Four months after the first settlers of the New Zealand Company landed on a windswept beach in Wellington New Zealand in 1840, they founded the first Pickwick Club outside Great Britain. The expressed aim of the Club was to spread the ‘fame of the author’ in ‘this savage land’, but it is an interesting paradox that a novel which makes fun of British institutions should also be the inspiration to earnestly reproduce them in the shanty towns of empire. This paper examines the social history of the Pickwick Club of New Zealand and its relation to colonialism and Victorian cultural ambitions.