Monday, August 27, 2018

FF12 Robert Jillett Jnr went to New Zealand Background

The Life of Robert Jillett Junior  In New Zealand

Some Background Information

Jillett and Whitehouse Branch New Zealand Descendants of Robert and Elizabeth Jillett

A Word of Thanks to the original Researchers

Not one story regarding the lives of the children of Robert and Elizabeth Jillett could be expanded were it not for the amazing amount of work done by past researchers, and Dr John Jillett, in particular.

That information has been added to, and additional research obtained, and sources checked. To think that they were able to compile so much research the "old fashioned way" is simply amazing.
From the original Jillett Family Research in the Jillett Family Tree compiled by Dr John Jillett and other family members c 1990.

.7 JILLETT, Robert

: also known by the Maori name, Ropata Tireti : carter, Oatlands, TAS {JBJ}, arr. NZ about 1836/7
: shore whaler, Waiorua, Kapiti Island, Cook Strait, NZ{JBJ} : “master whaler” owner of Fisherman cutter-rigged, 10+ tonne vessel, 1846 {NFW} : farmer, Otaki and Lower Hutt, NZ {JBJ}

:List of Persons qualified to serve as Jurors for the District of Port Nicholson for 1856:- Jillett, Robert, River Hutt, stockowner. At time of death, licenced victualer,

"his residence, next Whitewood's Hotel, Hutt," b 25SEP1812 [CSO1/122a p15] [RGD 5140:245]
bap1 15NOV1812, St. David's, Hobart, TAS [1812:RGD253]

bap2 16JUN1833, St. Matthew's, New Norfolk TAS [1833:RGD 5140/245]
m common law, “reputed wife” {JBJ}

to Te Kaea (Etara (=Sarah)), daughter of Te Morere, Ngati Raukawa tribe [probable hapu, Ngati Turanga/Ngati Te Au], Otaki/ Kapiti Island, NZ {JBJ}

b ~1818, probably at Maungatautiri, Waikato area, North Island, NZ
i St. James (Anglican), Lower Hutt, Burial Register d 07MAY1863 @ 45 of phthisis [NZ Deaths, 1863: 115]
probate – will, #177, filed 13AUG1863, Wellington
d 29SEP1860 Wellington, NZ @ 47 [ NZ Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian 03OCT1860], family tradition as result of a coaching accident, Ngauranga Gorge,  not referred to in death notice or newspaper.

Funeral 03OCT1860. i St. James (Anglican), Lower Hutt, Burial Register, 29SEP1860
probate – will, #133 Wellington, licenced victualer of Hutt, filed 06NOV1860 and had issue: 4 (5?) sons and 2 (3?)daughters {JBJ for remainder of these descendants}

Robert Jillett

Robert was the first surviving son of Robert and Elizabeth after their marriage. His story is as was written by one of his great grandsons, Dr John Jillett. Robert is the founder of the Jillett family lineage in New Zealand.

Robert Jillett (=Gillet, Gillett, Jillet, etc., also known as Ropata Tireti), (1812 - 1860). Shore whaler of Kapiti Island, in the northern approaches to Cook Strait between North and South Islands, later stock-keeper/licensed victualler of Lower Hutt, New Zealand. Robert Jillett was born in Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), on 25th September, 1812, the son of Elizabeth and Robert Jillett. He was baptised twice, once at St. David's, Hobart, when seven weeks of age and again at St. Matthew' s, New Norfolk, as a young man in 1833. Robert' s father, also Robert, was a colourfully recalcitrant convict who had arrived at Sydney, New South Wales, on the ship Hillsborough in July 1799, having left a wife and five children in England. Robert senior s crimes were burglary with theft of bedding and bedroom furniture (Surrey 1795), escaping from custody (London 1796), and theft of salted pork from government stores (Sydney 1803).

The last two crimes both attracted death sentences, later reduced to life imprisonment, involving transportation to Sydney in the first instance, and to Norfolk Island with subsequent transfer to Hobart Town in the second. He was conditionally pardoned in 1814, nearly two years after Robert the younger s birth, and died at New Norfolk, Van Diemen s Land, in 1832, aged 72, owning a significant amount of property in dwellings, stock and land. Robert s mother Elizabeth had also arrived at Sydney, on the same Hillsborough in July 1799, a free woman accompanying her convict husband. Thomas Bradshaw, who probably died soon after arrival in Sydney, had been convicted at the Warwick assizes.

When Elizabeth Bradshaw and Robert Jillett married in 1812, they had lived as man and wife since at least 1800 at Sydney, Norfolk Island and Hobart Town and already had a family of six, of whom the eldest, Mary Ann, was almost certainly not Robert's daughter.

Four further children were born after their marriage, of which Robert was the eldest. The ten children in order were Mary Ann, James, William, Susanna, Rebecca, Eliza, Robert, Charlotte, Thomas and John.

In 1808 the family had been transferred from Norfolk Island to Hobart where they lived in a modest house near the Hobart Rivulet, in what was to become Collins Street, in central Hobart. Later, this house was described in 1825 by a government official as "a miserable hut", when negotiating compensation for its forced removal to make way for a market place.

In Van Diemen's Land, Elizabeth Bradshaw was allocated land in compensation for her considerable holdings on Norfolk Island, which had included dwellings, nearly 100 acres of land, crops of maize, barley and wheat, and stock, including about 50 sheep and 20 pigs. As a free person, Elizabeth Bradshaw could own property and have assigned convict "servants", notably her companion Robert Jillett.

The younger Robert, born in 1812, grew up in and about Hobart Town. After being conditionally pardoned, his father was variously listed as stock-keeper, butcher and farmer, who owned farmland near Hobart Town and further a field at Back River, New Norfolk and at York Plains, near Oatlands, in Central Tasmania.

The family living seems to have been made from subsistence agriculture, grazing stock, and supplying meat for government stores. No doubt the younger Robert grew up familiar with agriculture and animals, and also with the sea. A superb harbour lies on Hobart's doorstep, the Derwent estuary providing a deep and sheltered haven which, in the first three decades of the nineteenth century was the site of winter whaling for southern right whales. Shore whaling seems to have gone hand-in-hand with farming as a common seasonal occupation of free-born Tasmanian youths, offering exciting and potentially lucrative employment during winter when farming demands were low. Tasmanian shore-whaling in the late 1820's has been described vividly at first-hand by John Boultbee.

At least two of Robert s brothers-in-law who seem to have been heavily involved in seafaring and whaling, were Charles Dowdell who married Susanna in 1822, and William Young who married Rebecca in 1825. Both these men owned ships and had leases for shore whaling purposes at various sites in south western Tasmania. William Young in particular was prominent in whaling circles, on both shore and the high seas, and was jointly involved in whaling ventures with Askin Morrison, a farming neighbour of the Jilletts near Oatlands in central Tasmania. To this day the driveway leading to the Morrison homestead on the St. Peter's Pass property is lined with whaling try pots.

On this same property is a modest hut known as Jillett's Hut, known to have been on the site since 1825. Jillett's Hut was the original dwelling in the district and was built when Robert senior had a grant to run sheep there from around 1817. It bears a striking resemblance to dwellings subsequently drawn by Gilfillan on Kapiti Island. When Robert senior died, his son Robert appears to have operated in the Oatlands district, not only working land and grazing stock, but also licenced to cart goods in the 1830s. He had convict servants assigned to him in May and September, 1836. Then in November 1836, the renewal of his carrying Licence is the last known record in Tasmania of Robert Jillett who appears to have turned up in 1837 at Kapiti Island, Cook Strait, New Zealand, when he would have been about 25 years of age.

Life on Kapiti Island New Zealand

KAPITI ISLAND - NEW ZEALAND (late 1830s - 1840s)

Exactly how and when Robert Jillett came to New Zealand is uncertain because there is only a shadowy record until his death in 1860. He seems to have been resident on Kapiti Island itself rather than any of the offshore islets. Most of the whaling stations in the area were known by their owner/operator's names, for example Browns , Evans , Mayhew's and so on. The station at Waiorua Bay seems generally to have been known simply as "Kapiti".

There are a few references to the presence of men and ships from Van Diemen's Land in this area. Then in 1844, the artist/settler J. A. Gillfilan visited Kapiti and, amongst other things, drew a sketch of Waiorua Bay labelled "Gillet's Whaling Station".

This later became the basis of a watercolour painting, by W.A. Bowring, now held by the Alexander Turnbull Library and widely reproduced in books on early New Zealand pakeha history In shore whaling statistics for the 1844 season, the Kapiti station, owner's name Gillett, is listed as being as large and productive as any in the country, operating 5 boats, employing 40 men, and producing 140 tons of oil and 5 tons of bone. By this time shore whaling was well into decline. In the 1847 season, Gillett's station was reduced to 2 boats, employing 16 men who produced 19 tons of oil and 1 ton of bone. Discrepancies in spelling the surname Jillett are very common to this day. In any case, there was no one else by the name of Gillet or Gillett known to be in the area at the time. The name itself is peculiarly Australasian, having only become standardised from the original Gillett on the arrival of Robert Jillett s convict father at Sydney in 1799. Anyone who spells their name in this way today is certain to be descended from the same convict forebear. On Kapiti, Robert Jillett appears to have married a Ngati Raukawa woman, Te Kaea (Te Tara, Etara), daughter of Te Morere, possibly at the Rangiuru Pa, Otaki. He was also known by the Maori name, Ropata Tireti.

Substantiated family tradition has it that she took him under her protection when his life was threatened as a consequence of having upset Te Rauparaha. In any case, it was a wise and mutually beneficial custom for pakeha men to be tolerated in Maori society only if they lived in approved relationships with local women. Robert's wife was subsequently known as Sarah, or the Maori equivalent, Etara. Her father appears to have lived at Pukekaraka (Otaki) in association with, Ngati Kapumanawawhiti, though his own hapu were possibly Ngati Turanga/Ngati Te Au. Etara and Robert are known to have had seven children between 1845 and 1860, of which the first four were probably born on Kapiti. The family appears to have moved to Lower Hutt by 1854 when their third son, Robert Jillett, aged 19 months, was buried in St. James churchyard, drowned after accidentally tumbling into a well. There were to be three further Jillett burials in the St. James churchyard at Lower Hutt over the next 9 years. The eldest child, James died, aged about 14, in 1859. Then Robert senior himself died in 1860, followed by Etara less than three years later, in 1863, of phthsis (tuberculosis).

Robert-the-whaler's funeral notice, at the end of September 1860, locates "his late residence, next Whitewood's Hotel, Hutt , where the family presumably lived. How long they had been there is unknown.

Apart from the drowning of his son at the Hutt in 1854, Robert was listed as a stockowner and qualified juror of River Hutt in 1856, and at the time of his death he was described as a licenced victualler. In Robert 's will, made in November 1859, he named the Alexander and Thomas Fraser, of Mana Island, amongst his executors. Alec and Thomas Fraser, coopers by trade, had started operating as shore whalers on Mana Island in 1837, around the same time Robert Jillett arrived on Kapiti.

The Fraser's station was still operating on Mana until around 1850, after which they continued there as sheep farmers into the 1860s . At the time of his death, Robert Jillett owned 175 acres of freehold land on which there was a dwelling, the whole leased to Messrs Hurley and Carter at an annual rental of £55. He also held the lease of Whitewood's Hotel and attached land which was let to Mr N. Valentine at £208 per annum.

Robert also received a half share of the rent of "Coach & Horses", Manners Street, Wellington, but had given up his right to renewal of the lease.

Receipts from winding up the estate exceeded £1600, approximately equal to 25 years wages for a manual labourer at the time. Etara's death in 1863, left five or six orphan children ranging in ages from nearly three to nearly sixteen.. The five or six surviving children were: Charlotte, John (Hone), Susan, William, Sarah and a further Robert, born after his father s death. Young Sarah was born in 1858, and she was certainly alive when her father made his will in 1860, but there is no further record of her.

I know little of who cared for these children though when Etara made her will, she named John White, butcher, and William Williams, blacksmith, both of the Hutt. Etara's will also referred to lands at Otaki and Kawhia in which she believed she had entitlement. Williams was a Maori speaker and translated the will to Etara before she signed it. When son John married twelve years later, in 1875, the ceremony took place in the house of John White, Lower Hutt. All five of Robert and Etara's surviving children subsequently married pakeha spouses.

Three of the five, Charlotte, Susan and William, married into the Whitehouse family. Descendants of the remaining two, John and Robert, appear to have continued to live in Otaki-Horowhenua-Manawatu areas, possibly in association with the Tainui marae of Ngati Kapu at Pukekaraka. John became a butcher/farmer, first at Foxton and later Otaki. He was secretary of the Otaki Racing Club which went bankrupt. He died at Otaki in 1883, and is buried at Pukekaraka. John Jillett left a young family of four, two sons and two daughters, of whom the eldest, Sabina was a teacher at Ohau before she became a nun and taught at the Catholic Maori Mission, Pukekaraka. One son, John, became a saddler, first at Lower Hutt, later at Urenui in North Taranaki and, in between times, ran a coaching business at Titahi Bay.

The other son, Joe, served in both the Boer War and the Great War, later becoming involved with horse racing at Trentham. So much for the limited facts. Robert (the whaler) Jillett's arrival at Kapiti was quite probably direct from Hobart Town and connected with his brother-in-law, William Young, who was an active shore whaler in Tasmania and no stranger to New Zealand waters.

Vessels known to have been in New Zealand waters and with which William Young was connected, either as master or through ownership interests included:

Tasmanian Lass (1833,1834),
Industry (IKW, 1835,1836),
Highlander (1837,1839, 1841),
Wallaby (1840, 1842),
Fortitude (1842) and
Bandicoot (1841, 1842).

 An old Australian whaling captain, reminiscing about his youthful days on the whaleship Tasmanian Lass, recalled how interesting it was to watch his captain bargaining with Maoris for pigs in the early 1830s. One chief he found amusing: he would appear to get into [a rage] at some offer from the Captain, and only after if he thought he had got the best he would laugh and shout and tell all the others." .

There is also reference to Kapiti shore whalers as employees of Raymond and Young, of Hobart, in an account of their confrontation with the crew of the American ship Adeline, which was lying at Kapiti in December 1839. It seems likely that there were major Hobart Town interests in shore whaling undertaken from Waiorua Bay, most probably including William Young and Askin Morrison amongst others. Robert Jillett must have been amongst the shore gangs, though he was not mentioned by name until Gilfillan labelled his sketch in 1844, by which time shore whaling was past its peak and beginning to decline. The whalers seem to have stayed on at Kapiti living a moderately contented lifestyle, for when Waiorua Bay was visited by the surveying ship H.M.S Acheron in 1849, the following description was penned by G.A. Hansard: "1/2 Past 5 A.M. saw the Island of Kapiti looming on our starboard bow. Landed and found the shingly beach thickly strewn with the vertebrae of whales - nearly a foot in diameter. This has always been the resort of whalers.

 A beautiful lawn like piece of land close to the water is occupied by their village, where houses peep forth from knots of trees, and the blue smoke curls upwards; the whole, cheered by bright sunny weather, forming a delightful tranquil scene. Meandering through the centre of this grassy spot is a little transparent brook, where, turkies lay basking in the herbage; abundance of common poultry made war upon our enemies the sandflies, and scores of English Geese & ducks disturbed by us rushed hurry-scurry into the water. "Everybody seemed engaged in active industry.

One party busy at the sawpit; another squaring logs for building; this man repairs his boat; that has killed and is cutting up a wild pig. In front of a cot - an European' s, judging by the few tattered books and two formidable harpoons ranged over the fireplace, two or three dark women are busy extracting muttonfish [pauas] from their shells. Afterwards they string them up upon strips of green flax, to be dried in the smoke of their wood fires. They cleanse their potatoes by scraping with a broken shell, and wash them by placing one foot in the basket as they dip and shake it about in the water with both hands. "The whalers are well looked after by their Maori wives, who keep the home in nice order. On entering one cottage surrounded with a neat paling, within which was a flowerbed, I saw the Englishman at dinner, assiduously waited on by his wife, a fine specimen of Maori beauty; tall, well-formed and having handsome and intelligent features. With one hand she covered the table; a beautiful baby, clean and well clothed, was cradled in the other. Her husband, quiet and well mannered, very happy & contented - still more so, if he could procure a few books.

"They have about 200 goats, 500 fat sheep & thirty head of domestic cattle A wild herd exists in the centre of Kapiti. Numbers of poultry breed at large in the bush, wilder than English pheasants ~ for which they furnish an active and persevering sportsman with no despicable substitute.
The breed of wild pigs has spread so as to become a nuisance here, interfering with and destroying their plantations.

The Trochus imperialis and a very large kind of Terebratula abound. Many were obtained by dredging alongside.
"Sat. Sep. 8th-Left Kapiti "[for Mana Island]. Another visitor, emphasised that the wives were "extremely inexpensive too, their dress consisting of a calico gown and blanket, and their only luxury an occasional pipe of tobacco, the cost of which they fully repay by obtaining potatoes and fish, without charge, from their relatives." It is clear from these last accounts, though clearly written from pakeha perspectives, that in 1849 there was still a significant community, comfortably established on Kapiti, with an abundance and variety of livestock, produce and kaimoana (seafood) at hand.

 References 1 Sherrin, Early History of New Zealand, Bretts, Auckland, Robert Jillett also listed as a pre-1840 resident at the Early Settlers Memorial, Petone waterfront. 2 New Zealand Spectator and Cook s Strait Guardian, 22 August 1845 3 Wakefield, EJ. 1848. The Handbook for New Zealand. John W. Parker, London, 493p. (p. 115) 4 quoted in: H. A. Morton, The Whale s Wake (p.215), University of Otago Press. 5 Hansard. GA. An account of the work of HMS Acheron in New Zealand waters. Ms vol. 157, copy held in the Hocken Library, University of Otago, Dunedin. 6 quoted in: Morton, Harry and Johnston, Carol Morton, 1988. The Farthest Corner: New Zealand -A Twice Discovered Land, Century Hutchinson. 

Researched and prepared by: John B. Jillett 51 Every Street, DUNEDIN.

Robert Jillett Jnr His Life in Tasmania

Robert Jnr was baptised in 1812, and again in 1833, when he was 21. One wonders just why a strong young man would arrange to get himself baptised at that age. There are some probabilities. His father died in 1832, leaving his estate to Robert. However, Robert was under age at the time of his death. Under the terms of his father's will Robert inherited some of the estate. It has since been discovered that Robert Snr may not have re-registered his land grants, thereby allowing a lot of them to lapse, and this was not done after his death. Research indicates that there were several unclaimed letters from the government.

However, in 1835, as reported in the Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter, that on Thursday 3rd September 1835, that the sheriff was putting up for Auction a farm of 30 acres under part cultivation with a Dwelling house thereon, at Back River. The property was owned by Robert Jillett. The property was sold to a wealthy Hobart businessman, and the funds held in trust for the sheriff, John Beamont. In 1835 Robert Jellett from Oatlands received a licence to be a carter.

In 1836 a convict was assigned to R. Jillett, York Plains, in May and another in September to R. Jellett in Oatlands. Then Robert must have decided to go to New Zealand. Perhaps he had a disagreement with his brothers and sisters over his actions? This is one mystery that will remain. His father's will was not put into probate until 1844, and by that time, much of the land had been sold, or re-assigned. Who was William Morgan Orr? It would seem he was a scrupulous business man who lived in Hobart and seemed to spend his time gaining the goods and chattels of many people to whom he must have either lent money or been very friendly. Three years after Robert Jillett snr died, the sheriff's office places a notice in the paper advising they are selling 30 acres of his lands in New Norfolk. The owner has to be Robert jnr.

He then seems to sell the property to William Morgan Orr who holds it in trust for John Beamont. Now John Beamont is the sheriff, responsible for these sales.

Orr, William Morgan ( - 1843) Birth: Death: 2 November 1843, Van Diemen s Land (Tasmania), Australia Occupation: ORR, WILLIAM MORGAN (d.1843), merchant and landowner, sailed from London in the Cyprus and arrived at Hobart Town via Sydney and Launceston in August 1825. With recommendations from the Colonial Office and assets of more than £3000 in goods, he was granted 2000 acres (809 ha) in the Hamilton district. His main business, however, was commerce and he rapidly accumulated great wealth. Although he was seriously disturbed by Lieutenant-Governor (Sir) George Arthur's administration and Press Licensing Act, he generally managed to keep out of colonial politics.

As a merchant and shipping agent he had a store on the old wharf at Hobart. With small ships like the Richmond Packet and William IV he organized much sealing and bay whaling, and by 1831 he was shipping large quantities of whale-oil to London.

By 1837 he had whaling stations at Recherche and Storm Bays and became prominent as an investor in large ships for the deep-sea fisheries. In 1838 his 289-ton Maria Orr was launched, the first full-rigged ship built in Hobart; the government presented a suit of sails and Orr's enterprise was applauded as a benefit to the colony.

On 3 June 1835 at St David's Church of England he married Maria, the daughter of Michael Lackey of O'Brien's Bridge. They had a well-appointed home at Humphrey Rivulet near New Town.
Most of Orr's profits from trade and whaling were invested in land. His holdings increased by purchase and lease to some 80,000 acres (32,375 ha) in various parts of the island.
When depression struck in 1841 he was one of the biggest and wealthiest merchants in Hobart. Caught with many bad debts, he had to solicit aid from friends to meet his commitments. When he was riding home one afternoon his horse was frightened by a gang of boys and bolted. It stumbled outside the Waggon and Horses Inn; Orr had a violent fall and fractured his skull. He was unconscious for three days and died on 2 November 1843.

His death spread a gloom over Hobart that was rarely equalled, for he was highly respected by all classes for his sincerity. Although his probate was sworn at £26,000, his death financially embarrassed some of his friends, but by 1846 all his creditors were fully paid after part of his land was sold by the sheriff for £20,000. His home at New Town was sold for £2400.

Orr was survived by two children and by his widow, who married Charles D A. Lempriere on 13 May 1847. His brother, Alexander, who arrived in Hobart in November 1828, also became a merchant of wealth and high character; in 1846 he was nominated briefly to a vacancy in the Legislative Council.

At St John's Church of England, Launceston, on 7 May 1839 he married Harriet Byron. In December 1855 Alexander Orr sailed for England in the Heather Bell with his wife and family.

Across the Tasman

How did Robert Jillett land in New Zealand?

He didn't take an Air New Zealand flight, but in all likelihood, he may have found work on William Orr's whaling boats. That may be the reason that he arranged for William Orr to purchase his land at New Norfolk.

It has been suggested he may have arrived courtesy of his brother in law, Captain Young, however the Captain Young often referred to in New Zealand whaling industry is George Young from England.
Given that his sister's husband was cannibalised in 1832, perhaps he was a little unsure about removing himself to another country, on a whaling boat.

There is a record for a Jillett travelling to New Zealand from Sydney in 1839 on the ship Susannah Ann.

It has been well documented, reference to Jillett's Kapiti Whaling Station, and paintings have been made. But research indicates that while Robert worked at Kapiti, he perhaps was not the owner of the whaling station.

His will indicates a relationship with Alexander and Thomas Fraser. These men operated whaling stations on Kapiti and Mana Island.

Mr Evans was another who owned whaling stations on Kapiti, along with William Rhodes.
In 1840, the names of the Whaling stations, included Mr Evans, Mr Fraser, Messrs Daymond and Young, Mr Lewis and "Long George".

Mr Young was George Young. "Long George" was owned by Mr Rhodes.

Mr Evans was noted as killing a whale cow, in 1840, and there was notification of the loss of other vessels.

In 1842, Robert Jillett is working for William Rhodes.

The New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator 27th October 1842 shows £20 Reward.
Whereas, it has been represented to the undersigned, that certain persons have instigated the natives at Kapiti to destroy cattle for the purpose of purchasing the carcase.

The above reward will be paid on conviction of any person or persons destroying cattle on the Island of Kapiti, or instigating the natives to do the same.

N.B The above cattle are placed under the superintendence of Mr. Robert Jillett. W. B. Rhodes and Co. October 20, 1841.

Robert Jillett must have been in the employ of W.B. Rhodes and Co.

What can be learnt is that between 1835 and 1842, Robert Jillett has crossed the Tasman, and has found work with some of the early enterprising settlers of the Kapiti region. A Mr Jillett left Sydney on the Susannah Ann, which was a whaling schooner.

Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (NSW : 1838 - 1841), Tuesday 25 August 1840, page 2
The whalers of Mr. Evans' party have taken a whale, the first this season, in Cook's Straits. On the 23d I went up to Long Point, the northern point of Kapiti, where two barques and two schooners had anchored the day before: these proved to be the Justine, the William Wallace (Sydney whaler), and the Susannah Ann and John Dunscombe schooners. The last was unfortunately driven ashore here, sometime afterwards in a heavy south east gale. I returned the next day to Lewis' Island.

On the 28th I left Kapiti in Capt. Lewis' whale boat, and we arrived at Mana in the evening. We slept at a pah called Mangurai Tamviri on the main land opposite this Island. Mana is about two miles long and one broad, and situate about a mile from the main land: it has been very aptly called Table Island, its summit, at an elevation of 300 feet from the sea, being perfectly level, and well adapted for the feeding of sheep, of which there are some hundreds on the island. On the eastern side, a valley in the form of an amphitheatre is a pretty situation for the native pah and European farm buildings.

The whole island belongs to a Mr. Fraser, now residing there. Between it and the main, anchorage may be found in four and five fathoms, but the holding ground is bad, and the roadstead exposed to both the prevailing winds.. 29th We launched our boats before day-light, and arrived, with a fine N.W. breeze, at Britannia in the afternoon. The coast between Cape Terawiti, and the heads of this harbour, is infringed with rocks both above and below water, and strong tide-rips add to the danger for boats. There are, however, two small bays, called Oterangao and Potiki Tamaite, which form harbours of refuge for boats caught by the south easters on this side of the Cape.

Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), Tuesday 8 December 1840, page 3

An extract from a letter written by a gentleman on board the " Brougham," will be found in our paper, by which it appears that the report of murderous proceedings on the part of the natives at Cloudy Bay is unfounded. This will disappoint some of our neighbours, who we notice carefully collect and record every statement relative to outrages in New Zealand. It would be fortunate if the Australian natives were as intelligent and free from censure as the New Zealanders.-.

The subjoined is an extract from the letter of a gentle-man on board of the " Brougham," dated from Kapiti,

24th October :

We arrived here last night, after a stay at Cloudy Bay of three days. After a full enquiry into the circumstances of the death of William Wilton and party, I am glad to say that there is not the slightest charge against the natives. There were strong grounds of suspicion, but they were fully cleared up. They arose principally from the people at Cloudy Bay not fully understanding the language, and confounding the events of two days.

We saw your friend Raupero last night; he was greatly alarmed, and asked what he had done to cause the soldiers to be brought up with us. We expect to leave this in the morning for Mana, and the next day for the- Sound, and hope to be in Port Nicholson on Thursday next.-

We are informed that the French at Banks' Peninsula are busily employed pulling in crops ; that if our Government allow them possession, twenty thousand persons are lo arrive there from France annually for five years, and that their port is to be free for twenty years.-

The following is a rude estimate of the white population in New Zealand :

In Cook's Straits.-Cloudy Bay, 150 ; Queen Charlotte's Sound, 60 ; Kapiti and Mann, 200 ; Port Nicholson, 1000.

Shortly after 1840's whaling declined in the region. Robert Jellit was recorded as being a headsman at Long Point in 1840 and 1841, but not after 1841.

Production figures for 1844- 47 are listed in annual statistics published in The New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Straits Guardian (Table 23). The station owner throughout is given as Gillett. 'Robert Jellit' was a headsman at Long Point in 1840 and 1841 (Fraser ms), but not in 1842 when all headsmen at that station were new, suggesting wholesale defections after the 1841 season,
perhaps to a new station at Waiorua.

In August 1846 there were 50 or 60 Europeans at the Waiorua station , 'now the largest in New Zealand' (Power 1849: 10). A year later oil production was down to 19 tuns. When the station closed down is not known.

In the Alexander Turnbull Library the account book for Alexander Fraser's Long Point station, Kapiti Island, 1840-42, gives rare detail on the costs and returns of running a whaling station (Fraser ms). For the 1840 season there are individual slop bills, advances in Sydney and final payments for 25 men, five headsmen, 11 Maori, a cooper, carpenter, Clerk, and 'tonguer'. The latter acted as an interpreter, and 'cut-in' the whale, receiving the tongue oil in payment .

Fifteen European men received £16 to £21 for the season, nine getting a cash advance in Sydney. Ten received lesser shares -of £4 to £8. Maori were paid between £7 and £12 each. Three headsmen took cash advances in Sydney, and were paid out at £48 to £67. Tonguer John Hogan took £58-6-6. The cooper, clerk and carpenter received wages of £60, £48 and £36.

There were passages from Sydney for 20 men at £5 each and -five headsmen at £10.
Five new boats were purchased at £27 each, and shipped from Sydney for £5 apiece. Provisions are listed as pork (£394-0-11), flour (£436-3-4), - sugar (£39-10-0), tea (£76-18-0) and spirits (£152-10-0). Payment to Maori for buildings confirms 1840 as the first season. They received 25 pairs of blankets at 30 shillings, two kegs of tobacco totalling 200 lb. at three shillings a pound, and a 52 gallon hogshead of spirits at 8/- a gallon, to a total value of £88-6-0.

Total costs of £3248-8-4 for the 1840 season were made up of: shares and wages £913-0-4; passages £150; boats £160; provisions £1099-2-3; buildings £88-6-0; and costs incurred with Sydney whaling suppliers and merchants £709-7-0. The remainder is freight, handling and wharfage at Sydney. Oil returns were 44 tuns and 133 gallons, at £15 per tun, giving a return of £668-5-5~. Fifty-seven hundredweight and 11 lb. of whalebone at £95 per ton fetched £242-14-3Y.!.

These prices were paid in New Zealand, the owner's profit, if any, being made on the London market.
By 1845, Robert had formed a marriage with the daughter of the Maori chief, and they had several children.

Te Tara the daughter of Enaia Te Morere (Ngati Raukawa) or Etara Morere 1818–1863
Birth 1818 • Ohau, Horowhenua, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand


We have been kindly furnished with the following list of whaling stations in New Zealand, and though it may not be quite correct, as we think it may be useful, we give it insertion.

Kapiti_Mr. Evans,.Mr. Frazer, Messrs, Daymond and Young, Mr. Lewis, and " Long George." Mana.-Captain. Daniell. Cloudy Bay-Mr. Medaris, Mr. Ferguson, Mr. Harris, and Mr.Wilíiams.
Queen Charlotte's Sound.-Mr. Jackson, Mr. Thoms, and Mr. Elmsley.

Banks' Peninsula nnd South.-Pirake, Mr. Ilnmplcman; Aknlak, Mr. Price; Timari, Messrs. G. and E. Weller ; Moraki, Mr. Hughes ; Waiknwait, Mr. Jones ; Otago, Mr. G. Weller, two fisheries; Tairee, Mr. G. Weller; Tolouk, Messrs. Chesting and Palmer; Waicana, Mr. Jones; the Bluff, Mr. Sterling; Jacob's River, Mr. Jones ; Preservation, Mr. Jones.

Employers of Robert Jillett
William Barnard Rhodes (1807? – 11 February 1878), casually referred to as Barney Rhodes, was a New Zealand landowner, pastoralist, businessman and politician. He was probably born in Lincolnshire, England, but took up a career at sea at an early age. In 1839 he settled in Wellington New Zealand and remained there for the rest of his life. He brought three of his younger brothers to New Zealand and they co-ordinated their efforts.

A tough man having "shrewd judgement, unflagging energy and sheer determination" his frugal ways and his personal engagement in physical labour deferred social acceptance by the new colony's social élite. Nevertheless he used these talents to make himself a rich man and with his three brothers all four became major landowners and pastoralists in the North and in the South Island.

When he died in Wellington he was described as one of the richest people in the country.

He was a second officer on a merchant vessel by 1826 and by 1831 he had his own command. After visiting South America, Africa, and India, Rhodes ended up in New South Wales where he was able to make substantial pastoral investments. Rhodes seems to have first visited New Zealand on a whaling expedition commanding the barque Australian for Sydney NSW business, Cooper and Holt later Holt and Roberts. During that time he arranged A B Smith and Co of Sydney to be his (stock and station) agents to look after his entire property in the colony of New South Wales
In late 1839, in partnership with the mercantile firm of Daniel Cooper and James Holt, he went back to New Zealand to acquire land for cattle runs and set up trading stations. He acquired deeds to nearly two million acres. For the trading stations he placed agents and stock-in-trade at carefully chosen landings. For his own base he chose Wellington and in late 1840 built his premises in Te Aro and completed his own wharf, Wellington's first, the following year. Rhodes lived by the eastern corner of the junction of Cuba Street and Manners Street. He bought out Cooper and Holt's share in 1850.

Though his claims to the near two million acres were largely disallowed his 30,000 acres Heaton Park estate at Bulls had been a component. It is thought his acquisition of another 80,000 acres in the North Island could be an underestimate and to that should be added another 100,000 acres of grazing rights. Later, along with his younger brothers, their South Island estates stretched from Banks Peninsula to Otago. With similar holdings in the Hawkes Bay - East Coast regions they together controlled, by the 1850s, in excess of 300,000 acres.

George Buck and Robert Jillett were on the committee wanting to secure the return of W. B. Rhodes, Esq., J.P to represent the Wellington Country District in the General Assembly.
A meeting was held every evening at seven o'clock at Mr. McKaine's, Halfway House and Mr. Calder's Rainbow Hotel, Barrett's Hotel.

William Rhodes contd. As a result of his prominence in the national community he decided to enter politics. He served on the Wellington Provincial Council, where he was a strong supporter of Isaac Featherston.

He was then elected to the 1st New Zealand Parliament as the representative for the Wellington Country seat, covering Miramar, Makara, Porirua, the Kapiti Coast and Horowhenua, from 1853 to 1855. From 1858 he represented the City of Wellington electorate in the 2nd Parliament and the 3rd Parliament, but failed to win re-election in 1866. He was later appointed to the Legislative Council.

FRASER, Alexander and Thomas (1800–68) and (1800–71). Pioneer Wellington and Otago run holders and traders.

Alexander and Thomas Fraser were twin brothers who were born in Scotland in 1800. Very little is known of their early years except that they were coopers by trade. They came to Sydney in 1830 as assisted immigrants under an engagement to Messrs Tooth, and they worked for the firm for several years. Afterwards Alexander kept a public house in Sydney for a short time. In 1837 the brothers came to Kapiti, where they traded with the whalers and the Maoris. Early in 1839 they arranged with Te Rangihaeata to occupy Mana Island. Because they knew the complexity of colonial land tenures, they took the precaution of buying out the earlier European occupiers of the island. The brothers used Mana as a base for their whaling and trading ventures. For many years their schooner Twins traded with the east coast Maoris and used to call regularly at Ahuriri (Napier) long before that district was settled by Europeans. They also traded with the Taranaki and west coast tribes and with the South Island. In the early 1860s they added SS Wallabi to their trading fleet.

Shortly after the New Zealand Company established their Wellington settlement, Colonel Wakefield claimed to have bought Mana, along with other lands, from Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata. At this time he tried to buy the Frasers' interest in the island, but they declined to sell because they believed that land values would appreciate. Their occupancy was also contested by Henry Moering, a Sydney merchant, who claimed to have bought out the original European holders. A Court decision, dated 3 December 1850, which ordered the Government to issue Moering with a Crown title to Mana, proved impossible to enforce because the Frasers refused to allow the surveyors to land on the island. For this reason, and because of their high standing in the settlement, the Government took no further action and declined to interfere with their occupancy during the brothers' lifetimes.

In addition to trading, the Frasers became graziers and for many years maintained a large flock of sheep on Mana. In the 1840s they bought a sheep run at Taita, in the Hutt Valley, and later, they took up another at Porirua. In August 1853, following Kettle's survey, the brothers took up four sections in Otago. Two of these, in the Moeraki district, formed the nucleus of Runs 10 and 11 – the Kakaho and White Bluffs runs – which had a combined area of 30,600 acres. At the same time they applied for a much larger run on both sides of the Shag River in northern Otago. These holdings were stocked from their Mana flock. In 1857 they sold their Moeraki holdings for £18,000 and retired to Wellington. They leased their Mana and Porirua holdings and gradually disposed of their trading business. During their last years they lived quietly in Wellington where they became well-known financiers. When Alexander died at their home in Ghuznee Street, Wellington, on October 1868, his share in their joint enterprises reverted to his brother. Thomas died at York Farm, Rangitikei, on 18 October 1871, and was buried in Wellington.

When Thomas died, the Evening Post recorded that few private men were better or more favourably known in the colony than these unassuming brothers. Although they had come from obscure beginnings they succeeded as traders and became the first successful graziers in New Zealand. Neither brother ever stood for public office, but in the Wellington of their day they were respected for their unfailing good humour and scrupulous fair dealing. As neither brother married, after Thomas's death their estate – variously estimated as being between £30,000 and 40,000 – was divided between their nieces and nephews in Wellington.

by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.
 I.A. 1/113 (MSS),. National Archives
 O.L.C. 552–3 (MSS), National Archives
 Votes and Proceedings, Session 5 (1856), Otago Provincial Council
 Wellington Independent, 20 Oct 1868, 19 Oct 1871 (Obit)
 Evening Post, 18 Oct 1871 (Obit).

Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.
FRASER, Alexander and Thomas', from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand URL: (accessed 22 Jun 2018)

Life at the Settlement From 1836

1836 A Maori chief is killed by a lance during a scuffle over trading, while aboard the whaling barque Caroline. This is probably what triggered the years of tension between Maori and Pakeha in the area. The Minerva captained by Leslie, lands at Sydney with four bales of excellent quality wool from Mana.

1838 Captain Samuel Cherry is killed at Mana. Some say in retaliation for the death of the Chief nearly two years before.

1838 John Bell dies suddenly. No planks can be found for a coffin, so an old friend from Dundee, “Scotch Jock” Nicol and Johnny Knocks bury him in a rum barrel on the island.

The Fraser brothers, Alex and Thomas, from Sydney, are sent by their boss, Frederick Paterson to manage the whaling station and farm, after buying out Bell, Mossman and Co. Mrs Bell never overcame her grief at her husband’s death. It is said she became one of Te Rangihaeata’s wives and was taken to live at one of his mainland pa. There she is treated as a slave. Johnny Knocks moves to Tokamapuna Island with Captain Tommy Evans, the renowned whaler. In October, Waitohi, the eldest sister of Te Rauparaha and mother of Te Rangihaeata dies. Her tangi is held on Mana. The last inter-tribe battle takes place at Waikanae afterwards as Ngati-Raukawa attack Ngati-Awa en route home. It is witnessed by Johnny Knocks and others from Tokamapuna from boats off the beach. Colonel Wakefield sails past Mana that same day on route to Kapiti.

On behalf of the New Zealand Company, he meets with the prominent chiefs and, after lengthy talks, they sign his land sales agreement. Both Mana and Kapiti Islands are with the “Tory” and he travels the length of the North Island acting as an interpreter, witnessing negotiation with Maori chiefs and William Wakefield. The HMS Calliope shelters at Mana while in the Cook Strait area.
1840 Mrs Bell is taken back to the pa at Mana.

Major Bunbury, aboard the HMS Herald, stops at Mana hoping to settle a dispute with the whalers and Maori.

During May, Thomas Bell, (father of John Bell), and Frederick Paterson transfer their interest in the island to Henry Moreing. Whaler Jock Nicol marries Kahe Te Rauoterangi, a daughter of the Ngati Toa Chief, Te Mataha. Kahe is known to the whalers as, “Betty”. The identical Fraser twins build a schooner and name her Mana. They also stock their other North & South Island sheep runs with merino sheep from the island.

1843 Te Rangihaeata leaves Mana and never returns. He takes a prominent part in the Wairau affray on 17 June, and sets up Matai-Taua at the head of the Pauatahanui Inlet. When finally routed from there he retreats to Porotawhao and his hapu, the Ngati-Huia.
The whalers are still operating two boats from their Mana Island station.
The early Scottish whaler, Jock Nicol, and his wife, Kahe Te Rauoterangi, leave Mana and establish an inn at Pukerua Bay (Pukerua Bush).
The Wellington militia fight with Te Rangihaeata in the Horokiwi Valley. He retreats further up the valley.
The Paremata barracks are completed next to Tom’s Whaling station at Porirua Point.
A large earthquake rocks the entire Wellington area, 1855

The first train is heard and later in the year, seen from Mana Island as the tracks head north through Paremata, Plimmerton and Pukerua Bay. Another large earthquake rocks Wellington.

In keeping with the British Government’s policy to investigate all New Zealand land sales made prior to the Treaty to Waitangi in 1840, Mana Island ownership soon comes under crown scrutiny. The original purchase, if it ever was a purchase, from Te Rangihaeata, was claimed to have been made in 1839 by the Fraser Brothers. A man named Moreing claimed to have bought the island in 1841 from a conglomerate of inheritors and purchasers after Bell’s death. The court decides in favour of Moreing and officially purchases the island from him. Because of the Ngati Toa conquest in 1823, the Crown considers one way or another that they are the rightful owners so payment is arranged.

Te Rangihaeata dies at Otaki after suffering from the measles. In December the three leading Ngati Toa chiefs, Hohepa Tamahengia, Tamahina Te Rauparaha and Matene Te Whiwini, sign a Crown purchase agreement and are paid 300 pounds. The court orders that this money be fairly shared out among the 81 members of the Ngati Toa tribe. In comparison with earlier New Zealand land sales and this sale, the money from the purchase of Mana Island was shared by the whole tribe. In most early land sales only the paramount chief received payment.
However it was a time of violence.

Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), Saturday 5 June 1847, page 3


EARLY on Sunday morning last, the rebel chief Rangihaeata, at the head of about forty well armed men, made a sudden and unexpected descent upon Kapiti. He crossed the water from the neighbourhood of Manawatn, in a large war canoe, previously provided for that purpose. On landing, the rebels surrounded the premises of Mr. Brown, who was alone in the house at the time, asleep. Brown was aroused by Rangihaeata, who was standing over him, holding a tomahawk in a threatening manner. The chief said, " I will kill you." Brown answered, " kill away, I am not afraid to die." Rangihaeata then ordered him to get up, saying, " I hear you have a large quantity of powder in the house, and I must have it."

Brown, making a virtue of necessity, went out and unlocked the door of the store room. The natives seized a half cask of powder, and disbelieving Brown's assertions that he had no more, commenced ransacking the house in every direction. A few minutes afterwards, one of the vagabonds found four flasks of fine powder, and this proved a signal for plundering the whole property. Expecting to find more ammunition, the natives went to work systematically, and handed the whole of the goods out of the house on to the beach. They then took possession of a five-oared whaleboat, which they filled with plunder. They also destroyed a smaller boat, in order to prevent Brown from creating an alarm.

During the time occupied ransacking, Rangihaeata told Brown " that the Ceàtope could not come out of Fort Nicholson, as she was repairing damages."

After having made a clean sweep of everything moveable, they made preparations for departure, having stowed the property in the whaleboat and canoe in a very scientific manner. The rebels obtained about 60 lbs. of gunpowder, three double-barrel-led guns, six muskets, four bags of shot, a quantity of lead, carpenters, blacksmiths, braziers, and other tools, tobacco, four blankets, and clothing, the property of Mr. Brown and his two sons. Not having room for the beds in the boat, they ripped them open, and scattered the feathers on the bench. For the same reason they threw a bag of flour into the water. The value of the goods stolen amounts to about £500 sterling.

After the robbery, and when on the point of leaving, Rangihaeata informed Brown that " the act was the commencement of hostilities, and that from this he intended to prosecute the war." The natives then raised the war cry, and as they made off, shouted-to Wairoa, meaning Gillett's place1. Fortunately an accidental circumstance caused Rangihaeata to change his intention ; observing a boat leaving Gillett's place for Waikanae, and no doubt suspecting that the boat had been despatched for assistance, Rangihaeata gave chase, and cut the boat off from the beach, hut without injuring the crew.

His party then fired three vollies of muskets in defiance, and pulled in for the beach, about three miles on the outside of Waikanae. Here natives were assembled to convey the plunder, so that it is evident every necessary precaution had been taken by the rebel chief.
Mr. Brown arrived in town early yesterday morning, and at once made known the circumstance to the proper authorities.

1 Wairoa in Maori means 'Long Water'.

Rangihaeata A Maori Chief

A member of the Ngāti Toa, he was born at Kawhia around 1780. His father Te Rakaherea was a war leader of his people and died at the Battle of Hingakaka fighting the Waikato and Ngāti Maniapoto iwi. His mother was the elder sister of Te Rauparaha and an important ariki in her own right. Te Rangihaeata grew up in Te Rauparaha's shadow and became his trusted ally. Te Rauparaha was the strategist and negotiator while Te Rangihaeata tended to be the active warrior, and they were effective in conquering the various Maori iwi and hapu who lived in the modern Wellington and Nelson/Marlborough regions. e Rangihaeata rose to prominence during the period of intertribal fighting now known as the Musket Wars. In 1819 while returning from a raid in the Cook Strait area the Ngāti Toa clashed with the Ngāti Apa around Turakina, near Bulls. During the subsequent fighting Te Rangihaeata captured and then married the chief's daughter. This was the beginning of a long-term association between the two tribes, fortunately, as the Ngāti Toa were soon forced to return the area.

Arriving back in their own tribal territories the war party found that the Waikato and Ngāti Maniapoto Māori had decided the Ngāti Toa were undesirable neighbours and for a long time a state of war existed between them. Although greatly outnumbered and outgunned, Te Rangihaeata conducted a successful defence until Te Rauparaha was able to use his diplomatic skills to extricate the tribe. This was the beginning of their migration down to the Paraparaumu and Kapiti Coast area. They subsequently conquered most of that region and the upper parts of the South Island, occupying and claiming ownership of the land by right of conquest.

This forcible change of ownership was to be a source of much confusion and conflict when the Pākehā settlers arrived and began buying land. There were often at least two sets of putative owners, and the ones who felt they had been dispossessed were often more than willing to sell land they owned but could not occupy.

Te Rangihaeata was not initially anti-Pākehā. He encouraged the whalers and the traders and was prepared to tolerate the missionaries. He valued them for the technology they introduced and the trade goods they were offering. But he quickly recognised that permanent settlers were a different matter, posing a serious threat to the Māori and their traditional ways. Despite that he tried to avoid open conflict.

New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian 18th August 1849 shows
Last Saturday, the 11th inst., as Mr. Jillet (sic), with John Grotto his shepherd, were removing five head of cattle from his station at Kapiti to another part of the island in a large boat, when about 300 yards from the station the cattle became restless, and one of them broke adrift, and threw himself across the gunnel of the boat, when she commenced to fill.

Mr. Jillet (sic) succeeded in cutting three of the beasts adrift; the other two being secured to the boat were drowned along with the shepherd, who was not able to swim. The next day with assistance of the whale boats, the boat and the body of poor Grotto were recovered. The deceased was about 52 years old and has left one son to bewail his loss.

Leaving Kapiti

Kapiti Island is the summit of a submerged mountain range created by earthquakes 200 million years ago.

At one time, moa and kakapo wandered the valley that lay between the mountains to the rest of the mainland. Several million years ago, most of this range was inundated by rising sea level. It was, for a time, part of a land bridge that extended across what is now Cook Strait. What remains is an island about 10 km long and 2 km wide of wind-blasted hillsides to the west and lush temperate rain forests to the sheltered east.

Maori history

A trypot used during the whaling period on Kapiti Island
Known as “motu rongonui” or “famous island” to pre-European Maori, a succession of tribes have used Kapiti. Settlements occurred on much of the eastern side, including Rangatira Point. Kapiti was the stronghold of the famous Te Rauparaha and a strategic location for Maori military activity as late as the 1830s. By this time, however, the island was shared with European whalers.

Colonial history

During the 1840s, much of the land was cleared for farming and sheep, goats, pigs, deer, cats, and dogs were introduced. Whales declined precipitously, and the island was given over to farming after about 1850. Today, DOC preserves many artefacts from the whaling period, such as the “trypots”, used for boiling down blubber, that can be seen on shore.

Jillett's whaling station on Kapiti Island, 1844.

Strategically close to Cook Strait, Kapiti Island watched over trade routes in addition to providing a place of refuge. Te Rauparaha let several whalers and traders use the island. Whaling was already declining when John Gilfillan sketched the original watercolour from which Walter Bowing did this copy. Jillett's whaling station spread out along the Waiorua beach.

In the 1820s Te Rauparaha led Ngāti Toa and its allies on a great migration to the southern North Island, using muskets to defeat traditionally armed local tribes. From his base on Kapiti Island, Te Rauparaha also controlled the northerners' invasion of the top of the South Island and launched devastating attacks against Ngai Tahu as far south as Kaiapoi.

'Jillett's Whaling Station, Kapiti Island', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 13-Mar-2014
Date: 1842 - 1845 By: Brees, Samuel Charles, 1810?-1865; Mintoft, F (Mrs), active 1940s-1950s
Ref: B-031-006

According to Brees in "Pictorial Illustrations of New Zealand", p.19: "This view is taken looking towards the south and shows Thoms' Whaling Station and Paramata Pa at a short distance off, upon the right in the picture; also Captain Hay's house and Cameron's, a Highlander, who had charge of the cattle dispastured there, and belonging to the Polynesian Company"

Original of Plate 10 no 29 in Brees, S C Pictorial Illustrations of New Zealand, London, 1847

Life in Porirua

Perhaps for schooling, or safety, the family relocated from Kapiti to Porirua.

New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian 9th October 1850 shows

To Cover this Season, The Imported Draught Horse Samson

Samson is a dark bay horse, stands sixteen hands high, with strong muscular power, and is allowed to be one of the best draught horses in the colony, Samson will be at Mr. Burcham's, River Hutt, every Monday and Tuesday; at Mr. Ames's, Wellington, every Thursday; at Mr. Brown's, Porirua, every Friday and Saturday; and Messrs. Hammond's, Porirua Road, the remainder of the week.
For the convenience of Mares, Paddocks will be provided at 3s. per week, but without responsibility. Terms - Three Pounds each Mare, payable 1st January, 1851. An allowance will be made to the bona fide owners of three or more Mares. Robert Gillett, and M. & R. Hammond Porirua Road, 2d(sic)
October, 1850

Robert became the licensee of the Whitewood Hotel, in Hutt. It was built in 1847 by William Matson Whitewood. Robert's home was close to the Hotel.

The photo is of the Hotel in 1860, perhaps his family is outside.2
2 Whitewood's Hotel, Lower Hutt, [ca 1860s]

Reference Number: 1/2-021176-F Whitewood's Hotel, also known as the `Rose of the Valley', in Lower Hutt, circa 1860s. Photographer unidentified. Key terms: 1 image, related to Whitewood's Hotel (Lower Hutt), Lower Hutt and Hotels - New Zealand - Wellington Region.

Wellington Independent newspaper 20 April & 01 May 1860

Publicans Licenses – March being the General Annual Licensing month the following Licenses
have been granted (various other people and public houses) including

George Buck Taita Travellers Rest
Robert Buckridge Hutt Albion
Robert Jillet Hutt Whitewood’s Hotel
John McHardie Hutt Highland Home
Robert Wyeth Hutt Barley Mow
John Blutchford Hutt Aglionby Arms

(Reference Papers past website Wellington Independent newspaper 20 April & 01 May 1860)

Without setting foot in New Zealand, Sir William Hutt (1801-1882) gave his name to the Hutt River and consequently to the Hutt Valley, Lower and Upper Hutt. From a notable English family, Sir William Hutt was British Member of Parliament for Kingston upon Hull in the 1830s, and one of the NZ Company’s directors who organised the first British settlement of New Zealand.

The Hutt River was originally named Te Awakairangi – “the watercourse of greatest value” by early Māori setttlers such as Ngāi Tara. Another local iwi Ngāti Māmoe called the river Te Wai o Orutu – “the waters of Orutu” (an ancestor). By the 1830s though it was known as the Heretaunga after a Hawkes Bay district of more recent Māori migrants.

But in September 1839 Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield, another NZ Company director, declared it now be called the Hutt River in honour of William Hutt, one of “the most energetic friends of the undertaking”. (Evening Post, 8 March 1924)

Lower Hutt (Hutt City) was initially named Aglionby by the first settlers, after another NZ Company director, Henry (H. A.) Aglionby. E. J. Wakefield (son of Edward G. Wakefield) describes going up river as ‘up the Hutt’, and Aglionby became known as ‘the Lower Hutt’ (River). The Aglionby Arms was the earliest Hutt hotel, built in Alicetown in 1840, but moved in 1847.

Referring to Hutt as a settlement began in about 1841, and there were many other examples; ‘the banks of the Hutt’, ‘Valley of the Hutt’ … Likewise the ‘Upper Valley of the Hutt’ (River) became known as Upper Hutt.

Brees, Samuel Charles, 1810?-1865. [Aglionby Arms (Burcham’s) River Hutt ca 1843]. Ref: B-031-033. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, N.Z.

Te Awarua o Porirua: Porirua's taniwha

In Maori tradition the Porirua harbour is home to the taniwha, Te Awarua o Porirua. Many years ago, long before any human footprints appeared on the mudflats, Awarua decided that he would like to fly as his friends the birds did. In order to save himself from ridicule, Awarua practised his flying at night. Beginning at one end of the harbour he would race along until he reached the other end.
After much practicing Awarua felt his body lifting off the water. Delighted by his success, he called together all the birds to watch him fly. As he sped along the water he was cheered by the birds. He got so carried away with his flight that he forgot about the hill at the north end of the harbour, and he crashed into it in an ungainly heap. Undaunted, he tried again, this time facing the open sea. His great body rose into the air but not high enough to clear Mana Island and he crashed into it flattening it. After these embarrassing accidents he practised until he could at last fulfil his ambition and could fly without further mishaps.

Kupe: the first person to see Porirua Harbour

The great Polynesian explorer, Kupe, is credited with being the first human being to see the Porirua Harbour, naming it after the two flowings of the tide. Other reminders of his visit to this region can be found in the full name of Mana Island, Te Mana o Kupe ki Aotearoa , and in his landing place, which he named Komangarautawhiri (Komanga Point), situated south of Titahi Bay. The anchor stone from Kupe's canoe, Mātāwhaorua, rested for many years on what is now Ngati Toa Domain. Damaged in the 1840s by soldiers stationed at the nearby Paremata Barracks, it is now at Te Papa.

Porirua Harbour: a full seafood larder

The combined area of the Porirua and Pauatahanui harbours presently measures some 15 square kilometres. About 30 species of fish can be found in these harbours. Many are migratory, entering and leaving according to the season. Others arrive and depart on the daily tides. As the two harbours offer very different environments each are inhabited by some species not found in the other. For example, the common sole is plentiful in the Pauatahanui arm but absent in the Porirua arm. Conversely, red cod are often caught by set net in the Porirua arm but seldom in Pauatahanui.
The first humans to settle on the shores of the harbours many hundreds of years ago would have found them to be an enormous food larder. In addition to the fish, shellfish were to be found around the shores. The bush, which reached the water's edge, was inhabited by many species of birds, and in prehistoric times moa roamed the Paremata lowlands. Middens or prehistoric rubbish dumps, which are sometimes found around the harbour's shores, reveal what types of shellfish and other food were eaten by early Maori.

Porirua's first people

The earliest known inhabitants of Porirua were Maori who made their camps in virtually untouched forests. By studying remnants of their camps, archaeologists believe these early inhabitants were living in Porirua at least as far back as 1450AD. From the forest they hunted birds, including moa, and gathered timber for shelter, tools and firewood. From the surrounding harbours and estuaries, they caught fish, eels and sting rays and gathered cockles and pipi. There is also evidence that they collected flax from the swamps to make clothing, baskets and nets. Stones were brought here and turned into fishing sinkers and adze heads for woodwork.

The earliest Kiwi name we know for this area is that of Ngai Tara, but by 1650 Ngati Ira had migrated from Hawke's Bay and intermingled with Ngati Tara. This remained the status quo until in the 1820s a group of migrating Ngati Toa under the leadership of Te Peehi Kupe, Te Rauparaha and gained control of the Porirua Basin. It was with Ngati Toa that the first Europeans who came to Porirua traded, purchased land from and sometimes married.

The first Europeans in Porirua: Captain Cook to the whalers

Te Awaiti Whalers. Photo from Pataka Museum Collection, at Porirua Library ref W.1.18.
Captain Cook visited the Porirua harbour when he was mapping New Zealand's coastline in 1769, but it was not until the late 1820s that Europeans began to settle in Porirua. In 1832 a trading station was established on Mana Island to offer goods to whalers passing through the Cook Straight.

In 1835 a whaling station was established at Paremata by Joseph Thoms (known as Geordie Bolts). Alongside Thoms' whaling station was the first ferry crossing at Porirua. Thoms took advantage of this crossing point by supplementing his whaling station with an inn, the only one in the area. This Inn was later used by James Walker as his family home.

Porirua's History post-1840

Porirua Hotel, pre 1908. Photo from Pataka Museum Collection, at Porirua Library ref A.1d.43.

Post signing the Treaty

One of the reasons the English wanted a Treaty with the Maori is that they were concerned by the behaviour of the New Zealand Company, who had started making land purchases in New Zealand in 1839. Large tracts of land were being traded, and settlers were starting to arrive in New Zealand. England wanted to control land sales and make sure that Maori only sold land they didn't need. There was also a financial motivation for this as the Crown wanted to use the profits they made from selling land to settlers at a higher price than they paid to Maori to fund their colonial government.

Unfortunately Maori at the signing of the Treaty could not have foreseen the huge number of settlers who would start arriving on their shores hungry for land. Although in 1842 many of these early land purchases were investigated by Commissioner Spain, land was seldom returned to Maori.

Conflict between European and Maori over land

In May 1843, the disputes over the New Zealand Company's doubtful land purchases from Ngati Toa came to a head at Wairau. 15 Maori and settlers were killed in the conflict, including Ngati Toa rangatira (chief) Te Rangihaeata's wife, Te Rongo.

A series of skirmishes followed with both sides building defences in Porirua. Porirua Harbour became home to New Zealand's first warship. It was a longboat, around 10 metres in length that could be sailed or rowed. Owned by New Zealand, it was crewed by the British navy, and mounted with a 12-pounder carronade and a small brass cannon.

Other defences were planned, and in 1846 Governor Grey commissioned the building of stone barracks at Paremata. Before Paremata Barracks could be completed, Te Rauparaha was seized on July 23rd 1846 at Taupo Pa, making them unnecessary. Following Te Rangihaeata's last stand at Battle Hill and retreat to the Horowhenua, European settlement increased.

Changes to the harbours

Beginning in the late 1850s European settlement in the area had a major impact on the harbours. Forests were cleared a rapid rate. In 1855 the West Wairarapa earthquake, which had a magnitude of 8.2, rocked the settlement. Although it was once thought that the earthquake significantly reduced the floor of the Pauatahanui Harbour arm, research by a geologist has shown that while uplifting has taken place in the past neither the 1848 or 1855 earthquakes lifted the harbour floor. A more plausible explanation for the changes to the shoreline at the head of the Pauatahanui Inlet is the accumulation of silt following the clearance of the surrounding bush.

The removal of this protective cover allowed erosion to occur, and many thousands of tonnes of soil were deposited into the harbour. Sea level changes have also had an impact on the harbour.
Connecting Porirua: Maori tracks, railways and State Highways

Before European colonization, Maori travelling between Wellington and Porirua took a well-defined track from Korokoro which then went west through the bush to the junction of the Kenepuru and Takapu Streams, and then alongside the Kenepuru Stream until Porirua. From the Hutt Valley there was a high track which roughly followed the line of the Belmont Road and emerged near the Pauatahanui Stream mouth.

The New Zealand provincial government commissioned roads near Wellington and in 1841 a bridle track to Porirua was under construction. In 1841 Te Rangihaeata declared the Porirua Road tapu, effectively closing it, and in 1846 he established a blockade over the road. After the conflict at Wairau in 1843 and the armed conflicts in 1846 relations between Maori and settlers worsened. It was not until the end of these conflicts that more permanent connections were developed. In April 1846 soldiers started building a properly formed road to Porirua. At this time there were 225 European inhabitants alongside the road's path.

The beach road from Porirua alongside the eastern side of the harbour, and the southern side of the inlet, to Pauatahanui was completed by September 1848. The road to the north was completed in November 1849 and continued as the main highway until November 1939 when the new coast road through Pukerua was opened.

In 1868 the newly established Pahautanui (sic) Small Farms District Roads Board called for tenders to construct two roads (priced £57 10s and £55 14s). A tender by B Draper was accepted 14 December 1867. Three roads were built, Flightys and Mulherns north of the Haywards Road and Murphys south of it. In 1873-74 the track over the hill to Belmont was converted into a road by W Ellerm.

For a time Pauatahanui remained as an important staging point for coaches on the run between Wellington and Foxton, but in 1877 residents mounted an angry protest against plans to route the Manawatu railway line through their township. They were successful. The line opened in 1885, providing connections with Wellington to the south and Manawatu to the North, but bypassing Pauatahanui.

From Government Records, he sold some land, in 1859
Deed No.1563 (folio 30) Country Section 35 Allotment 5 Hutt District Plan in Deed: Yes
Conveyance dated 13 April 1859. Deed registered 09 May 1859. Robert Jillett of Porirua,
farmer to Simon Ebden of Brunswick near Melbourne, brickmaker. Bounded on the north
by part of the same section occupied by John McHardie, on the southeast by the new
Hutt Road and on the southwest side thereof by other parts of the same allotment 5
belonging to the said Robert Jillett.

Signed by Robert Jillett in the presence of Robert Hart of Wellington, solicitor and John White of Hutt, butcher. Memorandum of prior title: 15 Nov 1852 Crown Grant to Matthew Sharley (Deed No.581) and 11 Apr 1854 Conveyance from Matthew Sharley to Robert Jillett (Deed No.582).

Places named in Porirua for the Jillett/Whitehouse Family

John Street - John Whitehouse, owner of Pikarere Farm 1870s-1890s.
Morere Street - Name of William Jillett’s mother who came from Kapiti.
Tireti Road - Maori for name Jillett.
Whitehouse Road - Family of early landowners and farmers of Pikarere Farm.
Mawhare Street - Ma: white; whare: house, i.e. Whitehouse. The Whitehouses were early landowners in the area.
Richard Street - After an old settler who lived in a hut near Onepoto, also suggested to be named after Prime Minister Richard John Seddon, a relative of the Whitehouse family.
Jillett Street

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