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About Joel Samuel Polack
Joel Samuel Polack (28 March 1807 – 17 April 1882) was one of the first Jewish settlers in New Zealand, arriving in 1831. He is regarded as an authority on pre-colonial New Zealand and his two books are often cited.
Joel Samuel Polack is said to have been born in London, England, on 28 March 1807, son of a successful Jewish painter and engraver, Solomon Polack, and his wife, Sarah. The family had migrated from Holland to Ireland and then to England, where they settled; their children included Abraham, Joel Samuel, Rebecca and Elizabeth. Art and letters were to play an important part in the life of J. S. Polack, but he began his career in the War Office (Commissariat and Ordnance), serving in South Africa and Mauritius. After four years he left to travel in America, and in 1830 joined his brother, Abraham, in business in New South Wales, Australia. In 1831 he came to New Zealand.