History of Shetland Islanders in New Zealand

In 1997 the Shetland Society of Wellington celebrated its 75th anniversary with the publication of Chips off the Auld Rock: Shetlanders in New Zealand written by Susan and Graham Butterworth. This book is both a history of Shetland settlement and a flavour of Shetland life in New Zealand. Copies are still available for $25 (plus $8 for postage within NZ if required, and an additional $4 if to a rural delivery address). Post your payment to the Society, or send an email to contact@shetlandwellington.org.nz  to make an alternative arrangement for payment and collection.

On this History page we will feature excerpts from Chips off the Auld Rock along with articles, snippets, photos and memories from our members and others with an interest in Shetland. Contributions are very welcome and can be sent to contact@shetlandwellington.org.nz


Sir Robert & Lady Anna Stout - links to our Society

Three posters prepared by a valued Society member for the October 2020 lecture on Sir Robert Stout, outlining the links of Sir Robert to our Society, including the Sir Robert Stout Rosebowl.

Poster: 1st_Patron_of_the_Shetland_Society_of_Wellington

Poster: Sir_Robert_Stout_Challenge_Rosebowl

Poster: Shetland_Islands_Collection

The 90th Anniversary of the Shetland Society of Wellington 1922-2012

The 90th anniversary was celebrated with a dinner in Wellington on 22 September 2012. Jim Coutts, immediate past-president proposed the toast to The Auld Rock and the Shetland Society of Wellington with a speech.

You can read the full speech (or print a copy) here

A message of congratulations from Malcolm Bell, Convenor of the Shetland Islands Council, was read at the anniversary dinner.

You can read this letter (or print a copy) here

Fisherman from the 'River Nile' bring their catch ashore at Fisherman's Creek, western Island Bay

The Shetland Islanders and their contribution to the fishing industry in Island Bay

Rose and Jim Coutts of the Shetland Society of Wellington begin this account with an introduction to Shetland and the conditions there that prompted many to emigrate to New Zealand. Many Shetlanders who settled in Wellington worked as fisherman out of Island Bay. This is a record of the families, the boats, the fishing industry and some of the events of that time.

You can read the full article (or print a copy) here   (pdf 1.09 Mb).


Peter and Maggie Tait

These are the memories of Bill Tait, born in Island Bay, Wellington to Peter and Maggie Tait, emigrants from Shetland. He writes about their settling in Island Bay, his father’s work as a fisherman, their family life, and the gatherings with other Shetland Islanders. Bill Tait died early in 2011, just two years after these memories were recorded.

You can read the full article (or print a copy)  here (pdf 402 Kb).



Robert Stout (1844-1930)

This extract from Chips off the Auld Rock gives a short summary of Robert Stout’s life, highlighting some of the principles formed during his childhood in Shetland to which he would hold throughout his long life.

You can read the extract (or print a copy) here (pdf 759 Kb).

For more information on Robert Stout click on these links