George Vasey Stewart (1832 - 1920):
New Zealand settler
George Vesey Stewart was born in Martray, County Tyrone. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and eventually emigrated to New Zealand after a period of farming. He planned a settlement of Ulster gentry and tenant farmers, of which he would become the patriarchal head. Twenty-eight families arrived by sailing ship in 1875, and in 1878 were joined by another three hundred and seventy-eight people. Stewart bought land from the New Zealand Government and sold it in farm lots to the immigrants who settled at Katikati on the shores of Tauranga Harbour. After an initial period of disillusionment the community thrived, especially after the discovery of the Martha gold mine in Waihi, just twenty miles away. Dairy farming was developed. In 1880 to 1881 Stewart founded another settlement, Te Puke. After a short stay in England he returned to Katikati where he died. It is estimated that he was responsible for settling four thousand people from Ulster in New Zealand.