between two vastly different cultures no doubt, often bewildered and bereft that Jane, Parapara, Parawha, Parapa / Smith, McKenzie, Fraser, Parapa died of Tuberculosis. Look! at the picture of a beautiful lady who lived life in an environment we today would tremble to contemplate SALUTE HER.
What happened to Daniel, Mary Ann, Thomas, Samuel, David McKenzie Snr, Thomas Robinson - we don't know but we are certainly still trying to find out.
Okay so far so good - What comes next??? Well, a lot of that is up to you members of the Neke Whanau. Do we have your support or not????
Page last updated 31 Aug 2011