OBITUARY of James 'Worser' HEBERLEY - 1899
EARLY DAYS IN MAORILAND
Evening Post, 3 October 1899
AN INTERESTING AND STIRRING CAREER
Mr James Heberley, who was drowned in Picton Harbour last week at the age of 91 years, was one of the oldest of the old settlers. The Picton Press says he had known New Zealand intimately for 72 years, having made his first acquaintance with the Bay of Islands in 1827 and been a Marlborough resident since 1830.
The son of a sailor, he ran away from home at the age of 11; served on a fishing smack, ran away again on account of the cruelty of his master
He made several trips across the Atlantic, had a brief experience on a man-of-warsman, and he shipped in 1826 in a convict ship for Sydney.
He had two years of adventure in the South Seas, and whaling brought him to the Bay of Islands in 1827. Many a desperate fight, many a wild orgie, he witnessed these days. He came to Queen Charlotte Sound in 1930, and made it his home. There he became familiarly acquainted with that most ruthless of warriers, Te Rauparaha, the terror of white men. Deceased well remembered his return with 500 prisoners from the famous raid to Kaiapoi 67 years ago; witnessed the murder of the prisoners, and the cannibal orgie that ensued.
He afterwards owed his life to that same Rauparaha, who threw his cloak over him just in the nick of time to save him from a Waikato tomahawk upraised to brain him.
In 1839 (sixty years ago) he piloted Captain Wakefield and his party in the Tory to Port Nicholson, thus witnessing the first dawn of colonisation in the purchase of Wellington for a miscellaneous cargo, including slates and slate pencils and Jews harps and beads.
He afterwards accompanied Wakefield's party to Wanganui and Taranaki, where further "trade" in land was done.
Among the party landed at Taranaki was Dr Dieffenbach, the naturalist of Wakefield's expedition; and the doctor has recorded how he and Mr Heberley successfully scaled Mount Egmont. Mr Heberley, being in advance of Dr Dieffenbach (Johann Karl Ernst Dieffenbach 1811-1855), was, in point of fact, the first white man to stand on top of the mountain - Christmas Day, 1839.
In the early days of Wellington, Mr Heberley acted as pilot, and his wife's relatives (influential chiefs) gave him the bay still called after him "Worser" Bay.
His first experiences at Te Awaite were gruesome in the extreme. Cannibal feasts and inter-tribal fights were the order of the day. Mr Heberley had not only seen the fights, but had taken part in them. One of them lasted over three weeks, and in it over 200 were killed.
He was at Te Awaite at the time of the Wairau massacre, and remembered the incident well.
Though very imperfectly educated, he devoted a good deal of his leisure at one time to compiling notes for an autobiography, and before he died preliminary arrangements had been made for their publication.
For some years past deceased had been in receipt of a pension of ?50 per year (todays equivalent of $175 per week) from the Government for services rendered in the early days.
He was twice married - first to a Maori of high standing and afterwards to Mrs Joyce, who predeceased him by only a few months
James Heberley was born 2 January 1809 in in Wyke Regis, Weymouth, Dorsetshire, England, a son of Jacob HEBERLEY (1761-1817) & Elizabeth CURTIS. His father was a Whaler and Master Mariner who drowned in the English Channel on the brig 'Nancy' at the age of 56. James was then aged 8 and 3 years later he ran away from home and also became a Whaler and Master Mariner (read his obituary)
James married Maata Te Naihi Te OWAI (1808-1877) at Charlotte Sounds on 13 December 1841. Daughter of a Te Atiawa chief, Manupoinga
James was then 31 and Maata was 33
JAMES & MAATA had 9 known children born in Cloudy Bay
1832 - 1873 Mary Anne Heberley
1834 - ? Charles Heberley
1837 - 1909 John Heberley
1839 - 1868 Sarah Heberley
1842 - ? James Heberley
1846 - ? Henry Heberley
1849 - 1906 Jacob William Heberley
1843 - 1889 Joseph Heberley
1856 - 1909 Henry Heberley
MAATA died 25 June 1877 at Oyster Bay aged 69
The following year James married, in Picton, to Charlotte Emily (nee NASH) who had married Matthew Lee JOYCE (1820-1868) in 1851 & had at least 8 children.
She was then 19 and Matthew was 31.
They lived for a time in Riccarton, Christchurch where Matthew was a Butcher in partnership with Charles Turner. Matthew drowned 10 June 1868 possibly in Hokitika.
Charlotte next married James Heberley. She was then 46 and James was 60
CHARLOTTE died on 12 October 1898 aged 66
JAMES died 26 September 1899 aged 90 (3 months from 91)
- they are buried at Picton lawn Cemetery
old Pilot Station WORSER BAY
taken from The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District