Joseph Ashton was born 3 June 1907 in Greytown, Wellington Region, New Zealand (Wairarapa) to Te Ao Ahitana Matenga (Joseph Ashton) (c1870-) and Kiti Karaka (1870-1927) and died 8 November 1993 Porirua City, Wellington Region, New Zealand of cancer. He married Inez Sarah Blunden (-1985) 29 May 1929 in Greytown, Wellington Region, New Zealand.

Joey Matenga Ashton (3 June 1907–8 November 1993) was a New Zealand railway worker, sportsman, and dance band leader. Of Moriori and Māori descent, he identified with the Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Mamoe iwi. He was the son of Te Ao Ahitana Matenga (Joseph Ashton) and Kiti Karaka Riwai.[1]


No full siblings but nine older half-siblings


Offspring of Joseph Ashton and Inez Sarah Blunden (-1985)
Name Birth Death Joined with
(four sons - one d.s.p. - and two daughters)


Joey Ashton attended primary schools at Kahutara and Greytown then went to Te Aute College.


Having milked cows as a child, he graduated to sheep-shearing as a young adult, over much of the southern North Island.

Eventually, however, he embarked on a career with the Government-owned New Zealand Railways after training at Tokorangi School for the required certificate in 1936-1937. His career path started with "line serviceman" and ended with "guard" in 1961, one of his postings being on the "Blue Streak" railcar.

Before becoming a guard, Joey had had to move around the North Island, to Feilding, Raurimu, Stratford, Wellington, and Putaruru. But from 1954 he was permanently back in Wellington, settling in Taita (in the Hutt Valley) in 1958.

After retirement from Government service, he did some work as a security guard and as a part-time tour guide for the TV studios at Avalon.

Sport and music

Joey's main sports were rugby and bowls, as both player and administrator.

He was a proficient pianist, who managed his own dance band, playing in the Wairarapa and Rangitikei areas.


In his last decade, Joey took a keen interest in his ancestry, both Moriori and mainland Māori, eventually having recorded, with his children's help, the names of six hundred relatives, a great many of whom he had personally met. He was particularly pleased to find a photo of his mother in Michael King’s book Moriori, published in 1989.


Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General
  • His father's birth year is merely estimated.
  • Wikipedia (see below)
  • Carole Ashton. 'Ashton, Joey Matenga', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 March 2017) (the source of Wikipedia's stub article)
¶ Death
  • At his son's home.
§ Remains
  • Ashes

Robin Patterson


  1. ^ Ashton, Carole. "Joey Matenga Ashton". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011. 
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