An Insect Bite Away From Being Otago – 5th April 1844

On 5th April 1844, Fredrick Tuckett (pictured), Dr. David Munro and their survey party arrived in Port Cooper (Lyttelton) to view the Port Cooper (Canterbury) Plains for a future Scottish settlement.

A plan was made to split the surveyor party in two; one half viewing the plains by walking to Putaringamotu (Riccarton) from Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) while the other half viewed the Plains via the Otakaro (Avon River) with both meeting back up at the Deans Cottage before night fall.

The Te Waihora party, led by Tuckett, got lost and spend a miserable night in the swamps. They finally arrived at Putaringamotu covered in insect bites and wracked by fatigue the next day; it was decided that Port Cooper was not the place for the settlement – despite of the favourable views of the rest of the party.

They continued down south and chose Otakou (Otago) as the Scottish settlement.

“There are many opinions of the best sort of land in New Zealand, and Mr. Tuckett, who chose Otago, liked the best which we reckoned worst. As for the pasture, I do not believe there is better pasture in New Zealand than on this plain and on the hills around Port Cooper [Lyttelton]; there may be more wood and water, but I think there is quite enough of the latter at least.”

John Deans – 28th September 1845

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