In Memory of Johnny Jones

The Grave of Johnny Jones Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

If ever there was a person in Otago history who was both legendary yet controversial, then pioneer Johnny Jones must be a strong candidate. First coming to the Otago shores for whaling in the 1820’s and by the time the Scottish settlers arrived in the 1840’s he had already built himself a miniature colony at Waikouaiti. The hills and valleys were dotted with sheep and cattle; orchards were planted and crops of vegetables and grain were harvested. When the first settlers from Scotland arrived in Port Chalmers in March, 1848, he was able to provide them with much of their foodstuffs. 

However, controversially after negotiations with tangata whenua such as notable South Island chief Tuhawaiki, the paramount chief of the Kai Tahu tribe, Jones purchased the entire South Island. However, this ambitious land purchase was halted by the British Crown following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

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