|British Resident in New Zealand|
March 1833 - 28 January 1840
|Bay of Islands councillor|
|Bay of Islands councillor|
|Born||7 February 1802|
|Died||15 July 1871 (aged 69)|
Anerley, London, UK
|Spouse(s)||Agnes Busby (née Dow; m. 1832)|
James Busby (7 February 1802 - 15 July 1871) was appointed in 1833 as the British Resident in New Zealand, and became involved in drafting both the 1835 Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand and the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. As British Resident, he acted as New Zealand's first jurist and the "originator of law in Aotearoa", to whom New Zealand owes almost all of its underlying jurisprudence'. Busby is also regarded[by whom?] as the "father" of the Australian wine industry, as he brought the first collection of vine stock from Spain and France to Australia.
On his arrival in Sydney, Busby was appointed a teacher of viticulture at the Male Orphans School at Bald Hills near Liverpool. The school closed in 1850. Busby served out his contract and taught the stipulated two hundred days at the Male Orphans' Farm. Busby then received a Grant of Land from the Governor and after much careful deliberation he chose a block in the Coal River area of the Hunter Region.
In 1828 Busby returned to England, before visiting Spain and France to further his study in viticulture. Busby returned to Australia in 1828.
Busby married Agnes Dow at Segenhoe, in the Hunter Region, New South Wales, on 1 November 1832. In March 1833 he was appointed by the Colonial Office to the position of British Resident of New Zealand and went to the Bay of Islands where he arrived in H.M.S. Imogene on 5 May that year. Agnes followed him, arriving in July.
His duties were to protect British commerce, control, and to mediate between the unruly P?keh? settlers and M?ori in New Zealand. However, he was not provided with any resources to impose this authority.
After an unregistered New Zealand ship was seized in Australia, Busby proposed that New Zealand should have a national flag. A selection of three or four designs was sent from Australia, and M?ori chiefs chose one at a meeting at his residency on 20 March 1834; see United Tribes of New Zealand.
In 1835 Busby learned that Baron Charles Philippe Hippolyte de Thierry, a Frenchman, was proposing to declare French sovereignty over New Zealand. He drafted the Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand and at a meeting in October signed it together with 35 chiefs from the northern part of New Zealand.
After the arrival of William Hobson in 1840, Busby co-authored with him the Treaty of Waitangi. It was first signed on 5 and 6 February 1840 on the lawn outside his residence. Busby and his family left Waitangi that year. He declined an offer for a position in the new colonial government, and instead focused on farming interests, but became entangled in litigation over his own land titles: the New Zealand Banking Company seized his Waitangi property without giving Busby's debtors an opportunity to pay what they owed, and Governor Grey expropriated Busby's land at Whangarei. He also edited a newspaper and served as a member of the Auckland Provincial Council. He contested the 1860 general election for a seat in the House of Representatives for the Bay of Islands electorate, but was unsuccessful.
He died in 1871 in Anerley, England after travelling back for an eye operation, and is buried at West Norwood Cemetery in London. His wife returned to New Zealand where she died, at Pakaraka in 1889, and is buried at Paihia.