The Otago Association was founded in 1845 by adherents of the Free Church of Scotland with the purpose of establishing a colony of like-minded Scots in Otago in the South Island of New Zealand, chiefly at Dunedin.
In addition to religion, the economy was also a motivator in the association's foundation. The Highland Clearances, crop failures, and population pressures in industrialised urban centres all created conditions that, by the mid-nineteenth century, made emigration seem attractive to many poorer Scots.
John McGlashan was the association's secretary in Edinburgh, Scotland, from 1847. He would himself emigrate in 1853. The first two settler ships, John Wickliffe and Philip Laing, under the command of William Cargill, sailed from Britain in late 1847 and arrived at what is now Port Chalmers on 23 March and 15 April 1848, respectively. About 12,000 immigrants arrived in Dunedin within a decade.
- Henare, Amiria (2005). Museums, Anthropology and Imperial Exchange. Cambridge University Press. pp. 138–140. ISBN 0521835917.
- Breward, Ian. "John McGlashan". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011. Check date values in:
- "1848: The John Wickliffe anchors at Port Chalmers". New Zealand History Online. New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "The Otago settlement". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage of the New Zealand Government. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
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