WAIPAWA.COM

Kenney-Henney enquiry

From: Brian
To: Jan
Subject: Kenney enquiry

Hi Jan

We've never met, I found your contact whilst carrying out a google search.
I'm trying to trace someone and wondered if you could help/give me guidance?

I have "inherited" an old school exercise book containing a traveller's description of his emigration via boat to New Zealand from England and I am trying to find a way to reunite the book with the traveller's descendents.

Jim Kenney, his wife Rose and baby Sidney left Anstey, Leicestershire on 5 February 1914. In Anstey they had lived in the same street as my Great Aunt and I had been brought up to believe that "most" of the street emigrated to Dannevirke (I was given a penfriend there).

However, he has written:
"When we arrived at Waipaparawa (he refers to Waipawa elsewhere) a young lady came to the carriage window and said "Hello there" how are you. I looked at Rose, she looked at me, and I was just going to tell the young lady that she had made a mistake, when I tumbled to who she was. It was Phyllis Bott, and she works there. When we got to Waipawa we found nearly all our old friends tehre to give us welcome."

Can you find the time to give me some help?

Thank you

Brian Murphy


From: Jan
To: Brian
Subject: Kenney enquiry

Hi Brian,

It sounds really interesting - and a neat story of someone's experiences in a totally new place. It does sound as if it is Waipawa if it is written that way for the rest of the book. The earlier spelling could be just a confusion as to how Maori names are written or said - for someone newly from England it is even today still very confusing as the vowel sounds are so different.

I have fairly limited resources but I will see what I can find out - and maybe if I put it on the website too it might connect with someone with some connection?
Off-hand I have not heard of the Kenney's -but let’s wait and see what happens.

I'd love to hear a bit more about their first impressions of Waipawa. Is it possible for you to share some?

:-) Jan


From: Brian
To: Jan
Subject: Kenney enquiry

Thank you Jan, and such a quick reply.

I'm sorry to disappoint you but the story is only about the trip and ends with his being met at Waipawa. He describes Waipawa as "a nice little place surrounded by many big hills" - not much but I am afraid that’s all.

Any help, guidance or suggestions you can give me would be much appreciated. It is difficult to know the right way to unlock the puzzle from here.

I am still wondering about the link with Dannevirke - do you happen to know anyone there I could ask?

I am booking a few days in January to visit my god daughter in Auckland when she gets married so if we can find anyone I will bring the book then.

Thanks Jan

Best wishes
Brian


From: Jan
To: Brian
Subject: Kenney enquiry

Hi Brian,

I've been pondering on this question the last couple of days as I've been driving up and down the country picking up my kids from uni.

I checked the Hawkes Bay phone book - and found no one with that name... and I don't really know anyone in Dannevirke to ask (even though its only 40 minutes drive from here)
Soooo... one idea I came up with was to forward you letter to our local freebee paper (CHB Mail), and to the Dannevirke/Tararua paper (the Bush Telegraph) and see if anyone replies.
It’s worth a try anyway - as you say it is a bit of a puzzle.

It is a pity the journal you have finishes with the arrival in Waipawa as it would have been interesting to find out more first impression and how a new immigrant fitted into our little town (or Dannevirke)back then.

Our town is surrounded by big hills which gives it a lot of character.
I actually live on 'the hill' in Waipawa - which obviously isn't the only hill - but is the only one really settled with houses on it - the other hills are farmland.
One thing I discovered recently when I was researching another enquiry and talking to one of our older residents in town, was that there was in the past a bit of social distinction between those who lived on 'the hill' and those who lived in 'the bush' (flat area of town which was the last place to be cleared of all the native bush - 'bush' being the term we NZers use for forest).
People up on 'the hill' were more upper class, and people from 'the bush' - well, you can probably guess - were the opposite.

The elderly gentleman I was talking to was from 'the bush' and he told me as a child he never went up on 'the hill', or played with kids from there. He was more likely to go down and play down by the river catching freshwater crayfish and cooking them in a billy, or making huge big tunnels in big piles of sawdust at the timber yards and crawling in there and smoking cigarettes with his friends from the bush (its amazing he survived his childhood risking being buried in sawdust, or catching it alight.)

Fortunately that social distinction has not kept going through Waipawa's history... and we don't distinguish between the people on 'the hill' or in 'the bush' anymore and we don't say they can't socialize or play together. - (Although I do like living on the hill - it has lots of old houses and pretty deciduous trees that turn gorgeous colours in the autumn.)

Anyway I was going through some photos the other day and found this one of the train about to leave Waipawa in about 1900.

The lady waving in the right foreground is my great grandmother.
As you can see, a train arriving or leaving town looked like it was a big event back then.

I will look into sending your enquiry off to those newspapers I mentioned earlier - and maybe get it posted on the website too, and see if anything comes to light.
Fingers crossed someone will know something... and we'll be able to solve this puzzle.

I'll let you know what I find out
:-) Jan


From: Brian
To: Jan
Subject: Kenney enquiry

Thank you for what you are doing to help.

Circulating it may well help because there is a definite connection with the Dannevirke area:
My Great Aunt told me that a lot of people from Anstey emigrated to that area in the early 1900s
I "was given" a penpal in that area and we exchanged letters for a while when I was young (not that I'm old now but you know what I mean)
She used to have two lady visitors from NZ when I was young. I am sure that one was called Margaret and the other had a name like Nooni and she was a ballet teacher (although maybe she taught in the UK)
One Christmas she received a sheepskin as a present and another she received a whole sheep (dead of course but I worked in a Butchers and so we arranged for it to be delivered over many weeks)

If you feel this is going nowhere please do not waste your time. I am grateful for what you have done and don't want to become a pain

Best wishes

Brian


From: Jan
To: Brian
Subject: Kenney – Henney enquiry

Hi Brian,

The letter I wrote to the CHB Mail was in today's paper and already I have some information for you.
It was kind of funny that the information came from Nancy who used to live almost across the road from me. In fact Nancy and her husband had lived in the same house for their whole married life and were like a third set of grandparents to my kids when we first shifted to Waipawa, and they moved away from Waipawa (and Rose street) only a year or two back to a smaller house with smaller grounds to upkeep.

Anyway back on the topic - Nancy knew who these people were immediately.

They were the Henneys - not the Kenneys.
Jim and Rose Henney came to came to NZ in 1914 with their son Sidney, and they arrived at Waipawa railway station where they were met by Phyllis Bott who was Mrs Henney's sister.
The Botts had a shop in Waipawa ( a jewellers or book shop?) and lived up Rose Street in Waipawa in a house they built and called "Rosemont" and Mrs Bott was very keen on gardening.

The Henneys also settled in Rose Street in Waipawa but down the opposite end of the street. So Phyllis Bott and Rose Henney were sisters and they ended up living in the same street in the same little town on the other side of the world from where they were born.
Mrs Henney often went and helped her sister in her garden at Rosemont.

The Henney's son Sidney never married. He grew up and worked in Napier and was very active in the music and dramatic scene up there... and so he died having no children.

His Aunt and Uncle (the Bott's) also had one child who was a daughter named Eileen. She married and she had one son called Wayne (who Nancy thinks lives in Rotorua?)

Soooo... Unfortunately Jim and Rose Henney have no direct descendants (which is very sad) apart from a great nephew.

It seems really ironic that a piece of your puzzle was right here in the street I live in - as the Henneys and the Botts lived back then in the same street as I do now!
Its true you learn something new every day.

:-) Jan


From: Brian
To: Jan
Subject: Kenney – Henney enquiry

Dear Jan

That is truly amazing. I have always believed in coincidences but ..

Anyway sorry about misspelling the surname. I've looked again and it could be either a K or an H. Another connection is that when I grew up in Anstey a family called Bott owned a garage there. I wonder if there are more connections between Waipawa and Anstey?

Its a real shame they have no living descendents - now I don't know what to do with the book!

You have been a great help Jan. You've given that book a life now. Can we wait a bit and see of you get any more responses to the Mail? I am still sure there is some connection with Dannevirke.

Very best wishes

Brian


From: Brian
To: Jan
Subject: Kenney – Henney enquiry

Hi Brian,

I had another ring from a Bott descendant last night. She couldn't tell me anything about the Henneys but a little more about the Phyllis Bott. I haven't got the full story yet as she had an incoming call (for her homestay business) when she was talking to me - so I might try contacting her again and seeing if she can shed a bit more light. - She said she would get out her father's diary, read it and see if he mentions the Henneys - so I might give her a little time to do that.

Anyway one thing Junette did tell me was that Phyllis Bott was her aunt (and that she had a photo of Phyllis on her wall) and that Phyliss's father did live in Dannevirke. She thought he was on the council or the town board there for a while(?) - and he was the first person in Dannevirke to own a car. - But as I say, I can probably confirm that better when I talk to her again.

So it does confirm a Dannevirke connection.
In the meantime I'll wait to see if any more calls come in from the CHB Mail request and maybe there'll be something from the Dannevirke paper too?

:-) Jan



Main Menu

Email enquiries

Duck archive