The Movements and Land Ownership of the Camerons after Immigration

After trying to do some research on the Camerons, I found it hard to work out exactly where they were, by the working ages of the first and second New Zealand born generations, there were already several farms established amongst the various members of the family.  I have created this post to concentrate on just the movements of the family as they purchased and sold land. Most of the information up to 1890 can be found in “The Kaiwarra Camerons” by Marc Ulyatt (2009).

Arrival into New Zealand

The Cameron family immigrated from Scotland during the voyage of the New Zealand Company’s Barque “the Blenheim” which took place between 25th August 1840 to 27th December 1840.  The family members on this Voyage was Donald Cameron (known and Donald the weaver), his wife Christina (maiden name McLean), and their children, Dugald, Alexander, Donald (known as Donald the piper), Catherine, Anne, Duncan, and John.  It is not known if the family owned land in Scotland, if they did it would have been mud huts. The family with free passage as immigrant workers for the New Zealand Company tasked with working on the Hutt Valley road in Wellington.
When The Blenheim arrived into Kaiwarra on the 27th of December, the Barracks that the workers were stay were not yet completed, and as such stayed in their 2 cabins aboard the Blenheim until the barracks were completed in February 1841. The Barracks were to be built by Ngatitama Chief (from upper Wanganui) Kaiaia, better known as Taringa Kuri, or Dogs Ear.

The immigration barracks were large raupo whares with bunks down both sides, partitioned off for each family, and with a large fire at each end. They were cramped, but probably not uncomfortable compared with the cottage they [the Cameron family] had left behind in Ockle.

During this time the Camerons working for the New Zealand Company on the construction of the Hutt and Porirua roads, were most likely involved in the first industrial dispute. Encouraged by Samuel Parnell, father of the 40 week, the Scots working on the Hutt Road petitioned the Company with three demands: 1. To knock off work at 5 o’clock same as all the men in the Colony; 2. To allow them the same rations as the Surveyors; and 3. Not to stop on wet days. The petition was not successful so they stopped work for three days.  They returned to work accepting an eight hour day, but a reduction in wages. They complained that this was not enough to support their families.  The road was finished in September of 1841, almost certainly with considerable loss of goodwill between the Scots and the New Zealand Company.


Kaiwharawhara: 1842 – 1856

The New Zealand Company allocated land shares to its shareholders of 1 share of £100 which purchased 1 acre of land in town(Kaiwarra) and 100 acres in the country.  It appears that from the town land was on the steep slopes of the hill north of the Kaiwarra Steam where Donald the weaver built their family house.  It started off as a whare built from any local material they could gather.  As time went by the family improved the house.  Donald the weaver and Christina lived in this house while they were based in Wellington.

There is a bit of speculation where the 100 acres of land they had from the share purchase.  There is some land known as Raroa which is located inland from Ngauranga between Khandallah and Johnsonville.  It appears to the sort of land that the New Zealand Company would use for these types of deals.  The name on the title is Duncan, however Donald’s oldest son at the time would have been 11 years old, therefore it is suspected that Donald went by this name and it is believed that the land was his.

Waiwhetu Farm: 1856 – 1886

Donald and Christina bought a small farm of 12 acres 1 rood and 20 perches at Waiwhetu from William Webb on 18th January 1856 for £700 and moved there from Kaiwharawhara, making it their permanent home. 

The Waiwhetu property was sited near the foot of the present Wainuiomata Hill Road and was well placed for travel to either Kaiwharawhara or Pahaoa.  Donald was 71 by 1856 and it is likely that he spent most of his time in the Wellington area developing other interests and leaving the development of the farm to his sons.

In 1858 Donald had purchased 388 acres at Parewanui in the Rangitikei for £200 to secure the land for his daughter Annie and her husband James McDonell.  In the same year Donald the weaver’s son Alexander and his wife Mary Morison move and live on the Waiwhetu farm.

Donald died at Kaiwharawhara on the 12th of February 1860 at the age of 76, as the result of a logging accident at Waiwhetu. In the following year Donald the piper and his wife Isabella move from Pahaoa station to Waiwhetu farm where their last 2 sons Walter (born 1862) and Allan Alexander (born 1864) are born.

On 27th July 1866 Donald the piper dies at Waiwhetu.  It is stated on his death certificate that he died of Phthisis, or as it is known today Tuberculosis.  His death was only six years after his father’s.

The Waiwhetu property stayed in the hands of the family until January 1886 when it was sold to R. J. Ward for £650 by Alexander, John, Duncan, DF and Robert Cameron. After 30 years of ownership Waiwhetu was sold for £50 less than Donald the weaver paid for it in 1856.

We don’t know who lived in the property from 1866, when Donald the piper died, until it was sold in 1886.  Possibly the family used it as a staging post between Wellington and Pahaoa.

Pahaoa Farm Cameron’s Run: 1844 – present

Between 1842 and 1846, Donald the weaver, and his sons, Alexander and Donald the piper made many expeditions into the Wairarapa to look for farm land to purchase.  These ventures took them at least once through the Pahaoa area.

The New Zealand company was broke and with the changing of government representatives, and between 1844 and 1847 the Camerons would have been able to negotiate directly with the Maori about leasing land.  It is not known when they started leasing the land but there are several accounts that the Camerons occupied the land in this time frame.

Governor George Grey issued his Native Land Purchase Ordinance in November 1846 which prohibited the occupation or sale of land by Maori to individuals without a Government license.  This was initially ignored by both the Maori and the settlers as the Maori were happy with the money coming from the lease arrangements and the settlers were happy as the Government was not purchasing land for resale back to the settlers.  This changed over time as the settlers were worried about the desperation from other settlers and were wanting to make sure they had a claim to the land they were on before they could commit to building permanent structures.

It wasn’t until 15th of March 1854 when Donald the weaver was able to purchase the homestead block and lease the rest of the land.

Up until the time that Donald the weaver died in 1860, his son Donald the piper was living at Pahaoa with his wife.  After his father’s death Donald and Christina move to Waiwhetu and management of the farm passed to Donald the piper’s brother John.

A few years later on 10th March 1868 John marries Annie Stewart.

The 1870s were a rough patch for the Camerons, firstly on 30th March 1870, Dugald’s wife Annie dies aged only 26 and leaving 5 young children under the age of 6.  Then 18th December Christina dies at the age of 81.  Then on 16th of March, just under 3 years from when Annie died, Dugald dies aged 50.  Alexander is appointed as administrator of Dugalds estate.

After Dugalds death, his shares in both Pahaoa and Blairlogie were sold to the surviving brothers Alexander, John and Duncan.

In 1874, Isabella is paid out for her deceased husbands share of Blairlogie and Pahaoa.

Between late 1878 and early 1879, Blairlogie was sold to brother in law John Morrison, and through a few auctions, the Pahaoa farm was purchased and sold ending up with John and Duncan having ownership alongside Donald the pipers two son Robert and Dugalds son Donald Francis.

In 1880, Robert sells his shares to John and Duncan, and Donald Francis partially sells his shares to Duncan.

1n 1890 the 2 story homestead on Pahaua burns down.  On 26th of June 1890 Donald Francis sells his remaining shares to John, giving the duel ownership of Pahaua between John and Duncan.

On 20th of October 1892 the Pahaoa section is divided between John and Duncan.

The farms at Pahaua are still run to this day by family members, descendants of John and Duncan

Blairlogie station: 1863 – 1878

 The initial run was licenced to James Taine of Wellington in 1855, however he failed to comply with the requirements of the lease and his license was revoked. The next owner was Thomas Telford who received grants for the homestead area in 1859 and a license for the remainder of the property in 1861.  Telford renamed the run from Awatoitoi to Blairlogie, after his home district near Stirling in Scotland.  
Telford sold the run to the six Cameron brothers in 1863.  The sale was for £4000 and included freehold land of 1386 acres(the homestead block) and the license for the remaining 14,000 acres, 1,500 ewes, 1,100 weathers, 10 cattle, four working bullocks, and two horses. It appears that Edward Pearce is named as facilitator for the sale and organised a £2.900 mortgage to aid the purchase. 
An inspectors report shows an increase from 2,600 to 3,000 in the number of sheep on the farm in 1864.
By 1865 the brothers had paid for the leased land for £3,800 making the total purchase of the Blairlogie Station at £7,800.

Duncan was the brother most involved with the day to day management of the farm.  As Blairlogie was situated between Masterton and Castle Point, the topography was not as severe as Pahaoa.  It was the idea later by the surviving brothers at the time that they sell Pahaoa and move all management to Blairlogie however that did not happen.

In 1874 Isabella is paid out for her deceased husband Donald the pipers share of the Blairlogie farm.
On 3rd December 1878, the Blairlogie farm is sold to Alexander’s brother in law John Morison.  The same time the leased land at Pahaua station is purchased from the Government.



As this is quite a bit of information there is further information into the 1900 about the children of Donald the piper in the ownership of their land around Masterton.  I had hoped to get it in this post however it will have to be done at a later stage.  Like I mentioned before actual purchase figures can be obtained out of Marc Ulyatts book “The Kaiwarra Camerons”


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