You are currently viewing A Burnt Bottom Escape to Hawaii – The Duvauchelle Brothers at Akaroa 
Duvauchelle Hotel Prior to Canterbury Earthquakes

A Burnt Bottom Escape to Hawaii – The Duvauchelle Brothers at Akaroa 

The Three Duvauchelle Brothers stayed a very short time in Akaroa, but they have a remarkable story, arriving with a Bishop, claiming all of Banks Peninsula in a rival land claim, being gifted land, escaping in a barrel for a burnt bum, and leaving their name in legacy for generations.

Duvauchelle’s Pursuit Akaroa Land Claim

Jules Duvauchelle had arrived to Akaroa with Bishop Pompallier (Bishop of Oceania, based in the Bay of Islands) on the Sancta Maria six weeks after the Comte de Paris settler ship. He was sent to pursuit a land claim by Messieurs Rateau and Cafler (captain of whaler Jonas), they had claimed that they had made a purchase for Banks Peninsula that predated that of Langois and that their deed would be nessecary for the French settlements success. (Ref Buick 1928)

Edouard Henri Duvauchelle (1819–1878) of Rue, Somme, Picardie, France. Arrived in Akaroa 1842 where his brother Jules Duvauchelle had been gifted land (one source states 1840 another 17 March 1843), the land parcels gifted were at the end of the Pipers Valley Stream, between the beach road and main road to Robinsons Bay, the area around the campground today, the bay was then known after the first landowners.

These land gifts were due to the recognition of Lavaud (French King’s Commissioner for the French Settlement at Akaroa) that Jules Duvauchelle’s language skills would prove valuable for the new French settlement, Jules spoke English, Maori as well as his native French. 

Duvauchelle Stock Sales Yards from Buick ’French at Akaroa’

Akaroa’s Second Trading Store

Lavaud also gifted Jules Duvauchelle land next to the Bruce Hotel near the main wharf of Akaroa for a house, in the English end of town, Jules built here a trading store and did a good trade with Hempleman and others and ending Lavaud’s monopoly of trade. (In one source it is stated that the store and house was in the French end of town).

Akaroa by William Fox 1848, how Akaroa looked when the brothers lived there.

Jules and Henry were not settlers of the French Comte de Paris settler scheme as is believed by the family history. But have a remarkably interesting history during their short stay in New Zealand. See for the full list of settlers.

Jules is recorded as having purchased land in the Bay of Islands in 1837 and having arrived in New Zealand via Australia. The name of the ships or dates of his arrival is unknown. 

It is unknown as to Benjamin’s arrival, it appears he followed Jules to Akaroa with Henry arriving in 1842 to Akaroa. 

It appears that the three brothers left Akaroa together in 1844 for Hawaii.

The First Landowners of Duvauchelle Bay

None of the Duvauchelle brothers ever lived on the land at Duvauchelle, but they certainly would have known the other settlers who eventually did. Francois and Justine Rose (née de Malmanche) LeLievre were believed to be the first to settle ‘The Head of the Bay’ establishing the French Ferry or Lelievre’s Ferry, to they had a house which sometimes acted as a hotel, near the present hotel, which was a rather simple building with no windows, but shutters, and cracks through the walls. They provided the transport to Akaroa prior to a road being established, one source states Francois began this in 1843, but. It is unlikely to have been a permanent residence until they married in 1851. Both arrived on the Comte de Paris, LeLievre had arrived as a crew member and blacksmith, de Malmanche as an eight year old girl with her parents. 

Joseph Libeau was the second settler to Duvauchelle taking up sections east of the Duvauchelle brothers from 1856, Libeau was also a Comte de Paris settler who had arrived with his parents at the age of five.

So it is believed from these historical references that Duvauchelle’s had no permanent residents while the Duvauchelle brothers owned land there, perhaps the start of the ferry service from 1843 and from much later, from 1855 onwards a settlement, farms and mills started to be established. While they owned land in Duvauchelle’s it would not have been a profitable place to live. 

By 1845 when the Duvauchelle brothers left Akaroa and New Zealand, Akaroa would have still been a very small settlement, whaling was declining and no other nearby settlement meant there were few to trade with, Akaroa was self sufficient in growing food but cash poor at this stage. 

Family Lore of the Burnt Bottom

There is a wonderful family story of Henry placing a Maori woman on a hot oven and burning her bottom, her father wanted utu or revenge and pursued Henry, however the older brothers were quick to act and loaded him into a barrel, rolled him down the wharf to a ship and only revealed him when they were far out to sea, Henry then landed in Hawaii where he remained for the rest of his life, and where his family name is still common.

The Duvauchelle Brothers

Eldest brother, Jules Augustin Duvauchelle was born on 10 March 1811 in Rue, (Somme), France. He died on 18 November 1873, at age 62, in Algeria.

Benjamin Louis Sulpice Duvauchelle was born on 20 January 1815 in Rue, France. He died in 1878, at age ~63, in Talcahuano, Chile.Youngest brother, Edouard Henri Duvauchelle was born on 19 June 1819 in Rue, France. He died in Hawaii.

Edouard Henri Duvauchelle immigrated to Akaroa April 1842 arriving on whaling ship Heva. Died Hawaii February 21,1878.

Rue, France is a similar area to the home of other French settlers to Akaroa, most coming from Normandy. Perhaps with that strong Viking history as a precursor to their tenacity in exploring and settling distant lands. 

Marie Haley

I am your guide, Marie Haley, I was born and raised on Banks Peninsula. The seventh generation direct decedent of Akaroa’s very first French settler. I grew up on the family farm following in the footsteps of my Grandfather, and his Grandfather before.