The Burnett connection

The Connection

Helena Josephine Fraser (1916-1985) was the grandaunt of Justine Bradley. She married John Burnett (1911-1989) in 1939 in Dunedin. The wedding photo is opposite.

John had two brothers and two sisters, one of whom was Violet who was a staff nurse in WW2.

Burnett family with collateral branches

This is by Charles Howard Burnet, 1870, and covers early history and the Burnetts who went to the USA.




Crannog to Castle Ch 2 : The Burnets in Southern Scotland – by Eileen Bailey

This covers the family in some detail before they emigrated to Australia



Scotland to Australia

Sept 2009

James Charles Burnett (1815-1854). Descendant
of Burnetts of Barns (Scotland)
Surveyor. Head of Survey Office, Brisbane.
James Charles Burnett arrived in Sydney with his
parents in December 1829. His father was William
Burnett, born 28 May 1788, who was the son of
James Burnett of Barns in southern Scotland.
William Burnett married Marjory Chalmers Brown
in Edinburgh on 30 October 1813. It has not yet
been determined whether James Charles Burnett
was born in 1815 in Edinburgh or London as his
father who was at one time a Merchant in Brazil
and also worked in London. William Burnett
moved to Australia in 1829 as Colonial Secretary
of the Swan River Settlement under the
government of Sir Edward Parry and soon moved
to New South Wales where he settled. William &
Marjory had other children – John Alexander
Burnett who became a Merchant in Melbourne and
married Margaret McDonnell (children Charles
John, William, James, Abigail Scott & Lilias),
Marjory Burnett who died young, William Burnett
of Burnetland in Hunter District & Patrick Graham)
William Burnett Snr died in 1858 aged 70.

 Eileen Bailey

The story of Harata Hoia & Alexander Alexander

Alexander Alexander (1820-1873) was of Scots origin and the g.gfather of John Terence Burnett.

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In December 1844 Kawepo accompanied the missionary William Colenso to Hawke’s Bay in the brig Nimrod. When Colenso’s five Maori teachers from Poverty Bay returned home, Kawepo was chosen by Colenso as their replacement in June 1845. For more than four years he carried out the duties of Maori teacher, undertaking arduous journeys to preach at Patea, Tarawera, Tangoio, Te Hawera, Manawatu and the scattered villages of Wairarapa. Kawepo wished to marry Harata Keokeo (referred to by Colenso as Charlotte Tawhi), but she ran off with Alexander Alexander, the European trader at Onepoto.

My version of Renata Kawepo was that he was an ‘uncle’ to Harata, who had taken over her guardianship after her own father was killed in one of the tribal wars. He may have wanted to marry her but that angle does not appear in my family version. However he certainly did not want her to have anything to do with Alexander Alexander and the night she crept out of the village to swim across the bay to Alexanders Schooner he and a party of warriors upon discovering her absence from the village got into canoes and went out to the Schooner. Apparently Alexander, while sitting on a large chest, invited Kawepo & his men to search the boat. After they couldn’t find Harata and had left the boat, Alexander took Harata out of the chest he had been sitting on and where she had been hiding. One family story I read recently stated that they lived together for some time before they were married by William Colenso. They only had one child: Eliza, who married William Burnett.I inherited Alexander’s bible which had been given to him by William Colenso.

coment added by Rita Edna Olive (MacGregor) Horomona

Harata Charlotte Tawhiuwhiu Hoia (1820-1888),



The pa where Harata and her mother where taken for safe keeping during the local tribal wars. It is there that she meet Alexander as he had his first tradinf post across the bay,


judith robinson originally shared this on 23 May 2022

Harata Charlotte Hoia

On 7 December 1870 in Napier she married William Alexander Burnett. They had 12 children including 5 daughters: Lilias Iniaho Harata Hine Te Aho Burnett who married Sir Charles E Statham (1st Speaker of NZ Parliament), Margaret Eliza Rita Burnett who married Major General Charles Melvill of NZ, Dorothy picture below who married George Henry McGregor whose mother was Te Pura Manihera , Violet who married Charles C Dalgety and Mina who is pictured at the bottom

Eliza Raiha Keokeo Alexander (1843-1934)

Mr. Burnett was brought up to mercantile life in the office of Messrs Dalgetty and Co., London. In 1863 he came out to Melbourne, by the ship “Suffolk”, and was on the Lima station for two years. when he came to Otago. He bought an interest in the Waikaka and Wendon stations, and sixteen months later went to visit an uncle on the Peak Downs station in Queensland. He returned to New Zealand in 1868 and sold his interest in the Otago stations, and bought the freehold of the Poraiti station in Hawke’s Bay where he resided for three years. Mr. Burnett served as ensign in the New Zealand militia and as lieutenant of the Hawke’s Bay Yeomanry during the native war. Having disposed of his Poraiti property to great advantage, Mr. Burnett went to England, but returned to the colony in 1873. Five years later he was appointed manager of the Hawkdun station. At that time he was in a very delicate state of health, but the change to the dry and bracing climate of Central Otago Mr. Burnett has held the appointment of Justice of the Peace since 1866, He became a member of the Maniototo County Council in 1887, and was twice elected to the position of chairman, While in the St. Bathans district, he generally took a great interest in local affairs, and served in connection with several societies and clubs. He was Mayor of Dunedin in 1911

William A Burnett

Mostly cyclopaedia of NZ

John Alexander Burnett

John was the ggfather of John Burnett. He was a prominent Melbourne merchant who died at the age of 36. His is listed as being the first burial at Melbourne Cemetery on the 28th May 1853.

Margaret McDonnell, his wife

A Burnett wedding in Dunedin 1905.

On 13 December 1905 Lilias Burnett and Charles Statham were married. It was a glittering social occasion as this report shows.