Sailors, sealers and whalers
James Cook was half Scottish, and Scottish crew on board his ship Endeavour were the first from their country to visit New Zealand. Among sealers and whalers who frequented New Zealand waters in the late 18th and early 19th centuries was Captain William Stewart, who gave his name to Stewart Island (Rakiura). Some of these early Scots stayed to live. John Nicol (‘Scotch Jock’) and Hector McDonald were both Kāpiti Island whalers, and Alexander Robert Fyffe established a whaling station at Kaikōura.
Scottish and Māori intermarriage
Nicol and McDonald were two of many early settlers who took Māori wives and fathered mixed race families. So was David MacNish, a Scot who settled at Raglan in the 1830s. The Love family of Picton and Wellington traces its ancestry back to the marriage of Mere Rere Te Hikanui to a Scottish whaler, John Agar Love. In the far south, George Newton’s marriage to Wharetutu (Anne) produced a very large family. In Moeraki, the daughter of a Scottish farmer and his Māori wife was Tini Pana (Jane Burns), who went on to marry H. K. Taiaroa, a Ngāi Tahu leader.
First arrivals in the far north
Two Sydney-based Scots, David Ramsay and Gordon Browne, established an early (probably 1826) European trading and shipbuilding settlement at Hōreke, in Hokianga Harbour. Their superintendent, David Clarke, was also Scottish. Gilbert Mair from Aberdeenshire arrived at the Bay of Islands in 1824, just ahead of four ‘Scotch carpenters’ who settled in the Hokianga in 1826–27, after the failure of the first New Zealand Company’s settlement. That company’s ship, the Rosanna, had sailed from Leith, Edinburgh. The first recorded European settlers at Whangārei and early settlers on Waiheke Island were also Scots, and in the late 1830s several immigrants from Caithness settled in the Bay of Islands.
New Zealand’s first public servant
New Zealand’s first public servant, and the founder of New Zealand’s wine industry, was a Scot. James Busby accompanied his parents to New South Wales, Australia, in 1824 after studying viticulture in France. In 1833 he was appointed British Resident in New Zealand. He settled at Waitangi – where he lived in the house now known as the Treaty House – and planted New Zealand’s first vineyard.
Because fewer Scottish than English and Irish convicts were transported to Australia, there were probably not many Scots among the groups of escaped convicts who settled in Northland.
Convicts and missionaries
Early missionary endeavours in Northland were Anglican, Methodist and Roman Catholic, not Presbyterian, so Scots were not among the missionaries before 1840. However, Scottish missionaries did arrive later, in 1843 and 1845.