The ARRIVAL of the SETTLERS - Port Nicholson 1840 :: Genealogy
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The ARRIVAL of the SETTLERS - Port Nicholson 1840

Journal by ngairedith

the following was orignally taken from:
The ARRIVAL OF THE FIRST SURVEY SHIP - Lower Hutt Past and Present written in 1941

- the names in capitals are mine for easier searching -






The first of the New Zealand Company's chartered vessels, the "Aurora," 550 tons, from Gravesend, arrived in Port Nicholson on the 22nd January 1840, bringing 169 settlers.

The embarkation registers of this and other early vessels are in the Alexander Turnbull Library at Wellington,and a list of the names of the passengers appears in Louis E. WARD's book "Early Wellington."

The "Cuba" and "Tory" off the Petone Beach, 8th March 1840 - from a drawing here (Reproduced from an old print drawn by T. CLAY)

There were nine ships in the harbour at this time and the scene depicts the firing of the Royal Salute when the New Zealand Company's Flag was hoisted on the shore.

RICHARD DEIGHTON was the first man and the Misses BARROWS claim to be the first women, to land on the Pito-one beach.

A small jetty had been constructed by the surveyors to facilitate the handling of the cargo and positions were allotted on the beach for the erection of tents and wooden houses sent out by the Company.

On Sunday 26th January, the Rev. JAMES BULLER, a Wesleyan missionary, held Divine Service on board the "Aurora."

On the 31st January the "Oriental," 506 tons, from London, arrived with 200 colonists, who established themselves on the banks of the Hutt River about a mile from the sea.

The river bank and the beach presented a happy, busy scene as the men and women were engaged in settling into their newly-erected residences, mostly toitoi and raupo whares, built Maori fashion, under instructions from the friendly natives. Te PUNI himself had Colonel WAKEFIELD's combined lengthy home and office, a mixture of Maori building and European doors and windows and tarpaulins from the "Tory," erected near his pa under his own personal supervision.

The third vessel, the "Duke of Roxburgh," 417 tons, from Plymouth, with a further 116 passengers, arrived on 8th February, two days after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.

Mr. MOLESWORTH, a passenger on the "Oriental," brought with him people from Cornwall and they erected their raupo whares on a shingly strip of land close to the banks of the river.
They called their settlement "Cornish Row." Kentish men got together near Mr. DUPPA and Scotsmen near to Messrs. BARTON and SINCLAR.

The first milch cow was depastured on the property of Mr. DUDLEY SINCLAIR. Small patches for gardens were cleared in many places, the genial climate encouraging vigorous growth.

Ruddy flaxen-haired children were playing about and the whole scene presented the appearance of a village picnic rather than the birth of a nation.

In the midst of the bustle and confusion caused by the arrival of so many vessels and by attempts to locate friends and belongings, the settlers were startled by the news that the body of PUAKAWA, Chief of the Pa at Wai-whetu, had been found dreadfully mutilated, though neither the murderer nor the motive was ever discovered.

The next vessel to arrive was the "Bengal Merchant," from the Clyde. She had 122 Scotch settlers, who disembarked on the 20th February, 1840. Amongst her passengers was the Rev. JOHN McFARLANE, a Presbyterian minister, who conducted the first service on the Pito-one beach.


JERMINGHAM WAKEFIELD, in his book "Adventure in New Zealand," gives us a clear picture of the conditions which existed at this time. He says that he visited the settlement and found tents and huts dotted over the sand hummocks at the back of the beach. He adds: "At the back of a hut (which was a grog shop) occupied by COGHLAN, whither a flag staff and the New Zealand flag invited sailors, a rough and new-made track struck off to the settlement on the river bank across a miry swamp. After about a quarter of a mile of this I reached the junction of a small creek (Moreings) with the Hutt and soon found myself at the beginning of a little village of tents and huts among the low scrub coppice wood which covered this part of the Valley."
It should be noted that at that time the southern boundary of the stately forest of the Valley was approximately at White's Line.

Wakefield continues: "A rough path had been cleared by the survey men along the beach and on either side of this the colonists had been allowed to squat on allotted portions until survey had been completed."

Reference to the historic plan will clearly show WAKEFIELD's journey and the illustration redrawn from BETTS HOPPER's sketch shows these huts which formed the first settlement of Britannia. This was south of White's Line on the western bank of the River Hutt, the main portion of which then flowed on the western side of what is now Gear Island.

by ngairedith Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2011-06-05 21:32:08

ngairedith has been a Family Tree Circles member since Feb 2008.

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by amscott on 2016-06-11 19:13:54

George Duppa was a passenger on the Oriental. The following link copied and pasted will take you to a letter written on arrival in NZ, to his father. Interested in NZ history. This is a must read.

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