William Wight SMITH,
Charles O'Hara SMITH JP,
Sergeant Major SMITH
and their father
Captain John SMITH 41st Regiment

A couple of years back I took this photo of a grave at Purewa Cemetery in Auckland and thought what interesting people to one day research.

Grave* of William Wight SMITH memorialising also his brothers Sergeant Major Sidney SMITH, Charles O'Hara SMITH and their father Captain John SMITH

Tonight I came across the photo again as I was editing on Flickr. So I decided to do a bit of a trawl on the net and thought i would add here what i've found.

William Wight SMITH
The only person buried in this grave is William Wight SMITH. William was a Commission agent of Wellington. Searches of him on National Library's 'Paperspast' site show him as the plaintiff in a claim for commission on the sale of land in 1907. He died intestate.

Sergeant Major Sidney SMITH
Williams brother Sergeant Major Sidney SMITH, is memorialised on the headstone. He was a telegraph linesman prior to enlisting and serving in the Boer War. He was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal (Cape Colony and Orange Free State Clasps) and King's South Africa Medal (South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902 Clasps) [3]. He was killed in action 31 January 1902. His Embarkation record and Cenotaph database record.

Captain John SMITH
Captain John Smith of the 41st Regiment is buried in the Karori Cemetery, Wellington and mentioned - along with a map indicating where he is buried, in the 'Warriors Walk' a brochure for this cemetery from the Wellington City Council. Maybe someone who lives locally would like to take a photo of his grave so I can add it to this post? Maybe i'll take another long weekend sometime to do it myself, it looks fabulous! Kudos to the Council for putting this together!

Charles O'Hara SMITH J.P.
"Mr Charles O'Hara SMITH - Auditor of Land Revenue for New Zealand, who had a good deal to do with the suppression of dummyism [practice of purchasing land for someone who is not legally entitled to] in Taranaki, is a son of Captain John Smith, late of H.M. 41st Foot, an old Crimean veteran, who holds a medal of the French Legion of Honour.

Mr. Smith was born in Malta, and educated at the private school of the Rev. J. B. Smith, Sizar and Moderator of Trinity College, Dublin. Arriving in New Zealand in 1872, he passed the Civil Service examination and joined the Treasury as a cadet. Having developed considerable ability, Mr. Smith was transferred to the Audit Office in 1879. Subsequently he was appointed an audit inspector, and for many years performed arduous duties in auditing the Government accounts and those of local bodies in various parts of the Colony. The districts which were under his charge at various times were Marlborough, Nelson, Wellington, Taranaki, Auckland City, and the North of Auckland.

Charles O'Hara SMITH [1]

It is well known that while on the West Coast, North Island, Mr. Smith was successful in detecting many irregularities, causing large sums to be disgorged, and he was instrumental in bringing many defaulters to punishment. He also discovered that frauds were being perpetrated through certain land offices by means of fraudulent scrip. In consequence of these and other discoveries, the Legislature constituted the Department of Audit of Land Revenue by special Act as a branch of the Lands Department, and the control of this branch was given to Mr. Smith in recognition of his services. The usefulness of this section of the Civil Service is becoming more apparent as time progresses, the officers being experts in their special work.

Mr. Smith was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and belonged to the Wellington Lodge No, 1521, E.C., of which he was elected W.M. for two years successively. He has also been a member of the District Grand Lodge.

In boating Mr. Smith has been prominent for some twenty years; he was one of the founders of the Star Boating Club, and for several years rowed the stroke oar in both the inrigged and outrigged races. Mr. Smith was on one occassion [sic] successful in winning the sculling championship in Wellington, and possesses several trophies.

He was an enthusiastic volunteer, and served for six years in the D Battery, New Zealand Regiment of Artillery Volunteers.

In 1884 he married Miss Talbot, daughter of Mr. George Talbot, J.P., Mayor of Richmond, Nelson, and chairman of the Nelson Education Board, and has five children—four daughters and a son." [2]


Well that WAS an interesting lot. I'm glad I get so sidetracked when editing. No doubt I will find more to add!

* Headstone transcription.

In loving memory of William Wight SMITH
Died March 6th 1910 [aged 48]

Sergeant Major Sidney SMITH [memorial only]
6th Contingent N.Z.M.B. Killed in South Africa January 3rd 1902
Charles O'Hara SMITH J.P. [memorial only] - Auditor of Land Revenue
Died Bathurst, N.S.W. September 10th 1896

sons of Captain John SMITH, 41st Regiment
who died Wellington, March 10th 1899
Purewa Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand 30 December 2007


[1 & 2] NZ Electronic Text Centre - accessed 28 January 2010

[3] Cenotaph database - Auckland War Memorial Museum, accessed 28 January 2010


  1. This is wonderful - Captain John Smith is my great-great Grandfather. I've been working on my genealogy, and 'John Smith' has to be the worst to try to trace. He married Anne Ellen Cameron. They had a lot of children, and he began to name them after members of his regiment. I'm descended from his son Ward Somerset Smith.

  2. Ohhhh i'm delighted you found this of use :) That is exactly why i do this and of course to preserve a bit of history about people.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

    Happy New Year!


  3. Actually, it was even more use to me than I realised. Because of the information here, I've been able to get past a brick wall and find John Smith's family! Anne Ellen was a Canavan, not a Cameron as we mis-read it. The 'O'Hara' and 'Wight' middle names of the sons above led me to the maiden surnames of the generations before, Thank You!

    1. You are very welcome :)

      So pleased you found it of so much use.



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