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Wellington - a New Zealand Company Settlement

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Location: Wellington, New Zealandmap
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Port Nicholson - Wellington

Port Nicholson (Wellington) New Zealand, is the location of the the first planned settlement settlement scheme organized in England by the New Zealand Company.

In 1839, William Wakefield, agent for the New Zealand Company, met the Te Ātiawa chiefs, Te Puni and Te Wharepōuri at Petone and passed over goods to be distributed among local settlements as the purchase price for land from the south coast to the Tararua Range, including the islands of the harbour and part of Porirua. The full extent of this purchase was disputed by Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata of Ngāti Toa.

The company’s chief surveyor, William Mein Smith, placed the new settlement near the mouth of the Hutt River (the Heretaunga) where there was enough flat land in the area for the proposed town plan to be established.

Early in 1840 the first six immigrant ships arrived off Petone, where there was little preparation for their arrival. With Māori help the first settlers built huts along the foreshore. The young settlement was called Britannia. Within a few months, the new settlement was flooded by the Hutt River.

The settlement was re-established overlooking Lambton Harbour, on land that had not been part of the original purchase. However, the New Zealand Company went ahead with the new survey plan, subdividing the area into town acres, one tenth of which was set aside for Māori use. A green belt surrounding the settlement was set aside; becoming in time, "the town belt." Some settlers arriving to take up their lots found that that they were within the Māori pā, or otherwise inaccessible. Many new arrivals ended up squatting on land with absentee owners.

Strong trading relationships were established with Māori, and merchants soon established themselves along the beach, building warehouses and jetties and enabling the fledgling settlement to flourish.

New Zealand Company Ships
1839 Tory
1839 Cuba
1839 Oriental
1839 Aurora
1839 Adelaide
1839 Duke of Roxburgh
1839 Bengal Merchant
1839 Glenbervie (freight vessel)
1840 Blenheim
1840 Slains Castle
1840 Lady Nugent
1840 Olympus
1841 London

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