Auty Family

Auty Lane celebrates the Auty Family's connection to Porirua.


   Auty Lane 019  

Photo by Allan Dodson 2015

Robert Richard Auty was born in Stepney, London in 1864 the son of Robert Edward and Sarah Auty.[i]

Robert Richard Auty immigrated to New Zealand in 1870/1880’s as Robert, in Wellington, married on 22 August 1888 May Victoria Tuckwell,[ii]  the daughter of a storekeeper, in Wellington. In 1889 Robert and May were living in Christchurch where Robert rowed for the Lyttelton Rowing Club[iii] and was also a member of the Lyttelton Garrison Band.[iv] Robert and May’s eldest son Robert George Auty was born on 22 August 1889 in Lyttelton as were Louis Percival (1891) and Ina May Auty (1894). Robert and May moved from Lyttelton as their third son was born in Auckland in 1897 and their other daughter Violet was born in Wellington in January 1898, possibly Porirua, as Auty of PO Box Porirua advertised to lease a small farm in the 25 April 1898 edition of the Evening Post.[v] Richard and May by 1899 had purchased a well established general store in Porirua with Richard being listed in the 21 November 1899 Evening Post as the Evening Post agent for Porirua.[vi]


Autys General Store c1900


R R Auty’s Store & Bakery C1900

The Store also operated as the Porirua Post Office as well as selling coal. 

Richard died, in 1903, of injuries caused as the result of falling from the Manawatu & Wellington Railway train between Johnsonville and Tawa. May continued to run the store and the Post Office agency until 1912 when the New Zealand Post Office opened its new Post Office. M V Auty is listed in Government Estimate to receive a retirement payment, as non permanent staff, from the New Zealand Post Office[vii]. By 1916 May Victoria had moved to live in Wellington and may have sold or leased the shop at this stage however there are references to Mrs Auty’s Hall through to 1919 with this hall being destroyed by fire in 1922[viii]. Mrs Auty’s Hall had just, prior to the fire, had been converted to a movie theatre.




First man killed in France

Robert George Auty went to the Porirua School and played for the Porirua Rugby Club.

In April 1915 when Robert enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) he was working as a blacksmith on the farm of Mr Patterson, Kaikoura. An item printed in the Marlborough Express after Robert’s death in 1916 notes[ix]:

‘Mr W Paterson of Kaikoura has received word that Private R Auty who left Kaikoura as a member of the Sixth Reinforcements was killed in action on May 13th. The deceased was employed as a blacksmith by Mr Paterson and during his residence in Kaikoura was member of the Takahanga Hockey Club and the local brass band. He was also a keen supported of the “sport of kings’ having been seen in the saddle at local race meetings. This makes the third employee of Mr Paterson who has given his life in the great Empire struggle.’

6/2530 Private Auty, C Company, 6th Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Battalion sailed for overseas service on the 14th August 1915. The 6th Reinforcements joined their Battalion in Murdos, Lemnos on the 30th September 1915 the Canterbury Infantry Battalion had been withdrawn to Lemnos for recreation, reinforcement and training and remaining on the island until November 1915 when it returned to ANZAC Cove[x]. Private Auty was evacuated from Gallipoli in December 1915 arriving back in Egypt on 27th December 1915.


Private Auty 6th Reinforcements CIB


6/2530 Private Robert George Auty – 6th Reinforcements

The New Zealand Expeditionary Force then started to train for its next operations in France and 6/2530 Private Auty left Egypt, with the CIB, for France on the 6th April 1916.

In France on 1st May 1916 Private Auty was transferred from the 1st Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment to the New Zealand Machinegun Corps. The New Zealand Machinegun Corps, as part of the New Zealand Division was moving forward into the Armentieres sector taking over four miles of trenches that stretched from the River Lys in the north to a place known as Pear Tree farm in the south, a very short distance from the Lille-Armitieres railway. The New Zealand Machinegun Corp’s 1st company, of which Private Auty was a member, moved into the L’Eprinette subsector on the 13th May 1916 and the official NZMG Corp history records:[xi]

‘The 1st company suffered casualties on the first day in the line – Private R J Autey was killed and Sergeant W J Bartlett wounded by rifle fire.’

Private Auty is buried in grave I.A.28 Cites Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentiers, France.


62350 Private Autys grave in France


Private Auty’s military records have a simple hand written note on the first page[xii]

          ‘1st man K in France’

Robert’s younger brother Lewis Percival Auty also served in World War One a self employed painter he entered camp on 14th November 1917 and after training embarked, with the 36th Reinforcements, for overseas service on 23rd April 1918 travelling first to Egypt and then to England.


Private Auty 36th Reinforcements


Lewis – 36th Reinforcements

Private Auty arrived in England in July 1918 and was allocated to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade as Rifleman Auty. Rifleman Auty reached France in September 1918 where he joined B company. 1st Battalion, 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade. Private Auty following the 11 November 1918 Armistice remained in France awaiting return to England for repatriation. In March 1919 just prior to being returned to Sling Camp, England Private Auty was granted leave in Armentiers, it is possible that this was to enable him to visit the grave of his brother Robert.

Lewis Auty returned to New Zealand in August 1919 and on 23rd September 1919 was ‘discharged on the termination of his period of engagement.’

Lewis Percival Auty never married and died in Levin in 1968.

Ina May Auty married Francis James McCormick, a returned WW1 veteran, in 1922 she is recorded as dying in Porirua in 1975.

Violet Auty married William Frank Henderson in 1926.


Captain David Ferguson (1921). History of the Canterbury Regiment NZEF 1914-1919. Whitcombe & Tombs,Limited Auckland

J H Luxford (1923). With the Machine Gunners in France & Palestine. Whitcombe and Tombs, Auckland.

Military Records 6/2530 Private Robert George Auty: Archway Archives New Zealand



Auty Lane, Porirua: Allan Dodson 2015

C1900 RR Auty General Store, Porirua: Pataka

6/2530 Private Robert George Auty, 6th Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Brigade: Pataka Musuem

6/2530 Private Robert George Auty, Cites Bonjean Military Cemetary: New Zealand War Graves Project

71163 Private Lewis Percival Auty, 36th Reinforcements, NZEF: Pataka Museum

[i] Family Trees: Auty

[ii] BDM Internal Affairs: marriage Tuckwell – Auty 1888/2269

[iii] Lyttelton Rowing Club: Christchurch Star, 21 October 1889.

[iv] Concert: Christchurch Press, 8 August 1891.

[v] Wanted – Evening Post, 25 April 1898.

[vi] Evening Post Agents : Evening Post, 21 November 1899

[vii] The Estimates – Post & Telegraph : Wanganui Chronicle, 8 August 1912 pg 3

[viii] Fire at Porirua: Evening Post, 20 March 1922

[ix] Personal: Marlborough Express, 5 June 1916

[x] The Suvla Bay & Sari Bair Operations; History of the Canterbury Regiment 1914 - 1919

[xi] The companies in the Line 13th  May to 18th August 1916: With the Machine gunners in France & Palestine

[xii] 6/2530 Private Robert George Auty: Archway Archives New Zealand

Last Updated: 09/02/2015 11:24pm