Tales from New Zealand Tales from New Zealand

Tales from New Zealand

Nau Mai Haere Mai!

With over a thousand years of human settlement, New Zealand has a colourful and dramatic history dominated by the relationship between Maori and Pakeha (Europeans). History and legends tell many stories of the journey to Aotearoa, for each waka and each tribe had its own history. The Polynesian Maoris reached New Zealand about 800 AD. They found stunning landscapes, lush vegetation, and unique wildlife. The great Polynesian navigator Kupe who sailed from his homeland Hawaiki is credited with the first discovery. Kupe returned to Hawaiki, but left instructiona on how to return to this rich, beautiful, fertile land. About 400 years later, Maori arrived with seven great canoes and began to populate the North Island. The Maori did not have a specific name for this new land they inhabited. Rather than a collective name, they gave a name for everything individually and, according to Maori traditions, Aotea is given as the destination of Maori traditional canoes in terms implying that the name embraced at least a considerable portion of the North Island of New Zealand. Maori occupied the Bay of Islands, but the first tribes stayed for only relatively short periods. Garden sites documented by archaeologists at Urimatao on Moturua Island are evidence of their occupation from 10th century.

In 1642, Aotearoa was formally discovered by the distinguished Dutch navigator, Abel Janszoon Tasman, who claimed the land as a province of the Netherlands. Tasman named his discovery Staten Landt, believing that it might be part of the Staten Landt discovered by Le Maire and Schouten off the southeast coast of South America in 1616. Tasrnan was only able to chart part of the west coast of the new country and, therefore, had no idea as to whether it was an island or a continent. The name Nieuw Zeeland was not adopted before 1644. Joannes Blaeu renamed it Zeelandia Nova on his world map of 1645-46; Nieuw Zeeland, perhaps to match New Holland as Australia was then known. The land would change and develop dramatically as a result of the contact with European arrivals.

In October 1769, James Cook arrived in New Zealand on board the Endeavour and extensively charted both North and South Island, designating the Bay of Islands with its present name. The British proclaimed their sovereignty over the islands in 1840 and began settlement that same year. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872 ended with the defeat of the native peoples, today leaving only a small percentage of the population that of the Maori. It was not until 1907 that the British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion.

Today, New Zealanders have a unique and dynamic culture marked by European, Maori, Pacific and Asian influences. This multi-faceted, rich culture celebrates the many different lifestyles and stories of New Zealand's past. Whakapapa is a Maori term for genealogy -- to recite genealogy, to establish kin connections -- and the following is just a segment of "whakapapa" for our "Pakeha" - our Eaton ancestors.

Passenger Listings for Vessels bound for New Zealand

Vessel: Feb 17 1864
Notes: Title: Mrs No vessel given. And John & 3 children.
1137 4 John EYTON Mr & Mrs + 3 Children

Vessel: BELLA MARY: July 17 1864
Notes: Title: Mr

Vessel: CITY OF ABERDEEN: Departed:Sydney 22 January 1843 Arrived:Auckland 8 February 1843
Notes: Captain EYTON Royal Navy. 96th Regiment? (first Name: unknown). Sydney Morning Herald has Egton. Also on board, 61 Rank & File, 6 women & 12 children of 96th Regiment. Master of the Ship unknown.
Source: The Auckland Times, 9 February 1843, p3 and Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January 1843 p 2.

Name: EYTON Robert Henry
Vessel: MARY SHEPHERD: Feb 15 1866

Name: EYTON John
Vessel: SWIFTSURE: Feb 17 1864
Notes: Nat. Arch. ref. 64/5143

Name: EATON , Alfred
Notes: 1886 Addresses to Sir George Grey list as arriving in 1872
Source: GNZ MSS 275, p. 6

Name: EATON , Alpheus
Notes: According to information researched by Keith Berry, Edmonton, Canada and his family of Nova Scotia Eatons, Alpheus was a merchant who went to California in 1858/9 and shortly afterward, followed his brother, Levi Woodworth, to New Zealand. Addresses to Sir George Grey list as arriving in 1858. It is believed that Levi Eaton and other members of the family moved from Pugwash to New Zealand because of the decline in wooden ship building which had boomed in the 1840s in Nova Scotia, fell off in the 1850s, resurged in the 1860s then, in the late 1870s, began a gradual decline. This decline continued to the end of the century until the building of wooden ships all but died out. Vessels built of Nova Scotia hardwood had been generally preferred for the bank fishery, but by 1876, a government bounty was introduced. The once-flourishing shipbuilding industry in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick began to decline in the face of Canada's change in national policy and competition from steamers. Most Maritimers considered the ``age of sail'' to have passed.

Levi embarked in the last built of his many vessels, taking his son George Woodworth Eaton with him as Captain.

For additional information on Alpheus Eaton, please see The Nova Scotia Eatons: Alpheus Eaton

For additional information on Levi Woodworth Eaton, please see The Nova Scotia Eaton: Levi Woodworth Eaton

For additional information on George Woodworth Eaton, please see The Nova Scotia Eatons: George Woodworth Eaton

Name: EATON , John
Notes: 1886 Addresses to Sir George Grey list as arriving in 1865
Source: GNZ MSS 275, p. 263

Name: EATON , L. M.
Notes: 1886 Addresses to Sir George Grey list as arriving in 1860
Source: GNZ MSS 275, p. 84

Name: EATON ,
Vessel: ARAWATA: Arrived:Auckland Jan 14(?) 1883
Notes: Mrs and 2 children
Source: New Zealand Herald January 15 1883

Name: EATON , A
Vessel: ARIEL: Departed:Port Nicholson (Wellington) / Porirua 4 November 1846 / 7 November 1846 Arrived:Sydney 22 November 1846
Notes: Mr
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 23 November 1846

Name: EATON , D W
Vessel: ARIEL: Departed:Port Nicholson (Wellington) / Porirua 4 November 1846 / 7 November 1846 Arrived:Sydney 22 November 1846
Notes: Mr
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 23 November 1846

Name: EATON , Rebecca J
Vessel: ASSAYE: Dec 26 1874

Name: EATON , James
Vessel: BLUE JACKET: Mar 16 1860

Name: EATON , Samuel
Vessel: CLAUD HAMILTON: Feb 20 1865

Name: EATON , D W
Vessel: COAXER: Departed:Sydney 14 August 1846 Arrived:Port Nicholson (Wellington)
Notes: Mr
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 15 August 1846

Name: EATON , Elizabeth R
Vessel: DORETTE: Apr 14 1874
Notes: 23 years old

Name: EATON , John R
Vessel: DORETTE: Apr 14 1874
Notes: 24 years old

Name: EATON , W G
Vessel: DORETTE: Apr 14 1874
Notes: 1 year old

Name: EATON , Frederick
Vessel: GANANOQUE: Oct 18 1861

Name: EATON , Richard
Vessel: GANGES: Oct 12 1863

Name: EATON ,
Vessel: GEORGE HENDERSON: Apr 27 1860
Notes: Title: Mr & Mrs L.W EATON [Possibly the Levi Woodworth mentioned above]

Name: EATON ,
Vessel: GEORGE HENDERSON: Apr 27 1860
Notes: Title: Miss
Name: EATON , G [Possibly the George Woodworth Eaton mentioned above]
Vessel: GEORGE HENDERSON: Apr 27 1860
Notes: Title: Mr

Name: EATON , L W (presumed to be the Levi Woodworth Eaton also mentioned above).
Vessel: GEORGE HENDERSON: Apr 27 1860
Notes: Title: Mr & Mrs L.W EATON

Name: EATON, T
Vessel: IONIC: Arrived:Auckland 14 December 1886
Notes: Mr

Name: EATON, T
Vessel: IONIC: Arrived:Auckland 14 December 1886
Notes: Mrs

Name: EATON, T
Vessel: IONIC: Arrived:Auckland 14 December 1886
Notes: Family (2)

Name: EATON, Charles K J
Vessel: IRONSIDES: Aug 16 1879

Name: EATON ,
Vessel: JOHN BULL: Aug 6 1846
Notes: Title: Mr

Name: EATON, William
Vessel: JOHN BULL: Departed:Sydney 27 July 1846 Arrived:Auckland 6 August 1846
Notes: Mr
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 28 July 1846 New Zealander, 8 August 1846

Name: EATON, John Henry
Vessel: MERRINGTON: Aug 29 1867

Name: EATON, J
Vessel: NOVELTY: Aug 11 1866
Notes: Title: Mr

Name: EATON, T
Vessel: OCEAN: June 25 1855
Notes: Title: Mr

Name: EATON,
Vessel: ROTORUA: Jan 29 1877
Notes: Title: Mr

The Irish also contributed significantly to the development of New Zealand society and, today, around 20% of New Zealanders have Irish ancestry. The first Irish in New Zealand arrived from the late eighteenth century onwards. They were frequently transient whalers, sealers, traders, and the occasional convict from New South Wales. It was not until the arrival of Fencible soldiers and their families who settled at Panmure, Howick, Onehunga and Otahuhu in Auckland between 1847-1852 that New Zealand received a substantial influx of Irish settlers. While the Irish continued to arrive in New Zealand as part of military contingents to fight against the Maori, gold also became a major lure during the 1860s, however, it was the emigration schemes of the 1870s that encouraged most Irish to New Zealand. The Government was unenthusiastic about these Irish migrants, but the colony urgently required male laborers as well as females to balance the sexes. As Irish women were particularly prone to emigrate, their undesirability was overlooked. Consequently, half of all Irish migrants were female. Protestant Irish also emigrated in substantial numbers, and at least one quarter of all Irish settlers were Protestant. An Ulster settlement at Katikati, founded by George Vesey Stewart, was the largest organized settlement of Irish Protestants in New Zealand.

Based on the Irish Registrar-General's records of 1876, however, most Irish emigrants sailed directly from Ireland. The provinces of Munster and Ulster. Clare, Antrim, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary were the dominant counties who sent their sons and daughters to this new land. The majority of Irish who found their way to New Zealand indirectly, via England or Australia, had a significant Munster Ulster bias.
Julia Eaton b. 1836 in Ireland and d. 17 Jul 1913 in Kawakawa Cem, Northland, New Zealand. Julia was daughter of Matthew Eaton b. 1803 in Tralee, Kerry, Ireland and Mary Casey b. circa 1806 in Kerry, Killarney, Ireland. Matthew Eaton had been tried and convicted in Ireland and sentenced to 14 years. He arrived in Sydney, Australia aboard the convict ship Surry on the 17th of May 1836. His wife, Mary and 6 children arrived on the Panama in 1849. Their daughter, Julia, married William Smith on May 26, 1854 in South Creek, NSW, and they had 7 children: Ann b: 1854 in NSW, Sarah Ann b: 1855 in South Creek, NSW, Thomas b. 1857 in Braidwood, NSW, Phoebe E. b: 1859, Joseph b: 1862 in Wollongong, NSW, Elizabeth H. b: 1864 and Mary Ellen a/ka Aka Morgan b: 1867 in Sydney, Australia.

Sometime during 1870, Julia met Albert Morgan b. 1835 and left with him for New Zealand taking her youngest 2 children, Elizabeth and Mary Ellen along. Both girls were bought up as Morgans: they married as Morgans and on their death certificate, they are listed as Morgans.

In New Zealand, Julia and Albert Morgan had Albert Henry b: 1870, Charles b: 1873, Joseph b: 1876, May b: 1879 and Etta b: 1882.
More about Eaton ancestors:

This story comes to us from visitors to our web site who had information to share and who became the motivating force for this article. We thank Rob and Judith Eyton for inspiring us to research our Eyton/Eaton ancestry in New Zealand, as well as for their gracious generosity in providing the following:
John Eyton born 13 May 1823, Warrington, Lancaster. Enlisted 13 Sept 1841 at Birmingham in the 2nd Reg. Foot (age 18). Transferred to 86th Reg Foot - landed in India 2nd Sept 1842. Served in India for 11 years and discharged on 14 Nov 1853. Next of kin (sister Sarah Johnson of Warrington). John married Mary Connolly of Dublin. They lived in Melbourne Aust and in 1864 he joined and served in the 4th Waikato Reg during the 1860 Maori land wars. Arrived in Auckland 17 Feb 1864. I do not know how many children he had but my great grandfather, William Eyton was born in Melbourne in 1862. He was a bushman in the town of Thames, New Zealand and married Polly Price. They had 4 boys and 2 girls. The eldest, William John, was my grandfather and he was born in Thames on 24 June 1888. The other boys were George, Arthur and Philip and the girls were Kate and (????) All 4 boys served in France during the Great War and all returned to NZ. My grandfather met and married my grandmother, Lavinia Hastings, in the UK and they returned to NZ to live. My father, Peter George, was born 15 July 1925 and his brother, Anthony, two years prior. Neither are now living. I am one of three, older brother Paul and younger sister Margaret. My daughter Megan is the only great grandchild of William John (my grandfather). We have not maintained very close links with other family members so therefore am unable to fill in background on other branches. There are still several living in NZ but it has never been a really big group - one of those names that nobody else seems to have, few can spell it first time and even fewer can pronounce it (we pronounce it eyeton - I presume that is how others pronounce it too. The info relating to the first John Eyton above is from his account book with the 86th Foot Reg. which I have. Hope this helps.

Regards, Judith Eyton
And another tidbit:
Walter Nash was a clerk, commercial traveller, shopkeeper, politician and prime minister of New Zealand. Walter was born in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England, on 12 February 1882, the fifth of six children of Alfred Arthur Nash and his wife, Amelia Randle. On 16 June 1906, at Selly Oak, he married Lotty May Eaton, a post office clerk. In 1908, Lot and their first child, a son, were both ill and a second child, a daughter, died shortly after birth. When a brief but severe economic recession hit Selly Oak in 1909, Walter and Lot decided to emigrate to New Zealand. The family left Tilbury in April 1909 and arrived in Wellington in mid May.

Settling in Brooklyn, two more sons were born, and Nash became the secretary and a shareholder of a small tailoring business, Jones and Ashdown. The family started attending St Matthew's Church. Walter was confirmed, taught Sunday school, was elected to the vestry, and joined the Church of England Men's Society, whose medallion he wore on his watch-chain for much of his life. He had a simple faith in a divine power to whom he prayed regularly, and he accepted that it was a Christian's duty to work to bring about God's kingdom on earth. Puritanical in many ways, he was more concerned with Christian morality and ethics than with the supernatural and ritual. He became an advocate of the views of Leo Tolstoy on pacifism.

In 1911, Nash assisted the recently formed New Zealand Labour Party in its election campaign in Wellington, but he was distracted from further political activity by the deteriorating business fortunes of Jones and Ashdown. By March 1913, he shifted the family to Palmerston North and became a commercial traveller for Miller and Ahearn, a woollen merchant and cloth importer. He continued to improve his education through the WEA, where he met 'Red Fed' Marxists including Peter Fraser and Bob Semple, and Harry Holland, to whom he had been introduced in 1913. Throughout the First World War Nash adopted a pacifist position. In March 1920, Walter and Lot Nash travelled to England via the United States, leaving their three boys at boarding schools.

Nash stood for Parliament unsuccessfully as candidate for the Hutt electorate in 1925 and 1928 before winning the seat at a by-election in 1929. He represented Hutt until his death. At the 1935 elections, Nash became minister of finance, customs, government life insurance, state advances and land and income tax, and was ranked third in the government after Michael Joseph Savage and Fraser. Nash celebrated his first year as finance minister by writing a pamphlet, Labour Rule in New Zealand.

During 1939 and early 1940, Fraser became prime minister and Nash, who retained the finance portfolio, was unanimously elected deputy prime minister. Fraser decided to send Nash to Washington as New Zealand's resident minister in the United States.

After the war Nash continued to spend considerable time overseas. Shortly afterwards, in December 1950, Fraser died. In January 1951 Nash, then aged 68, was elected unopposed as Labour's leader. In June 1954, Nash retained the leadership with two-thirds of the vote.

At the 1957 election, Nash, at the age of 75, became prime minister. Although Nash was a limited and at times reluctant contributor to the formulation of the economic policies of the first Labour government, he was responsible for putting them into effect. He was energetic and meticulous in detail and fervent, principled and moralistic in his political and religious views. Few New Zealand politicians in the twentieth century had such an impact over such a long time.

Additional Eatons found at Rootsweb World Connect Project. Please consider this information strictly for research purposes -- not personally verified for accuracy.
Robert Crane Eaton, b. 1860, son of George Woodworth Eaton b. 1839 in Pugwash, Cumberland, Nova Scotia and Mary Anna Crane b: 30 APR 1839. Robert married Mary Cecelia Foley. They had the following children:
  • Alice Maud Eaton b: 19 JAN 1890 in New Zealand;
  • George Clovet Eaton b: 29 JAN 1892;
  • Sydney Albert Eaton b: 22 DEC 1893
  • Alma Pretoria Eaton b: 22 JUL 1900
  • Thelma Ann

    For additional information on Robert Crane Eaton, please see:

    The Nova Scotia Eatons

  • Amelia EATON b: 12 JAN 1835 in Nova Scotia, daughter of James Eaton b. 16 MAY 1802 in Nova Scotia (son of Elisha EATON b: 8 JAN 1757 in Tolland, CT and Irene BLISS b. ? 4 JAN 1756 in Lebanon, CT ? and Hannah Strong). Amelia married Albert Porter and lived in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia where Albert Porter was a clergyman. They then moved to New Zealand. Again, information researched by Keith Berry and The Nova Scotia Eatons. For additional information on Amelia, including her diary, please see The Nova Scotia Eatons

    Eunice Maria Eaton, born 28 FEB 1814 in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia and died in New Zealand. Eunice was daughter of Enoch A. Eaton and Hannah Rockwell. Eunice married George W. Cunnabell.

    According to information provided by Keith Berry:
    In 1852 a vessel was commisioned to be built by John Brown of Quaco, New Brunswick for Tamberlain Joseph Campbell. He was married to Elizabeth Cunnabell. Elizabeth's brother was George Hunt Cunnabell who was married to Eunice Maria Eaton. Eunice had a sister Eliza Irene who died 1849-1850 and left 3 children with her husband, John Mailman. John re-married days before the departure of the Brig Australia to the youngest sister, Mary Paulina Eaton. All are mentioned on the Brig's manifest.

    The Brig Australia was bound for Melbourne, Australia for the Gold Rush. It arrived in Melbourne on Dec 28, 1852.

    The clans Campbell and Cunnabell wasted no time, and were in New Zealand the following February. The clan Mailman followed in 1854.
    For additional information on Eunice Maria, please see The Nova Scotia Eatons

    For information on Eliza Irene, please see The Nova Scotia Eatons

    Another site highly recommended as a "must see" by Keith Berry of the Nova Scotia Eatons "The Brig Australia"

    Mary Paulina EATON b. 17 Jun 1830 in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia and died in New Zealand. She was also daughter of Enoch Eaton and Hannah Rockwell. She married John Mailman.

    For additional information on Mary Paulina, please see The Nova Scotia Eatons

    Hugh Alexander EATON b. 1917 in India and died in New Zealand. He was son of George Herbert Eaton and Annie Katherine Duff who was born in New Zealand.

    John Ross EATON b. 20 SEP 1915 in India and died 4 SEP 1988 in New Zealand. John Ross was also a son of George Herbert Eaton and Annie Katherine Duff.

    Johanna EATON b. about 1880 and died 21 MAY 1974 in Kaikoura, New Zealand. She is buried in Kaikoura Cemetary, New Zealand. Johanna married George Dublin SMITH b: 3 MAR 1874 in Kaikoura, New Zealand.


  • Judith and Rob Eyton
  • Keith Berry, Edmonton, Canada and The Nova Scotia Eatons
  • http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/
  • Rootsweb World Connect Project
  • Shipbuilding
  • Why Shipbuilding Ended in River John
  • Naming New Zealand
  • Gustafson, B. Labour's Path to Political Independence. Auckland, 1980
  • Mackenzie, R. H. C. Walter Nash, Pioneer and Prophet. Palmerston North, 1975.
  • Sinclair, K. Walter Nash. Auckland, 1976.
  • Web Editor