The Guard Family of Kakapo Bay

This is the second contribution received regarding past life in Port Underwood. I am sure it will be of interest to everybody. Thank you John Guard for the following contribution.

The Guard Family of Kakapo Bay

184years ago my great grandfather John (Jacky) Guard 1792-1857 came to Port Underwood and in 1830 he set up the first shore whaling station at Kakapo Bay. Other whalers followed to Ocean Bay, Tom Canes Bay, Coles Bay and Cutters Bay.

In 1815 John Guard, aged 22yrs, was transported from England to Sydney NSW as a Convict on a 7 year sentence for stealing a 5/- (50 cents) bed cover…he did his time. In 1820 he joined a whaling/sealing venture on the sailing ship the Lynx to the southern seas for 2 years and wintered over on the Falkland Islands. On a return trip from another sealing adventure, while passing through Cook Strait in a storm, they were blown into Tory Channel. They were amazed to find both sheltered bays and so many whales.

About 1827 he gathered up his friends in Sydney and started the first shore whaling station in the South Island at Te Awaiti, Tory Channel. His wife Betty joined him in 1830 and their son John was born in 1831.-.the first European boy to be born in the South Island..Then in 1833 Louisa was born – the first European girl in the South Island. About 1833 they permanently moved to Kakapo Bay, Port Underwood. In 1834 on a trip back from Sydney on the barque Harriet they were wrecked on the coast of Taranaki and several crew were killed and captured by the Ngati Ruanui Maori. Five months later the HMS Alligator and Government schooner Isabella were called to rescue 8 seamen, Betty and her 2 children. This was successful. In 1836 The Guards returned full time to Kakapo Bay and experienced the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on.June 17, Horahora Kakahu Island. The whaling continued until 1848 and then they fished, farmed cattle, goats, pigs and grew fruit, to sell in Wellington and Nelson. Jacky died in 1857 aged 65yrs..Betty died 1870 aged 56yrs..4 of their children pre-deceased her. Seventeen of the Guard Family are buried in the Family cemetery at the back of the bay.

The land first went to their son John, then to my Grandfather Edward Guard 1850-1922 who married Emma Baldick 1864-1935 she was the granddaughter of Mary-Anne Baldick-Daken-Register-Flood (last Newsletter story) The land then went to my Father Albert Guard 1902-1995 and his brother Walter Guard 1908-1972. In 1995 my brother Edward and I inherited the land. We were Commercial Fisherman, and hobby farmers. Edward on sold his share in 1996.

Until 1974 for 135yrs the Guards owned from Ocean Bay north ridge to Oyster Bay north ridge. The land was cleared by hand and farmed with sheep and cattle. As family changed and moved on, the land was sold and now we own 10hectares- half of Kakapo Bay and all of Waipuna Bay. I am the 4th generation Guard to live at Kakapo Bay, and wouldn’t live anywhere else.

John Guard

Contributions from members of historical items of interest to Port Underwood are most welcome.

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