Scotch Jock’s cottage near Paraparaumu, about 10.3 kilometres distant from Paekakariki, 1849.

One of the first Europeans associated with early Paekakariki was a whaler and trader named “Scotch Jock (or Jack)” Nicol, who roamed about Cook Strait and the east coast. He was well known to local Maori and married a woman of high birth, Te Rau-o-Te-Rangi also known as “Betty”.

In the days before Paekakariki European settlement, there was a small Maori Pa situated there. The area was contested by Māori groups including Rangitāne and Muaūpoko. During the 1820s the great war leader Te Rauparaha defeated and expelled the earlier inhabitants and claimed the region for Ngāti Toa and their allies. Ngāti Haumia, a hapū (division) of Ngāti Toa, built their pa by the mouth of the Wainui steam at the northern end of Paekākāriki. Te Rauparaha, whose pa was on nearby Kapiti Island, died in 1849.

Betty Nicol achieved fame by swimming from Kapiti Island to the NZ mainland near Waikanae (about 5 kilometres) with her child strapped to her back to warn of an impending Maori attack. One of Betty and Scotch Jock’s daughters later became the mother of Sir Maui Pomare (1875/’76?-1930), a prominent Maori doctor and politician.

Credit: Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa.