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New Zealand


The site of Wellington was settled in 1840 by emigrants from Great Britain brought there by the New Zealand Company. In 1865, Wellington became the capital of New Zealand, superseding Auckland.

Wellington.Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. Richard Holmes, author.

The city is named for Arthur Wellesley, 1st duke of Wellington, the British soldier and statesman.

The first New Zealand Company settlers arrived at Port Nicholson, Wellington January 22, 1840 after 110 days at sea. The Aurora, a fully rigged ship of 550 tons, was the leading emigrant vessel with 58 males and 90 females, and was quickly followed by another eight bringing about one thousand settlers to the area. Among the cabin passengers were Edward Stafford. The Aurora left Port Nicholson and was wrecked at the mouth of the Kaipara Harbour when sailing for Hokianga on 27th April 1840.

Ship Cove, Queen Charlotte Sound. John Webber.

Wellington.Queen Charlotte Sound.On January 31, 1840, the ship Orientalarrived with 155 passengers.

The Bolton, 540 tons, sailed from London November 19, 1839 and arrived 20 August, 1840 in Port Nicholson, Wellington's harbour with 232 passengers. The Tyne arrived at Port Nicholson April 1841 with 98 passengers from Gravesend. She was a wooden barque of 427 tons, later, left Gravesend on February 24, 1845 bound for Nelson but proceeded to Wellington due to a gale and was driven ashore at Sinclair Head on 4th July 1845. All hands were saved.

Australian and New Zealand Gazette, October 8, 1853, London, United Kingdom

We can at length congratulate our readers on the certain prospect of possessing Steam Navigation, for at least our own local purposes, within a comparatively short period. During the last fortnight a company, limited at present to a few members, has been formed, and having made arrangements with the Board of Trustees for a loan of 3,000£ from the Steam Fund for six years, without interest (which is equivalent to a yearly bonus of 240£, it has been determined to bring out immediately from England a screw steamer of about 80 tons, of a draft of water which will enable her to enter the Wairau river, and to run her between this port and the Wairau, calling at Wellington, and such other places in this province as shall be found most desirable. Should this experiment succeed, the present company will be in a favourable position for extending steam navigation throughout the colony, if not provided in the mean time by other parties; and we make no doubt but that the company will then be able to obtain a charter of incorporation, and raise the capital necessary for such an undertaking. The steamer now to be ordered will be of iron, and be rigged as a three-masted schooner, and it is intended that she shall possess every requisite for the comfort and convenience of a large number of passengers, and be adapted to the peculiar trade she is intended for, which will consist in a great measure in the carrying of wool and live stock. Nelson Examiner.

Australian and New Zealand Gazette, November 2, 1867, London, United Kingdom


September 8.

The Panama Company's steam ship Rakaia arrived on the 27th Aug. with the English mails of July 2. She left Panama on July 25, and had very fine weather and light easterly winds until her arrival at Opara Island; but during the passage between that island and Wellington she met with strong W. and S.W. winds, accompanied by a heavy sea. She sighted no vessels. A serious complaint was made by the mail agent regarding the conduct of Captain Machin, the commander of the vessel a gentleman long known in this and the neighbouring colonies of Australia. The captain was charged with having, on the night before arrival in port, been much the worse for liquor and endangering the safety of the ship, and Captain Benson, the Manager of the Panama Company, promptly investigated the case, and after due inquiry felt it his duty to dismiss him from the company in which he had served and born an unimpeachable character for a long course of years. The matter did not even stop here, for an information was laid against him by the Government on the charge of endangering the lives of the passengers and the safety of the ship. On this charge, however, Captain Machin was acquitted, but on another investigation instituted by his Excellency the Governor he was considered unfit to hold his master's certificate, which was cancelled. The harsh sentence took the public very much by surprise, as it was thought the great loss he had sustained by being deprived of his command was a sufficient punishment, and that at most his certificate might have been suspended for a time.

A petition to the Governor on his behalf has been drawn up and was being very numerously signed...

The Otago gold fields difficulty has again cropped up in the discussion on the Gold Fields Judicial Officers Bill a measure introduced to protect the gold fields officers of Otago from any undue interference on the part of the Provincial Government on account of their adherence to the General Government during the recent disturbances, and to authorise the Colonial Government to pay the salaries of those officers. Mr. J. Macandrew, Mr. Vogel, and one or two others denounced this as a breach of faith on the part of the Government, and indulged in a repetition of most unseemly threats of consequences. The House, however, resented such threats and passed the bill by a large majority, and it has since passed the Upper House. Mr. Macandrew and his party say that they will not accept the proposed delegation, but they will probably change their minds.

A new bankruptcy law has been prepared by a select committee of the House of Representatives, and is now under consideration. It is proposed to adopt as far as possible the Scotch system of leaving the administration of insolvent estates in the hands of the creditors, and it is also proposed to abolish altogether that remnant of barbarism, imprisonment for debt. This last proposition is likely to meet with some opposition, but will probably be carried.

March 31, 1894, Colonies and India , London, United Kingdom

Trade Notes

The Kaikoura, one of the New Zealand Shipping Company's steamers, left Wellington on March 24, for London, with 25,000 carcases of frozen mutton, 570 tons of cheese and butter, and other colonial produce.

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping.Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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