In the initial Blenheim passenger list Donald McDonald noted that this family came from Achatany and “This family have been known to me all my life and have mostly been in my own and my Brothers service”. The family was:
- Hugh MacKenzie, 50, labourer
- Catherine McDonald, 46, his wife
- Jane, 24, housemaid, his daughter
- Peggy, 21, housemaid, his daughter
- Mary, 17, housemaid, his daughter
- Flora, 15, his daughter
- Janet, 12, his daughter
- John, 10, his son
Also on the initial list, but crossed out, was Donald MacKenzie, 27, engineer, noted as “his natural son”.
The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan records the births and baptisms of several children who did not travel to New Zealand, and most likely died in infancy. These include the baptisms of two daughters named Catherine, who likely died in infancy – Hugh McKenzie, crofter, Achtenny, and Catherine McDonald, had a daughter, Catherine, born 10th April 1833, baptized 19th May 1833, witnesses John Stuart, Braynault and Allan McKenzie, Beadle; and in 1835 Ewen McKenzie crofter Achtenny and Catherine McDonald his wife, had a daughter Catherine, born 12th May 1835 baptized 15th May 1855, witnesses Niel McPhail, Kilmory, and John Stuart, Braynault. There may also have been another daughter, Anna in 1831.
Spelling: The Blenheim passenger list used “MacKenzie” but most other sources have “McKenzie”.
Return to The Blenheim People.
Hugh McKenzie and Catherine McDonald
Hugh McKenzie was recorded as being 50 years old on the Blenheim passenger list, but his Death Notice (and New Zealand BDM records) which put him at 96 in 1877 suggests that his birth year may have been around 1781, which would have made him 59 in 1840.
A McKenzie Family 1840-1990 includes information that Hugh McKenzie was born at Buarbleg, Moidart, in 1781, the son of Malcolm McKenzie and Aleen Stewart. If this is correct then it is unusual not to find the name Malcolm given to any of his sons.
The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan, recorded that Hugh MacKenzie, tenant, Ockill, and Catherine McDonald, Drimintorran, were married on 9 September 1814.
From the birthplaces of the children, it appears that the family moved around the Ardnamurchan Peninsular. Ockill/Ockle/Ochdal, Braynault/Braenault, Achtenny/Achateny, Swordalmore/Sourdals – are all localities on the north-western coast of the Ardnamurchan peninsular of Argyll. Buarblaig/Borblaig, is on the southern side of the peninsular.
Hugh McKenzie and his family emigrated to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840, arriving in Wellington on 27 December 1840. The family lived at Kaiwharawhara in Wellington, but also farmed land in the Wairarapa.
Hugh McKenzie worked on the Kaiwarra road building as the paymaster, but in 1848-49 took up farming at Tupurupuru in the Wairarapa, and in 1854 purchased a block at Te Whiti, which he worked on with his son John.
In 1855, it appears that Hugh McKenzie had decided to sell his freehold property of 3 acres in Wadestown, advertising it in the Wellington Independent of 20 January 1855:
FREEHOLD PROPERTY delightfully situate in Wade’s Town, commanding a fine view of the harbor, and within an easy distance of Te Aro. There are three acres of land, having a house on each, with a byer, calf house, barn, &c. There is also a beautiful stream of water running through the property. The above presents an eligible opportunity for investment; and is well worthy the attention of the capitalist, as the ground is most suitable for building villa residences on. Parties can view the property, and learn further particulars, on application to Hugh M’Kenzie, Wade’s Town, or James Calder, Kaiwarra.
By 1866 Hugh McKenzie had returned to Wellington to live on his property in Thorndon, between Grant Road and Tinakori Road.
Hugh McKenzie died on 31 August 1877. The Evening Post of 1 September 1877 included the Death Notice: “M’Kenzie – On the 31st August at Kaiwarra, Hugh M’Kenzie, aged 96 years.”
Catherine (McDonald) McKenzie died on 10 August 1879, aged 87. The Wanganui Chronicle of 14 August 1879, carried the following Death Notice: “McKenzie – On the 10th August, at her residence, Kaiwarra, Katherine McKenzie, relict of the late Hugh McKenzie, aged 87 years.” The Wanganui Chronicle of 15 August 1879 published the following obituary:
Another old colonist has passed away from amongst us, in the person of Mrs McKenzie, relict of the late Mr Hugh McKenzie, formerly of the Tuhitu Station, Wairarapa, who died at her residence early on Sunday morning, at the advanced age of 87. Mrs McKenzie came to the colony with her husband during the year 1840, in the ship Blenheim, one of the first passenger vessels sent out by the New Zealand Company. The deceased lady leaves a large number of relatives and friends, and only survived her late husband about twelve or fifteen months. The late Mr McKenzie also lived to a very advanced age.
Jane McKenzie was listed as a housemaid aged 24 in the Blenheim passenger list, so was born around 1816.
Jane McKenzie married James Calder on 18 September 1844. The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 12 October 1844 included the Notice: “On the 18th ult., James Calder, licensed Pilot, formerly of Cathesshire, to Jane, daughter of Hugh M’Kenzie, formerly of Adnamurchan, Argyleshire.”
In 1848, following an inquiry into the wreck of the barque Subraon at the entrance to Wellington harbour, James Calder was removed from his appointment as Pilot. He then established the Rainbow Hotel in Kaiwharawhara, before moving to the Rangitikei district.
James Calder died in 1858 near Otaki. The Wellington Independent of 24 November 1858 carried the following report:
Information was brought into town yesterday morning, that a pocket book and papers belonging to Mr. James Calder, had been found in the Ohau River. Upon enquiry, it was found that he was missing from his residence, and it is therefore presumed that he has been unfortunately drowned. Mr. Calder was formerly pilot at Wellington, and afterwards built the Rainbow Inn, Kai Warra and removed to the West coast a year or two ago.
It appears that Jane continued to run the Rainbow Hotel in Kaiwharawhara for a number of years. Records indicate that she held the licence in 1861 and 1871, when she transferred the licence to her son David Calder. It appears that Jane Calder was still the owner of the hotel in 1895, but not the holder of the publican’s licence.
Jane (McKenzie) Calder died on 23 December 1900. The Colonist of 27 December 1900 carried the Death Notice: “Calders – On December 23rd at the residence of her son, Hugh Calders, Stoke, Jane, relict of the late Captain James Calders, formerly of Wellington, aged 86 years.” The Colonist also carried the following obituary:
Obituary — On Sunday last there passed away in the person of Mrs Calders, senior, one of the early colonists, the deceased lady’s residence in New Zealand extending to within a few days of sixty years. Mrs Calders landed in Wellington on 25th December, 1840, from the ship Blenheim, together with her father, the late Mr Hugh McKenzie, and the rest of his family, and a large number of Highland passengers. Mr McKenzie was. the first superintendent of road construction on the road from Wellington to the Hutt, and two years after his arrival his daughter married Captain James Calders, who was then pilot and in charge of Wellington harbor, and took a prominent part in the early settlement of Wellington. Captain Calders later entered upon farming in the Rangitikei district, and was in 1859 drowned in the Otaki river. For the last 20 years Mrs Calders has resided with her son Hugh, the present Chief Postmaster of Nelson, and one other son and a daughter survive their mother, who attained the age of 86 years, her father, by-the-way, living to the great age of 98, retaining his faculties to the last. Allusion was made in the Presbyterian Church on Sunday by the Rev. J. H. MacKenzie to Mrs Calders’ death, she having, as far as her years permitted, taken a keen interest in the Church.
It is not clear when the name came to be “Calders”.
Jane and James appear to have had at least four children:
- David Calders, born in 1846, died in 1880.
- Hugh Calders, born in 1848, died in 1904, married Marjory McGregor (daughter of Blenheim passengers) in 1873.
- James Calders, born in 1850, died in 1926, married Florence Emily Cockerell in 1879.
- Margaret Calders , born in 1852, died in 1902 in Australia, married Henry Tucker in 1866.
Peggy (Margaret) McKenzie
The Old Parish Register for Western Ardnamurchan records the baptism on 8 February 1819 of Peggy, daughter of Hugh MacKenzie, tenant, Ockill, and of Catherine McDonald, his wife.
Peggy was 21 in 1840 when she sailed to New Zealand on the Blenheim.
Margaret McKenzie married James Gee on 8 January 1844. In the marriage registration James Gee described himself as “formerly boot and shoemaker”, but was at the time a member of the Grenadier Company of the 96th Regiment of Foot. He was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, and joined the regiment in 1839, being posted to Australia then, by 1845, to Port Nicholson. The Regiment was sent to Tasmania, where James Gee was discharged in 1847, returned to Wellington, and settled in Kaiwarra as a shoemaker. By 1855 the family had moved to the Wairau district of Marlborough, but in 1863 James enlisted in the 3rd Waikato Regiment which engaged in action against Maori forces. In 1865 he was discharged and the family settled in Renwick in Marlborough, where Margaret practised as a midwife.
James Gee died on 15 September 1885, aged 63. The Marlborough Express of 17 September 1885 published the following obituary:
An Old Colonist.— In the late Mr James Gee, who died at Renwick on Tuesday, aged 63, the colony loses one of its early settlers. He was the second son of the late Sergeant Major George Gee, of the Kilkenny Staff, Ireland. He arrived in the Colony in 1841 with the Grenadier Company of the 96th Regiment of Foot (chief officers, Major Richmond and Captain Eyton), to assist in preventing the Maori outrages taking place at that time at the Hutt. He served through the first and second Maori campaigns. Mr Gee leaves a wife and three children — two sons and a daughter — to mourn their loss. He had been a resident in Renwick for a number of years, and was greatly respected by all that knew him.
Following James’ death the family moved to Wellington, and Margaret (McKenzie) Gee died at Kaiwarra on 14 May 1896. The Evening Post of 15 May 1896 Death Notice said: “Gee – On the 14th instant, at the residence of her son-in-law, Mr E. Coleman, Kaiwarra, Margaret Gee, aged 76 years.”
Margaret and James had five children:
- George Gee, born in 1845, died in 1914, married Emma Louise Harford in 1867.
- Hugh Gee, born in 1849, died in 1920, married Emma Henrietta Grace Ricketts, formerly Sedgwick, in 1877.
- Catherine Gee, born in 1851, died in 1879, married Donald Munro in 1870.
- Jessie Gee, born in 1854, died in 1856.
- Margaret L’Estrange Gee, born in 1857, died in 1923, married Ewen Colman (cousin) in 1888.
In the Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan there was a Mary McKenzie, daughter of Ewen McKenzie, tenant Buarblaig and of Kate McDonald, his wife, baptized on 10 December 1821, who would have been 18 when the initial Blenheim passenger list was compiled. This Mary may have died and a daughter born in 1823 given the name Mary.
In the passenger lists of the Blenheim, Mary was recorded in the family of Hugh McKenzie, as a housemaid aged 17.
Mary McKenzie married Angus McMaster another of the Blenheim passengers. For details of their life see Angus McMaster and Mary McKenzie.
Angus and Mary had nine children, and then sadly she died in 1864 as the result of a miscarriage when pregnant with their tenth child.
Angus and Mary’s children included:
- Hugh McMaster, born in 1846, died in 1902.
- Duncan McMaster, born in 1848, died in 1896, married Dolina Catherine Drummond in 1874.
- Donald McMaster, born in 1849, died in 1919.
- Ann McMaster, born in 1851, died in 1893, married John Stevens (son of Blenheim passenger) in 1880.
- Bethiah (Bessie) McMaster, born in 1854, died in 1898.
- Sarah McMaster, born in 1856, died in 1927.
- John McMaster, born in 1858, died in 1935, married Mary Colman (cousin) in 1895.
- Jessie McMaster, born in 1860, died in 1884.
- Mary McMaster, born in 1862, died in 1892.
Flora McKenzie was born on 29 September 1825 in Ardnamurchan, Argyll, and was 15 when she emigrated to New Zealand with her family on the Blenheim in 1840.
A McKenzie Family 1840-1990 notes that Flora was married twice, the first time to a Mr Betts, with a son, John Betts, being born in Wellington on 9 March 1852. However, New Zealand BDM records show the birth, on 9 March 1852, of John McKenzie, mother Flora, father Henry, suggesting that there was no marriage.
- John Betts, born in 1852, died in 1920.
The New Zealand BDM records show that Flora McKenzie (not Betts) married Thomas Coleman on 8 February 1854. They both signed the marriage register with their marks “X”, and the witnesses were John McKenzie and James Calder.
Thomas Colman was born in Kent, England, in 1819, and is believed to have brought the first shipment of horses to New Zealand from Sydney in 1842.
Flora and Thomas settled first in the Rangitikei district but had returned to Wellington by 1873.
Thomas Colman died on 5 July 1889, aged 69.
Flora Colman died on 4 June 1898 aged 73. The Wairarapa Daily Times of 6 June 1898 reported, “Mrs Colman, mother of Mrs J. McMaster, of Tuhitarata, Martinborough, died at Tuhitarata on Saturday..”
Flora and Thomas had at least six children:
- Thomas Colman, born in 1855, died in 1919, married Alma Greer in 1887.
- Ewen Colman, born in 1857, died in 1916, married Margaret L’Estrange Gee (cousin), in 1888.
- Jessie Colman, born in 1859, died in 1891, married Jerome Sinclair in 1884.
- William Colman, born in 1861, died in 1949, married Bridget Ruane in 1896.
- Mary Ann Colman, born in 1864, died in 1927, married John McMaster (cousin) in 1895.
- Catherine Margaret Colman, born in 1868, died in Australia
Janet (Jessie) McKenzie
The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan records the baptism on 20 May 1827 of Janet, daughter of Hugh MacKenzie, tenant, Swordalmor, and of Catherine McDonald, his wife.
Janet was 12 when she emigrated to New Zealand with her family on the Blenheim in 1840.
According to New Zealand BDM records, Jessey McKenzie died on 18 July 1857, aged 29. The cause of death on her death certificate was “liver complaint”.
The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan recorded that John, son of Hugh McKenzie, resident, Achatennie, and Cath McDonald, his wife, was baptised on 27 December 1829.
John McKenzie was 10 years old when he travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.
John McKenzie moved to the Wairarapa by 1850, initially to work on Angus McMaster’s property at Tupurupuru, and then on the property at Te Whiti, purchased by his father in 1854. John also served as a Maori interpreter.
John McKenzie and Isabella McKenzie were married on 19 February 1857 at Te Whiti.
Isabella McKenzie (no relation) was born on 2 May 1837 in Urray, Ross-shire, the daughter of Alexander McKenzie and Mary Gollan, who emigrated initially to Australia, then to New Zealand in 1854, and became early settlers in the Wairarapa at Masterton.
In the Wellington Independent of 26 March 1863 there is a report of court proceedings which notes that there was a case of Hugh McKenzie, senior, v John McKenzie, junior, of assault, fined 10s and costs 7s 6d.
Isabella McKenzie died on 5 April 1915, aged 78. The Wairarapa Age of 6 April 1915 carried the following obituary:
MRS JOHN McKENZIE. It is with deep regret we have to record the death of one of the early pioneers of the Wairarapa, in the person of Mrs John McKenzie, of Masterton, which occurred at the residence of her son, Mr James McKenzie, Te Whiti. The deceased lady, who had attained the ripe age of 78 years, had been a resident of Masterton for over 60 years. When, just a girl, she came with her parents from the Hutt, and their first residence here was on the Upper Plain. With her husband, she bravely shared the trials of the early pioneering days, and although she reared a family of 18 children (nine sons and nine daughters), she still found time to assist those in trouble, and her many acts of kindness and devotion will long be remembered. Tnose who are left to mourn their loss are Messrs Malcolm, Alex. James, Donald, Kenny, Joshua, J.M., Colin, and Hugh McKenzie. The daughters are Mrs Cade (Pahiatua), Mrs J.G. McDonald (Carterton), Mrs J. Daysh (Newman), Mrs Meenkin (Carterton). The funeral will leave Te Whiti at noon to-morrow (Wednesday) for the Masterton cemetery.
John McKenzie died just over two weeks later on 23 April 1915, aged 86. The Wairarapa Daily Times of 24 April 1915 carried the following obituary:
MR JOHN McKENZIE,
An old and highly respected resident of this district, Mr John McKenzie, of Te Whiti, passed away last night, at the ripe age of 86 years. Mr McKenzie, who came to New Zealand in the ship Blenheim Castle [sic] in the year 1840, has resided at Te Whiti for sixty years. The old gentleman had been in poor health for some time, and for the past two years was confined to his home. His wife died about a fortnight ago. The late Mr McKenzie’s family numbered eighteen, thirteen of whom are living. These are Mr Malcolm McKenzie, Taueru; Mr James McKenzie, Te Whiti; Mr Angus D. McKenzie, Dalefield; Mr H. D. McKenzie, Wairoa; Mr K. D. McKenzie, Matahiwi; Mr Josh McKenzie, Poroporo; Mr J. M. McKenzie, Te Rangitumau; Mr Colin McKenzie, Te Whiti; Mrs R. Cade, Pahiatua; Mrs J. G. McDonald, Carterton; Mrs J. Daysh, Newman; Mrs Baggarley, Hamilton; and Mrs Minton, Carterton. The family will have the sympathy of a wide circle of friends in their bereavement. The funeral will leave Te Whiti at 1 o’clock on Monday, arriving at Masterton at 2.30 p.m.
John and Isabella had eighteen children:
- Malcolm McKenzie, born in 1857, died in 1952, married Sarah Ann Bland in 1882.
- Alexander McKenzie, born in 1859, died in 1893.
- James McKenzie, born in 1860, died in 1945.
- Catherine McKenzie, born in 1861, died in 1942, married Robert Barney Cade in 1877.
- Mary McKenzie, born in 1862, died in 1910, married Robert John Baker in 1882.
- Annie McKenzie, born in 1864, died in 1954, married John George McDonald in 1885.
- Jessie McKenzie, born in 1865, died in 1913, married Francis John Court in 1885.
- Jane McKenzie, born in 1867, died in 1952, married James Alfred Daysh in 1890.
- Angus McDonald McKenzie, born in 1868, died in 1948, married Elizabeth Jane Mulvay in 1890.
- Isabella Flora McKenzie, born in 1870, died in 1910, married Charles Augustus Alexander McColl in 1909.
- Johanna Margaret McKenzie, born in 1871, died in 1963, married Samuel Harold Baggarley in 1896.
- Hugh Donald McKenzie, born in 1873, died in 1964, married Sarah Jane Anderson in 1902.
- Roderick Colin McKenzie, born in 1874, died in 1966.
- Kenneth Duncan McKenzie, born in 1876, died in 1916, married Hannah Bella McKay in 1905.
- Joshua McKenzie, born in 1878, died in 1965, married Minnie Rebecca Bagley in 1908.
- John Murdoch McKenzie, born in 1879, died in 1916 (WW1), married Ivy Winifred Pilcher in 1915.
- Jemima Elizabeth McKenzie, born in 1880, died in 1908.
- Lillian Hannah McKenzie, born in 1882, died in 1928, married John Herbert Minton in 1913.
- Blenheim passenger lists at FamilySearch website
- Family trees on Ancestry.com
- ScotlandsPeople website
- PapersPast website
- NZ BDM records
- The Kaiwarra Camerons, M J Ullyat, June 2009
- A McKenzie Family 1840-1990: from Argyll to Wairarapa, New Zealand, Nancy Minton, 1990