Bravo Island settlement, 1879

Settlement on Bravo Island in Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island, 1879.

Caption from National Library:

Shows the settlement at Bravo Island in Paterson Inlet, with the farm of Dennison Urban (‘Yankee’) Smith at extreme left, and the house of the Portuguese whaler Manuel Gomez in the centre with three figures in the doorway. There is cleared land in foreground, cows at pasture, a boatshed (to the left of Smith's beached boat - the ‘Bravo’), a cowshed at the extreme right, a sandspit at the extreme right beside the inlet in the right background. Two clay cliffs on the far bank are reflected in the water. The details listed are taken from John Hall-Jones Stewart Island explored.

Community contributions

15 comments have been posted about Bravo Island settlement, 1879

What do you know?

John Bilbrough

Posted: 20 Mar 2019

I have just been reading an interview with Simon Dallow (TV One newsreader) whose mother was a Goomes from Southland.


Posted: 12 Apr 2013

Dear Maureen and all other fellow participants in this discussion, I can be reached through [email protected] Feel free to send me an email and we can exchange some more information regarding this subject.


maureen head

Posted: 01 Apr 2013

I would still love to hear from you - Storm Wardrop re the Goomes [Gomez] family[my husbands] + maybe my own family, Wardrop. Gt.Gt. [Gt?]Grandma was Elizabeth, daughter of Simon Wardrop[e] + Marion Gardener + born in Kilsyth July 2 / 1820. She had a brother James born 20/03/1826 + another daughter, Marion born 29/06/ 1832.Any info greatly recieved, Thanks


Posted: 07 Mar 2013

Dear Maureen thank you for you reply. I am Portuguese and doing some local research in National archives hence the need to cross check some facts. We wanted to trace the origin of the family back to Cabo-Verde and Portugal but there are some inconsistencies that I wanted to verify with the information already gathered in NZ.

Ilha da Brava (Brava Island) in Cabo-Verde was originally called Ilha de São João (Saint John's Island) but due to the flora and fauna it was changed over the years to Brava (in CV creole Dja Braba) which means "wild" so Wild Island.

"By the end of the XVIII century the New Bedford and Rhode Island whaleboats started to use the island as a supply stop in the mid Atlantic. Little by little the men from Brava, with their fame for being excellent mariners, find work aboard these whaleboats."

Amongst these young men there were (at least) two that settled in South NZ, Manuel Gomes and his brother José Gomes.

As for the Portuguese language Brava and Bravo are a feminine and masculine word but can mean different things. In this specific case I believe it was an evolution through time just like you mostly see Manuel Gomes referred to as Emannuel Gomez (which is incorrect in Portuguese but very common in Spanish language).

If anyone has some information that can be shared I would appreciate your contact :) I can be reached on facebook in International Law Projects & Programmes.

Thank you!

maureen [mo] Head

Posted: 05 Feb 2013

Reply to Awale - You can contact Ngai Tahu register with names you know. They have what is known as The Blue Book & will give you details. They have good web sites. Same goes to Mark Young 9th Dec - don't know that name though! Most of the sailors, sealers did marry local girls. Seems most of the families do tie in together. Justine I gave my idea of Bravo & Brava to Storm Wardrop 19th Sep, I have a friend who lives in Brazil, she says the A & O are masculine & feminine distinctions in that language so maybe Emanuel Goomez made a deliberate distinction! Great picking up snippets of info here & there. My husband's Grandmother was Margaret Hanning, back to Johanna ect, going back to E. Goomez as well. There are several books on Stewart Island printed, they gives heaps of info. cheers Mo

mark young

Posted: 09 Dec 2012

I would like to confirm or uncomfirm whether or not I have family connections by blood to Stewart Island Maori, I have been told that Menpes a boat-builder of early times may have married a Maori person,


Posted: 26 Nov 2012

Hello! Could anyone please provide me with the family tree so I can cross check it with some facts I encountered in my research?! How old was Manuel Gomes when he jumped ship in New Zealand? Thank you so much!

storm wardrop

Posted: 19 Sep 2012

Im from Bluff. Manuel Goomes correctly spelt Gomez is my gr gr gr grandfather. He married Johanna Kamaku and had 20 children. One of ther daughters was named Johanna and she married a man called William Hanning. Hannings were a notouriously known family for great seamanship..boatbuilders fisherman and sailors. One of there children Mona married James Campbell and they were my great grandparents. I have a family tree starting back from well before 1837..if any one has interest as to possibly being a relative of mine id appreciate hearing from you..

Julianne Russell

Posted: 19 Feb 2010

Hi my whanau come from here as well.My mother was Kitty Solomon her mother was Bessie Goomes and her gfather was Manuel Goomes the second,would love to attend any reunion if any.

Christian Smith

Posted: 10 Jan 2010

The American whaler was Urban Dennison Smith he went under the name Dennison U Smith . Dennison came from Groton , Connecticut , USA. He arrived at Stewart Island around 1860 after jumping ship . The ship being called the "RUNNYMEAD" . He married Susan Antoni in 1863 , sister of Johanna Antoni . Dennsion and Susan had 14 children , 2 of which drownwd at Bravo . Both Dennison Smith and Manuel Goomes where both boat builders at Bravo . Dennsion Smith and Tom Leask built the boat " ULVA " the first mail boat for the post .. The Smith family make regular trips back to their ancestral land on Bravo Island .