Captain Thomas Wing set out on Deborah from Port Nicolson in 1844.
Onboard were two key figures in New Zealand's colonial history. One was a surveyor named Frederick Tuckett, whose task was to select a port from where the New Zealand Company could establish a Scottish settlement called New Edinburgh in the South Island.
Era: 1844 Captains: Thomas Wing
Names Associated: Frederick Tuckett, Reverand J.F.H Wohlers.
Her Legacy: Deborah Bay, Port Chalmers, New Zealand
As well as a harbour with good access from land and sea, Tuckett was looking for a place ideally suited to agriculture. The other, was Reverand J.F.H Wohlers, on his way to establish a mission station in Foveaux Strait for the German Mission society.
Deborah first sailed to Port Cooper on Banks Peninsula. Tuckett and fellow surveyor Greenwood, attempted to traverse the Ngai Tahu people's trail from Rapaki to Kaiapoi but became lost in unforgiving swampland. After their ordeal, and apparently unsatisfied with prospects for a settlement, Tuckett returned to Deborah, eager to press on south along the coast.
Deborah sailed on to Waikouaiti and shortly after, Otago, while Tuckett and his survey party walked overland between the two ports. Continuing south Deborah reached Foveaux Strait on May 16 1844 where she visited Port Molyneaux and Stewart Island. Tuckett continued to walk great distances, surveying a huge amount of land. His final walk from Foveaux Strait to Otago proved the most harrowing, with rugged bush covered terrain meant it took much longer than expected to arriva in Otago. During the journey, the party of four Europeans were reduced to rations of half a cup of rice a day, while their three Maori guides lived on whale blubber from a washed up carcas and a native rat.
Left: The Heathcote river, Opawaho, Christchurch. Not considered suitable for settlement by Frederick Tuckett in 1844 after he became lost in the area. Today, the river runs through the biggest city in
New Zealand's South Island. Photo by River Gibson.
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