Welcome to Stewart Island & Sails Ashore +64 3 219 1151 tait@sailsashore.co.nz

Our Historical Scrap Book

History lessons at secondary school always bored me witless, and as soon as was possible I dropped it as a subject. But later as I started to explore the back country in the course of my Forest Service job and also as a YMCA Adventure Camp leader visiting important historical sites in Fiordland I realised that it actually was really interesting. And in particular I became fascinated with trying to visualise the lives of our early explorers and settlers.

So this page is just exactly as it says above, a Scrapbook of articles and information
in no particular sequence,
but for me at least, a view into events of the past the men and women who lived here before us.

Published Sources

Our guests often comment about our library, and of course published books are the best possible starting place to delve into “The Island Story” Check out our Bibliography. Most of these publications should be available in New Zealand Public Libraries or in second hand bookshops. While all are fascinating my particular favorites are by Olga Sanson. To read her books is to sit in front of a good fire on a wet day and listen to Olga talk of her life here.

Place Names

Place Names are a fascinating look at Stewart Island past…. see more at our place names page

Connections Everywhere

The Internet, and in particular “Google Alerts” is a rich mine with often quite unexpected gold to be found.  The tabs below will take you all sorts of places.

“The Bay”  (Halfmoon Bay) 

Probably around 1910-20

“Karl (Charlie) Yunge”

A Dane, Charlie arrive on Stewart Island after serving in the British Army 1914-1918.

“Awarua” 1885

The Paddle Tug Awarua was the Islands second ferry

History is about People

1822/23       “Moggy”  … an Australian Aboriginal woman cast away on Big Moggy Island

1830 .           Lewis Acker …. an early settler, whose name is remembered at Ackers Point 

1890             Evaline Jane Skerrett …. born 30th October 1890

Whalers….. The Shore Whalers Wahine  ……. A fascinating website devoted to the relationships Maori Women and the early whalers developed throughout New Zealand

1930 .           The Cruise of the Snapper,

1912 .           Whalers …. arrival of a Norwegian whaler in Paterson Inlet  ODT Article,

1813         Flax harvesting at Port William Flax in New Zealandnote :- I think that this is very suspect as as far as I know the first attempt to source flax commercially was the Snapper voyage in the mid 1822/23

1919           Port Pegasus plant dismantled      ODT Article, 13th June 2019 . The following  day the the following addressed the odd bird :-Kokako at Stewart Is. A resident of Invercargill, who has a fairly intimate knowledge of Stewart Island, stated to one of our reporters on Saturday that the pure black birds, between the size of a pigeon and a fowl, seen by Mr D. Scurr at Port Pegasus, would be orange wattle crows (Kokako). The crow is a rare bird, but has not a hood over its eyes, as described by Mr Scurr, who had probably been misled by the hanging wattles near the eyes from which the bird derives its name.

The main article should be read in conjunction with a DoC archaeological paper and this from NZ Geographic Magazine

1930 .          Article 1885″

Up until the late 1940’s New Zealand Railways was very involved in Tourism, especially with Rails Excursions, and so publicised destinations


1930 .       NZ Rail, 1930

1933         Whale species discovery at Mason Bay SDT Article,

1937 .       NZ Rail, 1937

Sealing was the first commercial activity by Europeans around Southern New Zealand Dept of Conservation paper”

In 1922 the Rosshavet Whaling Company whaler “Sir James Clarke Ross” arrived in Paterson Inlet en route to the Ross Sea. They set up a ship yard to repair and refurbish the steam chasers over the winter season, initially at Bravo Island, but then shifted to Prices Inlet.

Some years ago I was given a photo album put together by a New Zealander who did several seasons crewing. A couple of years ago I digitised the album and accompanying text.

Click, and “Whalers” will open in a new page


Sails Ashore, Kowhai Lane & Sails Tours

11 View Street,
Stewart Island, 9846

+64 3 219 1151
Email: tait@sailsashore.co.nz
Web: www.sailsashore.co.nz