Archives for July 2018


This story appears in my book, It Happened in New Zealand. It is just one of the interesting events that I write about in this book.

Captain Nias and Major Thomas Bunbury proclaimed Queen Victoria’s sovereign rights over Stewart Island on the 5th June 1840. After the ceremony, they placed a copy of the proclamation in a bottle and buried it on the island with ‘a mound erected over it’. To this day, the bottle has never been found.

Port Pegasus (

After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the 20 gun frigate, HMS Herald was despatched south to collect the signatures of the southern chiefs. The sovereign rights of Her Majesty Queen Victoria were to be proclaimed over the South Island and ‘Stewart’s Island’ as it was then known. In early June, the Herald sailed past Ruapuke Island, the headquarters of the south’s paramount chief, Tuhawaiki. It seems strange he was not paid at least a courtesy visit. The Herald also bypassed the Maori village on Stewart Island as it continued further south to Port Pegasus. It would appear Major Bunbury felt he would be on stronger ground asking for Maori signatures after first proclaiming sovereignty over their island. read more