George Bruce (Druce)
Country of origin: Australia
Area in New Zealand: Bay of Islands
Source: book- The Bay of Islands; Jack Lee; NZETC "From Tasman to Marsden"; McNab; book - Between Worlds- Anne Salmon.
George Bruce, sometimes called Druce, was a British convict in Australia. He deserted from the NSW Government ship Lady Nelson which brought Chief Te Pahi back to the Bay of Islands in 1806 after his visit to Sydney. George Bruce was employed on the vessel, and nursed Te Pahi during severe sea sickness. Te Pahi requested that Bruce stay in New Zealand so he remained at Motuapo Island (Te Pahi's island). He married the Chief's daughter, Atahoe. About 1808 the ship General Wellesley called at the Bay of Islands. needing a guide for the North. Bruce and his wife were persuaded to do this. The General Wellesley completed its business, and kept sailing, with the Bruces on board, to Malacca in the Dutch East Indies. Bruce went ashore to complain to the Governor about their treatment. While he was absent, the General Wellesley left, with Mrs Bruce still on board, for Penang. Bruce finally caught up with the ship 3 months later. The Bruces eventually reached Sydney after travelling to India and Tasmania.
A girl child was born en route. Mrs Bruce died in Sydney on 27 February 1810. She was buried in Sydney. The child was put in the orphan school in Sydney. Bruce tried to return to New Zealand, but could not and eventually left for England, joined the Royal Navy and died in 1819.
Early Shipping in New Zealand gives a description of the 'General Wellesley' calling at the Bay of Islands in 1807. George had arrived the previous year on the 'Lady Nelson'. On board the 'Lady Nelson' was Tippahee who was returning from Sydney and Samuel Marsden. George was asked to nurse Tippahee during an illness on board and Tippahee requested that George stay with him in New Zealand.
The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Saturday 3rd of March 1810), remarks on their arrival in Sydney and the death of George's wife.
Between Two Worlds gives the tombstone inscription for Atahoe. who was known as Mary Bruce.
Sacred to the Memory of Mary Bruce, Princess of New Zealand
who Departed this Life Feb. 27 1810, aged 18 years
Good Christian all that see this tomb
What I am come to is your doom.
These words is true that I do say
The secret that is between this soul and me
No mortal soul that in this life
Will ever know the secret between me and my wife
Altho she, is gone, and I am here,
Never till our souls, before the Lord does appear,
When we are there, both great and small,
God will discover our secrets all.