This is a list of the Colenso family that settled in New Zealand.



William Colenso (1811 to 1899) arrived on the Blackbird from Sydney in December 1834. He had been employed as a printer by the Church Missionary Society. He assisted with the production of the New Testament in Maori. He also attended the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and his account where he expressed concern about the chiefs understanding of the treaty forms the basis of many maori land claims.


He had a keen interest in natural history and collected many of the New Zealand flora in the Kew Gardens. He explored the hinterland of the North Island, especially the Ruahine Ranges.


He married Elizabeth Fairburn the daughter of a missionary in 1843 and had a daughter Frances Mary and a son Ridley Latimer. William and Elizabeth were pioneers of the west coast city of Napier.


William also had another son Wiremu (William) as a result of an irregular liaison with Ripeka. This lead to a separation from his wife and suspension as a missionary.


His daughter married William Henry Simcox and they with their 9 children were pioneers in the Otaki region of the North Island. Ridley returned to England, studied at Cambridge, married and had a daughter, who died at 18.


Wiremu, after separation from his father in his early years, was raised by him, became a mariner and returned to Penzance where he married a cousin Sarah Veale Colenso. They had no children. William built a house for his son called Glen Trewithen, which remained in the family until Doris Colenso died in 1990.


William was the son of Samuel May Colenso and Mary Veale Thomas. He was born in Penzance and left this town money for the “Colenso Dole”, an annual gift to the poor of the Penzance.


James Colenso (1849 to 1916) and Elizabeth Jane Moyle married in Falmouth in February 1874. Their first son was born in Christchurch New Zealand in November 1874. He was the first of 11 children.


James was the son of John Colenso and Honor Treloar, born in Helston.

Before 1891

John Francis Colenso (1868 to 1957) and George Squire Colenso (1865 to 1948) were brothers who died in Lower Hutt and Patone respectively.


John was included on the 1919 Electoral Roll, whereas George was listed in 1943. John was unmarried, while George had left two sons and a wife in Brisbane. He was a seaman. John was a wool blender. They disappeared from England before the 1891 census.


The two brothers were the sons of George Squire Callenso and Fanny Elizabeth Holbert Tozer. They were born in Devonport, Devon.


Joseph Austin Colenso (1874 to 1939) was born in Australia, but moved to Oemaru on the South Island, before 1902. He married Emily Ince and had three daughters – Amy, Mabel and Noela. Mabel was the only one that married – Ivan Swinbourn. This couple had one daughter.


Joseph was the son of Edwin Colenso and Martha Austin, born in Geelong. He was a painter.

Early 1940s

Norman John and Edward John Colenso were two brothers born in Bristol just before WW2. They married and settled in New Zealand.


They are sons of Arthur Colenso and Rose Harvey.