Issue 53
Home Up Search


Down after the black gold

The new New Zealanders


This Issue offers a real treat to our readers in the form of great articles by two family members, each of whom has a strong story to tell. 

On countless occasions, we've shown the Stentifords against a backdrop of gentle Devon scenery - leafy lanes, remote villages, windswept moors and seaside resorts - true, the families were all poor but at least there were roses around the doors. But in his article, Huw Davis takes us into a very different world and presents the story of his family of Stentifords (a story we began in Issue 52) set against the harsh backdrop of 19th and 20th century coal mining in South Wales. Kevin Stentiford, on the other hand, takes us to a world which, at first sight, appears very similar to Devon. But as he tells the story of how his family came to be in New Zealand, we begin to understand how superficial that similarity was to working class men and women after the end of the war in the 1940s - to them, New Zealand seemed a very different place to  the class-conscious England they were prepared to leave behind. 

Huw's family lived within a rigid social system that offered little more than a lifetime of unremitting toil and a complete lack of opportunity for betterment. Returning to this kind of social order was the prospect that confronted Kevin's family after the war - but, like thousands of their contemporaries, they simply couldn't face it - in fact, they wouldn't face it. They voted with their feet and took advantage of the eager welcome offered to them by Commonwealth countries faced with the post-war task of rebuilding their economies. Young, bright, fit, skilled and ambitious, they left the shores of Britain in droves, assisted by all manner of incentive schemes which included  secure jobs and decent housing. "10 Aussies" and would-be New Zealand citizens, they all sailed away, not in the expectation of great wealth, but looking for social justice - hoping to find an equality of opportunity in their new country which would allow them to secure better futures for themselves and their families.

In Issue 51, Rita Roberts asked for help in tracking down Reginald Stentiford. She has been making some progress but has asked us to publish her new e-mail address which is Please contact her if you come across any useful information.


Keep in touch,

Muriel and Richard


Link to Office of National Statistics for information on how to obtain copies of Birth, Marriage and Death certificates.

To return from the ONS site, close the window in which it appears.


Down after the black gold

The new New Zealanders


Send mail to  with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modiied: 25/02/2007