Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
Birth Name: Claire Mary Teresa Rawstron (or Kiri Janette Claire Te Kanawa)
Place of Birth: Gisborne, New Zealand
Date of Birth: 6 March, 1944
*father – Māori, as well as 1/16th Scottish, 1/16th Colonial American [English]
*mother – English
Kiri Te Kanawa is a New Zealand opera singer and actress. She performed at the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981.
Kiri is the biological daughter of Tieki “Jack” Wawatai, a butcher, and Mary Noeleen Rawstron. She was adopted and renamed Kiri Janette Claire Te Kanawa, by Tom Te Kanawa and Nell Leece. Her adoptive father was Māori and of Ngāti Maniapoto, and her adoptive mother was of English and Irish descent. She has two children with her former husband Desmond Park. She is affiliated with the Ngāti Te Kanawa sub-tribe of Ngāti Maniapoto.
Kiri is a fourth half-cousin of actor Manu Bennett, through their shared great-great-great-grandfather William Henry Rogers.
Kiri’s paternal grandfather was Te Owai “Joe” Wawatai (the son of Henare Wawatai and Harai Katokato Patuwai, of Ngāti Porou). Te Owai was born in Tikitiki, Gisborne, New Zealand. Henare was the son of Heta Wawatai and Raiha Tutaki Wikitapu.
Kiri’s paternal grandmother was Mere Tote “Mary Anne” Rogers (the daughter of Te Ngaroata Pokaihau “Jack” Rogers and Te Raiti). Jack’s father, Eruera Pokaihau Rogers, was the son of William Henry Rogers, a shipwright and storekeeper at Maketu, who emigrated to New Zealand from Salem, Massachusetts, U.S., sometime during the 1840s, and of Mereana Rangingangana of Te Arawa. Jack’s mother, Te Owai McDonnell, was the daughter of Thomas McDonnell, from Glasgow, Scotland, and of Pahemata Tauatahi Te Po of Ngā Puhi.
Kiri’s maternal grandfather was Albert James Rawstron (the son of Ernest Rawstron/Raustron and Hannah Maria Mitchell). Albert was born in Walton Le Dale, Lancashire, England. Ernest was the son of John Rawstron. Hannah was the daughter of James Mitchell and Brittannia Wilding. The surname Rawstron/Raustron is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is derived from Rostherne, a town in Cheshire, England.
Kiri’s maternal grandmother was Eliza/Liza Thelma Wittison (the daughter of Samuel Wittison, a mariner, and of Gertrude Ellen Johnson). Eliza was born in Kingston, Tasmania, Australia. Gertrude was the daughter of George Johnson and Ellen Stuart.
Sources: Genealogy of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa – https://www.geni.com
Christening record of Kiri’s maternal grandfather, Albert James Rawstron – https://www.familysearch.org
Kiri’s maternal grandfather, Albert James Rawstron, on the 1881 England and Wales Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Marriage record of Kiri’s maternal great-grandparents, Ernest Rawstron/Raustron and Hannah Maria Mitchell – https://www.familysearch.org
Christening record of Kiri’s maternal great-great-grandmother, Brittannia Wilding – https://www.familysearch.org
Kiri’s maternal great-grandmother, Hannah Maria Mitchell, on the 1871 England and Wales Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Birth record of Kiri’s maternal grandmother, Eliza/Liza Thelma Wittison – https://www.familysearch.org
Grave of Kiri’s maternal grandmother, Eliza/Liza Thelma (Wittison) Rawstron – https://cemeterysearch.gdc.govt.nz
Marriage record of Kiri’s maternal great-grandparents, Samuel Wittison and Gertrude Ellen Johnson – https://www.familysearch.org
Marriage record of Kiri’s maternal great-great-grandparents, George Johnson and Ellen Stuart- https://www.familysearch.org
Documentary where Kiri talks about her family – https://www.youtube.com