The story of the Indian immigrant who catalysed the New Zealand gold rush but died in near penury

This Article First Appeared In Scroll On Dec 24, 2022

On the morning of April 12, 2009, a group of people gathered at the Mount Stuart Reserve in New Zealand’s South Island to mark the historical contribution of one of the earliest Indian immigrants to the country. At the ceremony, presided over by New Zealand’s Indian-origin Governor General Anand Satyanand, a plaque was unveiled. It said in part: “Edward Peters: The discoverer of the first workable goldfield in Otago at Glenore in 1858-1859.”

Terse though the description may be, it was an attempt to redress a case of historical misremembering. For almost a century and half, the man credited with the discovery of gold in Otago was a Tasmania-born gold prospector and farmer named Gabriel Read. But the tireless efforts of New Zealand writer Alan Williams helped bring greater awareness about the contributions of Edward Peters. It was in fact Peters who catalysed the gold rush in New Zealand in the early 1860s.

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