Clearwaters of NZ

Born in the USA, and of Dutch descent, Garett Hopper Clearwater was the first descendant of the Clearwater family who arrived at Otakou on the Lucy Ann in 1832 before finally setting in 1838 on the Otago Peninsula.

He worked as a whaler, ships carpenter, as a shipwright for the Weller Brothers, a cooper and later as a sawyer, goldminer, and farmer.

He first met his wife, Ann Stevenson, as she was disembarking from the sailing ship the Phillip Laing from Scotland, after it berthed in 1848. This was the second immigrant ship to arrive in Dunedin following the John Wickliffe that same year.  They first settled at Company Bay where he started a sawmilling business and then to Broad Bay, at the top of what is now known as Clearwater Street.

Garrett and Ann had 7 children of which all the Clearwater’s of New Zealand are direct descendants.

In those days Otago Peninsula was called upon to supply much of the produce, milk, butter, potatoes, and vegetables for the Dunedin market.  There was also a large demand from the ships at Port Chalmers for fresh food.

Their 5th child William and wife Charlotte, nee Geary, farmed in Papanui Inlet. William was also a blacksmith, and his wife Charlotte was known to walk to Dunedin to sell butter, a distance of 20 miles over rough country.

William and Charlotte had 11 children and their 10th child Robert was our grandfather.

Robert and his wife Eliza took over the family farm and had 7 children.  Their sons Des, Brian, Robert (Bob) and Alan all took up farms in close proximity to their home farm at Mount Charles (pictured above), the highest point on the Otago Peninsula.  All these farms remain in the Clearwater family and are predominately farming sheep and cattle and sewing crops for winter feed.

Robert & Eliza’s 7th child Alan and his wife Sandra (our parents) purchased the home farm in 1975 and had 4 children.  Steven the eldest acquired the home farm in 2008 and Rachel, Janine and Mark purchased Cape Saunders Farm in 2006, alongside their parents.

To date 6 generations of Clearwater’s have resided on the Otago Peninsula since 1838.

Our family genealogy was recorded in 1986 and every descendant of Garrett Hopper Clearwater was allocated a code to represent their family history by generation.

Most Clearwater’s are familiar with the book - Clearwater’s of New Zealand. Ask any descendant and they may surprise you with their family code!

Rachel Kerr (nee Clearwater)