David Nathan (merchant)

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David Nathan (1816–1886) was an early colonial shopkeeper in New Zealand. His marriage to Rosetta Aarons in 1841 was the first Jewish service held in New Zealand.[1][2]

Born in London, Nathan migrated first to Australia in December 1839 and then for New Zealand on the Achilles, leaving Sydney for the Bay of Islands in February 1840. He set up a store, first in Kororareka (now known as Russell), then Auckland when it became the capital in place of Okiato (Old Russell) in the Bay of Islands. On 31 October 1841 he married, Rosetta Aarons, the widow of Captain Michael Aarons. As his business prospered, he traded in kauri gum and tea and operated a bond store. He was a founder member of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, established in 1856, and president in 1868. He was a trustee of the Auckland Savings Bank from 1864 to 1885 and vice president from 1878 to 1882, was an early commissioner for the port of Auckland, and served on the city council in 1854–55.[3] He set up L.D. Nathan and Company for his sons, Laurence David Nathan and Nathan Alfred Nathan, just before he retired from business in 1868.[4]

Nathan served four terms as president of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, between 1853 and 1883, and in 1884 laid the foundation stone of the synagogue on the corner of Princes and Bowen streets.[4][5]


  1. ^ "David Nathan who, at Kororareka in 1841, married Rosetta Aarons in the first Jewish marriage ceremony held in New Zealand. The Nathan family have ever since held a prominent place in public and mercantile affairs in New Zealand.". New Zealand Electronic Text Collection. Victoria University of Wellington. 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Notes on Jewish Participation in New Zealand History". NZ Jewish Archives. 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2011. "Nathan returned to Kororareka to settle some of his affairs and while there, on Sunday 31 October 1841, took part in the first Jewish marriage service held in New Zealand by getting married to Rosetta Aarons" 
  3. ^ "The Otago Daily Times". Otago Daily Times. 30 August 1886. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Mogford, Janice C. "Nathan, David". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "Papers Past — Grey River Argus — 20 December 1884 — A NEW SYNAGOGUE.". paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011.