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Early Wellington


The pioneers of the Port Nicholson settlement were nothing if not thorough; and when they discovered that they had made a mistake, they made it their first business to correct it. Thus they landed first at Pito-one; and at Pito-one, in the teeth of wind and weather and all possibilities of the extravagance of both, it was decided to form the settlement. Here, accordingly, Captain Smith and his assistants of the “Cuba” laid off the township. Here, too, that honourable corporation, the Union Bank of Australia, first opened its doors in New Zealand. But it was speedily, and for obvious reasons, decided that Pito-one was not the proper place of settlement, and a move was made over the harbour. With due solemnity the bank safe was floated over on a raft. Again those gallant pioneers went to work. They had strong faith in their fortunes and their own right arms, and they decided at once that Britannia was to be a town of import. Later the whole urban area of Wellington was carefully surveyed and plans were drawn.

The New Zealand Gazette (19/9/40) refers thus to the move to Thorndon:— “Our fellow colonists are now busily engaged in removing to ‘Britannia’ and building and enclosing land there, and we are convinced their labours will not prove unprofitable. We hope are long they will have some of their time at command, and we are sure they will not be slow to undertake the several measures of a public kind which ought to be brought into active operation. Among them we would mention the Library, School, Savings Bank and Temperance Society as entitled to their earliest attention.”