They kissed goodbye to their families, left home, and sailed thousands of miles to the bottom of earth, with the promise of work and a better way of life.

Sixty-four years ago, the emigrant ship Captain Cook left Glasgow with 1093 passengers on board bound for New Zealand.

This week, Scottish newspaper The Herald published a black-and-white photograph from its archives of some of the Scots about to embark on the ship.

Now, the Herald wants to hear from anyone who might recognise themselves or a family member in the photo, and come forward with their story.


As Ken Smith wrote in his Glasgow Herald 'Pictures from our archive' column this week, many Scots settled in the south of New Zealand which had been popular with their countrymen over the last preceding century.

Places like Dunedin and Invercargill, and indeed all across Otago and Southland, boast a rich Scottish history, with Highland games, pipe bands and Burns suppers still enjoyed today.

There is a distinct feeling of optimism emanating from the old photo.

Smith writes: "The chap at the front is very well-dressed, with his leather gloves stuffed in his coat pocket, but that little moustache does give him an air of the fleeing bank robber. The chap behind him looks a bit more financially challenged so he is probably just hoping for a job rather than having a burning desire to travel half-way around the world."

In 1947, the New Zealand Government introduced a cheap passage scheme, colloquially known as the Ten Pound Poms scheme.

"New Zealand has vacancies for some 30,000 new settlers to be absorbed into engineering, building, development work and factories," Glasgow's Evening Times reported on February 5, 1952, the day the Captain Cook set sail.

A number of passengers took with them their own cars, the paper said.

The New Zealand Government had spent a whopping 750,000 British pounds in updating the ship with first class accommodation for the emigrants.

It had two, four, and six-berth cabins, along with cots for babies.

During the 33-day voyage to Wellington, via the Panama Canal, they travelled in relative comfort, with dining room saloons, evening sing-a-longs, five lounges, a smoking room, writing room, nursery and ironing room.

The only catch was down to New Zealand's acute housing shortage, which meant the immigration authorities only accepted people nominated by friends, relatives or employers who could guarantee accommodation.

Among the passengers were 429 families and 155 volunteers for the New Zealand forces, the Evening Times reported.