Skip to main content


Page 4 – The first woman settler?

Charlotte Badger

Charlotte Badger is believed to have been one of the first two European women to live (albeit briefly) in New Zealand. Sentenced to seven years of penal servitude as a convict in New South Wales in 1796, she completed her sentence in 1803. At some point she gave birth to a child.

In April 1806 Charlotte, her young child, and another woman, Catharine Hagerty,* left Port Jackson (Sydney) for Hobart on the Venus. At Port Dalrymple, on the north coast of Tasmania, some of the crew on board mutinied and took control of the ship from the captain. 

After the mutineers fled across the Tasman to New Zealand, the two women and Charlotte’s child were dropped off at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands, where they lived for some months in the care of local Māori, possibly Ngāpuhi rangatira Te Pahi and his people. Catharine is thought to have died soon after arriving in New Zealand. Charlotte and her child were rescued and left New Zealand in December 1806. Charlotte eventually returned to Sydney, where she married.   

Charlotte Badger’s story has inspired several works of fiction, and she has incorrectly lived on in tradition as a pirate and a mutineer, on the basis of inaccurate information. It is also often incorrectly said she lived in New Zealand for many years. For more information about the real story of Charlottes life, see the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.


* there are a number of different spellings of her name

How to cite this page

The first woman settler?, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated