Story: Scots

‘The emigrants’

‘The emigrants’

In 1844 James MacKay, son of an Aberdeen merchant who had been living in London since 1827, set sail with his family for New Zealand. Before they left he had a painter, William Allsworth, produce a romanticised image of the departure of a family of noble Highland ancestry. MacKay’s aim was to give the family prestige and distinction in the new country. The painting is also an early example of the adoption of a Highland identity by many of New Zealand’s Scots.

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Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Oil painting by William Allsworth

Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

John Wilson, 'Scots - Before 1840: sailors and missionaries', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 November 2023)

Story by John Wilson, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 25 Mar 2015