James moved to Sutherland to take charge of the first sheep introduced into the county by the Duke of Sutherland. This introduction of sheep became historical because it was accompanied by the forcible eviction of many thousands of small tenants who were farming in a primitive and most unproductive manner. Much of the land thus taken was re-let inlarge holdings to men with capital and some practical knowledge and this gave a great impetus to farming and to the advance of the county generally. The evicted tennants were given small holdings, called crofts, on the eastern seaboard but large numbers of them emigrated to Canada.
In September 1839 James, for some years a widower, emigrated to New Zealand. He was accompanied by his eldest son Donald (and his wife), John, then aged twenty, and David, a year or two younger. They arrived in Wellington on the 30th of January 1840. His eldest daughter, Ann, who had married a McKay, stayed behind and the youngest of the family, Catherine, a girl of seventeen, rather than emigrate, married her sweetheart, also a McKay, and stayed at home.
James, his son, John, and daughter-in-law, Isabella, moved to Port Chalmers, New Zealand from Nelson, New Zealand in December 1844, along with Isabella's sister, Janet, and brother-in-law, Alexander McKay ♂. The McKays decided to settle at Kotupai, now Port Chalmers but the Andersons instead spent some time exploring the harbour and in 1845 decided to pitch their tent in a pretty little inlet now known after them as Andersons Bay.
At that time, Anderson's Bay was a strip of clear land, running between the bay and ocean, with plenty of good bush nearby. Here they hoped to run a few sheep and perhaps cattle but initially their time was almost wholly taken up with gardening, fishing and boating. They built a hut of rushes and rough timber on the foreshore. For food they had plenty of wild pork and quail, supplemented with potatoes and other home grown vegetables and eked out half a ton of flour they'd brought with them from Nelson.
On their boating trips they frequently visited the future Dunedin, then covered with scrub and of uninviting appearance but teeming with wild pigs and quail and home to their only friends, two runaway sailors who lived in a little hut by the side of Kaituna creek.
When the surveyors eventually arrived, in February 1946, John got immediate employment with them and built a small house. James died there, two years later, six months after the arrival of the next wave of settlers.
- Notes: Naming of Andersons Bay.