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Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook

MCDONNELL, Lieut. Thomas RN 1788–1864

MCDONNELL, Lieut. Thomas RN 1788–1864

Born Country Antrim, Ireland, and entered Royal Navy 1804. Had a colourful career; saw service against slavers in West Africa. In Europe, in West Indies, and took part in blockade of New York. On half pay joined East India Company and served in the Red Sea, in Indian Ocean, travelled in India and fitted out an opium clipper for trade in China and the Islands. Visited Sydney 1828–29, commanded a brig in the China Seas, and visited New Zealand, sailing into the Kaipara and Hokianga Harbours and naming Port McDonnell in Hawke's Bay. Made a report on the supply of kauri spars from New Zealand. In Sydney again he bought Hokianga land and came back to New Zealand, establishing the famous dockyard at Horeke. Traded with the Maoris for spars which were rafted down the Hokianga Harbour. Owned two ships and employed many people. In 1858 was appointed additional Resident at Hokianga; was friendly with local chiefs and in conflict with his senior, Busby. 1839 visited England; sold the rights at Horeke to New Zealand Company for £3,000.0.0 and a salary of £300.0.0 a year. Returned twice to England. By time of Heke's war in 1845, when he forfeited the Horeke yards he had lost his influence with Maoris and sued the British Government for compensation. A watercolour of Horeke, Kaipara, is in Turnbull.