He spent two and half years as Canterbury Associates Settlement Scheme head and preceded the 3500 settlers the scheme had attracted. He was against squatters and was a free marketeer.
Reading the story of the Hay's of Pigeon Bay today in the Freelance, August 13th, 1952, Douglas Cresswell said;
John Robert Godley was determined to make Canterbury an exclusive Church of England settlement and did his utmost to have the early Scottish settlers evicted from their holdings. However, after a great deal of trouble Mr Hay obtained written assurance from Sir George Grey, the Governor at the time, that they should not be deprived of their holdings, and Godley reluctantly had to give in.
The Hay's had arrived on the Bengal Merchant and had spent two fruitless years on the beach at Petone waiting for the fledgling government to open some land up for them. Taking matters into their own hands, they and two more families (Sinclairs and Deans), moved to the Canterbury region with the blessings of Colonel Wakefield in 1842.
Some of this information came from an online article by John Nimmo, journalist. who wrote it on the 9th of February 2011.