Author(s): Richard Wolfe
Most New Zealanders have heard of the New Zealand Company and the Wakefield brothers, and the planned English colonial settlements of Nelson, Wellington and Christchurch. But very few people know that in 1825/26, very early in the story of the European settlement of New Zealand, there was another attempted New Zealand Company settlement - and it was a disaster. In 1826, two ships containing English would-be settlers sailed into Hokianga Harbour and purchased land illegally from a local chief. The transaction has since been described as a swindle. Very quickly the settlers got cold feet and abandoned the settlement. They demanded to be taken back to Sydney and eventually most of them returned to the UK; five of the tougher ones came back across the Tasman and settled in the north. A spit of land at present-day Rawene has always been called Herd's Point, after the skipper of one of the two ships. In this 'window on history' approach, Richard Wolfe combines contemporary accounts with the story of his own journey of discovery as he attempts to uncover what really happened. First published May 2007.