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Scottish Influence of my Scottish forebears in NZ
By Anne Stewart Ball

Scottish Diaspora in New Zealand: Part One

Scottish Influence in New Zealand

Reading your Newsletter, Alastair, has provoked considerable thought on the Scottish Influence of those early immigrants who made New Zealand their new home- their legacy and how the Scottish Influence has permeated into our way of life – business, economics, transport systems, community, church and culture.

It has been said at times that Dunedin is a true Scottish town – more Scottish than Scotland. The newspapers of 1889 record a crowd of at least 15000 turning out to unveil a statue of Robert Burns.

Mr Whyte MHR in a responding speech at a dinner held to celebrate the opening of the Waiorongomai Battery and Tramway was reported as saying." In the composition of the House there were about 50 English men, 6 or 8 Colonials, 4 Maories, 8 or 9 Irishmen, and 25 Scotchmen,” He added to this that “ the presence of the Scotchman had had the effect of producing a large amount of practical work.”

My Scottish Family – “Roots”

We still do not know exactly why our forebears left Scotland and can only suppose the reason. That is still a grey area in Scotland. Whether it was clearances, change in land ownership, technological and industrial change, Church Disruption, the aftermath of the Jacobite Uprising – we do not really know. Or maybe it was just to start a new life with new opportunities elsewhere. We do know that they were fortunate – they had access to education, access to capital, had skills and the drive to succeed, contribute and a strong work ethic . This is what they bought to their new chosen country. However more they had the following values:

            Passing on the stories, songs and traditions of their native birthplace – Scotland.

            Providing for family – those dependent upon.

            Modest living - passed down to us was the growing of vegetables and fruit, bottling, home baking, needlework and craft work. No ostentatious display of wealth.

            A contribution to the community that was regarded as the “greater good for the greater benefit of many.”

            The setting up of Trust Funds that were not just for personal wealth or family gain but for benefit in the community also.

            A premise – “ sufficient to your needs, not your greed “

            Education – “follow your bent “ and use that gained for the benefit of others – so that in our family in New Zealand today we have teachers, policy analysts, engineers, farmers, accountants, bankers, insurance officers, researchers. lawyers, social workers. Each putting in 100% and more to their chosen field.

            A deep faith and involvement in Church followed by many of our family.

            Applying oneself to the strong work ethic.

It could be said that for those of us who are fourth generation New Zealanders, because of the way we have been bought up we are proud of our Scottish descent and the contribution left by previous generations to this place. Those generations have put in to their new home in many ways. A number of us have visited Scotland, seeking our “ roots.”

For my branch of the Stewart family my great grandparents left Scotland during the 19th Century and came to New Zealand. For this branch a “double banger” of Stewarts (my grandmother - Perthshire Stewart married my grandfather – Lanarkshire Stewart ).

Great grandfather James Stewart (Perthshire) married Mary Anderson. James and Mary arrived in Auckland New Zealand in 1859 on the clipper barque “Joseph Fletcher “. Likewise Jame’s sister arrived in 1859 on the “Whirlwind” and was married soon after arrival. The account of this voyage of “ Joseph Fletcher ” is interesting:

            from the point of view of the passenger list - many of who came from Perthshire ( Campbell, Davidson, Elley, McGregor, Miller, Lamb, Stewart, Wilson.) ( from Auckland City Library Passenger Lists “ Joseph Fletcher”

“27 general labourers; 14 farmers; 10 female servants; 4 blacksmith; 3 carpenters; 3 cabinetmakers; 3 butchers; 2 millers; 1 surveyor; 1 clerk; 1 printer; 1 shipwright; 1 joiner; 1 governess and 1 yeoman, with their several wives, families and relatives.” ( from Daily Southern Cross 19/08/1859 )

            an account of a concert held on board indicating some Scottish culture:

“with which some favourite glees and ballads, set as quartets, were sustained – “Hail! Smiling morn”, “Hark! The lark”, “Glorious Appolo”, “Ye banks and braes”, “Blue bells of Scotland” and “Home, sweet home”. Two rounds or catches were rendered in character and rapturously received. “Old chairs to mend” and “Would you know my Celia’s charms”.

( from The New Zealander 20/08/1859)

            the list of goods bought to New Zealand by these people – the practical essentials – salt, candles, machinery, tools, oil, oilman’s supplies, ( from Daily Southern Cross 19/08/ 1859)

Great grandfather James Stewart (Lanarkshire) married Henrietta Ferguson MacFarlane and after a trail of Yorkshire, and London left for New Zealand to oversee and organise National Banks in this country. He arrived on the “Ben Venue “ in 1878 and was followed shortly after by his wife and family ( including my grandfather) on the “ Halcione” in 1879. (the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 21 -Sep-2007

URL: )

Thereafter the trail goes Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Toowoomba (Australia) where unfortunately this great grandfather died of a fever. Great Grandmother then returned to be with her brother James Buchanan MacFarlane in Auckland New Zealand.

The Scottish Influence in the Auckland Province New Zealand

The Scottish immigrants came in what could be said to be “waves” from their birthplace in Scotland. Some of the ships were

1840 ‘Lady Lilford’ “London”(Wellington Port) 1842 “ Jane Gifford “

1855 “Cornubia “

1859 “ Joseph Fletcher “ “ Whirlwind”

Promptly upon their arrival the Scottish immigrants settled into the community taking an active part in their field of business or skill. As they settled in to their life in a new country they also involved themselves in organisations such as initially the Mechanics Institute, the Auckland Acclimatisation Society and church. Later as they were established more some became involved in politics, helping to establish the newly formed Auckland Institute in 1868, art, education (schools, technical and a university.) , libraries, parks and benevolent societies. Initially in a minority of immigrants from Britain, some rose to prominence and their “Scottish influence “ had a huge impact on business, economics, transport and transportation, community and church.

The Scottish Influence in New Zealand Business

Familiar New Zealand Companies who have been household names for decades and but a few written about in this article ( ones that are known personally about by way of family associations ). Many of these evolved from an Auckland Influence where the newly arrived immigrants of Scottish descent had key roles in “growing a company” for it to survive for many decades.

           Champion Flour - 1859 Scottish born miller, John Lamb took over Waitemata Flourmills established by John Brigham in 1855. Josiah Firth established The Wharf Mill at the bottom of Queen St, later renamed the Eight Hour Mill 1875 Lamb purchased the Fort St site in Auckland city and in 1888 moved his mill to Fort Street , Auckland and renamed it Auckland Roller Mills.1889 Auckland Roller Mills merged with Firth’s Eight Hour Mill and in 1899 the combined operation renamed The Northern Roller Milling Company (NRM)

1993 The Fort St mill was renamed to Champion Flourmills 2000 Goodman Fielder closed Champion Auckland and Champion Palmerston North, and consolidated at Mt Maunganui 2001 Goodman Fielder sold the Fort St property, ending more than 100 years of grain milling on the site.

(Reference )

           Farmers – In 1909 Robert Laidlaw (originally from Dairy, Ayrshire) set up a mail order company in Auckland. Called Laidlaw Leeds business grew and 1914 saw substantial new premises opened on the corner of Hobson and Wyndham Streets. 1918 saw a merger with the Farmers Union Trading Company. The Hobson / Wyndham Street became head office and with a large department store which over the years became an icon and a must place to visit, especially for rural people visiting Auckland as well as Auckland families. The reason a roof top cafeteria and childrens playground. The other distinction began and which still continues today was the annual Farmers Christmas Street Parade, attended by thousands. Laidlaw remained general manager until his retirement in 1945.

In the 1990’s through takeover Farmers and Deka were joined as Farmers Deka Limited. By mid 2001 Deka chain closed due to financial difficulty. The company was then renamed

Farmers Holdings Ltd. In 2003 James Pascoe Ltd and Fisher & Paykel Finance bought Farmers in November 2003 from Foodlands Associates and the company was split into a retail and a finance arm. Today almost 100 years later there are Farmers retail department store branches in a number of New Zealand towns.

           NZI - New Zealand Insurance - Begun in June 1859 in Auckland New Zealand, a board was appointed, its first chairman being Scottish born businessman Thomas Henderson and vice chairman David Graham. During the 1860s NZI underwent a period of rapid expansion, establishing branches in most Australian capital cities as well as around the globe.

During decades of this company two decisions of note spring to mind.

1.  The San Francisco Earthquake when the Directors called for all shareholders to make a decision whether to pay out on claims which could end up bankrupting the company. It was decided that honour, ethics and company values required them to do so. NZI was one of the few companies that did so and rather than bankrupting the company it gave rewards that they gained insurance clients.

2.  The decision by the directors and shareholders to pull NZI operations from South Africa because of the Apartheid Policy followed by South Africa at that time.

1988 saw NZI become part of larger group. Bank of Scotland was involved initially. General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation (General Accident) acquired a majority shareholding in NZI Corporation Limited. General Accident ceased to operate as a separate company in

Australia and became known as NZI Insurance Australia Limited. Head office of the new parent company was in Perth, Scotland. A subsidiary company of NZI – NZI Trust was acquired by Guardian Trust. This ending more than 100 years of insurance run by a New Zealand

Company with its head office based in New Zealand. However NZI continues on in New Zealand and remains a major insurance company.

(Reference source )

           National Bank - Founded in London in 1872, Its aim was "to extend to the colony of New Zealand the additional banking accommodation which the rapid increase of the population and remarkable development of the mineral, pastoral and agricultural resources of the colony so urgently demand".

The National Bank first opened its doors in 1873 with branches in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch. Soon afterwards the new bank took over the 13 branches of the then ailing Bank of Otago with its source of valuable farming contacts.

Growth was steady with the 100th branch opening in 1963. During 1972 its range of services to wholesale banking was extended. 1992 the bank purchase the New Zealand farmers bank – the Rural Bank. 1998 purchased Countrywide Banking Corporation.

In December 2003, the ANZ Banking Group purchased The National Bank from Lloyds TSB. Today The National Bank belonging to a major Australasian financial group, remains very much committed and more than 100 years of banking continues to assist New Zealand and New Zealanders.

In 1978 when Head Office transferred from London to New Zealand, along came the Bank’s distinctive Black Horse Logo ( previously the symbol of Lloyds Bank.)

( Reference Source )

           Northern Steam Ship Company – Formed on 11 May 1881 ( Northern Steam Shipping Company New Zealand Limited ) in a meeting of 19 businessmen from various industries with vested shipping interests. (evolved out of a number of Steamship Companies amongst them the Auckland Steam Packet Company, ) Amongst the original owners were Scottish born James MacFarlane and manager of the new Company Alexander McGregor. Other appointed directors were Thomas Morrin, David Cruickshank, and Scottish born James McCosh Clark.

Early in 1881 Alexander McGregor had negotiated with James Mills of the Union Steam Ship

Company and secured the northern trade routes. The Northern Steam Ship Company to serve all ports of the East Coast of the Auckland Province, from East Cape to Parengarenga, and to the Hokianga in the north. On the West Coast they served the ports of Onehunga, Waitara, New Plymouth and Wanganui.

As well as plying the coastal ports Northern Steam Ship Company also ran a regular river trade . Eg on the Waihou (previously called Thames River) to Paeroa. Coastal shipping carried cargoes of grain, cement, coal and stores for settlers.

November 1974 was the last cargo carried by the Northern Company vessel. After ninety-four years of service the last three vessels in their fleet were sold and operation as a ship-owner ceased. For a few years afterwards the Company continued as a fork-hoist operator and as a shipping agency, acting as agent for the Japan Line. Thus ended a long history of coastal

shipping. Also leaving memories for many settler families of the relying on the steamers regular visits to get their stores or get themselves to Auckland as a passenger ( eg Whangamata NZ ) For many in those early days of settlement the steamer was their only means of contact as there were no roads or railway and only rough bridle tracks.

( Reference Source National Maritime Museum NZ
Coastal Shipping NZ

                  NRM – Stock Feed ( see Champion Flour )

           Union Steamship Company – Begun in Dunedin in 1875 by James Mills ( an entrepreneurial, NZ born businessman. His success was through talent drive and access to capital. Armed with letters Of introduction he had headed to Great Britain.

One of his meetings was with Dumbarton shipbuilder and investor Peter Denny. From this meeting the Company was up and running – Denny and colleagues supplying the technology and a large part of the capital, Mills his drive, talent, support from fellow directors and plans.

1876 Union Steamship Company took over Wellington- based New Zealand Steam Ship Company and from here on it just grew.

Auckland Manager for Union Steamship Company, for many years, was Thomas Henderson Jnr until 1898. In 1904 he retired from the Union Steamship Company and set up an office in Quay Street, Auckland, where he acted as a shipping agent.

2000 saw Union Steam Ship Company in its final stages. Thus ended 125 years of this company’s shipping to just about every New Zealand port and many overseas including the Pacific.

(Reference Source )


An interesting point for the businesses written about is that takeover and massive changes in ownership started taking place from the end of the 1980’s.


The above is a very brief overview. Part Two will explore some of the Scottish Immigrants involved, their legacy’s left to Auckland Province and the Scottish Influence that has permeated into the Auckland Province today. The references provided in this article are also a very small part of what is available.

Scottish Diaspora in New Zealand: Part Two

Alastair – Part Two of this article which will discuss the “Scottish Influence“ of some of those early Scottish Immigrants to Auckland Province, their legacy’s left and the permeation of “Scottish Influence“ in the Auckland Province today. 

Some of Those of Scottish Birth who were Leaders in 19th Century Auckland

They arrived from Scotland and upon arrival in Auckland, New Zealand set about becoming involved in their new home. The “strong work ethic” saw commitment to business, politics, community and church. Some by their involvement were to have an “influence” within the newly developing town.

William Brown (Dundee) Arrival NZ 1840 Lawyer Merchant, writer, newspaper proprietor, politician.

 Partner in Brown & Campbell – Merchants involved in shipping, brewing, timber, export of flax, kauri gum and manganese.1843 started Auckland’s first newspaper The Southern Cross (this was later in 1876 (under new ownership then) to become the NZ Herald, still published in 2008) Brown was elected to the Legislative Council in 1844 and became second Auckland Provincial Superintendent March 1855 – November 1855.

Sir Dr. John Logan Campbell (Edinburgh) Arrival NZ 1840 Merchant, writer, philanthropist. politician

Known as the “Father of Auckland” Partner in Brown & Campbell– Merchants involved in shipping, brewing, timber, export of flax, kauri gum and manganese Newspaper Publishing. First Chairman of the Waihoihoi Coal Company at Drury. .Despite his reluctance for politics, Auckland Provincial Superintendent from November 1855  to September 1856, member for City of Auckland of the House of Representatives, from October 1855 to November 1856, Auckland City Honorary Mayor for part of 1901. Part founder and trustee of the Auckland Savings Bank which began in 1847.Philanthropy amongst many things included the establishment of the Logan Campbell Free Kindergarten. Campbell’s interests were wide. It could be said that he took a keen interest to nuture and encourage others and inspire them to become involved “for the greater good for the greater benefit of many.” His return to New Zealand after an extended holiday overseas saw him immediately involved with the newly established Auckland Institute & Museum, both as a member and then on the Governing Council. His farm at Cornwall Park saw experimentation with the growing of olive trees. A keen interest was taken in the development of the Auckland Provincial railway system. Later the new invention introduced to Auckland – electric trams and tramways.               

Archibald Clark, (Beith, Ayrshire) Arrival NZ 1849 Merchant, Draper.

Started a clothing manufacture and wholesale business. Councillor Middle Town Ward and Mayor 1851 - 1852 of the Auckland Borough Council. Archibald involved himself in Auckland Presbytery     and General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand -1863 elected to the College and Education committee with Thomas MacFarlane .Members of Auckland Church gave support to other new churches being established elsewhere in the province. Archibald part of the group that attended the opening of the new Presbyterian Church at Thames in 1868.Member of Auckland Institute & Museum.

James McCosh Clark (Beith, Ayrshire) Arrival NZ 1849 Merchant, Leader

The son of Archibald Clark, James became partner in Archibald’s business in 1856/57. Treasurer of the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand from 1862 to 1872. Member of Newton Auckland Provincial Council 1869 – 1870. Mayor of Auckland City 1880 – 1883. His leadership skills saw him Chairman of the Education Board. President Auckland Chamber of                 Commerce and member of the Auckland Harbour Board. He took a keen interest in the development of tramway and railway systems in the Auckland Province. Member of Auckland Institute & Museum.

George Fraser (Aberdeen) Arrival NZ 1855 Engineer, foundry proprietor, ship owner

Started a major Auckland iron foundry in Mechanics Bay (Fraser & Tinne – later the Phoenix Foundry) which it could also be said in 1874 to have been a major employer of that time 150 – 160 employees. Not afraid to experiment the foundry grew from its involvement in a diverse range of Machinery and equipment. Boilers and engines for ships, stamper plant for goldmines, machinery                for saw mills and flax mills. Fraser and Tinne gained the contract for the supply of ironwork for Bean Rock Lighthouse on Te Toka a Kapetawa in Waitemata Harbour. They were involved with Stewart C.E. in the design and development of Auckland’s first compound principle engines in a steamer – “ Star of the South “ Fraser took a keen interest in the training of his staff and the years saw many apprentices pass through the company. Their reputation of being well- trained was high.                A strong promoter of iron ships, Fraser was a member of the group which formed the Northern Steam Ship Company Limited in 1881. Founder Member of the committee of the Auckland Technical School and keen advocate of its worth. Member of Auckland Institute & Museum.

Thomas Bannatyne Gillies (Rothesay, Isle of Bute) Arrival NZ 1852. Judge, Politician, Botanist

Arriving firstly to Otago, Gillies became a settler farmer and then took over his father’s law practice in Dunedin and was elected member Bruce to the House of Representatives 1860. Following the death of his wife he moved to Auckland 1866 and quickly became involved in work, community, and politics. Gillies with a keen interest in botany were president of the Auckland Acclimatisation Society and founder member of the Auckland Institute & Museum in 1868. On the governing council and President of the Auckland Institute in 1873 and 1876.  Auckland Provincial Superintendent December 1869 – November 1873. Re entering General Assembly as member Auckland City West 1871 – 1875. Appointed Auckland’s Supreme Court Judge in 1875, Gillies ended his political career and was renowned for his clear reasoning and analysis applied to his position as Judge in the courts.

David Graham (Barony, Glasgow, Lanark) Arrival NZ 1842. Merchant, Director

Merchant. Vice Chairman first Board of Directors NZI in 1859. Appointed Director Bank of New Zealand 1862.

Robert Graham (Barony, Glasgow, Lanark) Arrival NZ 1842. Merchant, farmer, landowner, politician, tourism promoter

Member House Representatives for the Southern Division of Auckland from 1855 to 1860. Member Franklin 1861 – 1868 .Auckland Provincial Superintendent December 1862 until September 1865.  Owner of hotels at Waiwera, Rotorua and Wairakei Graham was a keen promoter of tourism and the benefits of using the hot mineral waters.

Lachlan McLachlan, John Mitchell McLachlan (Scotland). Arrival from Glasgow to NZ 1841 Timber milling, farmer landowner

Arriving in Auckland with his son John, Lachlan McLachlan, came on the “Brilliant” which bought a group of Scottish settlers to Cornwallis. These settlers had started out with dreams but on arrival found that things were not what were promised. Conditions were harsh. Lachlan took over a leadership role and for many years it was a struggle with nature, land ownership, establishing a sawmill and two farms in what was supposed to have been an already laid out town. Lachlan was a Member of the St. Andrew's Society of Auckland. 

In 1909 John Mitchell McLachlan, Lachlan’s son made the gift of land for Cornwallis Park - 1,927 acres to the City of Auckland – this gift as a tribute to his mother.

MacKelvie (Glasgow) Arrival?    Art Collector

In 1865 – 1871 Involved with Art and founder member of the Auckland Institute and Museum in 1868 MacKelvie returned to London and during this time put together an art collection sending it to Auckland NZ. He bequeathed the residue of his Estate for the building of an Art Gallery in Auckland. Just before MacKelvie died, he wrote a record of the works titled Catalogue of the Mackelvie Collection, for Auckland, New Zealand, 1885. A sixty page works. The Estate residue was not enough to build an Art Gallery but encouraged the building of an Art Gallery/Library/ Council Offices. The new complex opened in 1888 and in 1893 the Mackelvie collection was displayed in what was then known as the Mackelvie Gallery.

Thomas Henderson (Perthshire) Arrival NZ 1842 Merchant, Ship Owner, Timber Mill Owner, Director, Politician,

From which origin the township of Henderson received its name. Committee member Mechanics Institute 1845. Member Auckland Provincial Council 1855, Member General Assembly 1856. Member Northern Division House of Representatives 1856. Member Upper House 1879, First Chairperson Board, NZI 1859.Established Henderson Sawmills. With brothers-in-law Henry MacFarlane and later John MacFarlane established the Circular Saw Line - shipping. John died and Thomas MacFarlane, John’s brother, came out from Scotland to help run the Companies.

John Lamb (Perthshire) Arrival NZ 1859 Miller, Merchant

 Waitemata Mill, Riverhead; Fort Street Mill Auckland – flour milling. Lamb took a keen interest and was active in promoting and lobbying for adequate transportation systems to meet the needs of the Auckland Province. Member of Auckland Institute & Museum.

James Buchanan MacFarlane (Glasgow, Larnark) Arrival NZ Grain Merchant.

James was a member of the Auckland Harbour Board, the Auckland Orchestral Society and the Auckland Savage Club. A Justice of the Peace.

John  MacFarlane (Perthshire) Arrival NZ 1840 Merchant, Importer Exporter, Ship Owner, With Thomas Henderson established the Circular Saw Shipping Line. 1861 appointed Justice of the Peace. Member of St. Andrew's Society of Auckland John MacFarlane died suddenly of a heart attack September 1860 aged 44 years and was buried with Masonic Honours.

Thomas MacFarlane (Perthshire) Arrival NZ 1860 Merchant, Ship Owner, Shipping

Upon the sudden death of his brother John Sangster MacFarlane, Thomas was sent for to help run the companies of Henderson & MacFarlane. Promptly on arrival he also became involved in community, church and later politics. Auckland City Board of Commissioners 1863 – 1864. 1862 Founder member and chairman of the committee to establish an Industrial School of Auckland                 the object of which was to support all children whose parents were unable to in the learning of trades. Member of first committee set up in 1862 to establish a bowling green. What was initially called the Edinburgh Bowling Club, opened as the Auckland Bowling Club in 1865.  Member of the Auckland Institute & Museum. Northern Division representative in parliament 1867.  May 1885 Thomas died as a result of injuries received through being knocked down by a train at the Auckland Railway Station.

Henry Niccol (Greenock, Renfrewshire,) Arrival NZ 1842 Shipbuilder, Ship Owner

Niccol was a prominent Shipbuilder in early Auckland, clearly recognised as leader in this field for the quality and seaworthiness of the ships turned out from his yard. Niccol was also had adaptability as evidenced in his ability to build both sailing ships and the new steamers coming to the fore of New Zealand Coastal Shipping. An example of this was the auxiliary steamer “Southern Cross” built for the Melanesian Mission Society it was able to run both under sail and in the event of no wind, steam. Niccol was chairman of the Devonport Highway Board, and among members of the Auckland Harbour Board established in 1871. Niccols sons entered the ship building business with their father.

Daniel Stewart (Fifeshire /Perthshire) Arrival NZ 1859, Farmer, Merchant, Importer and Exporter, Ship Owner, Shipping.

After initial forays into the timber and goldmining industries, Daniel chose to settle at Otamateanui, Helensville on the Kaipara Harbour and near Auckland. Here Daniel farmed and founded a store which later when his sons became involved became Stewart Bros.  Well known to settlers, as typical of NZ “country stores’ of that type sold everything needed. From iron and wire, ships biscuits to machinery, seeds and clothing (some of it latest fashion direct from Sydney) the store at Helensville grew into branches... Many of the goods were imported direct to Helensville from all countries of the world and even butter at the turn of the century was exported to England. (Stewart Bros opened the first butter factory in Helensville) Daniel was elected to the first Helensville Town Board in 1883 and also involved himself in the community activities.

James Stewart Minst. C.E. (Perth) Arrival NZ 1859 Civil Engineer, Surveyor, Explorer. Steamer Inspection.

Survey and construction of Auckland Provincial Railways, Tramways. Designs and plans of water works, lighthouses, bridges, steamer engines and boilers. One of the Foundation members of the Auckland Institute & Museum in 1868, Stewart was a member of the governing Council of the Institute since 1871-1914, except for two very short breaks (away surveying and constructing railways in the Province) Stewart was President of the Auckland Institute in 1890 and 1901 and from 1903 one of the representatives of the Institute on the Board of Governors, NZ Institute. In 1906 he was appointed a Trustee of the NZ Institute, a position which he held until February 1914. In 1868 Stewart encouraged by his  friend T Kirk ,surveyed and drew plans of the Three Kings Lava Caves in Auckland, wrote and read a paper on this to the Auckland Institute ( in 2008 one of these is known as Stewart Cave)

The above are only a few of those early immigrants of Scottish birth. At times, it is said by some, that they were sometimes controversial. However they were not afraid to speak out for a graving dock, a railway, a road, a school, a church to be built or what was perceived “a better or different way of doing things.” Their common sense, practical abilities and application of a “strong work ethic” contributed and helped encourage others to become involved.

Some of the Legacies left for future generations – a contribution of “Scottish Influence”

It is these that have provided an enduring, probably unmeasured Hugh contribution to future generations and hopefully will go on doing so encouraging people to learn, to strive, to benefit and to enjoy.

Cornwall Park, Auckland - gifted to the people of New Zealand by Sir Dr. John Logan Campbell in 1901. Visiting the park and summit of Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) where Campbell is buried, one is struck by the number of families utilising this park – picnics, playing, running and just enjoying. One is also struck by the number of people from overseas visiting this park and the writer of this article met someone from Scotland while walking to the Summit recently. Cornwall Park is but a part of a huge legacy left for future generations.

The Auckland Institute - dates back to 1867 and in 1868 when it took over management of the fledging Auckland Museum and changed its name to Auckland Institute & Museum, also becoming a Branch of the New Zealand Institute. The first members (which included those of Scottish birth) set about building up the collections of the Museum and establishing a Reference Library for future generations. Some wrote papers published in the annual NZ Institute transactions and proceedings. (Campbell Dr. J.L 1, Gillies 7, MacFarlane 1, Stewart, J 16) Some of the individuals discussed previously in this article were foundation members of the Institute and some remained as active members for a number of decades, drawing others in also.


1996 The Auckland War Memorial Museum Act 1996 came into being. This separated the Institute from governance of the Museum and established the Institute as a ‘body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal’. However a support role of the Museum continued with the Auckland Museum Institute providing advocacy, promotion of the use and understanding of the Museum’s collections and the function of the Museum’s War Memorial aspect. Since 1996, the Auckland Institute has become a 'Learned Society', membership body and Electoral College.  

Auckland War Memorial Museum Stands on the hill known by Maori as Pukekawa. It has occupied this site since 1929. Prior to 1929 Auckland Museum occupied premises elsewhere in Auckland, the first Museum in a two-room farm cottage in the suburb of Grafton in 1852. New Zealand’s first museum soon needed larger premises, relocating to what was the Provincial Council Building in 1867. Then another move to the old Post Office building in Princes Street three years later. In 1876 the Museum moved to its first custom-built premises just along the road on Princes Street. Through the years collections including the Reference Library were built up through the support of Auckland Institute Members.

Now in 2008 there are significant collections built up from those early years – Maori, Natural History (Including the story of volcanoes), and Military History amongst them. There is a very extensive and well-used library for Research purposes and the museum is a War Memorial Museum.

Mackelvie Trust MacKelvie intended for the residue of his estate for the purposes of building a gallery in Auckland in which his collection would be displayed. Funds were not enough to provide a new building, however the trustees consented to the majority of the collection being shown in the Mackelvie Gallery of Auckland City Art Gallery, added to the original building in 1893. The Mackelvie Collection grew considerably throughout the years until what it is today in 2008.


AUT (Auckland University of Technology) New Zealand's newest university, AUT first came into being in 1895 as the Auckland Technical School, opening its doors with a roll of 30 students. At that time it was a school for trades, teaching subjects such as mechanical and architectural drawing, cookery and dressmaking. Newspapers of the time reported the giving of liberal gifts of money and kind by businesses. Support and promotion of the Auckland Technical School and Technical Training was to see it grow.


Northern Roller Mills Rugby  In 1925 the first Roller Mills Rugby Tournament was held in Auckland, supported by Northern Roller Mills ( NRM) Northern Roller Mills have continued their support of this as one of the major sponsors. The years have seen many become involved in the sport of Rugby at primary school level and playing in a Roller Mills team ( from the areas which used to be part of what was the old Auckland Province ) in the tournament as a result of their striving and effort. It has also involved parents as supporters and many a boy has gone on with this sport, some later reaching All Black Level. (NZ Rugby Team)


Scottish Influence Today – 2008


In New Zealand, it could be said that the Scottish Influence has permeated. Not only through business, economics, community organisations and church but in some of the cultural traditions that we have today.

For the Auckland Province there are many things which are an accepted part of our lives and a perceived necessary “tradition “at occasions. (The influence of Scottish Culture) Eg.


A Pipe band usually heads a street parade, including our ANZAC Parades on April 25 when we remember our fallen in the World Wars. The Pipe Band is resplendent in tartan kilts with bagpipes. Some of the spectators sing away to well known songs. Eg Scottish Soldier, Scotland the Brave. A Ball or Community dance is not finished unless the last song - “Auld Lang Syne” has been done. This then ends the occasion.


The afternoon teas, suppers or lunches at  rural community gatherings  - we expect to see scones and shortbread on the table ( or we may have contributed a plate ourselves  - brave thing to do because one knows that the Shortbread for example will be very carefully analysed for quality, taste and texture and does it measure up – is it proper shortbread? Has it been home baked or just shop brought? If home baked what recipe?).


Some provincial towns have Annual Highland Games eg. Paeroa, Waipu. Some celebrate with a Celtic Fair on New Years Day eg. Coromandel. Some have Highland Dancing occasionally.


The Scottish Connection


New Zealand has a growth rate area in the formation of Geneology Groups, Historical Societies and Heritage Groups. Eg the Ohinemuri District Historical Society, the Epsom & Eden Historical Society.


Many of this generation are becoming very involved in researching their family tree which includes the place and country their forebears originated from. Some may have contact with relatives in Scotland, some have fragments passed down to them and some have a solid story. Some are beginning the search.


The last three decades in New Zealand has also seen growth rate in the area of books being published about New Zealand Heritage – people, towns and the overall development of industry, business, transport and transportation, goldmining, shipping. Eg “The History of Epsom” – a project of the Epsom & Eden District Historical Society was a book on the History of Epsom. A number of those individuals discussed earlier are written about in this book.


In recent years there has been the development of University Based Scottish Studies – at Wellington’s University of Victoria and Dunedin’s University of Otago. Both of these Universities are beginning to via formal studies, to explore the “Scottish Diaspora” in New Zealand. Next year in 2009 will see the establishment of a Chair of Scottish Studies at University of Otago (The Stuart Chair).


I know through research for the biography being written about on James Stewart C.E. pioneer Engineer, Surveyor and Explorer in the Auckland Province, the “Scottish/ Irish Influence” in Railway Survey and Construction and Settlement definitely needs to be researched and studied further.


From 1870, particulary railway had a significant impact in the development of immigration and settlement in the Auckland Province as well as the rest of New Zealand. Railways also created or consolidated other industries - quarries for ballast; cement for tunnels, breakwaters, bridges and culverts; brickworks for tunnels and water towers; shipping and transport to carry the rails and equipment to the railway and coal to drive the locomotives. The advent of a railway to an area resulted in the growth of towns, some new as an outcome. Many, who came to construct a railway, settled permanently in a town or area. Some left railway construction and took up other occupations such as farming. Likewise with Goldmining, Shipping, etc. For many of these families, the story is only just beginning to be written or researched about. Eg Coromandel Heritage Trust, based in Thames New Zealand is one of these. There is to be a Coromandel Peninsula Archives of the heritage and families who lived or settled in the area (a number of these being of Scottish birth or descent). The Archive is to be based in what is known as “the old Carnegie Library “.


This building was one of 18  free libraries in New Zealand that were built with funds given by Scottish born Industrialist Andrew Carnegie - the iron and steel magnate who had immigrated to America. (Again that Scottish connection)

Some Early Auckland Provincial Railway Facts

First sod of first railway in the North Island (Auckland – Drury) turned at Newmarket 16 February 1865 by Hon. Superintendent Mr. Graham.

First sod of the Kaipara Railway (Helensville – Riverhead) turned at Harkins Point 31st August 1871 by Hon. Deputy Superintendent Mr. Joseph May, Esq

First sod of the Waikato Railway (Mercer – Ngaruawahia) turned at Ngaruawahia 10 January 1874 by Hon. Superintendent Mr. John Williamson, Esq. A thistle, shamrock and rose was placed upon the sod before it was turned.

Kaipara Railway extension (Auckland – Helensville via Henderson) opened 18 July 1881.

First sod of the Thames Railway (Thames – Hamilton) turned at Thames 21 December 1878 by Sir George Grey. Hamilton end another first sod turned the end of April 1879 again by Sir George Grey.

First sod of the Kamo Whangarei Railway turned at Whangarei on 1st March 1879 by Sir George Grey.

First sod of the Rotorua Railway (Morrinsville – Rotorua) turned at Rotorua on 24 February 1887 by Petera Te Pukatua, assisted by three other chiefs.

Conclusion – Scottish Influence for writer

The writer of this article was born at Cornwall Park Hospital (now closed), Epsom, and Auckland, New Zealand. A fourth generation New Zealander of Scottish descent from great grandparents who emigrated from Scotland to New Zealand in 1859, 1878 and 1879.  Having done what would be called limited research as an outcome of being “jogged” into thinking about what is the “Scottish Diaspora“ in New Zealand the writer feels that there has definitely been a “Scottish Influence“ on and in her life.

The writer wonders, looking back to those early years – how many other New Zealand children experienced and continue to experience the following?

The oral stories from Scotland – two spring to mind the story of the “Tay Bridge Railway Disaster“?

(I think I heard as much about that from father as NZ’s “Tangiwai Disaster“.  The Spider Story about Robert Bruce and the Spider? (the spider story retold especially when one was about to give up doing something hard).

The songs and music – forays into music where in piano lessons one learned how to play and sing “Ye Banks and Braes”, “Loch Lomond “and others. The Ceilidh dances attended.

Books – being introduced at an early age to the Poems of Robbie Burns and of Sir Walter Scott along with his stories – much loved not just because they were great grandfathers books but because they were loved poems and stories (in spite of being partly in Gaelic for which attempts were made to understand – rather hard when everyone else around spoke English).

Oral New Zealand History interspersed with “Scottish“ History - Being taken to places in the Auckland

Province  and shown and told about steamers and NZ shipbuilding, lighthouses, bridges, railways, the trams, fertiliser ( the phosphate story ) flax milling, flour milling, timber milling, gold mining, brewing, the Tarawera Eruption and the site of the first Hydro electricity station on the Waikato River – the people involved. At the same time the New Zealand oral history stories being interspersed with those famous Scottish Inventors – Bell with the telephone, Watt with the Steam Engine, Stevenson with the Lighthouse, Telford famous engineer, Fleming with penicillin. The industries that had a Scottish Influence in New Zealand - the Ship Building ( huge ships of course) in Larnarkshire, the linen weaving ( absolute quality of course – very fine linen ) of Perthshire, Banking ( of course Scotland has one of the oldest and long lasting banks and banking system ) and Insurance. However overriding all of this was an introduction to New Zealand history of those people here before us – The Maori Place names and their meaning (the story behind the name), that they too had had flax milling and shipping (the fine navigation skills), their beautiful weaving and carving, and systems similar to Scotland.

Food – Daily breakfast begun with Porridge – Rolled Oats with salt and milk (must admit these breakfast tastes have changed) Shortbread – why is it that instead of using the Edmonds Cook Book (just about every household in NZ must have one of these) grandmother or great grandmother’s handwritten recipe book is used? The good old shortbread recipe that great grandmother bought with her from Scotland – and as the Edmonds Cookbook would say “tried and true“.

New Year Celebrations – the frenetic activity to clean out the old dust from the house before Welcoming the New Year in. Then the celebration – Scottish music, reels, dancing and “first footing”. Or sometimes now it is a “good old kiwi “singsong with a guitar and maybe a barbeque (what “diaspora” is that?) Yet the song at the hour is “Auld Lang Syne“

Plants – After being born in Auckland, my childhood was spent growing up on a farm (just as great grandfather and great grandmother had spent their childhood on a farm in Dunning, Perthshire 1841) Another opportunity for father to pass on some Scottish history – the Scotch Thistle (in New Zealand this is regarded as a rampart weed and had to be pulled out before the Weed Inspector arrived) I grew up with stories of why the Thistle was Scotland’s National Emblem. As a child I could never understand why such a special plant had to be pulled because it was regarded as a weed in NZ. Also given that the Weed Inspector was also of Scottish descent. Nevertheless the stories could not be pulled out or removed and have stayed into adulthood. The purple of the thistle and the hillsides covered in flowering heather was an awesome thing to see on a visit to Scotland in 1989.

Yes definitely a fourth generation New Zealander with “Scottish Diaspora” having permeated – an outcome of a family passing down the values and culture they knew from great grandparents to grandparents to parents and to children. A natural progression for those are the things that they were familiar with – it was their living, lives, values and beliefs. Only it could be said that on the generation journey we are New Zealanders with a mix as we have also learned some New Zealand “Diaspora” too – yet the base – “the roots” are still there and a “yen” that comes to many of us – to visit the land of our “roots” – Scotland.


The article is also but a view from the writer’s experience. Others may have other views and that can only be good to add to what is perceived as the “Scottish Diaspora” of New Zealand and others will have their experience of the “Scottish Influence”.

Thank you Alastair for provoking the considerable thought on mine and for me to strive that step further to share with others in this article.

Anne Stewart Ball








Article References

 The information is scattered across numerous sources including family stories. The following are but a few of these where more information can be found for those who wish to explore more.

Web Sites 

National Library of New Zealand:      

Dictionary New Zealand Biographies

National Library of New Zealand Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1868-1961                      


Cornwall Park                                              

Auckland Institute                            

Auckland War Memorial Museum                 

 Auckland Art Gallery         

 Auckland University of Technology          

Northern Roller Mills Rugby (NRM) 

Coromandel Heritage Trust                          )

Books – further reading

Bush, G.W.A., DECENTLY AND IN ORDER, the Centennial History of the Auckland City Council, 1971, Collins Bros & Co. Ltd, 1971.

Cummins, Peg, (Compiler) Memories of Tirau, Publisher Tirau Historical Society, Tirau, 2006

McCollum M.R. & Spinks J.S., Hikutaia – 2000 ‘An Interlude In Time ‘, Goldfields Print Ltd., Paeroa, N.Z., 2000 

Sheffield, C.M., Men Came Voyaging, Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd., 1963.

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