James Busby

James Busby (February 7, 1801 or 1802 - July 15, 1871) is widely regarded as the "father" of the Australian wine industry, as he took the first collection of vine stock from Spain and France to Australia.

He was born in Scotland, the son of English engineer John Busby, and the family emigrated from Britain to New South Wales in 1824.

Busby soon returned to England where he worked for the government before visiting Spain and France to study viticulture.

In March 1832 he was appointed to the position of 'First British Resident' of New Zealand and went to the Bay of Islands, taking with him some of the vine stock he had collected in Europe.

A house was completed for him at Waitangi where he planted grape vines from which wine was being made before his vines were productive in Australia. (Long before Busby arrived at Waitangi, missionary Samuel Marsden had already planted vines at nearby Kerikeri, on September 25 1819).

His duties were to protect British commerce and control the unruly British subjects present in New Zealand. However he was not provided with resources to impose this authority.

Busby proposed that New Zealand should have a national flag, after an unregistered New Zealand ship was seized in Australia. A selection of three or four designs was sent from Australia, and one was chosen by the Maori chiefs at a meeting at his residency on March 20, 1834.

In 1835 Busby learned that a Frenchman was proposing to declare French sovereignty over New Zealand. He drafted the Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand and at a meeting in October signed it together with 35 chiefs from the northern part of New Zealand.

After the arrival of William Hobson in 1840, he co-authored with him the Treaty of Waitangi. It was signed on February 5 and 6 1840 on the lawn outside his residence. Busby and his family left Waitangi that year. He died in England in 1871.

Published writings

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