Caddell, James

  • Currently 0/5 Stars.
You may use the stars on the left to rate and leave feedback for the current article. No registration is required. Waiting for 5 votes 0.0 of 5 stars (0 votes) — Thanks for your vote

Please fill out the following optional information before submitting your rating:

fl. 1810-26

English captive and Maori chief

Caddell was an English cabin-boy on a sealing ship, the Sydney Cove, in Foveaux Strait, between Stewart Island and the South Island of New Zealand, when he was captured by the local Maori people in 1810, aged about 13-16. He and some other crew members had gone ashore in a small boat and the rest of the men were captured eaten. He escaped because he happened to touch the chief's cloak, and thus became tapu.

He was adopted into the tribe, living on Stewart Island, and became completely acculturated, refusing to return permanently to European society: the first known Pakeha-Maori, or non-Maori who lived among the Maori. His adoptive father was a chief, he married the daughter and sister of a chief, received the moko (one of only about five non-Maori ever to receive the moko), or carved Maori tattoo, was an excellent warrior, and became a chief himself. In 1822 he was part of a Maori group who boarded an Australian ship, the Snapper, and was brought to Australia with his wife, Tokitoki, where he stayed for several months.

The lurid newspaper accounts of his arrival in Sydney stated that he had become a cannibal chief and was virtually indistinguishable from a true Maori; he was even said, quite improbably, to have almost completely forgotten how to speak English. He made another trip to Australia before returning to New Zealand. He was interviewed in 1826 by Thomas Shepherd, but no more was ever heard of him.


McNab, Robert. Murihiku and the Southern Islands ... (Invercargill: William Smith, 1907)
"First Known Case of a Pakeha Turning Maori," The Standard [Wellington], 28 March 1952
Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. (Wellington: Allen & Unwin and the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs, 1990). Vol. 1: 1769-1869
Bentley, Trevor. Paheka Maori: The Extraordinary Story of the Europeans Who Lived as Maori in Early New Zealand. (Auckland: Benguin Books, 1999)


New Zealand
Uk/great Britain
18th Century
19th Century
Rulers, Nobles, Chiefs, Presidents, Prime Ministers
Captured by Another Tribe or Group
Trans-Racial, Trans-Tribal, International or Trans-Cultural Adoption or Fostering
Customary or Traditional Adoption, Informal and Extra-Legal Care
Visitor Comments (0) - Be the first to comment
Adding your comments contributes to the adoption community. Please keep all comments on topic and civil. Visitors are invited to comment and vote for or flag comments based on appropriateness and helpfulness. All comments must adhere to our commenting rules and are subject to moderation.

To see local Adoption resources, please select a location (U.S. only):

Need a Home Study?
Adoption Photolisting
Gia (TX / 11 / F)
Gia is definitely a strong spirited child who can present with a strong will when she wants what she wants, when she wants it, and how she wants it. Gia will confidently cross... [more]
Parent Profiles
Hello! We're a married, mixed race family hoping to adopt a new baby. All three of us are excited to continue building our family through open adoption. Our family is filled with... [more]
Directory of Adoption Professionals
Find a professional
for all of your adoption needs including:

Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of

Settings Help Feedback
Template Settings
Width: 1024     1280
Choose a Location:
Choose a Theme: