Ching and Chisnall families
Richard Ching was born 11 July 1811 in England to Cornish parents - William Ching and Mary Vague. Richard was aged 12 when both his father, aged 40 years, and grandmother, aged 78, passed away within a year of each other. He married his first wife Jane Harris in April 1841 and they later had one daughter and six sons who passed on the family name.
Nine days after their marriage, Richard was on his way to sail to New Zealand on an expedition under the direction of Captain Arthur Wakefield to survey and choose a settlement site for emigrants coming from England. They sailed out on three ships; The Whitby, the Will Watch and the Arrow. The first two vessels sailed on the 2nd May, 1841 but the Arrow did not get away until the 21st. All three vessels arrived in Nelson where there was some argument over the site for settlement. The expedition crossed Cook Strait to explore the district, when it was finally agreed after much debate that the settlement would be located in Wakatu Bay.
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The wives and children followed in February 1842 on the Lloyds, where 65 children died enroute due to poor ventilation, malfunctioning oil lamps and overcrowding, giving it the worst record of any immigrant ship in New Zealand for deaths on a journey.
Richard was one of the first Englishmen to set foot in Nelson and he soon established an Orchard and a farm on Nayland Road, Stoke which his sons helped him to run for many years, making the family prominent in the Stoke area. After his first wife, Jane, died at the age of 43, Richard remarried to Elizabeth Pearce in 1857 and they had 12 children together.
Richard passed away in 1883 at the age of 72 with the respect of all that knew him. One of Richard's older sons, William Ching who was born in 1845 and was educated in Nelson, had early experience in farming and gold mining. In 1868 William married Elizabeth Doidge from Stoke and they had two sons and six daughters. He then moved to Blenheim and lived there for many years while carrying on a business as a wood dealer. While there he became the oldest sitting member of the Blenheim Borough Council.
One of William Ching's daughters, Isabella went on to marry William Chisnall whom she had a child with before remarrying and passing away in New Zealand in 1960. The Chisnall family became an integral part of the district's history, from the time that William's grandfather Edmund Buxton came to Nelson and set up the well-known business of Buxton's Ltd while also claiming other land in the Stoke area for farming and fruit growing.
Harry Chisnall was the son of Edmund Chisnall. He continued to farm on the original property owned by his father and grandfather in the Nayland Road area. He was born on the family farm and after being educated at Stoke and Nelson Central schools, he joined his father at the age of 14 to take on the farming trade. Over his lifetime he was involved with many different roles in the community including President of the Stoke Fruit Growers Association, President of the Milk Producers' Federation and Commodore of the Monaco Boat Club, just to name a few.
Harry had a son named Phil to his first wife, before having twin daughters with his second wife Muriel Hilda Ching. Her great grandfather was Richard Ching, who had originally started the family farm on Nayland Road, which was then passed down to her grandfather and then onto her father, Wilfred Ching.
The land claimed by Harry and Muriel’s family back in 1841 still remains as a farm today
Updated May 6, 2020
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Further sources - Ching and Chisnall families
- An old name dies (1961, August 10) Nelson Photo News, p.34
- Chisnall, Harry (1961, 8 April). Roots Are Deep In Stoke After Five Generations. Nelson Mail, p.12
- Richard Ching Individual Information@tracing Adam. Retrieved on 22 November 2012, from:
- The Will Watch into Nelson NZ - 1841. Retrieved on 22 November 2012, from:
- Edmund Buxton information. Retrieved on 22 November 2012, from
- Ching Family Tree. Retrieved on 23 November 2012, from
- Councillor William Ching. Retrieved on 27 November 2012, from