NZ TOURISM PIONEER

At the time of early European colonization in the late 19th century, Alexander Hatrick establish one of New Zealand’s largest commercial concerns and is regarded as New Zealand’s first successful tourism entrepreneur.

In 1875, at the young age of 17, Alexander arrived in New Zealand with four friends. After a short stay on the West Coast, he heard about a great river being used for navigation by Maoris so he moved to the township of Wanganui to search for potential money-making schemes involving the river. He started this new chapter of his life by working at a local foundry, then, in April 1880, he opened a steam chaff-cutting and grain-crushing mill in partnership with his brother-in-law, Lewis Walker. Trading as Walker and Hatrick, the boys were soon dealing in a variety of farm produce and trading between Wanganui, Nelson and the West Coast. By October 1884 they operated vessels that traded with Queensland, and a year later, eager to become rich and famous, they became shipping agents. In 1886 Alexander took full control of the company and quickly began extending the scope of its operations. This included the sale of wine, spirits and farm equipment along with general merchandise. The busy lad also became an agent for various fire and marine insurance companies. On 2nd January 1888 Alexander purchased his first sea going vessel, the St Kilda. The modest 189 tonne ship sailed for Sydney on 19 January 1889 and for 15 years made regular trips across the Tasman Sea. The St Kilda was followed by the Alexa in 1904 and the Wanganui in 1910. read more