Art. XLV.—Notes and Reminiscences of Early Crossings of the Romantically – situated Lake Waikaremoana, County of Hawke's Bay, of its Neighbouring Country, and of its Peculiar Botany; performed in the Years 1841 and 1843.
[Read before the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 13th August, 1894.]
Quæ fuit durum pati meminisse dulce est.—Sen.
We have lately heard of a “perilous passage” made across this lake in April last by a party of notables, and of other few modern crossings a short time before by travellers and visitors, as being the first attempts of Europeans to do so! Having, however, crossed it myself on two occasions more than fifty years ago—and that, too, under far more adventurous circumstances, when the place and all the interior country was wholly unknown—I have thought that a descriptive paper recording my journeys would not prove unacceptable to our Society; premising also that nearly the whole of it was written at the time.
1. My First Visit to Lake Waikare.
It was in December, 1841, that I first saw Waikaremoana. I had left the Bay of Islands (my place of residence) on the 19th of November, on board of a small vessel proceeding down the East Coast, which landed me at Wharekahika (Hicks Bay), between Cape Runaway and the East Cape. At this place I had also landed about five years before, on a missionary visit to the Maoris of these parts, so that on this occasion I was not wholly among strangers.
Having stayed a few days in this neighbourhood, and engaged five Maoris as baggage-bearers, I journeyed leisurely down the coast towards Poverty Bay, detecting not a few novelties in entomology, conchology (fossil and modern), and botany. Two common yet striking objects in particular may be mentioned, as such are not found here in Hawke's Bay—the one geological, the other botanical. The rocks in the vicinity of Hicks Bay were chiefly composed of sand and pudding-stone, the latter containing immensely large oyster-shells, some of which were petrified, and contained in their cavities very fine crystals of lime. A walk of a few miles brought me to Te Kawakawa, a village situate on the immediate seashore, under a high and almost perpendicular cliff of white clay. The cliffs here are composed of a bluish indurated clay and conglomerate, and contain marine fossils. On these shores the clayey rocks had been so acted upon by the sea as to be worn quite flat, in many places stretching out into a continuous horizontal layer of rock of nearly a mile in length. On them grew a peculiar kind of large procumbent thin Alga, which, boiled or steamed, is commonly used as an article of food by the Maoris of these parts: they call it parengo, also karengo. This plant, when dried in the sun, is made up into small lots, and sent to their friends residing in the inland districts, who send the donors potted forest-birds in return. When growing fresh and wet it is exceedingly slippery to walk on. The pohutukawa* trees here form a thick and evergreen rampart between the sea-beach and the mainland (or bases of the cliffs and hills), the roots and trunks being often laved by the flowing tide. At the north this tree attains to a much larger size. There, too, it invariably inhabits the immediate sea-shore, though generally growing singly, often grotesquely hanging in an almost pendent manner from rocky cliffs and headlands, and always adding largely to the beauty of the scene. Here, in a clayey rock near high-water mark, the natives show the impression of the foot of ‘Rongokako, one of their illustrious progenitors
[Footnote] * Metrosideros robusta.
(or mythical prehistoric personages), the print of his other foot, made in striding hence, being near Poverty Bay, a distance of more than fifty miles. Many marvellous exploits are related of this celebrated personage. I did not (as on my former visit) go round the East Cape—a bold and high promontory, composed of indurated clay, reclining back in solemn grandeur; on its face nothing grows, owing to the continual descent of débris from its summit and sides; but, it being nearly high water, we struck inland through a narrow, sandy defile emerging beyond the cape to the sea-beach.
On the evening of the 9th December we reached the high bluff promontory commonly known from its appearance at sea by the not inappropriate, though quite unclassical, cognomen of Gable-End-Foreland, given it by Cook, and equally well named by the Maoris Pari-nui-o-te-ra (high cliff of the sun). This remarkable headland, of not less than 200ft. in perpendicular height, is entirely composed of white indurated clay, on whose face and sides grew not so much as a single moss or lichen, from the continual crumbling-down of the clay of which it is composed. Here, in the pelting rain, beneath this towering crag, where we could scarcely stand owing to the extreme slipperyness of the wet clayey rocks and seaweeds, we found that the tide had not sufficiently ebbed to allow of our passing on wards without hazard. As, however, the evening was drawing on, and we had still some distance to travel ere we should meet with either food or shelter, we were necessitated to make the attempt’. Scrambling in some places on all-fours like a cat, and upborne in others by my faithful Maoris, I rounded this cape through the breakers, passing under a natural archway in the extreme face of the rocky cliff, and got in safety to the other side. Continuing my march I collected several species of marine Algæ that were new to me. At sunset we arrived, wet, cold, and hungry, at Pakaræ, a small village containing about twelve persons, who, according to their hospitable custom, heartily welcomed us, although, as we subsequently found, they had not a scrap of food to give us, this season of the year being always the one of scarcity of cultivated vegetable food. The old chief kindly pulled up three stakes from the fence of his little city—for trees there were none in this neighbourhood—as tent-poles for my tent, and presented me with a raw dead crayfish, which I was happy enough to obtain and divide among us—six in all—as a substitute for supper. The next morning we started early—having procured a basket of kumara (sweet potatoes) for breakfast, which were kindly fetched during the night from some distance—travelling, as yesterday, by the seaside. About 5 p.m. we reached the river at Turangarnui, a village in the north-west angle of Poverty Bay, and, crossing
it in a canoe, proceeded on to Kaupapa, then the residence of the Rev. W. Williams, subsequently the first Bishop of Waiapu, and arrived there by 7 p.m. quite tired.
At Poverty Bay I remained several days, and during my stay obtained specimens of several new and little-known plants. On the morning of the 20th December I once more recommenced my journey, directing my course for the first time directly into the interior. Proceeding up Turanga Valley by the river's banks, over alluvial and grassy plains, we reached the forests at the base of the first high range of hills by 2 p.m. On my way thither I discovered a few plants that were new to me. Among them were a fine aquatic Ranunculus,* with very long and fistulous petioles, nearly as stout as the barrel of a goose-quill; and, higher up, a handsome plant with copious verticillate inflorescence, large subrotund leaves, and long, stout petioles, but all its flowers had long before withered. Some of its erect flower-stalks were 2ft. high. I subsequently reared it at the Bay of Islands, where it flowered well. It is the fine Ourisia macrophylla of Hooker, also since found by me on the edges of watercourses at Titiokura, and in several other similar spots in Hawke's Bay. From the top of these hills the prospect is most extensive. Beneath me, as a panorama, was Poverty Bay, with its romantic headlands, while far away to the left Hikurangi (the mountain near the East Cape) hid his venerable head in the clouds. Continuing our march till near sunset, we halted for the night by the side of a small stream in a desolate wild called by the Maoris Tapatapauma. The sides of this rivulet were ornamented with fine plants of a species of large-leaved Fagus, which I believe to be quite distinct from a closely allied species discovered by me at Whangarei in 1839,† though both considered as one species (F. fusca) by Sir J. D. Hooker.
The next morning I resumed my journey. Gaining the summit of the high hill before me, I had an extensive view of the interior. Hill rose on hill (Pelion on Ossa) in continuous succession as far as the eye could reach. To the left was Whakapunake (the fabled residence of the gigantic moa), an immense table-topped hill, or rather mountain; while to the right, far away in the distance, Panekire, a peculiarly preci-
[Footnote] * R. macropus, Hook. f.
[Footnote] † “The leaves of the species of Fagus detected at Whangarei are ovate-cordate, serrate nearly to base, truncate subtridentate, number of serratures in each leaf 15–21, petioles slightly villous, leaves larger and broader than in the species found at Tapatapauma, which are rhombic-ovate, upper half of leaf serrate or sublaciniate, the apex much more truncate and tridentate, attenuated at base, serratures acuminate or mucronate, 11–13 in each leaf, petioles and whole upper surface of leaf tomentose.”—W. C., Mss. ined., “Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science,” vol. ii., p. 234.
pitous mountain, cast its bold outline in fine relief into the sky. This, my Maori guide informed me, was Waikare, to which place we were going. Time, however, would not permit a lengthened gaze, so, descending the hill, I proceeded on. At Hopekoko, a small stream (where we rested a while to dine on roasted potatoes), the bed at the ford was one flat block of sandstone. Having feasted with most hearty zest on our vegetable roast, and fallen into marching-order, we soon arrived at a small cataract, down which the water fell perpendicularly about 20ft. into a deep and dark basin. The only ford at this place was on the very narrow edge of the fall (composed of a single mass of rock), over which I was obliged to be carried, not daring to trust myself on that perilous and slippery path, which reminded me of Al Araf, the bridge to the Mahometan Elysium. As it was I very nearly fell, through nervous excitation, into the gloomy depth below. The water, too, above was just as deep, dark, and forbidding, shelving rapidly from the razor-back edge of the rock.* About sunset we arrived at the banks of the River Whangaåoa (one of the principal branches of the River Wairoa, which disembogues into Hawke's Bay). Here I obtained two small canoes from the Maoris residing here, and paddled down the river about two miles and a half to Te Reinga, the principal village of this district. This river winds round the enormous hill Whakapunake, at the base of which the village is situated. I had often heard from time to time from the Maoris of this place, and of the abyss-like cataract in its immediate vicinity, and had long cherished a hope of one day visiting it. Tired as I now was, I wished for morning, that I might realize my desire, and gain a few more additions to the New Zealand flora. The roar of the waters during the stillness of the night had much that was soothing as well as solemn in the sound. Morning broke, and, prayers and breakfast over, I entered into a little canoe and was paddled about two hundred yards to the great bed of rock which, crossing the river, dams up the water and causes the fall. This cataract, from its situation, is exceedingly romantic, the most so, I think, of any fall I have yet seen in New Zealand. The bed of rock, or rather deposit of indurated clay, sand, and mud of a very white colour, which here obstructs the progress of the river (and
[Footnote] * Sometimes, in my many travellings, I have been so carried (as a child on its mother's back) over slimy, slippery tree-trunks, denuded, too, of their bark, felled and thrown across chasms and deep rivers, where the banks were densely overgrown with thick and creeping jungle. And once in the interior (on the west base of the Ruahine Range) I was in like manner carried own a very high and precipitous cliff, where there was scarcely anything to hold by, the naked feet of the mountaineer Maoris holding firmly on, like a hand, or a bird's or goat's foot.
through a narrow pass in it the water rushes), is filled with marine shells in a fossil state, although at a great distance from the sea, and at a very great height above its present level. This bed of white rock is large, being not less than 200ft. in width, and, when the river is swollen by the winter's rains, surrounded as it is by high and densely-wooded hills, the fall must present a very imposing appearance. I gained several specimens of shells—uni- bi- and multi-valve—by digging them out of the rock with my hatchet. Among them were specimens of the genera Terebratula,* Valuta, Pecten, Lepas, and others at present unknown to me. The waters fell from rock to rock three several times ere they were swallowed up in the dark eddying gulf below. The deep gloom of the river in the gorge beneath, the different hues of the dense masses of foliage on either side, the sunbeams peering downwards through the tops of the trees, the enormous bed of rock above—as white as snow, the Maoris who accompanied me perched here and there upon the same, and the little village in the background, combined together to cause an enchanting and indescribable scene, possessing powerful effect. In the height only of the fall was I disappointed. I attempted a hurried sketch, but could not do the scene before me justice; in fact, I had too many things to do at once, consequently I did nothing well. I wished afterwards, when it was too late, that I had remained a day at this place, instead of passing on post-haste in the manner I did; but then I had a long and unknown journey before me, and was also confined to time. Returning to the village, and obtaining, though with great difficulty, guides and baggage-bearers to Waikare, I again resumed my journey. Paddling up another branch of the river named Ruakituri for about a mile, we landed on the left bank. The sun, almost vertical, was intensely powerful—not a zephyr playing nor a cloud in the air, nor a tree or bush which could afford a shade anywhere at hand. Through unfrequented paths (if paths such could be termed), up and down steep hills overgrown with tall young fern,† which at this season is particularly disagreeable from the clouds of fine yellow vegetable dust (deciduous scales and hairs) with which it is loaded, and which, inhaled at every breath, causes you incessantly to sneeze, we travelled until
[Footnote] * “Terebratula tayloriana, Col. (Fossil).—Shell ovate, ventricose, very solid, smooth, concentrically and obsoletely striated, lamellar; margin apparently entire; summit of larger valve much produced, arcuated, sub-deflexed, thick, very truncate; perforation large; horn or light mouse coloured; length, 2 ¼in.; breadth, 1 ½in. Hab. As above. Obs. This fine species has been named after the Rev. R. Taylor, of Waimate, New Zealand.”—“Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science,” vol. ii., p. 244.
[Footnote] † Pteris esculenta.
3 p.m., many times halting by the way. Having roasted a few potatoes, on which we dined, I endeavoured to cheer my companions in travel, but to little purpose.* Recommencing, however, our journey, we continued our march, through want of water, until long after sunset. Fortunately, I succeeded in finding some, by the side of which, in the open wilderness, we bivouacked, all too fatigued to care much about anything save rest. Gained nothing new in botany in the whole of this melting day's horrid march—fern, fern, nothing but dry, dusty fern all around. A river, the bed of which we descended into and crossed, ran at the depth of from 30ft. to 80ft. below the surface of the soil on either side; a coarse slate and thinly-stratified sandstone formed its bed.
The next morning, at a very early hour, we arose, and, with stiff and unwilling limbs, proceeded onwards. Want of food in great measure impelled us forward, as we had yesterday been led to suppose that we should reach the next village by night. After three long hours spent in active exertion we reached Whataroa, a small village, where we were heartily welcomed. Having breakfasted and rested awhile, we left this place, and continued our march, which, as yesterday, lay over high hills, which rose in perpetual succession before us—appearing as if they were without valleys between. The country, as we progressed into the interior, became more and more barren. A scanty vegetation of stunted Pteris esculenta, Leptospermum scoparium, Leucopogon fraseri, and such plants, alone existed on these dry and sterile spots, save where, in the deep precipitous glens between the hills, a clump of wood was to be found, showing their heads of foliage here and there above the level of the flat lands around like oases in the desert. The soil was dry and dusty, and principally composed of broken pumice. Towards evening, from the crest of one very high hill, I had, in looking back, a splendid though distant prospect of Hawke's Bay, and the high and rugged land bounding the same. My native guides assured me that no person could keep his footing on this elevated spot when the south wind blows—an assertion which the denuded and bare aspect of the place, together with the very stunted and gnarled appearance of the few trees and shrubs about it, seemed fully to corroborate. Bivouacked again for the night at Whakamarino, a little village on the banks of a small river.
[Footnote] * Here I may mention what I have not unfrequently noticed—the great difference between Maoris from the coast and those of the interior when travelling together in the hilly forests; and this also obtains (vice versâ) when the inland mountaineer Maoris have to travel over long, flat, sandy beaches. In the olden time no Maori ever went far from his home, save on special occasions, and then in a body.
Early the next morning I recommenced my march towards Waikare Lake, the old chief of Whakamarino accompanying me. An hour's walking brought me to Waikare-taheke, a rapid stream of about 4ft. deep, caused by the exit of the waters of the lake towards the sea, which here most outrageously tumbled over a long and sloping bed of rock. A bridge of trees (and one of the best-constructed native bridges I have ever seen) was thrown across the foaming torrent, which, though strongly secured together with the woody stems of tough climbing-plants and supplejacks from the forest, seemed as if every rush of the bounding water would carry it away. A nervous person would scarcely have hazarded himself on such a vibrating and precarious footing. The singular beauty of the spot riveted my attention for a few minutes, and I had almost determined to venture on a sketch. Passing on, we soon arrived at the village Te Onepoto, situated on a high headland jutting into the north side of the lake. The gateway was, as is often the case, embellished with a pair of huge and boldly-carved human figures, besmeared with shining red pigment, armed with spears, and grinning defiance to all comers. These were not only seen to advantage through being elevated above the horizon, but their eyes (or rather sockets), instead of being set with glittering Haliotis shell (according to the usual national custom), were left open, so that the light of the sky streamed through them, and this was yet more particularly manifested owing to the proper inclination given to the figures, looking down, as it were, on all toiling up the narrow steep ascent into the well-fenced village. The wind now blew so very strongly that it was not possible to cross the lake in such small and frail canoes as this people had at command, so I was obliged to halt and pitch my tent here, although it was not an easy matter to find a spot suitable, owing to the very great unevenness of the ground, its unsheltered situation, and the very high wind. It was now Christmas Eve, and here I was confined a prisoner until the 29th, spending a very unpleasant Christmas.
Whilst detained, however, I made the most of my time, and was amply rewarded with specimens of new plants, and among them were several ferns. Had I not been very anxious to prosecute my journey I might have spent a very agreeable time at this romantic and interesting place. Such, however, was not the case; the people among whom we now were had scarcely at this season any food for their own use, and, although they exerted themselves to the utmost in their endeavours to be hospitable towards me and my party, they could only allow us two scanty meals of roots and herbs per diem.
Although at this season harvest was about commencing in the more northerly parts of the Island, here, in those elevated
spots, it was so cold that I was often obliged to keep on my thick cloak, or walk briskly about to keep myself warm. The natives assured me that the snow lay many feet deep on these hills in the winter, and that at such seasons they kept within their houses. Their houses are large and warm, and curiously constructed to keep out the severity of the winter's cold, each being built over a large pit or trench the full size of the house. Thus a house that on the outside appears to be only 3ft. or 4ft. high is, when you descend into it, from 5ft. to 7ft. in height.
I obtained from the lake some fine specimens of Unio,* the only living thing, according to the natives, found within its waters. I supposed this sheet of water to be about six miles in diameter, but could only guess as to its probable size from its very irregular shape. The lake is very deep and clear, and the bottom rocky. During my stay I was often struck with the magnificence of the waves of the lake; these seemed to me to be altogether unlike in grandeur and high broken commotion to anything I had ever observed in those of the sea or ocean. Perhaps such was owing to the difference between the specific gravity of salt and of fresh water, as well as to the terrific roaring blasts that furiously rushed down the narrow mountain-gullies. The continual noise by day and night caused by the winds and the waves dashing against the high, rocky romantically-piled crags was deafening; all speech was with difficulty heard.
A peculiar sea-bird, called by the natives “tiitii,” which often flies irregularly at night, making a noise resembling “tee-tee-tee-tee,” rapidly uttered (whence its name), is sometimes taken in this neighbourhood in large numbers. From the natives' account, it should appear that these birds resort at certain times to the tops of the highest and barrenest hills, where the natives assemble and make fires on foggy calm nights, which fires decoying the birds thither, they are easily taken with nets. I have often heard the bird when flying at night, but have never seen one. It is, I think, highly probable that they may belong to the genus Procellaria—perhaps it is the species P. cookii.
Having been daily—almost hourly—on the watch for the
[Footnote] * “Unio waikarense, Col.—Shell oblong or oblong-ovate, concentrically and irregularly sulcated, subdiaphanous, inflated; anterior side produced, obtuse, slightly compressed; posterior slope keeled, sharp; base slightly depressed; umbones decorticated, flattish, much worn; primary teeth large, crested; epidermis strong, overlapping at margins, wrinkled on anterior slope; colour brownish – yellow on posterior side, shading into dusky-green on anterior, with alternate light-coloured lateral stripes; 3 ½in. broad, 2 ¼in. long. Hab. Waikare Lake, & c.”—“Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science,” vol. ii., p. 250.
wind to lessen, I had got together several small canoes, with their paddlers and balers, to take me and my party across; the largest ones would just carry four persons, two to paddle if calm, but only one to paddle and one to bale if breezy. The others only carried three; so that with our baggage it was really a difficult matter safely to arrange the little flotilla. Early on the morning of the 29th, the wind lessening, we hazarded a passage, and crossed in safety to the opposite side. I, in the biggest canoe, with two natives to paddle and one to bale, was obliged to kneel or squat in the centre of the canoe, and of course in water, which came constantly into the frail bark, with my hands one on each gunwale and in the water of the lake during the whole passage. The “ever-changing” woodland scenery appeared most lovely, as we, in our tiny canoes, wound round the bases of these everlasting hills. Wherever we could we kept close to them, so as to have them to swim to if upset. Here for the first time, far away from the immediate sea-coast, I noticed the littoral species of Metrosideros,* pohutukawa of the natives. It grew also in similar rocky situations close to the water's edge, and after the same irregular and diffuse manner. Parasitical on its branches, in great abundance, flourished a fine Loranthus,† gorgeously displaying its profusion of scarlet blossoms. I could not pass by this without securing some, although my three canoe-men were very averse to their stopping and to my landing for such a purpose. We ran our canoes on shore on a little beach at the margin of the forest, where the trees overhung the water; and soon a lot of natives who lived near by came about us, and at their pressing request I consented to spend the remainder of that day and night with them. At intervals during the day I obtained several botanical prizes and novelties, among them some Hymenophyllæ, which here, in these ever-humid umbrageous undisturbed solitudes, flourished in full beauty, and with them some fine specimens of that handsome tree Ixerba brexioides, A. Cunn., which, rare at the north (where he originally detected it), was here the common tree of these forests, and at this season abounding in flowers: indeed, from its noble appearance, with much larger leaves, I at first supposed it would prove to be a second species.
The next morning (30th) I resumed my journey, after experiencing no little difficulty in obtaining a guide over the mountains, in which service I had to enlist all my suasory powers. This point settled, we commenced ascending from the shores of the lake, passing through dense forests, chiefly composed of fine trees of Podocarpus, Fagus, and Ixerba.
[Footnote] * M. tomentosa, A. Cunn.
[Footnote] † L. colensoi, Hook. fil.
Having gained the summit of the range we found travelling easy, for in these forests, where the broad-leaved Fagus is the principal tree, there is but little underwood; indeed, plants generally seem as if they disliked the shade of these trees, probably, however, owing to the falling of its rather thick and dry leaves, that do not soon decay. In these woods I first found a peculiar little hexandrous plant, which proved to be a species of a very small and curious South American genus—Callixene*—and with it a new terrestrial Orchis,† a pretty little plant with a single leaf bearing a long one-flowered scape. The natives had told us before we started that we might expect rain on these mountains (they having a proverb to the effect that it is never dry in these parts); and so, indeed, it came to pass. After we had proceeded for about two hours it began to pour down in torrents; no shelter being at hand, we were obliged to continue our march in the cold and pelting rain. I much regretted the state of the weather, as I had every reason to expect many new and rare plants in these elevated regions. The family of ferns presented the most lovely spectacle this day I ever witnessed. In these deeply-shaded ever-humid recesses my enchanting Todea superba and Lomaria rotundifolia‡ flourished in perfection, the densely-covered and dark-green fronds of the former contrasting so beautifully with the light-coloured, elegant, and membranaceous ones of the latter. The fronds of these ferns were grouped in ever-living circles of green, from 5ft. to 6ft. in diameter, many single fronds of either plant measuring upwards of 3ft. in length. Another new species of Lomaria§ I also found growing in these spots. Notwithstanding the warning of the elements, I gazed entranced upon these beautiful productions of nature, and wished much to secure good specimens. I was obliged, however, under existing circumstances, to content myself with a couple of specimens of each new species, and these, too, hastily gathered and put up dripping wet into the bosom of my wet cloak, to the very great astonishment of my native companions. A beautiful and delicate large white lichen here grew on the trees, causing, in some situations, a very striking effect. The densely-wooded mountains over which I this day passed were chiefly composed of sandstone, which showed itself in different stages of decomposition in the very numerous slips in their sides. In descending one of those recent gorges
[Footnote] * C. parviflora, Hook.
[Footnote] † Adenochilus gracilis, Hook. f.
[Footnote] ‡ Now Lomaria fluviatilis, Spreng.
[Footnote] § L. latifolia, mihi, described, with others, in “Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science,” vol. ii., p. 175, but placed by Hook. f. as a var. of L. procera, in which, however, I cannot agree.
—which required in some places no little caution—one of my natives who carried the box containing books, testaments, & c., slipped his foot and went sliding away, until he was stayed by a friendly tree—fortunately without receiving any injury to himself; the box, however, though dovetailed at its angles, was knocked to pieces with the violence of the concussion. After a silent and persevering march of some hours through the very cold rain (for, in threading our tortuous way through the endless mazes of a trackless forest, in such weather as we now experienced we found it impossible to keep ourselves warm) we began to shiver with cold, and determined to halt and make a fire at the first sheltered spot. By the side of a rivulet at the bottom of a hill we found a deserted hovel, which, though open on all sides, offered us better shelter from the pitiless rain than we had expected to find in such a place. We hastily and roughly repaired our hut with tufts of the different big sedgy plants that grew hard by, and pitched my tent; and, throwing off our dripping garments and kindling a fire, we endeavoured to make ourselves as comfortable as we could in our present circumstances. Fortunately we had a few potatoes with us, which, not knowing how long this weather might continue, we divided, unâ voce, into three small portions, so as to afford us two meals for the morrow. The rain continuing to descend in torrents swelled our little friendly rivulet into a large stream, causing me to fear that the limited level spot on its bank on which we were now encamped would be overflowed.
Daylight the next morning (31st) found us much the same as daylight last evening left us—with water on every side. The past night was one not likely to be soon forgotten. The heavy rain and rattling hail which unceasingly poure down; the vivid lightning and hollow-sounding thunder reverberating awfully in never-ending echoes among the hills; the angry winds that furiously rushed in fitful roaring blasts through the ancient forests, rocking and creaking, and, lashing the monarchs of centuries as so many saplings of a year, stripping their “leafy honours” and cracking off their branches, hurled them to the earth; the hooting of owls and shrieking of parrots, which flew affrightedly about, seeking shelter—all united to declare, in a voice too plain to be misunderstood, the great commotion nature was undergoing—fit knell for the departing year!
The morning was most gloomy; the rain still incessantly poured, and our cold, wet, lonely, and starving situation was anything but pleasant; when, as if we wanted something more to taste of the very acme of cheerlessness, our only guide deserted us, returning to Waikare. He had intimated enough last evening to cause me to suspect him, and I had
kept a watch over him, but he easily found an opportunity of leaving us. My other natives were all from distant parts of the Island, and knew no more of this neighbourhood than myself. We were now in a dilemma; to go back to Waikare was, from there being no proper path or track, not a whit easier journey than to go forward to the next village—wherever that might be. The weather, however, confined us to our rude shelter, under which I, clad in light summer clothing, shiveringly sat, holding an old, worn umbrella over my head. Towards evening the weather moderated, and I ventured to walk a few yards among the half-drowned vegetation on the banks of the river. At night, rain still pouring down, I called the natives to council to consider what we had better do in this our exigency, so we unanimously agreed, “rain or shine,” to proceed on our journey to-morrow morning, travelling by compass, and trusting, somehow or other, to find our way to some village—a determination to which we were compelled through hunger, having consumed our last scanty meal.
1842, 1st January.—Early this morning the rain ceased; but, as the heavy clouds still shrouded the face of heaven, it was just as wet from the dripping trees and rank vegetation around us in these deep valleys and dark forests as if it were still raining. We commenced our wet and cold march sans breakfast with perhaps a more hearty will than if we had fared sumptuously. We kept by the banks of the little stream, which we crossed and recrossed repeatedly, making our walk very unpleasant; but no one expressed a murmur. Here in these deep secluded glens I detected a few ferns that were new to me. About noon, to our very great surprise, our runaway guide overtook us, bearing a large basket of fine potatoes on his shoulders, for which he had purposely gone back all the way to Waikare in that heavy rain, “in order that we might not die from hunger.” I could not but esteem and applaud the man's kind consideration and heavy toil and labour for a party of strangers, whilst I disapproved of his leaving us in the manner he did, without saying a word as to the object of his returning to Waikare. With a hearty goodwill we—all hands—turned to kindle a fire and roast potatoes. And resuming our march, our guide now going with us, we arrived in the afternoon at Ruatahuna, a small village, surrounded on all sides by the eternal forests, where we were most hospitably received. Several of the natives of this village were engaged in making and carving poukakas—i.e., parrotstands—but only used in snaring the large brown New Zealand parrot (kaakaa) of the natives, which is commonly eaten, though its flesh is dry and lean. Their red feathers (a few found under and about its wings and neck) are in great request
for ornamenting their chiefs' carved-headed staffs, which are also used as weapons of defence. They are also fond of taming these birds as pets and decoys, which if taken young will soon talk; but they are very mischievous, and their bite is severe. That little black pest the sandfly was here in countless swarms, owing, I suppose, to the sandy nature of the soil. I never before noticed them in such numbers at any place away from the immediate sea-coast, to the sandy shores of which they are generally confined. Their bite is most virulent just before and after rain. The natives call them namu.
At this village I remained several days, busily engaged with the natives, many of whom were astonished at seeing a white man. On resuming my journey, our route at first lay over high steep hills, clothed with forests to their summits, thence descending to a deep valley, where ran a rapid brawling stream of from 2ft. to 3ft. in depth. By the immediate flat banks of this river, among gigantic herbaceous ferns and underwood, decaying logs, and fallen trees (which latter seemed as if in times of severe floods to have been brought hither and stranded, and proved serious impedimenta to our progress, often causing painful wounds and bruises, from their not being seen), we travelled on, every now and then crossing the stream, which we certainly did more than fifty times. This was by no means pleasant travelling; but there was no alternative. It was here on these alluvial flats I first saw a large and peculiar species of Lomaria growing extensively and closely, and hiding the decaying logs and sticks.* On the
[Footnote] * This large, striking, and strange-looking fern was early described by me (with others, in the “Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science,” vol. ii., p. 175, 1843) as L. heterophylla, from the curious abnormal forms of its ever-varying fronds or leaves; subsequently by Sir W. J. Hooker, in his “Icones Plantarum,” vol. vii., tab. 627, 628, from specimens secured on this occasion, as L. colensoi (there being already a species of Lomaria named heterophylla, of which I, here at the antipodes, was ignorant). This name has again been altered by Sir J. D. Hooker, in his N.Z. Flora, to L. elongata, Blume; and since then it has been further referred to L. patersoni, Spreng., by Baker (including also L. cumingiana, Hook., and L. punctata, Blume) in his “Synopsis Filicum.” This last is an Indian fern, and is well drawn, with dissections and full descriptions, by Beddome in his “Ferns of Southern India,” tab. xxviii. and xxviiiA. I still, however, think our New Zealand fern to be distinct from L. patersoni. While plentiful in its proper inland home, it is very scarce in Hawke's Bay District. I only know of it growing in one small limited spot on the side of a hill streamlet in the Seventy-mile Bush, near Dannevirke, and rediscovered there by me in 1888, after a lapse of more than forty years, when I hailed it as an old acquaintance. The Maori name of this peculiar fern is also worthy of notice, as showing (what I have more than once called your attention to in my papers) their correct natural mode of naming plants and other things—pakauroharoha—literally, slightly-outstretched wing, from its broad and lax pinnatifid segments; adopted from the term given to the attitude of a shag when drying its wet wings on a tidal bank.
banks of this river I also obtained specimens of a fine arborescent fern, Dicksonia fibrosa, Col., which attains the height of 18ft.: its caudex is very bulky, and is composed of thick layers of fibres, resembling at first sight the fibrous interior of the husk of a cocoanut. The trunks of the larger ones were grotesquely hewn by the natives into all manner of uncommon shapes, in their cutting away their fibrous outside for the purposes of planks for their houses and stores, it being more easily worked than wood, and forming a better defence against rats. In this locality I also found a species of Myrtus,* a small slender tree bearing orange-coloured juicy berries, growing to the height of 10ft.—15ft. The natives spread their broad dress mats on the ground under these trees, and, shaking them, soon procure a quantity of fruit, which is very good eating; they call the tree rohutu; each berry generally contains three hard reniform seeds. Towards evening we emerged from the dense forests in which we had for some days been confined and toiling, to a large plain covered with the common fern, the first fern we have seen for several days. My natives rejoiced at the sight, vociferating loudly their being privileged to see a “koraha maori” (indigenous fernland, open country) again. Their uncontrolled joy forcibly reminded me of the rejoicing of the “ten thousand” Greeks on their again seeing the sea. We halted this evening at Te Waiiti, a fenced village situated on the banks of the river at the end of the plain. This stream is here large enough to float a moderate-sized boat; its bed is composed of ashes and other volcanic substances worn into rounded pebbles, which, though originally very light, were now saturated with water, and heavy.
The next morning we resumed our journey. Passing through a low wood we toiled up the barren, steep, and lofty hills before us. These hills are composed of broken pumice and ashes. The sun was intensely hot, and the pathways or tracks, in several places worn into deep and hollow ruts, were extremely dry and dusty, our feet, and even our ankles, being often buried in the loose and broken pumice through which we had to travel, rendering it very unpleasant, and even painful to my native companions with their naked feet. Gaining the summit of the highest hill, the view was most extensive and striking. Immediately beneath meandered the River Whirinaki, a bold brawling stream flowing quickly over its stony bed, and possessing water sufficient to float a moderate-sized boat. Beyond arose barren hills of all possible irregular shapes and heights; further still an extensive plain extended east and west as far as the eye could reach; beyond it a chain
[Footnote] * M. pedunculata, Hook. f.
of lofty table-topped hills bounded the range of vision; while here and there, far away in the extreme distance, several high and isolated mountains reared their barren heads above the horizon. On the left appeared Tauwhara, a high mountain in the Taupo district; Paeroa, and Kaingaroa, near Rotorua, presented themselves in front; while on the extreme right Putauaki, the high mountain near Whakatane on the east coast, upreared its two-peaked summit to the clouds. Here, notwithstanding the pleasurable height to which my imagination had been raised whilst engaged in contemplating the magnificence and extent of the prospect before me, it soon sank below its ordinary level on finding that not a human being dwelt in all that immense tract of country on which my eager gaze then rested. The grass grew, the flowers blossomed, and the river rolled, but not for man. Solitude all! Even the very little birds, denizens of wilds, few though they were in number, seemed (so fancy intimated) to think with me, for they flew from bush to bush around and about my path with their melancholy “twit, twit,” as if wishing to have all they possibly could of the company of a passer-by. Their actions were quite in unison with my thoughts, and I feelingly exclaimed,—
“Oh! Solitude, where are the charms,” & c.
Descending to the banks of the river Whirinaki, I was rewarded with the discovery of a few new plants. Crossing the stream, and by-and-by proceeding over the long plain I had seen from the top of the hill, I obtained a few more botanical novelties, of such kinds as made up the vegetation of this very desolate and sterile spot. I think I never before saw so barren, a plain as this. A truly “blasted heath”; or, in the nervous language of Holy Writ, a “parched place in the wilderness; a salt land, and not inhabited.” Night was now fast closing around us, so we quickened our pace, although excessively tired, in hopes of finding a few sticks wherewith to kindle a fire, for none at present appeared within ken. After some time we found some small dry scrub—manuka*—on the immediate bank of the river Rangitaiki, where we bivouacked for the night.
At a very early hour the next morning we recommenced our journey. Crossing the rapid river Rangitaiki, which at the fording-place we found to be breast-deep, and which we were obliged to cross in an oblique direction, holding firmly on to the tent-poles, that we might not be swept down by its strong current, we travelled over a country more sterile, if possible, than that of yesterday. An interminable succession
[Footnote] * Leptospermum scoparium.
of dry and barren hills of broken lava, pumice, ashes, and other volcanic matter, where the stunted vegetation was all but quite burnt up with the exceeding heat of the sun's rays (it being now midsummer), afforded but a very scanty gleaning to the botanist. I was, however, rewarded with a few new plants (their finding served richly to beguile the tedium of this day's journey). Among them were a graceful species of fragrant-scented Dracophyllum,* a small shrub 2ft.—4ft. in height, which grew sparingly in the little dells between the hills; and two curious and minute species of Compositæ, which formed dense moss-like patches on the lumps of dry broken pumice. These interesting little plants were scarcely above 1in. in height, presenting quite a unique appearance with their brown and hoary leaves closely imbricated and decussated, and terminal heads of yellow silky flowers. Here, in these sultry hollows, the insect tribes were very numerous. Brilliant Libellulæ darted about in every direction. I captured one fine fellow, a species of Petalura, dappled with burnished gold, measuring nearly 4in. in length; others, having filiform attenuated bodies,† were carmine – coloured, with elegantly – disposed lozenge-shaped golden spots; whilst others were adorned with alternate stripes of black and ultramarine. Of the beautiful genus Buprestis (or some very nearly allied genus) I gained several specimens. Some of them were abundant on the fragrant Dracophyllum, allured, doubtless, by its scent and honey. The moment, however, you attempted to take one, down to the ground it would let itself drop, as if dead. The greater number of the insects I obtained were quite new, and of genera unknown to me.
Towards evening we arrived in the neighbourhood of the Rotorua lakes. Crossing a deep bog, I discovered a peculiar little leafless monopetalous plant‡ growing in, or rather on, the surface of the mud. On nearing Rangiwhakaaitu, the first and southernmost lake, I was much gratified with the truly lovely appearance of a very beautiful species of Leptospermum—a, small tree of from 15ft. to 25ft. in height—which flourished here, growing in clumps and rows as if artificially planted. These trees were literally laden with a profusion of handsome blossom, and (from there being no underwood about them, not so much as a tuft of grass) looked conspicuously charming. Another circumstance appeared to me as being singular: all were old trees of many years' growth, there not being any small or young plants of the species to be met with. I say old because the Leptospermum is a slow-growing plant. Be-
[Footnote] * D. subulatum, Hook.
[Footnote] † Agrion sps.
[Footnote] ‡ Utricularia protrusa, Hook.
neath them grew plentifully a curious woolly-looking white moss, which, though I sought assiduously, I could not detect bearing any fructification. We had previously arranged to make Tarawera (the second lake, where some natives reside) our halting-place for this night; but, although we had nothing to eat, we were so excessively tired as to be obliged to bring up on the white-gravelled shores of the placid Rangiwhakaaitu. I offered my natives the choice of staying supperless where we were of proceeding on to Tarawera, distant about three miles, and there getting supper, Fatigue, however, overcame hunger even in a New-Zealander, and they chose the former. The whole face of the country in this neighbourhood was overspread with massy blocks of compact lava scattered in every direction, many of them being vitrified on their surfaces. The ground gently rose on every side from the lake, which appeared to occupy a deep hollow, and I could but venture to suppose that this might have been the crater of that volcano which, in some bygone age, inundated the whole of the adjacent country with showers of pumice and ashes.
At an early hour the next morning we arose, feverish, stiff, sore, and hungry, to recommence our march. We soon, came within sight of the place where the hot springs were situated, from which the steam and sulphurous vapours ascended in dense white clouds. The air-this morning was cool and bracing, and after travelling about an hour and a half we arrived at Tarawera Lake. Here, at a little village on its banks, we gained some potatoes, on which we breakfasted with hearty zest. At this place were several small hot springs which flowed out of the earth near the margin of the lake; the water of some was hotter than the hand could bear. Just within the lake the water was warm; a little further on it was lukewarm; and further still it was cold: so that these natives have baths of every requisite degree of heat always ready at hand, without any trouble whatever. The water of the lake I supposed to be specifically heavier than the sulphurous hot waters which flowed into it, as whenever any of the natives of the village wished to drink I observed them go out into the lake, where the water was kuee-deep, and, dashing the uppermost water aside with their feet, quickly take up some from beneath, or, lowering down a calabash, keeping their fingers closed over the small hole near the handle, fill it below. This water they said was good and cold. The natives of the village informed me that at a spring on a hill at a little, distance the water was quite hot enough for the purposes of cooking, for. which they often used it. Sulphur, too, abounded there, and was often “thrown up” out of the earth, from which place steam and smoke ever ascended. My curiosity being
excited, I, while breakfast was getting ready, set off, with a native of the village as a guide, to the boiling spring; but, after going up one steep hill and down another, and not perceiving any sign of the same, and being almost exhausted from want of food, and the sun's rays this still morning being very powerful, hunger conquered curiosity and I returned to the village. I have often been surprised at the great carelessness which I have shown towards rare natural productions when either over-fatigued or ravenously hungry: at such times, botanical, geological, and other specimens—which I had eagerly and with much pleasure collected, and carefully carried for many a weary mile—have become quite a burden, and have been one by one abandoned, to be, however, invariably regretted afterwards. Breakfast ended, we, accompanied by the chief of the village, paddled nearly to the opposite end of the lake. This sheet of water appeared to me to be about three miles and a half in length, and from one to two miles in breadth; it is surrounded on all sides by barren hills, and is very deep. Landing, and walking about two furlongs, we came to Kareha, another little lake, much smaller than the preceding. Here we were obliged to sit and wait some time before we could get a canoe, which having obtained we paddled to the opposite end. This little lake is about a mile in length, and about three-quarters of a mile in breadth. Resuming our journey, and gaining the summit of a high hill, we had a fine prospect of the principal Lake of Rotorua—a fine sheet of water, about six miles in diameter, with a very picturesque island nearly in the midst. An easy journey of a few miles from the top of the hill brought us to Te Ngae—a Church mission-station on the eastern side of the lake, where we were very hospitably received by Mr. Chapman, the resident missionary. I gained not a single botanical specimen throughout the whole of this day.
Having thus briefly narrated my return journey as far as Rotorua, I end my relation there, merely adding that I continued it on foot, and, crossing more than once from the east coast to the west coast arrived safely at the Bay of Islands on the 22nd February, 1842.
II. My Second Early Visit To Waikare Lake.
On this occasion I had travelled up the east coast from Rangiwhakaoma (Castle Point) in company with Archdeacon William Williams (afterwards the first Bishop of Waiapu) to Ta Wairoa, in Hawke's Bay. At Te Wairoa we parted company the Archdeacon going on to his residence in Poverty Bay, and I going directly inland, to carry out the instructions of the Bishop of New Zealand, (Dr. Selwyn), viz.: to take the
number and names of all the tribes, sub-tribes, and people—men, women, and children—inhabiting the unknown interior, and for this purpose, if required, to visit every village.
On Monday, the 18th December, 1843, having obtained a native guide to Waikare Lake, I left the village—Uruhon, on the River Wairoa—with my party of young natives (single men), whom I had secured at Te Awapuni (Ahuriri), to accompany me overland to the Bay of Islands.
Our course lay up the valley in a N.N.W. direction. The huge table-topped hill Whakapunake bore N.N.E. from us, distant about twenty miles. After travelling six or seven miles, during which we crossed the River Wairoa in a canoe, we arrived at the junction of the River Wairau, and bore away on its left bank for about a mile, when we crossed it in a canoe at a little village called Hinemoka, the inhabitants being ten in number. Here we dined, proceeding on west by the right bank of the river for two miles, then north-west to a small village called Iringataha, possessing one good large house; thence two miles to Kainganui, a high hill, from the top of which Panekire (the precipitous and bold high cliff overhanging Waikare Lake) bore W.N.W., Uruhou southeast, and Whakapunake north-east. Two miles further on we passed through a small village called Herepunga, to which place the chief of Iringataha accompanied me. Proceeding hence we travelled on smartly until 8 p.m., when we brought up for the night in an old deserted plantation, where we gained, by digging, a few potatoes for supper.
The next morning we did not rise early, the rain and the mosquitoes having kept us awake during the night. However, we started at 7, and at 9 reached Te Matai, a small clean village on the immediate bank of the stream Waikaretaheke, which we crossed in a canoe, and which, from the great rapidity of its current, was not a little dangerous. At this village I found about twenty-five persons, some of them from the-lake. At 11 a.m. we left Te Matai, and halted at 4 p.m. to dine on the grassy banks of the Mangamauka, a small rivulet. From this place we travelled on till sunset, when we brought up for the night in a potato-plantation about three miles from Waikare, where we found a few natives. Our course this day was by the side of the River Waikaretaheke, which is little else than a continuation of rapids, from, the great inclination seaward of the whole locality, and well deserves its name. Noticed several pretty waterfalls, some of great height, the water, however, scanty, often silently flowing down the bare face of an almost perpendicular cliff like a silver thread into the dark-green depths of the forest at its base. We did little more than a half-day's journey this day, owing to the disinclination of my
newly-engaged native companions to travel and the great loquacity of my guide.
The next morning, breakfast over, we set forward, two chiefs of the place going with us. Just beneath the plantation we had to cross the outrageous river, and that over a dangerous and wide rapid: the worst part of it had two trees felled and thrown on it; myself and dog had some difficulty in getting across, but eventually did so in safety. The tumbling water was very noisy, and the scene quite romantic. From this place to the lake was nearly all ascent. In about two hours we arrived there, and found the waters like a raging sea. The wind was strong from the north-west, and the noise of the tall trees in commotion and waves and water surging against the rocks was almost deafening: it was with great difficulty one could hear his own voice. Here, at Te Onepoto, a small fenced village on this immediate shore of the lake, were about forty natives: most of them, however, were from Wairau, on the opposite shore; they welcomed us heartily in their usual boisterous hospitable way.
The next morning the wind, which had been blowing furiously all night, was as strong as ever; no crossing the lake while this continues.
Friday, 22nd.—Wind still very high. A very heavy storm of hail fell to-day, which made it very cold, the hail lying on the ground for some time, giving the place the appearance of snow. A canoe came across the lake to-day before the wind (the largest I had ever seen here) to fetch potatoes. Towards evening I proposed starting, but the natives of the place were not willing to go until tomorrow. When here last, at Christmas, 1841, I was detained six days through the high winds, and I fear this will also be the case this time.
23rd.—Rose early. Found the lake a perfect calm. The natives, however, procrastinated as usual, and went at 8 a.m. to a village about a mile distant to have a tangi (cry over the dead) for a child lately deceased. By 10 a.m. they returned, but the wind had again begun to rise. However, I struck my tent and packed up, but by the time they had cooked food and fetched potatoes in flax baskets from their storehouses the wind had risen considerably, and the lake was quite rough. They had about forty baskets of potatoes, besides pigs, & c., as cargo, and were above twelve in number, so they well filled their canoe; and we, being eight persons, with our baggage and my dog, could not possibly enter to cross with any pror spect of safety as the lake then was so I was obliged to lose this opportunity. I sent two natives of the place with them to bring back the canoe. They were a long time in crossing; and by evening the canoe returned to us, but with great difficulty. The wind being again too strong to venture on the
lake, I was obliged to repitch ray tent, and patiently wait for a calm. During the absence of the canoe I ascended Panekire, the high, precipitous hill which arises abruptly, from the south-east side of the lake, and is conspicuous at a great distance. The prospect from the summit was extensive towards the East Coast, the Wairoa River and Hawke's Bay being quite open to view. I was disappointed in not gaining a single botanical novelty, save a small orchid of the genus Microtis.
24th (Sunday).—Wind very strong, and the combination of noises—from winds and trees, waters and rocks—so great and incessant that at divine services my voice was scarcely heard.
25th (Christmas Day).—Wind as strong as ever; the weather, too, gloomy, dark, and lowering. A most disagreeable day, from the thick clouds of fine dust continually blown about, of so exceedingly minute a nature as to penetrate the linen cloth of my tent. It is a curious fact that this same day two years ago I was a prisoner here from the same cause—high winds.
26th.—Wind still strong; could not venture into the neighbouring forests, fearing fallen trees and branches. Sat with three old natives in their subterranean dwelling, and conversed with them. I found that at no great period of time back two canoes at two different times had been upset on the lake, one containing six and the other eight persons, when all perished; only the body of one was found, and that was caused through the presence of mind of the unfortunate dying native, who had fastened himself to the rope of the sail.
27th.—Early this morning the wind had somewhat abated. It soon, however, recommenced blowing strongly, but only in gusts; however, I determined on starting without waiting for breakfast. I had twelve stout paddlers and the largest canoe, so we left at 7.30 a.m. It was a time of alternate hope and fear; every wave that rolled past swept partially over the gunwales of our frail bark, insomuch that one of my paddlers was obliged to be continually baling; I, of course, in water, and having much trouble with my dog, who did not like his situation at all.* At the end of two hours, by dint of constant hard paddling, we landed safely at Mokau, a small village on the opposite side of the lake. Here Tuiringa, the
[Footnote] * I was at an early period obliged to have a good dog to guard my tent in my absence from it, the common dogs of the natives being so very numerous, lean, hungry, and thievish, some being remarkably expert at this work. I have known more than seventy to belong to one large village, and could relate many curious adventures concerning them.
principal chief of the Urewera Tribe, resides—a venerable old man, with a flowing grey beard, who received us very kindly. He had killed a pig for us, and had been looking out big with expectation for some days, in hopes of the wind abating. Desirous though I was of proceeding on my journey after so much lost time, I was obliged to consent to spend the remainder of this day and the night here with him, as he had, been somewhat offended at my not doing so on my former visit to these parts. Spent the long day in conversation with the old chief and his party. I was much impressed with the amiability of the old man—so kind, so deferential, so intelligent. I felt it to be a treat to be with him: not but that I had known others such among the natives—thinly scattered, as it were, throughout the land—but this chief possessed such a calm, lovable countenance, with great simplicity, willing to be taught, asking many questions. Ah me! I parted from him with regret.
28th.—Rose early, and, divine service over, we paddled to Hereheretauuga, the usual landing-place where the track to Ruatahuna begins, the dear old chief and his people-going with us. Arriving there, we cooked and ate our breakfast, and at 8 a.m. recommenced our journey. At sunset we arrived at Te Takapau, a village containing about thirty persons, situated in the midst of a dense forest, and close under the high hill of Ruatahuna, which gives its name to the district. The people here, who had been expecting us, having heard of us by those who had crossed the lake in their canoe on the 23rd instant, gave us a hearty welcome, and despatched messengers to Te Kotukutuku, a small village close by, and to Oputao, a large and fenced village about two miles distant, to inform them of my arrival, and before long all hands poured in to see me. I stayed several days in the Ruatahuna district prosecuting my inquiries, receiving much kind hospitality from the natives. Several of them, both here and at Waikare Lake, were now professing Christianity, and a few were able to read, books being in great request.
Here I conclude this portion of my long right-and-left and figure-of-eight journey from village to village in the then unknown interior, and several times and in different places making the beaches on the east and west coasts, finishing it at Waimate, Bay of Islands, on the 15th February, 1844, the whole distance being performed on foot.
As I had taken bearings by compass of several prominent spots, of the courses of the larger rivers; and also of my own track (wanderings), with the positions of the larger villages, I laid these down, at the Bishop's request on a large blank out line map of the North Island on my return to Te Waimate and the Bishop sent the same to England. My dotted track
in the interior, & c., was subsequently engraved by Arrowsmith in a map of the colony. I have seen a copy of that map here in Napier some thirty years ago. During the Maori war in the interior under Sir George Whitmore ray original MS. map of those parts, containing my track, with the villages, and rivers with their fords, was lent by me under service to the Government, and was, I believe, copied for them.
I may also mention that I had left the Bay of Islands on this journey in a small schooner on the 13th of October, and landed at Te Kawakawa, in Hicks Bay, on the 18th of that month, in a rising north-east gale. But when I say “landed” there, I should also explain that, owing to the heavy surf, our boat was soon capsized on entering the outer breakers, and I had to swim for life,—soon, however, helped by the Maoris, who had thronged the beaches expecting the disaster. This, too, was caused by the foolhardiness of the captain of the schooner, who persisted in leaving his ship, after coming to anchor a long way out from land, he having some small cargo to land there, although warned by the big white signal flying at the newly-established mission-station that there was no communication with the shore. I had also with me those two young Maoris whom I had taken hence two years before, and who had made with me my former long overland journey, and whom I was now returning to their home and tribe. They had warned the captain, through me, that there was no safe landing there at this time, but all to no purpose. The captain saved his big boat, with mast and oars (losing many smaller things), and, returning hastily—a wiser man—to his ship, was obliged to cut cable and run away to sea. From Hicks Bay I again travelled on to Poverty Bay, as I did on the former occasion, but this time incog. (through want of clothing and tent and baggage, all such having been left on board of the vessel), by which, however, I learnt a little more of the Maoris.