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WRIGHT OF STIRLINGSHIRE, SCOTLAND TO POKENO, NEW ZEALAND

John WRIGHT was born in Dunipace, Stirling, Scotland in 1822, the son of Robert WRIGHT and Jean MICKELJOHN. John was involved in the printing business. In 1843 he married Helen (Ellen) MITCHELL the daughter of John MITCHELL and Ellen ?. John and Helen had nine children, and the six surviving immigrated with their parents to New Zealand in 1864 on the HELENSLEE.

The family came to New Zealand under the Waikato Immigration Scheme, which was part of an attempt by the New Zealand government to bring large numbers of immigrants to settle the area south of Auckland (present day Franklin). Four main classes of immigrants were initially sought - labourers, mechanics, small farmers and capitalists. Mechanics (industrial craftsmen and artisans) were to be offered free passages plus a land grant if they resided on that land for three years. John WRIGHT and some of his sons fell into the category of “Mechanic”. Immigrants were entitled to a quarter-acre section in the local township, a suburban allotment of ten acres, plus five for each child above 12 years old. Immigrants could apply for an additional grant of ten acres, plus five acres for their wives and children over 12 years old, if they repaid half their fare.

The HELENSLEE dropped its anchor on Thursday 22 December 1864 in Auckland but it wasn’t until the 27th that the passengers were permitted to disembark. There was no accommodation available for the immigrants and many of them slept under trees until they got word they were to be sent on to Mangere. They then went by boat up the Drury Creek and stayed in a farmer’s large flourmill or wool shed at there until they got word that they were moving on to Pokeno down the Great South Road. Pokeno was at that stage known as Queens Redoubt. The WRIGHT’s settled in the Pokeno area and many of the HELENSLEE passengers intermarried and their children intermarried too. Many descendants of the original immigrants are still in the area today.

Queens Redoubt, Pokeno 1863.

The children of John and Helen (Ellen) WRIGHT were;

Robert WRIGHT and Maggie DEAN m married at Queens Redoubt in 1870 and had eight children all born Pokeno.

See also CRAIG, DEAN and WRIGHT Family Reunion 1964.


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