Captain James Reddy Clendon, an ambitious and educated young man from Kent, sailed to Sydney in 1826. On his return voyage he visited the Bay of Islands in New Zealand, then returned to establish a trading and transport business. It all started well, but hazard was ever present. Over a few short years violence, ill-luck, accidents, piracy, and theft all took its toll. Then, in October 1838, just eighteen months before Hobson arrived, Clendon was appointed the American Consul to look after the needs of the visiting US whalers. In 1840, with the arrival of Hobson, Clendon sold his home and business premises at Okiato for New Zealand's first capital. But the Government reneged on the contract, and when Auckland became the capital, the Clendons followed the once-prosperous north into a slow descent into poverty. These after years of prosperity came hard and, after his wife Sarah died, James married again, eventually moving into a house in Rawene in the Hokianga where today it is a museum managed by the Historic Places Trust. This book uncovers the promise and reality of Clendon's life as a merchant trader, US Consul, administrator and magistrate, during the rough uncertain years of early New Zealand.