Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sepia Saturday:

I thought today for Sepia Saturday I would introduce you to
Mo's great-great-great grandfather

Edward William Stockman
..intrepid adventurer..

Edward an Englishman, arrived in New Zealand in 1832, living in Korarareka, now Russell, in the Bay of Islands. He looks quite the gentleman in his suit doesn't he. In his early days in New Zealand I imagine he would not have looked so dapper.
Korarareka was a notoriously wild place then of sealers and whalers, living among the maori people.
It is believed Edward had a de facto family in Korarareka.
It was probably whaling that took Edward to the island of Rotuma
for some time, where he was 'artistically and elaborately' tattoed on the body and legs.

A family legend tells of his capture by natives while the rest of the crew were killed and eaten, but an old woman saved him from death, deciding she would keep him as her husband. He was then tattoed on his rear as an indignity because he refused her. A great family legend!

Returning to New Zealand he travelled to Kawhia (near where I live now) and ran a trading store.
Here he married a woman of the Ngatiawa tribe, Emma, and had three children.

The story is told how a group of maori threatened to attack and loot his store. Edward sat himself upon a barrel of gunpowder with a lighted stick in his hand,declaring he would blow up himself, his store and the attackers should they proceed. The attack was forgotten and Edward gained much respect from then on.

Being a fluent speaker of maori, Edward moved to Taranaki, becoming an interpreter first for the Imperial troops, during the so-called rebellion, and later an interpreter in Maori Affairs.
In 1855 a jury list states him as a farmer of Mangorei, and in 1856, the owner of a racehorse.
He had indeed become a gentleman it seems. I imagine this photo was taken during prosperous Taranaki years.

He married his second wife in Taranaki and his daughter Hera/ Sara was to become Mo's great-great grandmother.

Edward is certainly the most colourful of Mo's ancestors, found among the family sepia photographs.

The knowledge of the family history is thanks to Renee Sharman, a great-great-great grandaughter of William, who has spent many hours researching , and from The Taranaki News report of Edward's death.
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  1. He certainly was an interesting person with quite a colorful history, Joan. It is wonderful that you have this peace of very early family history on Mo's ancestors. I enjoyed reading about him here and getting a little bit of the history of New Zealand.

  2. What a story. I know so little about New Zealand history, your post just gives me a fascinating insight into the stories of those pioneers who went out to that beautiful country. You've educated me and entertained me : thank you.

  3. Wow wonderful post J, such an interesting man, I enjoyed reading about him. I am wondering how he came to NZ, nearly a decade earlier than the first of the settler ships.

  4. Now THAT's an ancestor! What a great story!

  5. Way too colorful I choose to believe it is all true!!!!!!What a fun post like a like reading a histroy book with morning coffee !!!

  6. Fascinating character and interesting times! I am not at all familiar with NZ and this is interesting though I have heard of the Maori tribe. To be tatooed with indignance, what a punishment! On his rear, what a tale ending:)
    could not resist that comment

  7. Thank you Penny, Alan, Marilyn, Vicki Julie and Pat for great comments. I was thinking how in early Korarareka there were also church missionaries so the maori came to know both the wild and the pious .
    I feel the tattoo would have been a sign of acceptance more than punishment. Maori tattoo is very tapu or sacred and tells their ancestry, but the legends make for great telling.
    i suppose Marilyn, Edward would have come in the whaling ships, probably via Australia. We don't seem to know his earlier history.

  8. Hi Joan, How fantastic to have a photograph of such a distant ancestor. I find these sepia Saturdays so intersting as although I have a great love of history it really brings people to life. He sounds a fascinating man. Jane xx

  9. What a delight to find such color in his family tree! Don't you wish you had photos of the artistic body work -- including the one that must have been a pain in the butt?

  10. Thanks Poppy and Meri.. oh yes for a photo of Edwards tattoos!

  11. He was quite a colorful individual. I think it must have taken a lot of courage to refuse the woman suggested as wife when all of his friends had been killed. Whew!

  12. How right Nancy.. but a great story to have for family tellings.

  13. Edward was a colourful character. I am a descendent, through George (Hori), Edward's son. Would love to find exact location in Kawhia of Edwards Trading store. Was it in Rakanui Inlet, I wonder? My email is Please email me if you can offer any help.