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HEAPHY, Charles
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Charles Heaphy was one of a group of artists including William Mein Smith, Samuel Charles Brees, John Buchanan, and Joseph Jenner Merrett, who came to Aotearoa as part of the New Zealand Company’s colonising efforts between 1838 and 1858. To help plan new settlements and also to promote the new country at home, artist-draughtsmen were included among the migrants.

Heaphy is commonly regarded as being the most perceptive of this group. At the age of 17, he was appointed artist and draughtsman to the New Zealand Company and sailed in May 1839 with Captain William Wakefield on the Tory. When the ship visited the Hokianga and Kaipara, he produced the first examples of his extensive sketch and written material for the directors of the Company and their publications.

Although based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, he worked with survey parties in Taranaki and again in the Bay of Islands before being despatched to Nelson. In 1842, he returned to England, where his illustrated book Narrative of a Residence in Various Parts of New Zealand was published. Returning to Aotearoa, Heaphy took up land at Whakatū Nelson but withdrew after the outbreak of hostilities which followed the Wairau Incident. He took part in journeys of exploration to the headwaters of the Buller River with Thomas Brunner and William Fox.

In 1848, he was appointed draughtsman in Tāmaki Makaurau and was then posted to Coromandel, where he served as first goldfields commissioner in New Zealand. As District Surveyor for Auckland in 1859, he assisted Hochstetter in his geological survey of the city. In 1854, Heaphy moved to Warkworth, having been appointed District Surveyor of Matakana, then being opened for European settlement.

During the invasion of the Waikato, he fought as a Major in the Auckland Rifle Volunteers and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery at Waiari. After the war he was occupied making surveys of the confiscated land. From 1865 to 1880, he held a number of high public offices including Commissioner of Native Reserves and Judge of the Native Land Court. He was for three years Member of the House of Representatives for Parnell.

A more extensive biography is available on Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

Aotearoa New Zealand; United Kingdom;
Date of birth
Place of birth
London, England, United Kingdom,
Date of death
03 August 1881
Place of death
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia,

HEAPHY, Charles;

Port Nicholson, from the Hills Above Petone, 1840

1845, 235 x 390mm, Hand-coloured lithograph on paper

HEAPHY, Charles;

Te Hiko-o-te-rangi, the Son of Te Pēhi Kupe

1845, 245 x 170mm, Hand-coloured lithograph on paper

HEAPHY, Charles;

The Level Country at the South End, Looking North of Blind Bay

1845, 240 x 865mm, Hand-coloured lithograph on paper

HEAPHY, Charles;

Whata, or Provision House, at Otumatua, on the North Shore of Cook’s Strait

1845, 255 x 175mm, Hand-coloured lithograph on paper