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Robert McHardie and Elizabeth Crabb were married in Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland  in 1800. They were to have nine children between 1801 and 1823, all born at Wester Logie farm, south of Kirriemuir, and of these children, four migrated to New Zealand between 1840 and 1842.




Wester Logie, south of Kirriemuir. Photo taken 2011.

© Copyright Mike Pennington and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Messrs. McEwen and Miller were agents for the New Zealand Company, operating mainly in the counties of Perth, Fife and Forfar (now Angus), and it was they who signed up the McHardie family emigrants. First to sign up was David on 14 September 1840. He was described as a sawyer, aged 38, together with his wife Elizabeth (nee Cunningham) a boy aged 10, a girl aged 3 and his elder son David aged 15.

On 25 September Alexander signed up. He was described as an agricultural labourer, single aged 33. He arrived on the “Lord William Bentinck” on 19 May 1841. It is not known who he married and where.

On 4 March 1841 David Smith a sawyer from Zoar by Forfar, his wife Isabel (nee McHardie) signed up. He was 37, his wife 36 and they had a boy aged 7, girls aged 13, 10 and 3, plus son Alex., a labourer, single, aged 15.

A short time later John McHardie, a baker from Forfar, single, aged 18, signed up. He was the youngest of the family.

By 26 February 1842 Mr Miller of Dundee is operating on his own, and it is possible that his McEwen partner also migrated to NZ.

David and Elizabeth sailed to NZ on the “Lady Nugent”, which left Gravesend on 21 October 1840. The voyage was a long one and uncomfortable one, with the ship taking three weeks to sail through the Bay of Biscay, a mutiny by the sailors relating to their allocation of grog, inferior food, and a shortage of water. We have an excellent account of the voyage through two diaries, one compiled by George Hilliard, the Surgeon Superintendent, and one by Joseph Greenwood, an intermediate passenger. The latter diary was not commenced until 1 January.

On 12 January it was David McHardie, supported by about 25 or 30 others, who approached Mr Hilliard and insisted that that he should advise the Captain to go into the Cape of Good Hope for sugar. Mr Hilliard writes that he could not justify sailing an extra 1000 miles just for sugar. As the reading for that day shows the ship to be about 250 miles west of Capetown and at about the same latitude, there appears to be some exaggeration as to how much further they would have had to travel.  Also I doubt if it was really sugar the emigrants were asking for.

Mr Hilliard did approach the Captain with a request that the ship went to Capetown to get more supplies, but the Captain would not do so unless he received a pre-emptory order in writing from Mr Hilliard. As the Captain represented the ship-owners, and Mr Hilliard the New Zealand Company, there was obviously a dispute as to who would bear the costs of any such move. In the meantime the ship continued on its way.

On 17 January Mr Hilliard received the following letter. “We the emigrants on board the Lady Nugent for New Zealand have this day met and consulted on the subject purposed by you for our consideration viz – the probable insufficiency of provisions and especially water, for the remainder of the voyage & the propriety of calling at the Cape of Good Hope for a sufficient supply, have unanimously decided that we will not be parties of the exposing of ourselves & our families, in particular to the ……. to a scarcity, it may be want of water, as well as to a scarcity of different other articles of our Dietary & have no hesitation in giving our sided opinion that the circumstances in which we are placed under hardship a matter not only of prudence but absolute necessity. We therefore look to you for the fulfilment of our Dietary table. By authority & in the names of the Emigrants W Sellars, James Sellar, D. Bowman, Geo Robertson, D McHardie, Alex. Milne, James Wilkie, Jas. Keillor.” It is noticeable that many of the signatories were Scots. Another letter was sent to Mr Hilliard on the following day, expressing the same concerns, and signed by 52 emigrants, but this too was ignored

On 1 February James McHardie, aged two, died of marasmus, as the ship sailed through the Indian Ocean. He was buried at sea the following day.

The ship finally arrived at Hobart on 26 February. A few days before, Captain Santry approached George Hilliard and told him that he was not prepared to stop in Hobart Town without instructions from the New Zealand Company.  As there was only three or four days water supply left, and the emigrants needed fresh meet after living on salt provisions, George Hilliard felt obliged to give the captain permission to berth in Hobart Town.

On 2 March twelve sailors mutinied, saying the ship was not fit to sail to NZ. They were immediately arrested and sentenced to 60 days on the treadmill, and bread and water. On 5 March the ship left, with 3 of the sailors rejoined the ship, deciding that they had had enough of the treadmill, and others being recruited.  The Lady Nugent finally dropped anchor in Port Nicholson at 4 p.m. on 17 March, 1841.

Given the shortage of provisions on the voyage, it is interesting that the following advertisement appeared in the “New Zealand Gazette and Cook’s Strait Guardian” of 8 May 1841:

“On Sale, ex "Lady Nugent," Salt beef, Hambro' pork, Pickles and sauces, Port and sherry in bottle and wood, Porter and ale in bottle, Pitch and tar, Fine salt.”


David McHardie took up 13 acres of land west of the Hutt River, close to where Pomare Road joins the Western Hutt Road. His son David Jnr. was allocated another 13 acres immediately to the south, and the next 13 acres were allocated to the Gillespie family, who were to meet with tragedy in 1846.

The land was not formally transferred until 1852 and is described as follows: “Claim David MACHARDIE the Hutt (254) Crown Grant 12 acres part Country section 37 in Lower Hutt ALSO 15 acres part Country section 71 in Lower Hutt district date 30 April 1852. Country section 71 was on the western side of Stokes Valley.  

In October 1841 McHardie wrote a letter to Mr James Angus, manufacturer in Kirriemuir, (his former employer) and this letter was published in the “New Zealand Journal: ” No 67, of 6 August, 1842. In it he describes his life after just over 6 months in the colony. He started off working for James Wilson from Glasgow as a sawyer, and was obviously making a good living, despite having damaged his knee a few weeks earlier, and still unable to work. His sawing partner was Alexander Milne. He received considerable assistance from the New Zealand Company, his fellow sawyers and from his employer during the time when he was unable to work.

 He reports “My wife is taken up with the clearing of the ground and has almost an acre cleared, and a good deal of potatoes planted, and some of them above ground, with a number of seeds, cabbages, &c.”  This work appears to have paid off, as in the “New Zealand Colonist and Port Nicholson Advertiser” of 30 December 1842, Mr McHardie won joint first prize for a cottager’s garden in the Horticultural Society competition. He won first prize in the Hutt in the same competition in February 1843. This despite it was probably his wife who did much of the work!

As far as housing is concerned, David reports “Janet has gone barefoot ever since we came here, and we slept a night or two in the open air, then three weeks with only one-half of my house covered on the roof; the walls were not lined for a month after that. Our house is all wood, for we were so thronged serving others with wood, that we could not for some time get our own attended to; and it is not altogether finished to this day.”

There was obviously a good relationship between the family and the local Maori people. David writes “There is nothing here to be afraid of: there is no wild beast in the place; and as for the natives, my two boys are never happier than in company with them; they have learned a good deal of their language.

This peace was not to last. A report in the New Zealand Spectator, and Cook's Strait Guardian on 23 May 1846, gives a comprehensive account of the attack on Boulcott’s Farm. Here are two extracts from this comprehensive report.

“They have burnt down M'Hardie's and Storah’s houses, and taken possession of Welch's barn, have killed several pigs belonging to the settlers, and committed various other depredations. It is also stated that several stacks of corn have been set on fire.”

“On Saturday they robbed M'Hardie's house, killed his pigs for food, and took away or destroyed all his property.”

 A further report in the same newspaper on Wednesday, June 3, 1846 reads:

“The rebels were under the command of Kaparetehau. Some of the rebels entered the house of a settler named M'Hardie and enjoining him and his wife to silence directed them immediately to leave the spot. Mrs. M'Hardie on leaving her house took shelter behind a fallen tree, and from her place of refuge witnessed the whole of the engagement.” It appears that Elizabeth watched the fight rather than take refuge.

Many years later her daughter Janet (later Mrs Saunders) related to her family how from time to time with her parents she had to take refuge in the bush when the Maoris approached their home and remain in hiding till the danger was past. On one such occasion she hid in a hollow log. Once they returned home to find the house and the garden ransacked, the wheat stack burned, and the pig killed. On another occasion when her mother could not be prevailed upon to leave the house, but preferred to remain and “trust in Providence”, a group of Maoris came in, seized her by the shoulders and shook her, but did her no harm, merely ransacking the house and passing on their way.

Many years later the following item appeared in the “West Coast Times.” “The New Zealand War Medal has been awarded to David McHardie, private, Hutt Militia, and Robert Cameron Neville, private, Wellington   Rifles.” It is not clear whether this David McHardie or David McHardie Jnr.

Although the McHardies had a Presbyterian background in Scotland, they joined the Wesleyan Church in Lower Hutt. However when the Scottish settlers bought land in High Street for a Presbyterian Chapel, David McHardie was one of seven trustees of the land, the others being Peter Bruce, William Milne, Alexander Farmer, John Telford, William Milne and Robert Farmer. The official transfer of the land took place in 1852, but from newspaper reports the building was completed in 1849, so the land was bought before that. Mrs McHardie is listed as a communicant member of the chapel in 1858, and there is a family tradition that the family worshipped at the Wesleyan Chapel in the morning and the Presbyterian chapel in the evening.


Over the next few years there was a lot of discussion concerning the allocation of land to the settlers, and David McHardie had a lot to say at the various meetings held.

On 16 September 1848 a notice appeared in the “New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian”, commencing with the following statement:

“Sir, Looking as we also do with anxious hope to the large efforts it is now engaged in, for founding other settlements around us. We, the first pioneers of British colonisation in New Zealand, desire you to convey to the Directors the promise of our hearty support and co-operation in carrying out the work which we commenced under their auspices. We would further beg you personally to accept our united thanks for the amicable spirit in which you entered upon the recent negotiations for the candid and straightforward manner in which you acted throughout them, and for the earnest desire you manifested to bring them to their present satisfactory conclusion.”

It was signed by about 100 of the early settlers, with many being signed by their attorneys which would indicate absentee landowners. Almost none of these came from the Hutt, the exceptions being David McEwen and David McHardie, which appears to mean that they had emerged as leaders among the Hutt settlers.    

However, the battle for land allocation had not finished, as the letter to the Editor of the New Zealand Spectator, and published in Wellington on December 4, 1848.

Sir, Allow me, through your medium, to ask the Committee of Landholders, with reference to the claim of M'Hardie, myself, and others, whether indeed they mean to compensate those only who, with the exception of the term of hostilities, have had uninterrupted possession, and exclude those who, until this strange intention had been mooted by some professed friend of our claims in last Saturday's Independent, had ever been deemed by themselves and others the preferable claimants? Though the interest is but comparatively a small one, who is there that loves to be the subject of an inconsistency, such as here supposed, in a matter of compensation for the lengthened want of possession, that such as were totally denied it, to whom it was found impossible, should suffer in their rightful claim under a distinction between themselves and actual occupants, for the occurrence of a contingency against which it is ridiculous for any act of the Company to imply, in the most remote degree, the shadow of an obligation to protect us. A Claimant.

This is a commentary in the Wellington Independent of 14 May 1851, which further underlines the outspoken-ness of the McHardies and McEwens, among others. ”Unless the son should be able to make a better appearance on the platform than his sire did on Thursday night, he will, we venture to predict, stand but little chance, in a contested election, against either a young M'Ewen, a young Renall, a young M'Hardie, a young M'Dowall, a young White, or against any other offshoot of the present Hutt farmers. He must possess infinitely greater tact, than was evinced by his respected parent, when he indulged in so stupid an attack upon the Independent, and called down upon himself a severe reprimand from his audience, before he can hope to realise the prophetic visions in which Sir George Grey indulged respecting him, at the recent great "Hutt feed." Obviously a local dignitary had come under fire by some of the Hutt Valley settlers.


A public meeting was held at the Aglionby Arms on Tuesday 20th ult., (i.e. August) for the purpose of considering the draft of a Charter for the Incorporation of the Hutt District.

Mr Alfred Ludlam was elected to the chair, and this is part of his opening remarks. “He said that by the Hutt settlers becoming an incorporate body and therefore responsible, he would at any time convey into their hands a sufficient amount of funds yearly to keep this main line of road in good repair, and in no wise would the settlers be called upon to raise taxes for this purpose, and also great advantages would accrue to the Hutt at large by the formation of bye-roads, so that the back settlers, some of whom were actually paying as much as 10 and 20s. per acre to form temporary roads to the main one to bring their produce to market, and in many places passing through absentees' land, who in no wise contribute any share of the expense, although at any time they might choose they can avail themselves of the poor man's labour, and moreover that the whole community direct and indirect would be great gainers by the facility that bye-roads would offer for bringing goods to market with dispatch.”

Mr M'Dowall then proposed the following amendment:—

“That the Hutt Settler's in common with their fellow Settler's throughout New Zealand, consider, that until there be constituted one truly General Representative Assembly for the whole colony, with a fair share in the power of control over the General Revenue, as well as Municipal Institutions they should respectfully decline the responsibilities of an Incorporation which appears quite unlikely to enable them to fulfil safely and satisfactorily the necessary functions required over such an extensive and important civil jurisdiction.” Mr Willcock seconded the motion.

Mr. M’Hardie said he gave his support to the resolution before the meeting with great pleasure. He looked upon a Municipal Corporation for the Hutt as a highly useful and important institution. It would then rest with the settlers themselves to carry out such measures as would be found conducive to the welfare of the district. If this measure; did not go so far as we would wish, he still thought it capable of doing great good.

The amendment was lost, receiving only 17 voters. Obviously the Hutt settlers were very keen to manage their own affairs

(Wellington Independent, 6 September 1851.)


On July 13 1853, a meeting was held in the Aglionby Arms, having been adjourned on the previous Friday night,   to consider the choice of a candidate for the Hutt in the Provincial Council and House of Representatives. There were diverse opinions as who this should be, as the issue of land compensation was the main concern of those present. There are obviously widely different views between the wealthy landowners, and the labourers. 

E.G. Wakefield emerges as a champion of the labourers, and their receiving land as compensation, whereas the wealthy men wanted it to be sold.

There was a proposal to nominate Mr George Hart of Wellington as the Hutt candidate, but David McHardie was quick to suggest a local candidate should be chosen. The following motion was considered as a rider to the amendment, put to the meeting, and lost, vis:—"That there is no occasion at present to go out of the Hutt to find a member." The original motion was then put and carried by a very large majority, amidst loud and repeated cheers.

Another problem to be faced by Hutt Valley settlers, particularly those on the western side of the valley near the Hutt River was flooding, as the following letter to a local newspaper shows:

THE FLOODS. (To the Editor of the Wellington Independent.) Hutt, Oct 1st, 1858.

Mr. Editor, —The question may he asked, What is the cause of these inundations about the bridge, unwont in former days when floods occurred, and which never before with such effect told upon merchants' stores and farmers' fences. &c, and also upon the bridge itself. Mr. Ludlam, on the one side of the valley, blames the earthquakes, and the choking-up, by fallen timber, the various old watercourses (perhaps, in some particulars; he is, in a manner, directly right:  and in others but. indirectly so), while to console his neighbours by some account of great floods in other lands On the other side of the valley, Mr. Fitzherbert says nothing, but suffers much and truly it is a pity to see the havoc, the flood has made of his new fence; it is a great amount of money and labour thrown away; nor can he pass without feeling with his poorer neighbours the losses they have sustained. But what signifies pity, if public attention is not turned in the right direction to see and acknowledge the cause, and so have the obstacle removed. But public attention may be like an old rusty vane that will not move but will still look south; despite whichever way the wind may blow. But now that a blast has come, let us try if it will veer a little from its old position. Again, we say, pity is a mere insignificance, when nothing is done to prevent, but rather, to lay the foundation of a greater and more telling calamity than the mere losing of a fence and come that calamity will, most assuredly, despite the piling of the banks, &c, if nothing else is done but the patching up of the old bridge. But in regard to the cause in chief of such heavy inundations, we know that when the river has found a shorter, course above, by Mrs. Speedy's and through Mr M'Hardie's lands, it must come done with greater rapidity and greater force, and of course requires a freer escape below. Why could the hydraulic engineer not observe this, when brought to pronounce upon the subject? Well now, sir public, look below the bridge, and see what an accumulation of sand and mud is there—a complete dam-dyke, preventing the free passage of water; and certainly when a torrent is disallowed to pass in one direction, it must be kept back until it forces a passage elsewhere, to the hazard of everything superficial lying in its way. Now, what is the reason of this? Before there were so many arches, there were not such obstructions to a great body of water - but look! the arches are nearly choked. As great a flood as this last, and greater, has been before, but it had its free escape and gave but little inconvenience or damage, because it had room under the one-span bridge, although that bridge was not quite so high as this. It is of no use to discuss how the sand and debris collect into corners and other places; it is sufficient to know that the stuff is there, and also to know that such could have been prevented, and the river kept into its old channel, had a one-span plan of a bridge been chosen at first, with other means used in time,—means not so expensive as is now in trial. But paint and fine drawing was then more looked at than principle examined.  However, what is past cannot now be retrieved so, as it were, there is no use for post mortem reflection, as that will never restore life. But the question now ought to be, what is the best to be done?  Blind expediency will say, let us mend up this bridge, by adding to it a few more arches. But what will be the consequence? Look again, Mr. Public, under the arches, and consider what has already been done. I am neither a prophet nor a son of a prophet, nor does it require much of a gift to declare woe to the homesteads on the western side of the river, and woe to Mr. Fitzherbert's paddock, and not an improbable woe again to the Aglionby Arms Inn, notwithstanding its present proud position and instead of having one bridge, we shall require a few more. But this, sir Public, you may pooh, pooh, and nonsense, away. Well, it has not yet happened, nor do we wish evil on our neighbours, but we would point out an error if you would allow expediency to pause a little, and make some attempt at opening your eyes. Well, what is to be done The answer may soon be given pull down the bridge, and sell the timber to pay the trouble, and go about four or five chains up the river, and build another upon a different principle. The river about that place has become pretty wide: —well, nothing the worse for that. Let the bridge be made of iron only, about half bank high, like an inverted curve from bank to bank, bearing a tramway across on the length of the bridge, so that when even a good fresh comes down, carriages would be able to pass along without much difficulty—even better than they used to ford streams where no bridges were. And when a full flood should occur, the water would have room to carry its wreck over, and ample space to flow freely without much damage to either banks or contiguous properties. The piling works now going on would then prove beneficial in their places, otherwise they will at length prove of little account. Besides, should an earthquake (not to be overlooked) occur; the risk of damage would not be so great, and any inconvenience that might occur from not being able to cross the river, would only be for about a day; and if such a thing as a means of transit be required for foot passengers, a canoe could be in readiness for a small fixed fee for the passengers of the day that could not cross by the bridge, unless Mr. Public choose to construct a chain bridge for this, purpose only. Thus far have I trespassed, Mr. Editor, and subscribe myself, yours, a Nineteen Years Settler.

At a meeting a two years later the following report appeared in the “Wellington Independent”, following a meeting in the Hutt concerning the war question:.

‘The Meeting broke up at one o'clock this morning; it passed off most quietly, and was only remarkable for one circumstance, viz., that Mr. Ludlam let the murder out." The Electors generally have to thank Mr. M'Hardie for dragging this out. It was on this wise. Mr. Ludlam, when pressed by Mr. M'Hardie, admitted that he had received a letter from Mr. Weld, one of the Ministers at Auckland, in which he said “that he believed the Wellington Members were ready to patch up a peace at any price." This he (Mr. Ludlam), admitted that he had shown about pretty freely and thus was got up a belief that the Wellington Members were on the eve of sacrificing the Europeans to the Natives, and would succeed in doing so, unless stopped by the instant action of the Electors.”

(11 June 1860 Wellington Independent.)


David McHardie 1801-1886


David McHardie Jnr married Ann Masters in 1850. There were eight children of the marriage, Alexander (1851) Elizabeth (1854), Mary (1856), John (1858), Janet (1860), William (1862), Charles (1864) and Ann (1866).

Although David Jnr. farmed alongside his father, his heart was apparently far more in preaching than farming. This report appeared in the Wellington Independent on 29 December 1864, shortly before the extended family moved to the Bulls area in the Rangitikei.

“Wai-nui-omata. Among the now rather numerous embrio townships of this province, this is by no means the least interesting or of smallest promise. Situated about 18 miles from Wellington, and nine miles from the Hutt, away over one of the most romantic mountain roads of this island, winds the valley of the Wainui, now rapidly opening to view a chain of grassy meadows, stocked with well favoured kine and a goodly number of settlers' houses, well inhabited by healthy children of all ages. For seven years past the Methodist preachers have given their accustomed services on the Sabbath day to people disposed to assemble for divine worship, and among the foremost of these pioneers, was Mr D. McHardie, now soon to leave the district for a more convenient    homestead near to Wanganui. Monday last was the anniversary of the little chapel at Wainui, and ministers and friends came to meet the Wainui people as they had been invited to do. An ample tea was served up at the early hour of three, and about 100 persons enjoyed the repast. The Rev. Isaac Harding opened the public meeting with singing and prayer, and then gave an address, first to the young people and children of the school. He then spoke of the year and its blessings, and trials of the early labors in the cause, and of the importance of proceeding at once to the preliminary steps for erecting before another anniversary a more comfortable, commodious, and becoming place of worship at the Wainui. He then called on Mr Prowse, who spoke with gratitude to providence for the mercies of God to that district, and of the value of a local preacher who was now about to remove, and before he concluded Mr Prowse begged to present to Mr McHardie on behalf of the people of the Valley and a few other friends, a purse containing £20, which had been placed in his hands by the givers with remarkable cheerfulness, simply as an expression of affection for their esteemed friend, and of gratitude for his timely and self-denying services as a messenger of Christ Jesus. Mr Prowse also was confident that the people would lose   no time in erecting a suitable chapel, and that it could be done well by the inhabitants themselves, aided by a    few other friends. The Rev. Wm. Watkin spoke of the signs of prosperity and happiness which prevailed in the neighborhood, and expected to see the people still advance in piety and wisdom as well as in comfort and health. Prayer and the doxology, heartily sang by the company, closed the proceedings, which will be long remembered as ministering to the enjoyment of a very pleasant and profitable day.”

Alexander McHardie, son of David and Elizabeth, married Celia Cazley in January 1852. There appears to be one son of the marriage, Thomas, born March 1854. On a website on “Ancestry” there is a reference to Alexander    McHardie arriving in Melbourne on 25 August 1854, and that he died in Victoria in 1854.

There is no reference to the death of Alexander in local newspapers or in the Births, Deaths and Marriages records, so the above is a most likely explanation.

In the Archives New Zealand Reference BDM 20/1/1 Microfilm R6906 there is the following Intention to Marry Notice

No 44 Married 23 May 1856 at the private residence of Joseph Cayley Waiwetu Road by Rev. James Buller and others John Lewis, bachelor, farmer , aged 28 years, resident at Waiwetu about 6 months.

Celia McHardie, widow, 24 years, resident Waiwetu Road for about thirteen months

Janet (Jessie) McHardie married James Saunders from Llangarren in Herefordshire on 29 December 1865, at the private residence of the Rev. Isaac Harding in Manners Street, Wellington. The couple settled in Featherston, where five of their children were born. Later they took up farming at Moutua on the western side of the Manawatu River near Shannon, where two more children were born. One of these was Amy Helena (Lena) Saunders, who was marry David McKenzie, mayor of Petone from 1927 until 1934.

When Jessie died in 1912, the following article appeared in the “New Zealand Free Lance on 27 January of that year.

“JANET MCHARDIE.  We have not many old colonists in this district whose memories carry them back as far as did that of the late Mrs James Saunders of Moutoa, up in the Mana-watu. She could recollect things that happened in the very early forties in Wellington, and she who had had her share of peril and alarms in the Rauparaha troubles – an epoch whose story seems very ancient now to the young colonial. The other day a candidate for Parliament described himself as “old hand” when he was asked how far back his colonial memories went, he said with pride that he arrived in NZ in 1878. How Mrs Saunders would have laughed at that! It was in 1841 that she arrived here, a tiny girl, with her parents. The ship that brought them out was the Lady Nugent. In those days, as she remembers, the shores of Wellington Harbour were bush clad and the Maori was king of the land. The settler of 1841 was “small potatoes, and few in the hill.”

In the forties of last century, Mrs Saunders’ family lived in the Hutt district, and many an alarm there was in the Rangihaeta War of 1846 and there abouts. On one occasion, when a Maori war party had passed on, the family, who had been taking refuge in one of the military stockades, returned to find the house and garden ransacked, the wheat stack burned, and the pig killed. On another occasion, her mother, Mrs McHardie, could not be persuaded to leave the dwelling, preferring to remain and trust to Providence. The wild Maoris shook the old lady by the shoulders and again ransacked the house, and passed on. Yet another occasion of peril was when 200 soldiers, to whom the women and children looked for protection, were all more or less intoxicated. Why they were not all massacred on that occasion by the Maoris was a wonder. John Maori lost a good chance of using his tomahawk.

In those days McHardie’s farm at the Hutt adjoined Boulcott’s farm which has been made memorable by the death of the heroic young bugler, Allan, who took his bugle in his left hand when the Maoris cut off his right, and sounded the alarm. The war party of Ngati-toa and Whanganui Maoris had crept up stealthily to surprise the British out post, who would have all been slaughtered, had it not been for the brave boy’s promptitude and determination. Mrs Saunders, though a very young girl at the time, remembered the incident, and often used to tell how she heard the two historic bugle blasts that night, the last the faithful youngster blew.”


Alexander McHardie, brother of David Snr., arrived on the “Lord William Bentinck” on 19 May 1841. It is not known who he married and where, and little is known about his life here in the Hutt. 

He died in 1852, and this is an account of the incident. “Fatal Accident – As Mr Alexander M’Hardie, an industrious and worthy settler of the Hutt, was feeling a white-pine tree for the purpose of cutting into timber, the tree in Falling struck the top of another, and bouncing off the stump crushed him to death against the wood which stood behind him. The deceased has left a wife and four small children to mourn his untimely end.      (Wellington Independent 21 July 1852)

His death certificate has the following information. McHardie, Alexander occupation Sawyer. Age 46. Cause –killed by the falling of a tree.

Family tradition has it that his widow and family returned to Scotland. This borne out by the following items in the Lower Hutt Methodist Church Admission register:

Nov. 9 1851 Alex. McHardie, 10 son Alex. McHardie, Tatia (sic) Road. Class 5. Left the school. Returned to Scotland.            Oct. 1852 Anne McHardie, 8 daughter Mary McHardie, Bridge Street, Class 3. Left the country.                           

Oct. 1852 Mary McHardie, 6 daughter Mary McHardie, Bridge Street. Class 5. Left the country.


Isabella Smith (nee McHardie) and her husband David, with their family, arrived in Wellington on the ship “Arab” on 16 October 1841. The family settled at Silverstream where David had a dairy farm. The story of this family is covered in another item on this website.


On the same ship was John McHardie, aged 18, the youngest of the family. He is listed as a baker, and appears to have worked as such in the Hutt during his first few years in the colony. In 1846 he married Selina Shirley (sometimes spelt Sharley) at the Wesleyan Chapel in Lower Hutt. She was born in 1827 at Templecombe, Horsington in Somerset and had also arrived in New Zealand on the “Arab”, which is presumably where they first met. 

He is listed as a baker in the Hutt in the 1847 jurors list, and in 1852 it is recorded that he bought just over 8 acres of land, part of Section 35, near Blackbridge.

The couple had a number of children, but only two survived to adulthood. James (born 1865) married and had several children, but sadly two of his sons died during The Great War.

Raymond Shirley McHardie  private   37934   Otago Regiment 12/10/1917  buried Tyne Cot   NZ Apse  Panel 3 aged 21

Cyril James McHardie  2nd Lieutenant   Wellington Regiment NZEF  3/700   22/6/1918  buried Grevillers  (Pas de Calais) aged 28.

John McHardie became a key figure in the Upper Hutt during the 1860’s. (the first reference to the hotel that I can find is in October 1859). His hotel, the “Highland Home” became a focal point in the community, and the venue for public meetings. The impact he had is borne out by this letter which appeared in the “Wellington Independent” on 23 March 1860.

To the Editor of the Wellington Independent. Upper Hutt, 20th March, 1860.

Sir,- A Public Meeting was held on Monday evening last, at the "Highland Home" Upper Hutt, to take into consideration; and for the adoption of such measures as would be best calculated for the prevention of the inhabitants drawn or to be drawn as Militia being quartered away from their own neighbourhood. Mr. French was called to the chair, and after addressing the meeting, and explaining the cause of its being called, read his Excellency the Governor's Proclamation; also for the further Information of the meeting the leading article of the Wellington Independent; of the 13th inst., remarking at the same time every information was so plainly set forth in it that any comment would be useless. The meeting being proposed by Mr. Freeland, and seconded by Mr T. Wilkie. The seconder, made the following observations, his reason for seconding it was the amount of property that would be left unprotected, were the Militia which may be drawn in this neighbourhood be quartered away from it.

 The Upper Hutt, being a Mill district containing three timber Mills, employing about 60 men, and if an attack were made upon those mills would cause the stoppage of the principal trade of the place, and be the ruin of many families.

 It was proposed by Mr Heese and seconded by Mr. Player "that a petition be forwarded to Major W. Rawson Trafford, commander-in-chief of the Militia Forces offering the male adult population of the Upper Hutt as Volunteers to serve, as Militia, and to do duty as he may think fit from Stokes Valley to the Mungaroa.” After some little discussion upon the proposition it was put to the meeting and carried unanimously. A proposition was then passed that a deputation wait on Major Trafford with the petition, and Mr. French and Mr. Heese were chosen as the delegates, the expenses being defrayed by the meeting, and the following morning appointed for the delivery of the petition and interview with the  Commanding Officer. At the close of the above meeting a petition to his Honour the Superintendent was presented to the meeting, praying him to have the Upper Hutt gazetted as a town, to be named by the present meeting. It was proposed, seconded and carried unanimously that the name of the town be McHardie Town, and on the carrying the proposition, the chairman remarked he did not think a better name could have been chosen! He was sure he (Mr. McHardie) was the only land owner in the neighbourhood who had assisted the working man in getting himself a little home and comforts about him, it was his land that had been cut into small sections and caused settlers to come, it was he who had given the settlers the comfort and produce of their gardens, it was he who was getting the land cleared, improved and cultivated; and he the chairman would merely, direct the attention of the meeting to the, side, of the road where Mr. McHardie’s section is improving daily and to the opposite side of the road sections and see what had been done in the shape of improvement there. In conclusion the chairman regretted as chairman it had not been in his power to make the proposition, but felt satisfied the neighbourhood was now worthy to become a town and it could not bear a more worthy name than the one which had been proposed and carried.

The petition then received the signatures of the meeting which was unanimously attended, and after returning thanks to the chairman, separated about 10 o'clock. (signed)  Edward Player.

The “Highland Home” was also a focal point for entertainment in the district. In the Wellington Independent of 30 April 1863 is the following report:

Odd Fellows M.U. The anniversary of the Loyal Rose of Sharon Lodge was celebrated by a dinner and. ball, on Friday, the 25th April, at Host McHardie's Highland Home, Upper Hutt. Dinner was placed on the table at 7 o'clock, when about eighty of the fraternity and. their friends, sat down to a most sumptuous repast, provided in Host McHardie’s best style. After justice had been done to the good things in life, the cloth was removed, when the usual loyal, patriotic, and fraternal toasts were given and responded to in the most hearty manner. Some songs, which were sung by the company in the interval between the toasts, added greatly to the pleasures of the entertainment. At 9 o'clock, the ball room was thrown open, and dancing commenced with great spirit, to the strains of an excellent quadrille band; polkas, schottiches, quadrilles &c; following each other in rapid succession until early morn; when the company separated after having enjoyed themselves to their heart’s content.

And in the same newspaper on 23 April 1864:

Sable Operatic Troupe. - On Tuesday evening, the 19th Inst., the Military Sable Operatic Troupe gave an entertainment at McHardie's Highland Home, Upper Hutt, consisting of Negro Melodies, &c., to a crowded and delighted audience. The performance was very good indeed; Bones and Tambourine, by their comical eccentricities, afforded great amusement, and the whole passed off in the most pleasing manner possible.

The hotel was also the location for various advertisements and commercial transactions. Here are some examples:

Notice of postponement of sale. The Sale of Mr. Charles Mabey’s Freehold and Leasehold Property advertised to take place on 23rd December, 1861, at Mr. McHardie's, Hutt, is postponed until March, 1862. Further particulars will be duly announced. The properties can be inspected the last week of December, 1861, and the last week January, 1862, on application to Mr. Charles Mabey, Upper Hutt, Mr. McHardie, Upper Hutt, or to Mr. J. H. Wallace, Auctioneer, Wellington, 12th December, 1861. (Wellington Independent, 14 January 1862)

Wellington and Hutt, January 28 1864.

To W. B. Rhodes, Esq., J.P. Sir, we the undersigned, Voters of the Mungaroa District, respectfully request you to summon a Public Meeting of the Voters within the District, for the purpose of electing a Chairman and a Board of Wardens, and fixing a rate to be levied upon lands referred to in the Proclamation of his Honor the Superintendent, dated Wellington. Jan. 13, 1864 W. Donald, James Baylis, J. McHardie, Rdle Cleland, Henry Hodgson, Francis Whiteman, Peter Wilkie, Henry Williams, John Robinson, James Pearce, Samuel Hounslow, Wm. Whiteman, John Haslem, John Harrison, William Lawrence, John Blatchford Charles Pryke John Thomas Hooper, George Perkens, J. H. Wallace, C. Mabey. In accordance with the above requisition, I hereby convene a Public Meeting of the Voters in the Mungaroa District, in accordance with Clause 5, District Highways Act, Session 9, No. 10, for the purpose of electing a Chairman and Board of Wardens for the said District, and fixing the rate to be levied for the construction of a road into the said District and for the election of Auditors. Such Meeting to be held at Mr John McHardie's “Highland Home," Upper Hutt, on Saturday, February 13th, 1864, at 12 o'clock, noon. W. B. RHODES, J.P.

The “Highland Home” was offered for sale in 1865, and the wider McHardie family moved to the Rangitikei. That included David, John, and David Jnr, whose wife had died a short time before. The family took up land north of Bulls, where there is still a McHardies Road.  

EXTENSIVE LAND SALE. MR. J. H. WALLACE is instructed to sell by public auction on Tuesday, February 21, 1865, at the Land Mart, Lambton Quay, at 2 o'clock precisely, that valuable freehold. The HIGHLAND HOME, Upper Hutt, John McHardie, proprietor, with twenty acres of land attached, a good garden, and laid down with English grass, fenced in; with stables and outhouses, and every convenience. Immediate possession can be given, and the stock taken at a valuation. Terms liberal.       

This appears to end the association of the McHardie family with the Hutt Valley.

McHardie - Wester Logie.jpg
McHardie - David McHardie.jpg
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