Immigration to Aotearoa New Zealand

A DigitalNZ Story by National Library of New Zealand Topics

The arrival of Māori to Aotearoa, then immigrants from Great Britain was followed by people from all over the world. This topic is about migrants, refugees, journeys, transport and what has made New Zealand a popular migrant nation. SCIS no. 1827930

social_sciences, arts, english, history, technology

Immigration promotion: Auckland, 1850s

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

"Immigration - Important Notice"

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Moments in Time - Immigration

Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga

Murder of Joe Kum Yung by Lionel Terry

Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga

The settling of Eketāhuna

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Journey for Three

NZ On Screen

Here to Stay

NZ On Screen

The first female Chinese immigrant to New Zealand

Matilda Lo Keong

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Stamp of NZ Company settlers arriving in Pito-one (Petone), 1840

Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga

Immigration barracks, 1841

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The diary of Thomas Stokes

In 1879, 20 year old Thomas Stokes and his family immigrated to New Zealand.

Stokes, Thomas Oliver, b 1858 : Shipboard diary written during the voyage of the Wanganui to Port Chalmers / transcribed by Marsha Donaldson (elect...

Alexander Turnbull Library

Arrivals and departures

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Trunk

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Immigration 1840-1914, summary graph

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The first 4 ships

Services to Schools

Pacific Auckland

Services to Schools

Immigration

Services to Schools

Dawn raids

Services to Schools

New Zealand wants domestic servants

This poster reveals New Zealand’s need for domestic servants early last century. The poster was designed to entice unmarried British women to come and work in New Zealand. The large house, attractive grounds and the words "Good homes, good wages" would have surely attracted young females looking for a new life or working opportunities in the southern hemisphere.

New Zealand wants domestic servants; good homes, good wages. [ca 1912].

Alexander Turnbull Library

Ticket for John Jesson's voyage

This is a photograph of a ticket issued by Henry H. Willis & Co, to John Jesson for travelling on board the sailing ship Joseph Fletcher to New Zealand. The ship was to leave London, England, on the 2nd of July 1856, for Christchurch, New Zealand.

Ticket for John Jesson's passage on board the ship Joseph Fletcher, from London, England, to Canterbury, New Zealand

Alexander Turnbull Library

Here and there

This 1848 cartoon from Punch, (a weekly British magazine first published in 1841) reveals two contrasting scenes. On the left, (Here), a homeless family of parents and their four barefooted ragged children, stand outside a building, with smokestacks in the background. On the right (There) a family has emigrated to one of the colonies, (like New Zealand). Seated around the table are a well-fed family and it is evident there is plenty of food in the house.

Punch :Here and there; or, emigration a remedy. London, 8 July 1848.

Alexander Turnbull Library

Still they come

Some people thought that too many Chinese were arriving in New Zealand in the early 1900s. This racist cartoon shows Chinese men leaping over a wall marked New Zealand. They are watched in horror by Joseph Ward and Premier Richard Seddon. Seddon introduced laws to restrict the number of Chinese landing in New Zealand. He also raised the poll tax on Chinese immigrants to 100 pounds.

Blomfield, John Collis, 1873-1942 :Still they come. [Wellington, New Zealand Free Lance, 7 January 1905]

Alexander Turnbull Library

Diary page with 3 portraits

Some colonists like William Bambridge kept shipboard diaries when they came to New Zealand. They not only recorded their thoughts and feelings but also life on board a sailing ship. Some even included sketches and paintings. Here Bambridge has drawn Captain Nagle, Mr Bell, a passenger; and Mr Douker, a chief mate. Bambridge was a talented artist and keen musician. He originally came to New Zealand as a teacher, but on returning to England he eventually became Queen Victoria's photographer!

Diary page including three portrait sketches

Alexander Turnbull Library

Fragments of a diary

This shipboard diary covers approximately 12 Jan to 5 May 1842. It describes life on a sailing ship and is illustrated with sketches of land and bird life. The second sketch is of a flying fish. Twenty years later another settler, Thomas Reid wrote about watching flying fish while coming out to New Zealand, “the last two days we have seen some solitary flying fish, but this morning the number is perfectly astonishing. They rush out from the ship as she advances, whitening the water as they fly. One of them flew on board during the night and one of the sailors picked it up this morning."

Diary fragments including sketches of flying fish and squid

Alexander Turnbull Library

Life on board an emigrant ship

Voyaging to New Zealand on a sailing ship was often a mix of boredom, danger and excitement as the above illustration shows. There were fierce storms but also times when sailing ships were becalmed for days. On those days passengers would congregate on the upper deck, or forecastle, under awnings (to protect them from sun and rain) and read, sew, write, draw, sleep and chat, exactly as the middle illustration shows.

Montage of sketches depicting life on board an emigrant ship

Alexander Turnbull Library

Emigrant ship Ellen Lewis

Setting sail on 17 December 1859, this ship, (the Ellen Lewis) arrived in Auckland on 14 May 1860, a trip that took over 5 months. In that time there were 4 births onboard and 3 young children died. The ship carried 235 settlers. The immigrants each paid 16 pounds for the trip and were expected to supply their own provisions (food and equipment) for the journey.

Munro, John Alexander 1872-1947 :Barque "Ellen Lewis", sailed from St Anne, C.B. Dec 24 1859, arrived in Auckland May 18th, 1860 (336 tons). The la...

Alexander Turnbull Library

Wanganui pioneers

This outdoor portrait shows a family of Wanganui pioneer immigrants in the 1870s along with their prized possessions. In the background is a toi toi decoration while the family’s sewing machine is proudly displayed on the table. The man is holding a book called Globe Dictionary of the English Language while his wife holds their restless daughter. The bird in the cage is probably a kakariki, a New Zealand parakeet. These were very popular pets with the early settlers.

Unidentified Wanganui family and their possessions

Alexander Turnbull Library

New Year's Eve

Shows passengers relaxing on a ship's upper deck, with birds and a dog. There is a ship's bell inscribed "Royal Dan", presumably for Royal Dane, the name of the sailing ship. Passengers include one man with a small boy bouncing on his ankles, while another waits his turn; two adult women, one reading, the other sewing; a small girl embroidering; and an older girl. One settler described his time relaxing on deck the following way. “I spend most of my time on the forecastle, reading, or sleeping if there is nobody to speak to. There are generally about twenty stretched out on this part of the vessel enjoying a snooze.”

Artist unknown :New Year's Eve on the Line on voyage home from New Zealand, Decr 31st, 1864.

Alexander Turnbull Library

The true pioneer

These 3 scenes show idealised versions of colonisation in New Zealand, by European settlers. The top panel shows the "true pioneer", the surveyor, camped in the forest. The second panel reveals "the first attack" (road-making), and the third shows "Victory!" — the smiling home —settled farmland with road and farmhouse. Note that apart from the decorative border there is no depiction of the original inhabitants of New Zealand – Māori.

Sturtevant, George Neville, 1858-1937 :[Testimonial presented to] Stephenson Percy Smith. [Detail] The true pioneer, The first attack, Victory! [19...

Alexander Turnbull Library

I said WOGS not dogs

The New Zealand Minister of Immigration (Bill Birch) reprimands a policeman, who has impounded dogs instead of ‘Wogs.’ A Wog was a derogatory term here meaning Polynesian would-be immigrants who had overstayed their New Zealand visitor visas.

Brockie, Robert Ellison, 1932- :I said WOGS not dogs! National Business Review, 3 November 1976.

Alexander Turnbull Library

Sowing for a spring crop

This cartoon shows the leader of New Zealand First, Winston Peters, with a large bag (called xenophobia) full of seeds strapped around his waist. Winston Peters is sowing the seeds in furrows, which are labelled ‘voters’. This refers to Winston Peters’ anti-immigration and race statements made in the previous decade. These highlighted the possibility of terrorists being able to enter New Zealand, suggesting that New Zealand is not attracting the right sort of immigrant — those with skills and money.

Sowing for a spring crop. 17 August 2005.

Alexander Turnbull Library

English immigrant women from the Atlantis

After World War II the Government financially helped migrants to settle in New Zealand due to labour shortages. This was called assisted immigration and over 76,000 people took advantage of it. Among the nationalities that arrived in New Zealand (in the 1950s and later) were people from Holland, Northern Europe, and Britain. This photograph shows a group of English immigrant women off the ship Atlantis at Wellington port. The Atlantis was the first ship used by the New Zealand government to take assisted immigrants to New Zealand.

English immigrant women from the Atlantis in Wellington

Alexander Turnbull Library