It’s extraordinary how two or three one-page documents can bring people a hundred years dead back to life.
One night in the early 1860s, a man by the name of John Hamilton made the fateful decision to leave his life in Ireland behind and start over in New Zealand. Mr. Hamilton had Julius Vogel to thank, for it was under his Immigration scheme of partially paid or free passage that his voyage was possible. Mr. Hamilton was not destined to live alone in New Zealand, but would rather be the cause of a chain migration. The family tree below shows this chain, with Margaret Hamilton being the sister of John.
When one sets sail to live forever in a new land — away from family, friends, and the life best known by generations before — is it with the intent to transfer and establish as much of that old place as possible into the new one, or is there a willingness to assimilate and be absorbed into the cultural development of one’s new home and be freed from any previous identifier?
The New Zealand Wars were fought over a near 30 year period, from 1845-1872, a period in which the Pākehā population of New Zealand more than tripled, with many of these being immigrants from the British Isles either directly or indirectly through Australia. Why did so many settlers continue to come to New Zealand despite the three decade long war? These settlers had many reasons to emigrate, such as lack of work after the British Agricultural Revolution, but with closer, cheaper, and safer options like America and Australia, why did the New Zealand Wars not dissuade potential immigrants from the British Isles?
The New Zealand settlement of Otago had been established as a Free Church settlement and had a predominantly Scottish population. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that it was not long until Scotland’s attitudes towards public education were instituted there as well.
Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, New Zealand has had its borders closed to non-citizens for over six months. This sort of closure is unprecedented and has not occurred in decades. However, in 1935 the doors to New Zealand were essentially closed due to the impacts of the 1929 Wall Street Crash and economic depression which followed. This was in stark contrast to the decade before, with thousands of British and Irish migrants making their way to New Zealand.
Through the 1860s and ‘70s New Zealand’s population grew significantly as immigrants were attracted by the gold rushes and the assisted migration schemes put in place by then Premier Julius Vogel. By the late 1870s trouble was brewing, when government revenues began to dwindle they turned to search for other sources. One that stood out was the Waimate Plains west of Hawera, which the Minister for Lands thought would “place in the Treasury close on half a million sterling” if they were obtained and auctioned to would be farmers. The problem was that this land belonged to the local Ngaruahine and Ngati Ruanui iwi, who had recently lost a war with the colonists. The tensions of the South Taranaki war and confiscation are the backdrop of the early history of Hawera.
Women having a larger want from their life than just being a servant is largely seen in the immigration movement in the late 1800s. Single women occupations across 20 yearsOne of the clearest themes is the movement away from the occupation of ‘domestic servant’ to not only general servants but also those of other work such as weaver, farm servant, and dairymaid. Exploring the social history behind this trend shows that this is largely more reflective of social trends at the time.
The ‘Maori’ wars through the lens of immigration – An analysis of newspaper articles on the influence of the New Zealand wars on immigration
As the dominant form of media in the nineteenth century, newspapers were a way of spreading information to the wider community. The wealth of information contained within a newspaper gives us a unique insight into the happenings and ideas of the time nearly 200 years later, making newspaper articles a valuable resource in the study of the past. The series of conflicts now known as the New Zealand wars raged throughout the North Island from 1845 until 1872, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Maori and British crown soldiers and settlers. As to be expected from such an important series of events, the New Zealand wars had significant coverage in Newspapers both at home in New Zealand and abroad in Britain and other colonies.
The New Zealand wars played a pivotal role in almost all factors New Zealand’s history, and migration is no exception. Between 1840 and 1870 several thousand soldiers from the British army took discharge in New Zealand, with a significant portion of these during the 1860’s in relation to the wars in Taranaki and the Bay of Plenty. As such a study of the nature of these soldiers who discharged in New Zealand during this period is a study into a significant factor in New Zealand’s migration history. Learning about the men themselves, their motivations for joining the army and the distinct Irish regiments provides an insight into some of New Zealand’s roughest settlers.