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Biographical entry Haast, Franz Julius von (Julius) (1822 - 1887)


1 May 1822
Bonn, Prussia
16 August 1887
Christchurch, New Zealand
Explorer, Geologist and Museum director


Julius von Haast was a German geologist who travelled to New Zealand in 1858 to report on the suitability of New Zealand for German migration for a British shipping company. He made the acquaintance of fellow geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter and together they made extensive exploratory journeys in both the North and South Islands. After Hochstetter's departure from New Zealand, Haast continued his geological exploration in the South Island often at the request of local authorities. He gained an international reputation for his research on New Zealand's extinct bird, the Moa. In 1868 he was appointed Director of the Canterbury Museum, and in 1876 Professor of Geology at the Canterbury College University. Haast was a regular correspondent with Ferdinand von Mueller, Victoria's Government Botanist. A number of geographical features in New Zealand were named after Haast.



December 1858
Life event - Arrived in New Zealand
Career event - Founding Member, Philosophical Institute of Canterbury
1867 - 1887
Award - Fellow, Royal Society, London
1868 - 1887
Career position - Director, Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, New Zealand
1873 - 1876
Career position - Lecturer in Geology, Canterbury College University, Christchurch, New Zealand
1876 - 1887
Career position - Professor of Geology, Canterbury College University, Christchurch, New Zealand
Award - Patron's Gold Medal, Royal Geographical Society, London
Award - Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCGM)
Career position - New Zealand Commissioner to the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, London

Published resources


  • Burns, Rowan and Nathan, Simon, My Dear Dr Haast: Transcriptions of Selected Letters from Robert Langley Holmes to Julius Haast Between 1864-65 and 1868-70 (Lower Hutt, N.Z.: Geoscience Society of New Zealand, 2012), 53 pp. Details
  • Burrows, Colin J., Julius Haast in the Southern Alps (Christchurch: Canterbury University Press, 2005), 215 pp. Details
  • Darragh, Thomas A. and Pullin, Ruth, Lieber Freund! Letters from Eugen von Guerard to Julius von Haast (Ballarat: Art Gallery of Ballarat, 2018), 81 pp. Details
  • Haast, H. F. von., The life and times of Sir Julius von Haast: explorer, geologist, museum builder. (Wellington, N.Z.: the author, 1948), 1142 pp. Details
  • Johnston, Mike and Nolden, Sascha, Travels of Hochstetter and Haast in New Zealand, 1858-60 (Nelson, NZ: Nikau Press, 2011), 336 pp. Details
  • Mildenhall, E., Burns, Rowan and Nathan, Simon, Transcriptions of Selected Letters From Frederick Wollaston Hutton to James Hector and Julius Haast (Lower Hutt (N.Z): Geoscience Society of New Zealand, 2012), 141 pp. Details
  • Nolden, Sascha, Burns, Rowan and Nathan, Simon, The Correspondence of Julius Haast and James Hector, 1862-1887 (Lower Hutt (N.Z.): Geoscience Society of New Zealand, 2012), 315 pp. Details
  • Nolden, Sascha, Nathan, Simon and Mildenhall, Esme, The Correspondence of Julius Haast and Joseph Dalton Hooker, 1861-1886 ([Wellington]: Geoscience Society of New Zealand, 2013), 219 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Langer, Wolfhart, 'Sir John Francis Julius von Haast, 1822-1887' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). Details

Journal Articles

  • Barton, Ruth, 'Haast and the moa: reversing the tyranny of distance', Pacific Science, 54 (3) (2000), 251-63. Details
  • Galloway, D. J., 'Julius von Haast's botanical explorations', New Zealand Alpine Journal, 29 (1976), 88-108. Details
  • Galloway, David, 'Julius Haast's letters concerning the drowning of Dr Andrew Sinclair (1796-1861) while crossing the Rangitata River, 26 March 1861', New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter, 108 (2012), 9-13. Details
  • Nolden, Sascha, 'Sir Julius von Haast: exploring an archival documentary heritage collection in the Alexander Turnbull Library', Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Special issue (2016), 1-6, Details
  • Nolden, Sascha, 'The life and legacy of Sir Julius von Haast: exploring archival documentary heritage collections', Records of the Canterbury Museum, 30 (2016), 65-80. Details

Helen Cohn