The first woman settler? - go-betweens

Charlotte Badger

Charlotte Badger is credited with being one of the first two European women to settle in New Zealand. Sentenced to seven years penal servitude in New South Wales in 1796, she gave birth to a daughter at the Parramatta female factory.

In April 1806 Charlotte, her daughter and her friend Catherine Haggerty left Port Jackson for Hobart on the Venus with a group of male convicts. At Port Dalrymple, on the north coast of Tasmania, the convicts mutinied and took control of the ship. Accounts vary, but Charlotte and Catherine appear to have been willing participants. One version of events had Badger dressed as a man and flogging the captain of the Venus.

The mutineers fled across the Tasman where the women, their partners and Charlotte's child were dropped off at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands. Haggerty died around April 1807, and it seems that their male companions left. Charlotte lived with a Ngāpuhi chief and refused to be brought back to live in European society on at least two occasions before disappearing from the record. One account claims that she went to America with a whaling captain.

As for the Venus mutineers, they carried on down the coast, kidnapping two Nga Puhi women who were sold to southern chiefs and subsequently eaten. The same fate befell the mutineers when the Venus finally ran out of luck.

How to cite this page: 'The first woman settler? - go-betweens', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/frontier-of-chaos/charlotte-badger, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 25-Mar-2014