Myth and misunderstanding : The enigma of the Scottish Highland migrant to Otago/Southland, 1870-79
Wilson, Megan Jane
The major concern of this thesis is with the migration and settlement of assisted Scottish Highland migrants to the colony of Otago/Southland during the 1870's, particularly those that arrived under the auspices of the so-called 'Vogel Scheme'. Although the gold rushes of the 1860s had induced a number of immigrants to the region government judged that these individuals were not always of a 'suitable' type, hence Julius Vogel's 'Public Works and Immigration Act, 1870'. This Act, consisting of passenger assisted fares and nomination was instituted in the hope of attracting potential settlers away from the traditional destinations such as America as well as providing a workforce to complete desperately required Public Works. Following the identification of these migrants an attempt is made to trace their movements over subsequent years, thereby providing the reader with at least some sense of how the colony's settler population has been made. Although always a minority group Scottish Highlanders were generally looked upon with disfavour and they carried with them a centuries' old reputation for barbaric and uncouth behaviour. By providing brief biographies on several of those immigrants that were positively identified the thesis aims to provide an understanding of their lives and contributions to the development of the colony. In order to identify these immigrants the Otago/Southland (NZ.) Assisted Passengers 1872-1888 lists were consulted. The Otago Provincial Government Gazettes: Passenger Lists, 1986-1875 proved invaluable as well and fron1 there it was simply a matter of attempting to trace these individuals over the following years. The Postal and Street Directories, marriage registers and electoral rolls of the period provided further information necessary in tracking their subsequent movements. The major obstacle to identifying their whereabouts following arrival in the colony was the fact that many simply disappeared into the larger towns and cities, changed the spelling of their names, or spoke only Gaelic and could not write English; often original settlers were only identified through their children. Obscure local histories for towns such as Waitahuna or Fortrose were of particular interest as they provided insights into the characters of their settlers in the form of amusing stories and local feeling rather than just names and dates. Although there are numerous studies relating to the immigrant experience throughout the world, the plight of the Highlander and the even settlement of Otago, it is hoped that the following will provide some additional insight into one minority group that settled in the area. In a local context John Morris and Rosalind McClean have both tackled Scottish immigration. Both are general overviews of the Scottish phenomenon, however, rather than in depth analyses of a regional migration. It is hoped that although this thesis does not provide any earth-shattering discoveries it at least supports the more general assumptions made regarding the immigration of Scots to New Zealand and perhaps qualifies a number of mistaken beliefs about Scottish Highlanders. These assumptions include a tendency toward dishonesty, a well developed attraction to alcohol and a general disposition toward uncivilised behaviour.
Advisor: Brooking, Tom; Coleman, Jennie
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: History
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis