Passenger arrivals at Port Chalmers,
New Zealand, March 1848 - January 1851

(An expanded and corrected version of Dr Hocken's lists)

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(Shown below in order of their arrival at Port Chalmers. Click on ship names to see details.)
John Wickliffe
Philip Laing

Mariner (first voyage)
Lady Nugent
Mariner (second voyage)
Phoebe Dunbar


*Includes a graphic of the New Zealand Company poster which advertised the Ajax sailing.

**Includes list of the Mooltan crew

Note that Dr Hocken's lists did not include the four ships which arrived later in 1851 with emigrants for Otago: Stately (8 passengers), Dominion (13 passengers), Clara (9 passengers) and Simlah (33 passengers).


In an appendix to his 1898 book, Contributions to the Early History of New Zealand (Otago), Dr Thomas Morland Hocken published lists of passenger arrivals from vessels despatched from Great Britain to the settlement of Otago, between 1847 and 1850. These ships arrived at Port Chalmers between March 1848 and January 1851.

Hocken gave additional information about what some individuals did between their arrival and 1898. He also noted where some individuals were living in 1898. The first occupation listed against passengers' names appears to have been that given at the time of embarkation.

Hocken's lists were not accurate. They were probably compiled from a combination of the original New Zealand Company embarkation lists, and arrival lists published by Dunedin newspapers. The embarkation lists were probably reasonably accurate, although some names were no doubt spelled wrongly. Newspapers only listed cabin passenger arrivals by name, while steerage passengers were anonymously lumped together, for example: "...and 102 emigrants". Newspaper lists could be incorrect, sometimes because of confusion between people staying in Otago and others who were to sail on to later destinations such as Wellington.

The original lists did not include the occasional sailor who stayed in Dunedin. For instance, Robert McDowall, an apprentice seaman on the Mooltan, remained in Dunedin and became the town's third schoolteacher. As information on sailors who remained in Dunedin comes available, they are being added to the lists.

A good deal of Hocken's information regarding later professions, marriages, places of residence etc, was based on other people's recollections, and mistakes were certainly made. For example, in the course of researching the Mooltan's passenger list from my own book, 'Going Abroad', I made quite a few corrections, based on information given to me by descendants of the ship's passengers, and from cross referencing with the New Zealand company embarkation lists.

Ages given are as at the date of embarkation in Britain. Passengers who died on the voyage are not included (except for the Mooltan voyage, where they are included and marked with an asterisk).

In spite of their limitations, Hocken's lists are are useful starting point for people seeking basic information about the arrivals of Otago's earliest settlers.

A version of the lists containing some corrections, and additional information such as wives' maiden names, and death dates, is now available in a database held by the Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin. These corrections have been incorporated in the lists in these pages, and thanks are due to to Eleanor Leckie and the Otago Settlers Museum for providing the information. Thanks also to the many descendants of passengers who have contacted me to supply corrections and additions to the lists.

The format of these lists is changed from that employed by Hocken, to improve clarity. One difference is that, here, all passengers on individual ships are listed in alphabetical order. Hocken had groupings of passengers, with each group roughly in alphabetical order. He did not label his groupings, but they broadly coincided with passenger classes – e.g. chief cabin, fore-cabin, steerage (paying) and steerage (assisted). If you need this level of information, refer to Hocken's book, which will be available in many New Zealand libraries. Be warned, though, that Hocken's groupings are not always exclusive or accurate!

Abbreviations used by Hocken included: m. married; unm. unmarried; d. died; NSW: New South Wales; ag. engaged in agricultural pursuits, whether as a farm labourer, small farmer, or general labourer. (Note, however, that some quite large scale farmers were also labelled 'ag.' by Hocken.)

Marriages made by ship passengers subsequent to their arrival in New Zealand are generally not given. Exceptions are (a) where Dr Hocken actually listed such marriages; and (b) where marriages took place between people who travelled on any of the ships which arrived by the end of January 1851.

All dates given in the lists are in the dd/mm/yyyy format.

Most of the ships also carried passengers for other destinations in New Zealand. For instance, the Kelso had 39 passengers for Nelson, two for Wellington and 18 for New Plymouth. These lists only include passengers for Dunedin.

Readers who have corrections or additional information for these lists are invited to contact us.

Please don't ask us about Port Chalmers passenger arrivals later than 1851. Try Australia and New Zealand Passenger Lists. It's not our area of expertise. Also, please don't ask what individual passengers did after they arrived In New Zealand. All we know about them is in these lists.  

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