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William b: 1817 and John Deans b: 1820 were among the earliest European settlers of Canterbury. The brothers farmed at Riccarton Bush They had trained as lawyers and became interested in the New Zealand Company’s colonising scheme, and left for New Zealand along with the Gebbie and Manson families also from Scotland.

Their land was given to them on condition they did not settle near Māori plantings. From Lyttelton they sailed to the Estuary and took a whaleboat up the Avon River to a place where they unloaded bricks for a chimney. They changed to a canoe which could cope with the shallow water. Their house built in 1843 was the first on the Canterbury Plains. Once the farm was established, the Manson and Gebbie families left to establish their own farms at the head of Lyttelton Harbour.

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