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William Jenkins

William Jenkins also known as Bill the Steward

Arrived: 1836
Country of origin: England
Area in New Zealand: Cloudy Bay, Kapiti Island, Paraparaumu, Otaki
Source: website- DNZB

Details: William Jenkins was born on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, England in 1813. He went to sea at the age of 9, and eventually arrived on Kapiti Island, New Zealand on board a whaling ship, the Caroline, in 1836. He was a whaler and an innkeeper. He married Pairoke and had 8 children. He later married Margaret Carmot, and had 12 more children.

The Pioneer Muster Roll has William Jenkins arriving on the 'Henry Freeling' in 1836.

Bush Advocate,11 December 1888. Mr Jenkins is an old whaler, and came to the colony in the first instance in the year 1836, as one of the crew of the barque Caroline. Cloudy Bay was the first part of the coast at which he touched, and after chasing the marine mammal there for some time the vessel crossed Cook Strait to the Island of Kapiti.

Tuapeka Times, Volume XXI, Issue 162, 13 February 1889, Page 6
Some exciting reminiscences connected with the early days of European settlement on the West Coast of the Wellington provincial district were related by Mr William Jenkins, a well-known settler at Otaki, one of the witnesses examined last week before the Commissioners who are inquiring into the desirableness of re-opening the cases in reference to several blocks of land in the Waikanae district. Mr Jenkins is an old whaler, and came to the colony in the first instance in the year 1836, as one of the crew on the barque Caroline. Cloudy Bay was the first part of the coast at which he touched, and after chasing the marine mammal there for some time the vessel crossed Cook Strait to the Island of Kapiti. The Ngatiawa Tribe was at this period in armed occupation of the land as Waikanae and the Ngatitoas, under their celebrated fighting chief Te Itauparaha, were in the neighbourhood of Porirua and at Kapiti. Mr Jenkins was an eye-witness of a terrible conflict between the two tribes which took place on the island in 1836. On this occasion he was so near to the combatants that be expresses surprise that, though neutral, he escaped being shot, for the natives were well supplied with firearms. In 1839 he viewed another bloody battle from a little island close to Kapiti, having heard the first shot fired, and consequently rowed across in his boat out of curiosity. That, observed the examined counsel, is more than I should have cared to do.' Well, sir,' replied the old man, with a merry twinkle in his eye, ' I'm made of very different stuff from you.' This fight occurred three days before the arrival of the ship Tory with the New Zealand Company's instalment of the pioneers of Wellington. Honi Tuhata, one of the Ngatiawa chiefs, received an ugly flesh wound in the thigh. At Colonel Wakefield's request, Mr Jenkins rowed Drs. Dieffenbach, Dorset and Robertson across from the mainland to Kapiti to attend to the wounded warriors. Tuhata was found taking ashes out of the fireplace and putting them on his wound, treating it after the fashion of his people. As to his own mode of living, the witness said that he was in the habit of stopping on the mainland until the mosquitoes became too numerous, and then betaking himself to Kapiti. He remembered seeing the chief Rangihaeata eating the flesh of the man who killed Rauparaha. Whaling operations were first carried on at Kapiti in 1836, about the time when the present Waikanae chief Wi Parata was born, and in the second season Wi Parata's father, who was working on board the whaler Louisa, was drowned. The witness spoke of an old chief who had only a little bit of rock for himself and his family to live upon, and did not own as much land as would grow six kakara trees. Altogether Mr Jenkins' evidence gave the Commissioners an interesting glimpse of the vicissitudes encountered by the early settlers on the New Zealand coast.
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