Baron Charles Philippe Hippolyte De Thierry

King of Nukuhiva

One of the more colourful characters buried here.

Roving adventurer, big dreams

Born in the Netherlands of French parents, De Thierry was educated in England.

He enrolled at Oxford and claimed to have transferred to Cambridge University.

In 1820, in England, he met travelling Māori chiefs Hongi Hika and Waikato, and New Zealand missionary Thomas Kendall. He arranged for Kendall to purchase 16,000ha of Hokianga land, for payment of 36 axes. He tried to get the Dutch and French governments to form a colony, and make him Governor. They declined.

With his wife Emily (neé Rudge), he travelled to North America and the Caribbean – where he applied for a concession to cut the Panama Canal - before arriving in the South Pacific in 1835.

De Theirry attempted to establish his own sovereign state in the Marquesas Islands (now part of French Polynesia) when he proclaimed himself "King of Nukuhiva", the biggest island there.

My colony

In July 1837, he reached Sydney and recruited colonists, raised money, and sailed for New Zealand on the ship Nimrod. On arrival, his purchase of land was repudiated by Māori leaders Tamati Waka Nene and Patuone, but he was granted 232 ha instead. After a riot, his ‘colonists’ went their own separate ways.

De Thierry continued to agitate for a French colony led by himself, but this ended with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

Charles De Thierry moved his family to Auckland, but they found it tough going. He sailed to the California goldfields, but didn’t make his fortune there, either.

Back in Auckland in 1853, he befriended Catholic Bishop Pompallier and Governor George Grey, who financed De Thierry’s autobiography.

At the end, diminished

He experimented with flax processing, and survived as a piano teacher in Auckland.

In 1815 De Thierry had charmed the Congress of Vienna with his violin playing; on 8 July 1864 he died in Auckland, a poor music teacher.

He was buried in the Anglican section along with several members of his family. Their graves were disturbed by the building of the motorway and their remains are now enclosed in the general Anglican Memorial.

Baron Charles Philip Hippolytus De Thierry 1793-1864

Baroness Emilie Mary de Thierry (nee Rudge) 1791-1856

Baron Charles Thomas Frederick De Thierry b. 1820 Cambridge England d. 4 Aug 1897 Auckland

Baroness Mary Nye De Thierry d.1869

John William De Thierry b. 10 Sept 1830 Baltimore d. 17 Feb 1863 Auckland

Baron Richard Louis Francis James De Thierry b. 1821 Cambridge England d. 31 Jan 1890 Auckland

Emilie Mary Burgess De Thierry 1882

Isabella Caroline Louisa Emily De Thierry b. 3 January 1828 New York d. 17 March 1850 Auckland

Isabella Margaret Broadfoot De Thierry d. 14 January 1912

Charles Richard De Thierry 1913 Grandson

Baron Frederick James De Thierry d.21 May 1931 Grandson

George De Thierry b. 1825 Paris France was buried at Shortland, Thames 1878.

  • <p>Baron Charles Philip Hippolytus de Thierry, date unknown. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A11526.</em></p>
  • <p>A funeral scene on Nukuhiva. <em>Voyage au Pôle Sud et dans l'Océanie sur les corvettes L'Astrolabe et La Zélée, Jules Dumont d'Urville, Gide Paris, 1846.</em></p>
  • <p>The funeral in December 1933 of Baroness Mary Jane de Thierry, who died aged 100 years. She was the daughter-in-law of Baron Charles de Thierry. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19331206-47-3.</em></p>
  • <p>Nukuhiva, the island Charles de Thierry thoiught he'd be the King of. Trouble is, the locals werne't so sure...</p>
  • <p>de Thierry, aspired to many things including becoming king of New Zealand. British Resident James Busby became so concerned that Thierry was planning to become sovereign ruler of New Zealand that he brought northern chiefs together to sign the New Zealand Declaration of Independence in 1835. Coat of arms of Baron de Thierry, Charles Ier, roi de la Nouvelle Zelande. Artist unknown, Warner sc[ulpsit]. [London or Cambridge? ca 1825 or 1840].. Ref: A-320-026. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. <a href=""></a></p>

Aerial photo location

Where is the memorial?

Charles de Thierry and some of his descendants are listed on the Anglican Memorial, which is at the southern side of the concrete courtyard. Site 3 in the Hobson Walk Trail Guide.