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Fraser Brothers

Arrived: 1837
Country of origin:
Area in New Zealand: Kapiti
Source: Paperspast

Details: Wellington Independent, 7th of November 1868 Wellington Independent, 19th October 1871

Death of Mr Alexander Fraser. - On the 18th October, Mr Alexander Fraser, of the island of Mana, departed this life at Wellington in the 70th year of his age. Mr Fraser and his twin brother were engaged in the coasting trade in the early history of the colony and were then owners of the schooner Twins, which traded between Wellington and Ahuriri and the Chatham Islands. The deceased was much respected and his remains were followed to the grave by most of the adult male settlers of Wellington.

Death of Mr Thomas Fraser.- Our obituary today contains a notice of the death of Mr Thomas Fraser, who was a resident of this part of New Zealand even before the arrival of the first party of settlers from England. His death occurred yesterday morning at half-past one o'clock, exactly the hour at which, it is said, his twin brother Alexander died on the morning of the 18th October, 1868. In Wellington, and in other parts of the colony, Mr Fraser was widely known, and was highly respected by all who enjoyed his friendship or acquaintance. Since the death of his brother Alexander, to whom he bore a striking resemblance, he was an intimate associate of Mr Richard Hammond, and it was during a visit to the house of his friend that his death occurred, after an illness of a few days. His brother and he, it is said, came to Sydney from tho old country so long ago os 1830. They were coopers by trade, and worked out an engagement of several years with Messrs Tooth. In 1837, they came to Kapiti, and commenced trading with the whalers and natives. They afterwards built vessels for themselves, and employed them in whaling and trading with Sydney ; eventually they purchased the island of Mana, which they stocked with sheep, adding grazing to their other business. In the early days of Otago they took up a sheep run near Moeraki, which they sold, about 1857, for £18,000. After this time thoy continued to reside principally at Porirua and Mana, in prosperous circumstances, until the death of Alexander at Wellington, in 1868. Thomas continued after that event to reside in Wellington, taking occasional trips to Wanganui and Rangitikei. The property he has left is known to be considerable, and is variously estimated by rumor from £20,000 to £40,000.

Fraser Genealogy New Zealand
The first known Fraser's to settle in New Zealand were twin brothers Alexander and Thomas Fraser. They were born in Scotland in 1800. Very little is known of their early years except that they were coopers by trade. They came to Sydney in 1830 as assisted immigrants under an engagement to Messrs Tooth, and they worked for the firm for several years. Afterwards Alexander kept a public house in Sydney for a short time. In 1837 the brothers came to Kapiti, where they traded with the whalers and the Maoris. Early in 1839 they arranged with Te Rangihaeata to occupy Mana Island. The brothers used Mana as a base for their whaling and trading ventures. For many years their schooner Twins traded with the east coast Maoris and used to call regularly at Ahuriri (Napier) long before that district was settled by Europeans. They also traded with the Taranaki and west coast tribes and with the South Island. In the early 1860s they added SS Wallabi to their trading fleet. 

In addition to trading, the Frasers became graziers and for many years maintained a large flock of sheep on Mana. In the 1840s they bought a sheep run at Taita, in the Hutt Valley, and later, they took up another at Porirua. In August 1853, following Kettle's survey, the brothers took up four sections in Otago. Two of these, in the Moeraki district, formed the nucleus of Runs 10 and 11 - the Kakaho and White Bluffs runs - which had a combined area of 30,600 acres. At the same time they applied for a much larger run on both sides of the Shag River in northern Otago. These holdings were stocked from their Mana flock. In 1857 they sold their Moeraki holdings for £18,000 and retired to Wellington. They leased their Mana and Porirua holdings and gradually disposed of their trading business. During their last years they lived quietly in Wellington where they became well-known financiers. When Alexander died at their home in Ghuznee Street, Wellington, on October 1868, his share in their joint enterprises reverted to his brother. Thomas died at York Farm, Rangitikei, on 18 October 1871, and was buried in Wellington. When Thomas died, the Evening Post recorded that few private men were better or more favourably known in the colony than these unassuming brothers. Although they had come from obscure beginnings they succeeded as traders and became the first successful graziers in New Zealand. Neither brother ever stood for public office, but in the Wellington of their day they were respected for their unfailing good humour and scrupulous fair dealing. As neither brother married, after Thomas's death their estate – variously estimated as being between £30,000 and 40,000 - was divided between their nieces and nephews in Wellington.