Australasia 1849: Settlement of the South Island

Early colonial New Zealand saw a number of clashes between settlers and Māori over dubious land deals. These issues were most easily resolved in the sparsely populated South Island, where the British Crown was able to cheaply purchase extensive and overlapping tracts of land between 1847 and 1860 to ensure that all Māori stakeholders were compensated (however, promised reserves and other conditions of the deals were often ignored by the Crown). This opened up almost the entire South Island to settlement, allowing it to become the ‘mainland’ of New Zealand’s settler population for much of the rest of the nineteenth century.

Main Events

24 Feb–17 Aug 1846 Hutt Valley Campaign

After an ongoing dispute with Māori over the New Zealand Company’s 1839 land purchases, British forces under Governor George Grey invaded the Hutt Valley north of Wellington. When the war spread north to Wanganui, Grey ordered the arrest of the famed but old chief Te Rauparaha, imprisoning him in Auckland until 1848. Clashes continued until August, when Major Last and the pro-British chief Rawiri Puaha drove Ngāti Toa chief Te Rangihaeta into the interior following the Battle of Battle wikipedia

18 Apr 1846–? Feb 1848 Wanganui Campaign

In April 1846 a midshipman of HMS Calliope accidentally shot an old Māori chief in Wanganui, New Zealand, provoking a reprisal attack on a settler family. Tensions further increased with attempts to push through New Zealand Company land sales in the region, peaking in October when a war party under Te Mamaku and Te Oro threatened to plunder the Wanganui settlement. After a number of inconclusive British expeditions against Te Mamaku in 1847, both sides agreed to a formal peace in early wikipedia

1 Jul 1846 Cooking Pot Uprising

In June 1846 Major Joseph Childs, the harsh superintendent of the penal colony of Norfolk Island, eliminated the last privilege of the convict population by prohibiting personal cooking and forcing prisoners to hand in all cooking utensils. In response, convicted bushranger William Westwood led a mutiny, seizing the cookhouse and killing several constables before being stopped outside Government House. As a result of the rebellion, Childs was recalled and 17 convicts were wikipedia

18 Mar 1847–21 May 1860 South Island deeds

To resolve the land dispute between the settlers and Māori in Wairau, Governor George Grey negotiated a fresh purchase of the district with Ngāti Toa and associated tribes, paying £3,000 for the 3 million acre block in 1847. As the Ngāti Toa claim was also disputed by Kāi Tahu, the main South Island tribe, Grey proceeded to purchase the middle South Island in the 1848 Kemp’s Deed and the southern South Island in the 1853 Murihiku Deed. Additional purchases were made until 1860 to clear up remaining disputes, but the government largely failed to provide reserves and other promised wikipedia

23 Mar 1848 Settlement of Otago

In 1844 the British Crown purchased the Otago Block from local Māori, but settlement was delayed in the wake of the Wairau Affray. Under the organization of the Otago Association, 278 Scottish migrants sailed from Britain in late 1847 on the settler ships John Wickliffe and Philip Laing to found a Free Church Presbyterian colony. The first settlers landed at Port Chalmers in March 1848 and proceeded to found the town of wikipedia

30 Jul 1848 Dutch border in New Guinea

Jan Jacob Rochussen, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, declared the 141st meridian to be the eastern boundary of the Dutch East Indies, effectively extending the 1828 boundary by moving the northern part of the eastern border nine degrees eastward. The line divided New Guinea in half, although the island itself remained almost completely outside Dutch wikipedia

30 Aug 1849–16 Dec 1850 Settlement of Canterbury

In 1848 the British Crown purchased the middle section of the South Island, New Zealand, from Kāi Tahu chiefs, opening it up for settlement by the Canterbury Association—formed earlier that year under the sponsorship of the Church of England. In 1849 a port was set up at Lyttelton and the following year the so-called first four ships—Charlotte Jane, Randolph, Sir George Seymour, and Cressy—transported settlers to the colony to establish the settlement of wikipedia