A Brief History

The original Hansen family of four had previously lived in the East End of London until July 1807 when they arrived at Port Jackson NSW in the convict ship Duke of Portland. The parents were Captain Thomas and Mrs Hannah Hansen, along with a 22 year old son Thomas and 15 year old daughter Hannah. They were free settlers and were expecting to take up a land grant.

Thomas Snr., a master mariner, was finally granted 100 acres in the parish of Bankstown near Parrramatta. His surname was spelt Hanson on the land grant which accounts for the spelling of Hanson Street in a more modern subdivision in present day Fairfield. It was common practice for newly arrived settlers to acquire more land, either by a further grant or by purchasing it from other settlers. One of these blocks was close to land owned by the Rev. Samuel Marsden, Chief Chaplain for New South Wales. The Hansen family probably attended church in Mr Marsden's big parish.

After five years in the convict colony, 20 year old Hannah Hansen entered into matrimony with a trainee missionary, John King. John had been living and working in Parramatta during the previous two years. They were married by Mr Marsden in his church of St John's on 10th November 1812 and the following year, he baptized their first child, Philip Hansen King.

John King had been a shoemaker back in Oxfordshire where he was born in 1787. He had learned his trade from his own father before deciding to become a missionary in the South Pacific. After further training in rope making and flax dressing, King and one other recruit named William Hall sailed off with Samuel Marsden in the convict ship Ann, bound for New South Wales and eventually, the proposed mission in New Zealand.

Marsden's third recruit for the New Zealand mission was Thomas Kendall who arrived from England in New South Wales in October 1813. For the next year, all three recruits worked at their respective occupations while Marsden finalized his plans for taking the Gospel to New Zealand.

A ship was needed for carrying the missionary families, stores, provisions, goods and chattels across the Tasman. Marsden was able to purchase a small brig named Active for the purpose. The original master was Captain Peter Dillon who commanded the first voyage to the Bay of Islands in mid 1814. Hall and Kendall had been sent on their own to make sure that it would be safe to send a whole contingent of wives, children and others to establish a settlement under the protection of Chief Ruatara.

Finally, in November 1814, the Active set out on her second voyage to New Zealand with Captain Thomas Hansen in command, replacing Dillon. This time, the brig carried a total of 35 passengers, crew and returning natives plus an incredible collection of cattle, livestock, poultry, goats, cats and dogs according to passenger John Liddiard Nicholas. He listed all the people on board the Active as follows:

Thomas Hansen Snr., master, Hannah Hansen, his wife and Thomas Hansen Jnr., their son.
Rev. Samuel Marsden, Chief Chaplain of New South Wales

John Liddiard Nicholas, friend of Marsden
William Hall Snr., missionary, Dinah Hall, his wife, William Hall Jnr., their son
Thomas Kendall, missionary, Jane Kendall, his wife and their three sons
John King
, missionary, Hannah King, his wife, Philip Hansen King, their infant son
Walter Hall, convict prisoner and blacksmith
Henry aka Patrick Shaffery, convict prisoner and labourer
Richard Stockwell, convict prisoner and servant to the Kendalls
Duaterra, Shunghi and Korra-korra, Chiefs in the Bay of Islands
Tui, Jacky Miti, Tommy, Young Shungi and Tenana, all New Zealanders
Alexander Ross and John Hunter, crew
Thomas Hamilton and William Campbell, crew
War-ra-kee and Tommy, New Zealanders plus Dicka-hee and Punee, crew.

When the Hansen Family had arrived in Australia as free settlers in July 1807, the Rev Samuel Marsden had already been in the penal colony for some 13 years. At the age of 28 he had been appointed as an assistant chaplain to the Rev Richard Johnson who later returned to England leaving the chaplaincy in the capable hands of Samuel Marsden.

Marsden has been born in West Yorkshire in 1765 to a pious couple who followed the Wesleyan faith. As a young man, Samuel worked for his Uncle John Marsden who was a blacksmith. By the time he was 21, he had become deeply affected by the current religious revivals and he decided to train as a clergyman with the Church of England. William Wilberforce, the great campaigner against slavery, was one of the influential people behind Marsden's decision to spread the Gospel of Christ to people of the South Pacific. Once he had made up his mind on the subject, he proposed to Elizabeth Fristan, was married forthwith and the young couple embarked on the long voyage to Australia, arriving at Port Jackson with a brand new baby daughter.

The Marsden Family had taken their first long leave back to England during 1807-09. During this time, Samuel initiated his plans for creating the first mission settlement in New Zealand and returned to New South Wales a happy man with his first two recruits, Hall and King. On the convict ship Ann, Marsden met up with a very sick Chief Ruatara who had been badly mistreated and let down by a number of people. Marsden nursed him back to health on the long voyage and then took him to his home in Parramatta until the Chief could return to his own home.

Once home, Marsden heard the terrible news of the Boyd massacre at Whangaroa in the Bay of Islands and he had to shelve the plans for his proposed mission because of the dangers. Then, in October 1813, the third recruit named Thomas Kendall arrived from England with his wife and children. All three recruits had been approved by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and they formed the nucleus of New Zealand's first mission station. They spent the next 12 months in Parramatta while Marsden finalized his plans for taking the Gospel to New Zealand.


Image credit:

Morgan, Jack, fl 1961-1966. Morgan, Jack :Oihi Bay, Christmas Day 1814; Samuel Marsden preaching the first sermon to the Maoris. [Auckland, Weekly News, 1964]. Ref: B-077-002. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://beta.natlib.govt.nz/records/23113825

Contact Information

1814 Hansen Family Society Inc.
Auckland, New Zealand

Committee members details