Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of Dunedin and South Otago


J. Wilkie & Co.



Publication Date



Mr. Joseph Anderson, of Waiwera South, gives the following particulars of the arrival and subsequent settlement of his family in the colony. He says:–

My grandfather, James Anderson, and father John Anderson (a young man of twenty), natives of Sutherlandshire, Scotland, left for New Zealand in August, 1839, by the ship “Oriental,” she being one of the first four emigrant vessels to leave London on the same day. The “Oriental” arrived on January 30th, 1840, in Wellington, which at that time was very subject to earthquakes, so much so that it was considered unsafe to erect high chimneys to the houses.

In 1842 my grandfather and father left Wellington for Nelson, their intention being to start sheep-farming in that province. They took a cargo of sheep with them, but the vessel was wrecked near Nelson, and nearly all the sheep were drowned. During their stay in Nelson, Captain Wakefield and a number of leading citizens were massacred by the Maoris. When word was brought to the town, the settlers, expecting a raid, gathered in the town, and attempted to build some rude fortifications. They also cut away the grass, fern and rough growth, so that the Maoris would not be able to approach without being seen. If beaten by the Maoris, the defenders made arrangments to retreat into the church on the hill, and there make a last stand. However, the Maoris did not turn up, so the scare soon passed away.

My mother, Isabella Allan, my maternal grandfather, John Allan, his wife, four sons, and three daughters, arrived in Nelson, from Ayrshire, Scotland, in the ship “New Zealand,” in 1842. In 1844 my father and mother were married in the English Church at Nelson. In the latter part of this year, in company with my father's brother-in-law, Alexander McKay, and his wife, they decided to leave for Otago. On the eve of their departure word came from the Home Country that the New Zealand Company, which held the Charter from the Crown for colonising New Zealand, had failed. However as they had made all arragements, they decided to set off, and after a very rough passage of six weeks, landed in Port Chalmers. It was on the arrival of the vessel that my eldest brother, James Anderson, was born.

My father took up his residence in Anderson's Bay, hence the name, afterwards removing to Dunedin, the only occupants of which at that time were two pig hunters. My brother John was born in the district, and was the first white male child born in Dunedin. My grandfather died in Dunedin in the early part of 1849, and was buried in the cemetery, then in Upper York Place. After the first batch of immigrants arrived, my father removed to Port Chalmers, where he started in business as a butcher, and just about this time I was born. In 1852 we removed to a farm in the East Taieri. Farming work was in a very primitive state, hand ploughs being used to break up the ground. The grain had all to be cut with the hook, threshed with a flail, and ground in a hand-mill, most of the grinding being done after the men had returned from their work. After about four years of farming life, my father leased the Dalvey Station for a term of years from Thomas Martin. Posession was given in the beginning of 1856, and about eighteen months afterwards my mother and the family were taken in bullock drays from the Taieri to Tapannui.




Date Known

15 September 1839

The Oriental sets sail from London with James Anderson and his sons Donald Anderson, John Anderson and David Anderson, and Alexander McKay aboard. Sources: 2

31 January 1840

The Oriental arrives at Port Nicholson, with James Anderson and his sons Donald Anderson, John Anderson and David Anderson, and Alexander McKay aboard. Sources: 3


James and John Anderson set sail from Wellington Harbour, New Zealand with a cargo of sheep but the ship is wrecked near Nelson, New Zealand and nearly all their sheep are lost. Sources: 2

4 July 1842

The New Zealand sets sail from Cumbrae, Scotland with John Allen, his wife, Agnes Allan and their children Janet, James, Isabella, Joseph, John, Agnes and John aboard. Sources: 2

4 November 1842

The New Zealand arrives in Nelson, New Zealand with John Allen, his wife, Agnes Allan and their children Janet, James, Isabella, Joseph, John, Agnes and John aboard. Sources: 2

December 1844

James Anderson is born to Isabella Allan and John Anderson in Port Chalmers, New Zealand. Sources: 3


John Anderson and Isabella Allan move to Port Chalmers, New Zealand with their children, James and John. Sources: 1


John Anderson sets up business as a butcher in Port Chalmers, New Zealand. Sources: 1


John Anderson and Isabella Allan move to a small farm in East Taieri, New Zealand with their children, James, John, Ann and Janet. Sources: 1


John Anderson takes up a sub-lease on Dalvey Station, Otago, New Zealand. Sources: 1

July 1858

John Anderson is joined at Dalvey Station, Otago, New Zealand by his wife, Isabella Allan, and children, James, John, Joseph, Ann, Janet, David and Agnes. Sources: 2