Painting of Josiah Clifton Firth; 1879; 07


Painting of Josiah Clifton Firth

About this object

Oil painting of Josiah Clifton Firth (1826-1897). Firth was an entrepreneur from England who moved out to New Zealand in 1850 and farmed on the Matamata Estate.

Date Made


Medium and Materials

Oil Paint

Place Made

New Zealand

Subject and Association Description

When he arrived in New Zealand (Auckland), Firth began making bricks and had a share in a flour company in Auckland. In 1865, he managed to lease 85,000 acres for the Matamata Estate from Wiremu Tamihana. He bought some of the land, which became the base of the Matamata Estate. He had brief dealings with Te Kooti in 1870 and in 1875 he organised the clearing of the Waihou River/Thames Estuary to open it up for shipping (the use of dynamite to blow up trees that were blocking passage is described in Williams' log of the Kotuku). He was hit hard by the agricultural depression of the 1880s and was declared bankrupt in 1889. He started up a pumice trade between New Zealand, USA and England but died just as this started to become successful.


Firth Collection

Credit Line

Donated by Harold C Firth, grandson of J.C. Firth

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

This object is from

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