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

1927 …..        Andre Jose, Stewart Island’s Only Murder

1970’s       The Japanese Lady ……….. The sad case of the Japanese Lady. I met her once, years ago walking on Lonnikers Beach

1930 .           The Cruise of the Snapper,

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

The Wairua Ferry, Annexation of Stewart Island

1899 … SDT Article  Southland supplied Shackleton expedition dogs

1813         Flax harvesting at Port WilliamFlax 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

1909      Otago Witness …..Maori Nomenclature … W.H.S. Roberts

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.

1921  Born of Early Stock  ODT Article 22nd June 2021 Mrs Maria Lee Baird, who died recently at Otautau, aged 82, was one of the first European children born on Stewart Island. Her father, Andrew Lee, was one of the adventurous spirits who, away back in the early part of the last century, followed the hazardous calling of a whaler. The late Mrs Baird (states the Otautau Standard) was born in 1839, and at the age of 15 years, with an elder and only sister (the late Mrs Newton, Riverton) came over to the mainland. After remaining a short time in Riverton, both sisters, in the service of the late Captain Howell, went to Burwood Station. Here Miss Lee met the late John Burroughs Baird, and at an early date the young couple were married. She is reported to have been the first woman to ride a horse on the shore of Lake Wakatipu and the first woman to row a boat on the lake.

— ODT, 22.6.1921

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

 ODT, 26.9.1921. The Ketch “Waterlily” in the second paragraph was a “Leask” Boat. Built in Leask Bay. When I arrived on the Island in ’69 The Waterlily, a  “sister” ship was up on the Leask family ways. I think the last vessel to ever come out for servicing the “Old ” way. This involved timbers laid up the beach, greased with tallow. The vessel was beached parallel to the beach at high tide. Laying over onto her bilges onto the greased timbers as the tide receded. Then she would be slid up the timbers above high the water mark and then jacked upright to be worked on. The ways are still visible in Leask Bay.

Whale in Paterson Inlet (ODT, 4.7.1922)      Whale beaches on Stewart Island.

Southern Outpost Worth a Visit (ODT 13th Feb 1923 )   Southern outpost worth a visit

1930 .          Article 1885″

2024            100 Years Since Norwegian Whalers Arrived

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 BaySDT 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.

2024            100 Years Since Norwegian Whalers Arrived

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


Stewart Island Electricity is generated using diesel fuel

Sails Ashore is Solar Powered

 But we now produce 100 % of our electrical needs, and are completely "Off Grid", Excess electricity is used to heat our domestic hot water and central heating system and this has cut our non renewable heating fuel usage to around 20% of pre solar.. All cooking is electric, no more LPG.  See More .......

Kowhai Lane is also Solar powered,

Kowhai Lane is "Grid Tied" Excess production is used to heat water. Production beyond the house requirements is exported, thus cutting diesel use in the wider grid. At night Kowhai Lane Lodge receives power from the grid.

Like Sails Ashore, all cooking is electric,,,,, No LPG



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