Given names: 
Mary J.
Given address: 
Sheet No: 1

Biographical information provided by Canterbury Museum for the He Tohu exhibition:

Mary Jane Carpenter (nee Griffiths), the very first name on the main Petition, was born on 23 May 1850 in Worcestershire, England. Her parents were Mary (formerly Wyer, nee Harper) and John Griffiths, a boilermaker. Family traditions say that Mary was related to the first Anglican Bishop of Christchurch, Henry Harper.

The family later moved to Derbyshire where Mary’s elder brother John was married in 1868. In 1870, Mary Jane travelled with her parents, brothers John and Samuel, sister Sarah, sister-in-law Hannah, and nephew John, to New Zealand aboard the Zealandia, arriving in Lyttelton on 23 December 1870. Mary Jane was listed as a domestic servant.

A year later, on 13 December 1871, Mary Jane married George Frederick Carpenter, a widower. They had a family of seven daughters and two sons; Harriet Frances (1872-195?), Margaret Alice (1873-1936), Ethel Mary (1875-1888), Edith Bessie (1877-1938), Emily (1879-1953), John Frederick (1881-1923), Daisy Sarah (1882), William James (1884-1947), and Evelyn Gladys (1887-?).

Mary Jane was very involved in family and church affairs, being an ardent supporter of the Methodist Church. After her husband died she lived with her daughter Emily at 415 Papanui Rd until her death from cancer on 8 October 1920, aged seventy. She is buried with her husband in Yaldhurst Cemetery.

Her mother, Mary Griffiths of Upper Riccarton, also signed the Petition.


Mary Jane Carpenter with her husband George and seven children. (Alistair Aitken)

Mary Jane Carpenter (seated, front row, in black dress and hat) at the wedding of her son, John Frederick Hyam Carpenter, circa 1915. (Alistair Aitken) 

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

Community contributions

5 comments have been posted about Mary J. Carpenter

What do you know?

Graham L. Carpenternonymous

Posted: 07 Feb 2024

My Great Grandfather Frederick John Carpenter is the brother of George Frederick Carpenter
and William Hyam Carpenter. Frederick and William farmed at Prebbleton.

Marilyn & Noel Carpenter

Posted: 30 Sep 2020

We have the original family photo stored somewhere. If I can locate it I will send Alistair a copy.
That is my copy in the photo with my hand writing of the names. First time we have seen the wedding photo. Who has the original as we would like a copy?

Leonie Renton

Posted: 15 Nov 2018

My Grandmother Evelyn Gladys Langdale ( nee Carpenter ) died 7 September 1960 in Picton

Jamie M

Posted: 25 Sep 2018

Hi Alistair - thanks for this offer, we would definitely be keen for a photograph of her. Please email to [email protected]

Alistair Aitken

Posted: 23 Sep 2018

I have a photo of Mary Jane with husband and seven children. The quality is not fantastic and it has been folded at some point so the crease lines are visible. You are welcome to a copy if it suits.