The extreme north of the Auckland Provincial District, including in that term the North Cape peninsula and the long and narrow strip connecting it with Ahipara and Mangonui, is little known to the residents of Auckland. Nor is this at all surprising. With the exception of one or two runholders, the European population is confined to the diggers of kauri-gum and the storekeepers who supply their wants; there is little or no farming, and practically no permanent settlement. Roads and bridges are unknown, and the usual way of reaching the district is by following the magnificent sandy beach which curves from Ahipara northwards, almost reaching Cape Maria van Diemen. Or the traveller may embark in a diminutive steam-tender that occasionally runs from Mangonui, and which will land him, glad once more to stretch his limbs, either at Ohora or in Parengarenga Harbour. In many respects the district is Uninviting. A large portion is more or less covered by drifting sands; another part, almost equally extensive, is occupied with swamps, varied here and there with shallow lakes. There are no forests worthy of the name; the hills are not high enough to be called mountains, and are mostly bare, barren, and desolate-looking. Its sole picturesque features are the cliffs on the northern coast, with their little bays and minor indentations, and the broad western beach, stretching as far as the eye can reach, and lined from end to end with row behind row of white foaming breakers.
The first person to explore the district from a natural-history point of view was the veteran botanist Mr. Colenso, who in 1839 travelled from Kaitaia northwards to Cape Maria van Diemen, and from thence to the Reinga, Spirits Bay, and the North Cape. During the journey he collected several of the plants peculiar to the district, notably Hibiscus diversifolius
and Lycopodium drummondii, the last of which has not been refound. In 1840–41 Dr. Dieffenbach, the naturalist to the New Zealand Company, made an exploration of the country to the north of the Bay of Islands. He spent a considerable time in the North Cape peninsula, judging from the account given in his “Travels in New Zealand,” where Chapters XII. and XIII. are devoted to the physical features and geology of the district. I cannot learn that he made any botanical collections therein, but the chapters quoted contain several interesting remarks upon the vegetation. In the summer of 1865–66 the district was visited by Sir James Hector, mainly for the purpose of examining its geological structure. This he succeeded in elucidating and mapping,* the results being incorporated in the general geological map of New Zealand first issued in 1869. He was accompanied, by Mr. John Buchanan, who made a considerable collection of plants, which I believe was forwarded to Kew. He was the first to detect Hymenanthera latifolia, and observed several other species not previously recorded from that part of New Zealand. In April, 1867, Mr. Kirk and the late Mr. Justice Gillies made a brief visit to the district between Parengarenga Harbour and Spirits Bay. Notwithstanding, the lateness of the season, a few novelties were collected, and much additional information obtained. Some notes on this journey will be found in the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute” (vol. i., p. 143). A list of the plants observed by Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Kirk is given in vol. ii. of the same publication (pp. 239–246), and a supplementary list by Mr. Kirk appears in vol. iii. (pp. 166–177). So far as I am aware, these three papers comprise all that has been published on the botany of the North Cape peninsula. Its geology, however, was in 1892 again investigated by Mr. A. McKay, the results of his work appearing in the reports of the Geological Survey for 1892–93. I am glad to take this opportunity of expressing my indebtedness to Mr. McKay's paper for much valuable information on the geology and physical features of the district.
My first acquaintance with the northern peninsula was made as far back as 1874, when I visited the shores of Doubtless Bay, the Oruru Valley, Maungataniwha, and a portion of the coast-line between Whangaroa and Mangonui. In 1889 I again called at Mangonui, and also landed for a short time at Cape Maria van Diemen, and in the vicinity of the North Cape. My examination of the Three Kings Islands, made in
[Footnote] *Geological Sketch-map of the Northern District of the Province of Auckland, by James Hector; scale, 4 miles to the inch. Printed by W. C. Wilson, lithographer, Auckland, 1866.
the same year (see Trans. N.Z. Inst., xxiii., pp. 408–424), added several curious and interesting plants to our flora. Not unnaturally, I formed the opinion that most of these would be found on some portion of the North Cape peninsula, for it appeared highly improbable that so small a group, situated little more than thirty-five miles from the mainland, should possess five or six endemic species. Nor were other inducements to visit the district wanting. It had never been carefully examined for plants; several wide-ranging subtropical species, of which Ipomæa palmata and Hibiscus diversifolius are perhaps the most conspicuous, were known to inhabit it, and both climate and geographical position were favourable to the belief that others might be detected. In short, it appeared to promise a likely field for botanical exploration; and when, at the close of last year, circumstances permitted me to take a brief holiday, it was with no small degree of satisfaction that I left Auckland for the “far north.” I was accompanied by my friend Mr. James Adams, head-master of the Thames High School, to whom for active assistance and co-operation I am much indebted. I now propose to present to the Institute an account of the journey, together with a list of the plants observed.
At the outset it will be well to define the district examined, and to give a short sketch of its physical features. For the purposes of this paper, then, I shall consider the North Cape peninsula to consist of the long and narrow tract of country lying to the north of a line drawn from Tokomata Point, about midway between Flat Head and Whangaroa Harbour, to the south side of Tauroa, or Reef Point, the southern extremity of Ahipara Bay. Of course, this is a purely arbitrary line, and is in no sense a natural boundary; but it has the advantage of leaving to the south the high forest-clad plateau between Kaitaia and Whangape, the Maungataniwha Ranges between the Oruru Valley and the Mangamuka branch of the Hokianga River, and the wooded hills to the north of Whangaroa Harbour. In short, it is a line which better than any other cuts off the forests and high land of the country between the Bay of Islands and Mangonui from the open low-lying districts to the north. The extreme length of the district, from Ahipara to Cape Reinga, is about sixty miles. Owing to the irregular and far-reaching indentations of the eastern coast, the breadth varies excessively. From Tokomata to Ahipara is about thirty-five miles; but from the head of Doubtless Bay to the coast north of Ahipara the distance is barely sixteen; while from the Waipapakauri branch of Rangaunu Harbour to the nearest part of the west coast is only four miles and a half. Ohora Harbour and the Waitaia branch of Parengarenga Harbour also reach
within five miles of the opposite coast. North, of Parengarenga the district widens, so that from Gape Maria van Diemen to the North Cape is a distance of nearly twenty-five miles. Most of the district is comparatively low-lying. Doubtless Bay is separated from Rangaunu Harbour by a narrow strip raised only a few feet above sea-level; and all round the shores of Rangaunu Harbour and up the valley of the Awanui as far as Kaitaia the country has a very small elevation above the sea. At the head of Ohora Harbour, in many places around Parengarenga Harbour, at the back of Spirits Bay, and at Tom Bowline's Bay are extensive stretches varying from 10ft. to 25ft. above high-water mark. The only hills of any height are those immediately to the north of Mangonui Harbour, which attain a greatest elevation of 1,045ft. Mount Camel, situated on a narrow tongue of land between Ohora Harbour and the sea, reaches 804ft., and in several places along the extreme northern coast the hills vary from 800ft. to 1,000ft. in height.
A slight sketch of the geology will be sufficient, more especially as full particulars can easily be obtained from Mr. McKay's report. The oldest rocks in the district consist of Secondary or Palæozoic strata of somewhat uncertain age, often associated with heavy bands of igneous rocks, mainly syenites and diorites. This formation is well developed near Mangonui, at the southern extremity of Ahipara Bay, at Mount Camel, and at many places along the coast from Cape Maria van Diemen to the North Cape. Cretaceo-tertiary strata, consisting mainly of hydraulic limestones, firestones, shales, and sandstones, occupy the belt between the Oruru River and Awanui, and also occur in several localities around Parengarenga Harbour. Upper Miocene beds, composed of sands and sandy or marly clays, are also developed to the north of Parengarenga. A volcanic breccia of Pliocene age, very similar to the breccia so well developed at the Manukau North Head, is seen at the eastern end of Spirits Bay, from whence it stretches to Tom Bowline's Bay. The whole of the remainder of the district, comprising much the largest portion of its area, is occupied with Recent deposits. These consist of swampy or alluvial deposits, chiefly developed around Rangaunu Harbour and between it and Ahipara, and also occupying a considerable area around Parengarenga Harbour; of ancient sand-dunes, now consolidated and covered with vegetation, and which form the backbone, as it were, of the narrow tract connecting Ahipara with the North Gape peninsula proper; and of sand-dunes of much more recent date, still bare of vegetation, and drifting inland with every gale. These recent sand-dunes are heaped up against the older ones, and occupy a considerable portion of the coast-line,
especially on the western side, where they form a continuous belt stretching from Ahipara to within a short distance of Cape Maria van Diemen. Both the swampy deposits and the consolidated sandhills contain large quantities of kauri gum, which for several years has given employment to a considerable number of gum-diggers.
The arrangement and mode of formation of these Recent deposits show that the northern extremity of New Zealand has been subjected to considerable fluctuations of level since the close of the Tertiary period. Before the formation of the older sand-dunes the greater portion was under water. The high land at the southern side of the entrance to Doubtless Bay was then the North Cape of New Zealand, and from it a shallow sea stretched westwards to Ahipara and northwards beyond the present North Cape. The hills at Cape Karakara, now constituting the north-west side of Doubtless Bay, probably formed one or two little islands in this sea. Further north Mount Camel stood out as another island; while between Parengarenga and the North Cape quite a little archipelago existed. Still further to the north the Three Kings Islands probably reared their higher peaks above water. This period of depression was followed by elevation, and elevation to such an extent that the land stood much above its present level, and probably extended as far as the Three Kings. Magnificent kauri forests covered most of the country, flourishing where now nothing but swamp and lake exist. Then the land sank to somewhere near its present level, and the first line of sandhills was formed—now. consolidated and covered with vegetation. Then, after a considerable pause, and possibly after a still further slight subsidence, the younger sandhills came into existence, and the country gradually assumed its present aspect.
The exploration of the district naturally commences at Mangonui Harbour, where the traveller disembarks after his day and a half's voyage from Auckland. It is situated at the south-eastern corner of Doubtless Bay, with which it communicates by a narrow channel barely more than quarter of a mile in width. The township stands on the southern side of this channel, and consists of a narrow street following the sinuosities of the shore. The harbour is perfectly land-locked, and is surrounded by low clay hills devoid of bush, and covered with a stunted growth of Leptospermum and Pteris.
Many naturalised plants were observed in the township. Immediately after leaving the wharf one's gaze was arrested by large patches of the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) growing 5ft. or 6ft. in height, and forming a mass of prickly vegetation impenetrable to man or beast. The local authorities ought to extirpate it; for, judging from its phenomenal increase in
South America, where whole districts have been overrun with it, its introduction may lead to serious trouble. Asphodelus fistulosus was more common than in any other locality known to me. In many places it fringed the roads, and formed clumps on the hillsides above. Trifolium resupinatum, was in great abundance, and is now found in damp sandy places in most parts of the district. As it produces a fair amount of feed in spring and early summer, its introduction is of decided advantage to the settler. Apium leptophyllum was established in several localities. An Australian grass, Andropogon annulatus, not previously noticed in New Zealand, was plentiful on a steep slope overlooking the main street. In moist places Kyllinga monocephala formed stretches of green grassy foliage 6in. to 9in. high. It was originally discovered by Mr. W. T. Ball, on a swampy flat on the northern side of the harbour, and at the time of my first visit certainly did not occur anywhere on the southern side. It is now in immense abundance, stretching to Kaitaia and Ahipara, and from thence as far as the North Cape. I fear that it must be regarded as an introduced plant, although at the time of its discovery I expressed a different opinion. Many other alien plants of interest were noticed. Verbena officinalis was a prominent species, but was not so plentiful as it was twenty years ago, when it covered acres, to the exclusion of almost all other vegetation. Œnothera stricta, Scabiosa atropurpurea, and Solanum sodomæum were all frequently seen, as also many others which it is not necessary to mention in this place.
Crossing to the north side of the harbour, and proceeding towards Tokomata Point, few plants of interest were noticed until the sea-cliffs were reached. Where not covered with bush, these were clothed from base to summit with the magnificent Ipomœa palmata, at the time of my visit laden with multitudes of large mauve flowers. It is decidedly one of the most handsome species of our flora, and should be more often seen in cultivation than is the case at present. It succeeds well in gardens in the vicinity of Auckland if a little care is taken at the time of its first establishment. Calystegia marginata, which appears to be an extremely local plant in New Zealand, was picked in one or two localities. A few interesting species were noticed in the patches of bush which are scattered here and there along the cliffs, the most noteworthy being Pittosporum umbellatum and P. virgatum, Sapota costata, Coprosma arborea, and Olearia angulata. On the open hillsides overlooking the cliffs the typical form of Haloragis tetragyna was unusually abundant, as also Orthoceras solandri, which could be pulled by the handful as the traveller walked along.
The coast-line between Mangonui Harbour and Flat Head
was also explored for a distance of two or three miles. Large masses of the rare fern Loxsoma cunninghamii were seen along the banks of the Waitetoki streamlet, and in the light bush covering the hillsides Pittosporum reflexum was most abundant. In this locality it showed an unusual amount of variation. In some specimens the leaves were extremely narrow, and the plant could then with difficulty be distinguished from Cyathodes acerosa, except by handling it, when the much softer foliage at once betrayed its distinctness. Forms with broader leaves much resembled. Leucopogon fasciculatus, and those with leaves still wider approached very closely to the typical form of Pittosporum pimeleoides.
The Oruaiti River, which discharges into the head of Mangonui Harbour, was examined for some distance. For several miles it is fringed, with extensive mangrove swamps, the trees in some cases reaching a height of from 15ft. to 20ft. Along the edge of these swamps is the usual growth of brackish-water plants, such as Plagianthus divaricatus, Crantzia, Selliera, Samolus, Juncus maritimus, and Cladium junceum. Associated with these was an introduced grass, Polypogon fugax, now widely distributed through the North Island of New Zealand. The road winds along the margin of the river, in many places fringed with Asphodelus fistulosus and Verbena officinalis, and with all the plashy places at its side filled with Kyllinga. Above the influence of the tide the Oruaiti flows through a broad flat valley, evidently once in cultivation, but now fast reverting to its original vegetation of Cordyline, Phormium, and Leptospermum. Cyperus buchanani, Kirk, was extremely plentiful in this portion of its course.
The south-west side of Mangonui Harbour is surrounded by undulating clay hills covered with a scanty vegetation of Pteris and Leptospermum, mixed with Pomaderris elliptica and a few other shrubs. A fine blue Thelymitra, probably referable to T. pulchella, was very plentiful. At Cooper's Beach, only a short distance from Mangonui, the rare Todea barbara grows in some quantity. Some of the clumps were several feet in diameter, and appeared to suffer very little from the fires which sweep periodically over most of the open country in the north. Following the Awanui Road, we skirted the shore of Doubtless Bay, passing a succession of sandy bays separated by rocky headlands adorned with pohutukawas in full bloom. The Oruru River was reached at Taipa, about half a mile above its month. Here are extensive sandy flats covered with Pteris and an unusually silky variety of Leptospermum scoparium. Isolepis nodosa was most abundant, and in open places the ground was carpeted with Zoysia pungens. Two introduced grasses, Festuca bro-
moides and Aira caryophyllea, were present in great quantity. Only a small portion of the lower course of the Oruru is included within the limits assigned to this paper, and this is principally covered, where not in cultivation, with Phormium, Cordyline, Carpodetus, and several species of Coprosma. Asplenium umbrosum was noticed in several places, but on the whole the vegetation possesses few features of interest. Crossing the river at Taipa, we diverged from the Awanui Road in the direction of the head of Doubtless Bay. We passed large quantities of the curious parasite Cassytha paniculata—a plant very generally distributed through the open country north of Mangonui. Its twining leafless stems cover the bushes of Leptospermum with a close network, binding one plant fast to another, and often ultimately smothering them. After a monotonous tramp of several hours' duration, we descended to the coast near the mouth of the Awapoko River. Here were some sandy flats thickly covered with the introduced Solanum sodomæum. Nowhere have I seen it so abundant or so thoroughly at home. The Messrs. Matthews, who own a grazing-run of considerable size in the vicinity, informed me that it is spreading fast, and that a large amount of trouble is required to keep their paddocks moderately free from it. For many years it has been established on the volcanic hills of the Auckland isthmus, but in that locality it has of late shown little tendency to increase its numbers.
On the Awapoko River the long sandy beach commences which forms the head of Doubtless Bay. It is backed by sand-dunes, and behind these a low marshy tract extends as far as the eastern shore of Rangaunu Harbour. On the sandhills the usual arenarian plants appeared, such as Cassinia leptophylla, Coprosma acerosa, Pimelea arenaria, Muhlenbeckia complexa, Phormium, Scleranthus, Zoysia, &c. In addition to Solanum sodomæum, Polycarpon tetraphyllum and Festuca bromoides were plentifully naturalised. Immediately behind the sandhills the Awapoko expands into broad brackish-water marshes largely covered with mangroves, and with such plants as Juncus maritimus, Leptocarpus simplex, Plagianthus divaricatus, Samolus, Selliera, Crantzia, Apiumfiliforme, Ranunculus acaulis, &c. Kyllinga and Trifolium resupinatum were the most abundant naturalised plants. Leaving these swamps on our left, we turned our course in the direction of Lake Ohia, a somewhat extensive sheet of water situated about midway between Doubtless Bay and Rangaunu Harbour. It is surrounded by swamps separated here and there by low ridges of firm ground. These ridges run parallel to the shores of Doubtless Bay, and evidently represent lines of old sand-dunes, formed during the period, of depression alluded to in the introduction to this paper.
Cladium teretifolium was the predominant plant in the swamps, but mixed with it were Cladium junceum, Schœnus tenax, S. tendo, Hypolæna lateriflora, Gleichenia dicarpa, Drosera binata, Dianella intermedia, and-several species of Sphagnum. Utricularia novæ-zealandiæ was plentiful in peaty places, its pretty little lilac flowers at once arresting the glance. The sandy ridges were mainly covered with Pteris and Leptospermum, mixed with Epacris pauciflora, Dracophyllum urvilleanum, Pimelea prostrata, Leucopogon fraseri, and a few sedges and grasses. After a somewhat disagreeable tramp we reached the margin of the lake. We found it extremely shallow, and I was able to wade at least a hundred yards from the shore without overstepping my knees. The bottom was composed of dean white sand almost altogether free from vegetation. I searched in vain for Isoetes and Pilularia, and the only water-plant seen was Myriophyllum variæfolium, which was present in small quantity. It is possible, however, that at a later period of the season, when the water stands at a lower level, the traveller may be more successful in obtaining lacustrine or submerged plants. The surroundings of the lake were dreary in the extreme. On all sides stretched an apparently interminable swamp, with its monotonous growth of sedges. To the south a low range of hills was visible, but so bare, barren, and forbidding that it only added to the desolate appearance of the landscape. Not a tree was visible; and not a sign of life could be seen in the lake itself.
Retracing our steps to the Awapoko, we turned in a southwesterly direction to regain the road to Awanui. After travelling along the flat for about a mile, we ascended the hills which flank its southern side. The resemblance which they present to an old coast-line was most obvious, and it was impossible to avoid coming to the conclusion that we had before us part of the shore of the Shallow sea which formerly rolled from Doubtless Bay westwards as far as Ahipara. For the remainder of the day our track led over undulating clay hills covered with a meagre and uninteresting vegetation. No change took place until we reached the Parerau camping-ground, where there is a patch of bush, and a pretty little stream, which in our maps is made to discharge into Lake Ohia, but which really flows into Rangaunu Harbour. The tarairi was the principal tree, but Carpodetus, Weinmannia, Alectryon, Hedycarya, and totara were also present. The undergrowth was almost wholly composed of Coprosma parviflora, attaining a height of from 15ft. to 20ft. Among the plants gathered was Erechtites prenanthoides, not previously seen to the north of the Thames goldfields.
The next morning we were awakened by the song of the
ubiquitous blackbird, now common all through the north. Twenty-five years ago the melodious chimes of the bell-bird would have performed that office for us; but those days have gone, no more to return. Striking camp, we travelled for several hours over clay hills of very similar character to those passed over on the previous afternoon. The only plant of interest gathered was a species of Utricularia, which was plentiful in a little Sphagnum swamp at the top of one of the hills. It is probably referable to Hooker's Utricularia colensoi, although the flowers hardly match his description. At the crossing of the Mangatete River, a stream flowing into the head of Rangaunu Harbour, another patch of forest was passed through. It contained some magnificent puriris and karakas, and the largest specimens of Dodonæa viscosa that I have seen. Lower down the valley was the remnant of a small kahikatea forest—probably the most northerly one, for only single trees are found in the North Cape district. Climbing the steep clay hill to the westward of the Mangatete, we reached an extensive table-land, elevated about 300ft. above the sea. For some years it had been a productive gum-field, and the huts of the gum-diggers were scattered plentifully over it. What with their abandoned workings and the blackened results of their attempts to burn off the vegetation there was little for a botanist to investigate, and we pressed rapidly on. Reaching the western edge of the plateau, we descended very abruptly to the Maori settlement of Karepouia. This brought us to the commencement of the Awanui flats, and passing through an almost continuous raupo swamp, with the ditches by the roadside filled with Epilobium pallidiflorum and Sparganium, we at length arrived at Awanui Township itself.
We had now entered the alluvial plain which stretches from Rangaunu Harbour to Kaitaia, and which is only separated from the western coast by a narrow strip of sandhills. The Awanui River, which enters the plain at Kaitaia, follows a serpentine course through it, finally discharging into Rangaunu Harbour about three miles below the township—that is, in a straight line, for the distance would be trebled if the windings of the river were reckoned. The whole country has a very slight elevation above the sea, and there is a large area of permanent swamp. On the western side, almost at the foot of the sandhills, is a chain of fresh-water lakes of varying size, most of which are little above the level of high-water mark. Apparently the soil is fertile, and probably well suited for cropping. Unfortunately, however, the Awanui is subject to floods, which may take place at any time of the year, and which frequently cover many square miles of the adjacent country, especially if the flood should coincide with the time
of high, water in Rangaunu Harbour. From that cause, and from the difficulty of reaching a market, there is little cultivation—probably, far less than when Dieffenbach visited the district in 1839. He speaks of extensive stretches of potatoes, of maize “growing 10ft. or 12ft. high,” and of “the fields of yellow wheat bowing under the weight of the grain.” At that time the plain had a large Maori population, which had to be supplied with food raised on the spot.
Recent heavy rains had raised the level of the water in the swamps of the lower part of the plain, making it impossible to examine their vegetation, as we had intended. A cursory glance at the Awanui in the vicinity of the township showed few plants of interest. The banks were fringed with Cordyline, Phormium, and Leptospermum; Polygonum minus and Isachne were plentiful in most places; and in quiet reaches Scirpus lacustris and Typha were abundant. Cyperus buchanani and Kyllinga were of common occurrence, not only by the river, but by the smaller streams and in the ditches by the roadside. About three miles above the township the Awanui is fringed for more than a mile by an extensive kahikatea forest; but this we found impossible to reach except by pulling up the river in a boat, an expedition which would have taken too much time. The approach to Kaitaia, the next stage in our journey, was most attractive after our wanderings on the barren clay hills of Doubtless Bay. Green fields and well-painted houses, the neat church and parsonage, the winding river fringed with willows and poplars, and in the background the forest-clad Takahue Range, together formed a pretty and picturesque scene, well calculated to make the traveller linger on his way. But the time at our disposal was limited, and the district was almost, if not altogether, beyond the limits selected for examination. We therefore passed on in the direction of Ahipara, paying a short visit to Lake Tongonge on the way.
Lake Tongonge is the largest of a chain of lakes situated on the western side of the Awanui River, almost fringing the coast-line of sandhills. It is about three miles in length by perhaps half that width, but is surrounded by a much larger area of raupo swamps, most of which are filled with water during the greater part of the year. After some difficulty we succeeded in finding a practicable track to the margin of the lake; but the absence of a boat and the flooded state of the swamps, prevented us from making a satisfactory examination. I particularly regret not being able to examine the bottom of the lake for Isoetes and other submerged plants. The vegetation in the portion of the swamp passed through consisted mainly of Typha and Cladium articulatum; but Eleocharis sphacelata, Polygonum minus, Isachne australis,
Epilobium pallidiflorum, Myriophyllum variæfolium, Hydrocotyle asiatica, and H. novæ-zealandiæ were all abundant. Near the margin of the lake extensive patches of Glossostigma and Limosella were observed. I learnt with surprise that large quantities of kauri gum had been obtained from the swamp and from the bed of the lake, the diggers being principally Maoris. In the lake (which is very shallow throughout) it was obtained by diving from canoes; but in the swamp a somewhat curious method was followed. The swamp was first sounded with long gum-spears, quite 15ft. in length, until a large piece of gum was felt. A pointed iron-rod, with 2ft. or 3ft. of its lower end furnished with projecting barbs, was then forced into the swamp and moved about until the barbs became embedded in the gum. Another rod was then fixed in a similar manner to the other side. The rods were then drawn out simultaneously, usually bringing the gum with them. I was informed that the smaller lakes and swamps situated to the north of Tongonge also contain plentiful deposits of gum.
The kauri-tree never grows in low and swampy situations, hence the presence of large quantities of gum in such localities incontestably proves that great changes have taken place in the physical features of the district. When the country between Kaitaia and Rangaunu Harbour was covered with kauri forests the land must have stood at a much higher level, in order to provide free and rapid drainage to the sea. This period of elevation, though recent in a geological sense, is by no means so in the ordinary acceptance of the term, for it was evidently prior to the foundation of the great bulwark of sandhills stretching along the western coast from Ahipara to Cape Maria van Diemen. Even the older and more consolidated sandhills can be seen to overlie the swampy deposits containing gum; and, besides that, they could not have been formed in their present position when the land occupied a much higher level; or, in other words, came into existence only when the period of elevation had passed and the land had sunk to somewhat near its present level.
Proceeding in the direction of Ahipara, the road traverses a stretch of low-lying country mostly covered with tall Leptospermum, mixed with Cordyline and Phormium, and with an occasional undergrowth of Pteris incisa and Hypolepis tenuifolia. Veronica elongata, was picked in several places, mixed with such plants as Epilobium rotundifolium, Hypericum japonicum, Mentha, Callitriche, &c. The inland form of Paspalum distichum was abundant in some half-dry ditches by the roadside. At Waiake we passed some abandoned cultivations completely overrun with dog-roses and sweetbriar, interspersed with clumps of Albizzia lophantha.
Senecio scandens was abundant, scrambling over the remnants of the old fences, and many other naturalised plants of interest were catalogued. A little further on is the large native settlement of Pukepoto. Numerous whares stand a little distance from the road, and groups of gaily-dressed men and women were sitting in front of them, idling away the pleasant Sunday afternoon. In a warm and sheltered corner was a large clump of bananas loaded with young fruit. The road now ran close to the foot of the Tamatamahoe Range, the northern termination of the rugged country behind Herekino and Whangape. It has a bold escarpment towards the plains through which we were travelling, and no doubt formed a line of sea-cliffs during the period of subsidence so frequently referred to in this paper. Its summits were covered with forest, amongst which numerous clumps of kauri could be distinguished. This is the northern limit of kauri forests on the west coast, although scattered trees are found as far as the North Cape itself. A few miles further on we passed the remarkable cleft in the range through which the road to Herekino runs. It is a narrow gorge, shut in on both sides with peaked hills of considerable height, which are clothed with forest from base to summit. Pressing onwards for a mile or two, we passed through a large Maori settlement, immediately behind which rose the round-topped hill called Puketawatea, on the steep slopes of which were numerous cultivations. Struggling through a patch of drift-sand, we rounded a sharp corner and emerged on the shore of Ahipara Bay.
Before proceeding northwards we made an examination of Reef Point, or Tauroa, the bold headland to the south of Ahipara. It consists of a foundation of igneous rocks, probably of Palæozoic age, capped by recent sandhills, and attains a height of about 700ft. above sea-level. Ascending a gully only a little distance to the west of Reid's hotel, the steep hills on either side of the stream were found to be mainly covered with Leptospermum scoparium and L. ericoides, which together form at least four-fifths of the vegetation. Other trees noticed were Dodonæa viscosa, Myrsine urvillei, Vitex littoralis, Myoporum lættum, Olearia angulata, Brachyglottis, and Cordyline australis. Cladium sinclairii and a few other herbaceous plants were common on the rocks by the side of the stream. Little change was noticed until the top of the hill overlooking the gully was gained, when we emerged on a belt of drifting sand, and the usual arenarian plants at once appeared. Arundo, Desmoschœnus, and Goprosma acerosa were particularly abundant. Crossing this, we reached the plateau-like top of the headland. It is composed of old and consolidated sandhills, and supports a scanty vegetation of
Pteris, Leptospermum, Dracophyllum urvilleanum, Leucopogon, Cassinia, Pimelea prostrata, &c. Broad and shallow gullies were numerous, usually filled with Cladium teretifolium, amongst which Drosera binata was more than ordinarily abundant. From the trig.-station on the summit we struck southwards to the coast towards Herekino. The only plant of interest noticed during the descent to the beach was Veronica diosmæfolia, which occupied the greater portion of a small gully, forming little rounded bushes 4ft. or 5ft. in height. I was informed that twenty years ago it was plentiful in many of the open gullies of the headland, but that of late years it has been largely destroyed by fires and cattle. The tide being favourable, we returned to Ahipara by the beach. All round the headland the hard igneous rocks crop out about high-water mark or a little above it, jutting out seawards to a considerable distance, and thus forming a succession of long reefs. On the top of the igneous rocks are low and rounded consolidated sandhills, which form the coast-line proper. They are mainly covered with Cassinia, mixed with Phormium, Arundo, Pteris, and Leptospermum. At the base of the sandhills water oozes out freely, forming a narrow belt of moist or swampy ground just above high-water mark. Selliera, Crantzia, Scirpus cernuus, and Ranunculus acaulis were plentiful in one or two places, in company with Myriophyllum pedunculatum. A little further back Mazus pumilio and Gratiola sexdentata occurred in profusion, usually mixed with Mentha cunninghamii. In wetter places Glossostigma and Lemna minor were observed. In one or two localities Hibiscus diversifolius was noticed, but only in small quantity. It has not been previously recorded from the south of Parengarenga, but it is quite possible that it may be found in other stations on the coast-line towards Herekino and Whangape. Rounding the extreme point of the headland the igneous rocks gradually rose, at last forming low cliffs covered with immense masses of Cladium sinclairii, below which Lobelia, Samolus, and Scirpus riparius were most abundant. A few plants of Ipomaea palmata were seen, but, generally speaking, the cliffs were much too wet to form a suitable habitat for this fine plant.
I was much interested at seeing in Mr. Reid's garden two young plants of a Cordyline, apparently closely allied to the C. terminalis of my list of Kermadec Island plants. * On inquiry, I learned that one of the plants, with two others, were found on the hillside almost immediately behind Mr. Reid's house, at an elevation of about 150ft., and not more than a quarter of a mile from the sea. They were growing amongst dwarf Leptospermum and Goprosma. The second
[Footnote] * Trans. N. Z. Inst., xx., 174.
plant was obtained near the Harihaia Stream, which discharges into Ahipara Bay about half a mile to the west of Mr. Reid'a house. Since the discovery the coast has been searched for a considerable distance, but no additional plants have been seen. Miss Reid, who found all the specimens, kindly showed me the exact localities, but with the closest scrutiny I failed to find any further trace of the plant. Mr. Kirk, in the recently-issued volume of Transactions, has paid me the compliment of suggesting the name of Cordyline cheesemanii for it. It is possible that he may be right in considering it to be distinct; but its affinity to C. terminalis is evidently very close, and in the absence of flowers and fruit I should be inclined to place, it with that species. It is worth remarking that both the localities where the plants were found have been at one time cultivated by the Maoris.
The next morning we started for the extreme north. Our road was the magnificent sandy beach which stretches without a break from Ahipara to the rocky coast near Cape Maria van Diemen, a distance of over fifty miles. Smooth and even from end to end, and beaten firm and hard by the daily wash of the tide, it puts to shame the most perfect productions of Macadam. On our left was the open ocean, with the everlasting roll and roar of its waves on the shore; to our right mile after mile of low rounded sandhills, bare of vegetation, and drifting inland with every gala. For fully two miles after leaving Ahipara the sandhills were covered with Maori kitchen-middens and shell-heaps, an indubitable proof of the former existence of a large population. Most of them disappeared when we reached Waimimia, the outlet of the Wairoa Stream. Here was a large brackish-water lagoon, devoid of vegetation except a few patches of Ruppia. Crossing the stream, the rising tide compelled us to walk at the very base of the sandhills, which for miles were fringed with Spinifex and Desmoschœnus. In moist places near high-water mark such plants as Selliera, Samolus, Crantzia, Leptocarpus, and Paspalum distichum were occasionally seen. Further away from the sea the sandhills were generally bare; but here and there small areas were covered with Cassinia leptophylla, Coprosma acerosa, Muhlenbeckia complexa, Arundo, and other arenarian plants. For many miles—quite fifteen, indeed—no change was noticed, and the sameness in the coast-line became distressingly monotonous. At length we reached a place known as Waihi, where some beds of lignite crop out a short distance from the beach, forming bluffs 10ft. or 12ft. in height. They are capped by sandhills, and everywhere at the junction of the sand and lignite water oozes out, trickling down the face of the cliff and forming a narrow
swamp at its base. I found this an excellent collecting-ground, and a couple of hours were profitably spent in examining it. Large tufts of Lomaria banksii were common on the wet lignite, mixed with such plants as Plantago raoulii, Lobelia, Samolus, Apium australe, Fuchsia procumbens, and a curious variety of Cotula minor. In the strips of swamp were Typha, Cladium articulatum, Leptocarpus, Myriophyllum variæfolium, Mazus, Glossostigma, and Epilobium chionanthum. I also observed a few tufts of Nephrodium unitum, one of those tropical ferns which in New Zealand are found almost solely in soil heated by hot springs. It was first noticed in the “far north” by Mr. J. B. Simpson, who as far back as 1886 sent me specimens gathered in a swamp near Ohora. Resuming our journey, the monotonous line of sand-dunes again appeared, and continued until we reached Hukatere, about twenty-five miles from Ahipara, where we camped for the night.
Early the next morning we left for Ohora, on the eastern coast. For the first two or three miles the track, if such it can be called, led us over moving sandhills as near as possible free from vegetation. On our right was Hukatere Hill, a dome-shaped elevation perhaps 250ft. high, covered with Cassinia, Leptospermum, and Pteris. To the left white rolling sandhills stretched as far as we could see. The chief plants by our line of march were Desmoschænus, Leptocarpus, Arundo, Coprosma acerosa, and Muhlenbeckia complexa. It was curious to see huge tussocks of Leptocarpus elevated upon pillars as thick as a man's waist, and 4ft. and 5ft. high, altogether formed of the compacted roots and rhizomes of the plant. We passed a few small lagoons, round the margin of which, were great quantities of Limosella and Glossostigma, accompanied by a curious Eleocharis, probably identical with E. neozealandica, Clarke. Shortly after, we reached the consolidated sands which separate the moving dunes of the west coast from those of the east. They proved to be barren and dreary in the extreme. Stunted tea-tree and fern on the hills and Cladium teretifolium in the broad swampy gullies formed the chief vegetation. Cassytha was everywhere parasitic on the tea-tree, its interlaced and trailing branches constantly catching the feet of the traveller if he attempted to leave the path. In a large wet swamp I gathered Scirpus fluitans, not previously seen to the north of the middle waikato basin. We arrived at Ohora soon after mid-day; a violent thunderstorm, with the most vivid lightning, accompanied by heavy rain, driving us into a gum-shed for the rest of the day.
Ohora Harbour is a long and narrow inlet situated half-way between Mangonui and Parengarenga. The entrance is little more than a quarter of a mile in width, and almost in the
middle of the narrowest part a tall and picturesque rock called Tokoroa juts out, closely resembling the Arrow rock in the entrance to Nelson Harbour. The southern head is low and sandy, presenting a very uninviting appearance; the opposite shore is formed by Mount Camel, which rises abruptly from the water's edge to a height of 800ft. Once past the entrance, the harbour rapidly widens, but it also becomes very shallow, and at low-water is little more than an expanse of mud-banks separated by narrow and tortuous channels.
The vegetation on the south side of the harbour is uninteresting, and calls for few remarks. Near Mr. Subritzky's residence Melianthus major was naturalised in some quantity, accompanied by Vinca minor, Iris germanica, Asphodelus fistulosus, and other garden escapes. On the northern side a narrow strip of fertile land, often little more than a few yards in width, intervenes between the shore and the steep slopes of Mount Camel. At no distant date it has been almost wholly occupied by Maori cultivations, and the sites of their dwellings and hangis could still be distinctly traced. It was dotted over with the remnants of former groves of karaka-trees, probably planted for the sake of the edible fruit. Peach-trees were plentiful; and on all sides one saw such plants of foreign origin as Albizzia lophantha, Lycium, Physalis, &c. Behind this little flat the steep face of the mountain was scored with short gullies, some of them with small patches of bush and tiny rills of water. The principal tree was the pohutukawa, but Vitex, Dysoxylum, Brachyglottis, Entelea, Coprosma robusta, C. grandifolia, and Piper excelsum were all abundant. The rare Colensoa was detected in one or-two sheltered nooks, but was by no means plentiful. Rhabdothamnus was unusually abundant, forming the greater portion of the undergrowth; and in the more precipitous places the rocks were covered with immense masses of Arthropodium cirrhatum. Unusually large quantities of Nephrodium velutinum were observed. We made no attempt to ascend the mountain, as the whole of the upper portion had been burned off a few days before our arrival. Proceeding along the coast in the direction of Cape Perpendicular, the principal tree was still the pohutukawa, but mixed with it were numerous fine specimens of Sapota costata, some of them of unusual size. The slopes of the bills were mainly covered with Brachyglottis and Olearia furfuracea. Near the beach Fuchsia procumbens, Colensoa, and Pteris comans were not uncommon. Cape Perpendicular was bare of forest, and its sides were scored with numerous shoots or slides of rocky débris which had rolled from the hills above. Coprosma baueriana, Rhagodia, Apium australe, Samolus, Mesembryanthemum, and other well-known coast plants were observed. Near Stanley Point a few specimens of Hymenanthera latifolia
were noticed, but apparently it is far from common in this locality.
Leaving the coast, we crossed to the track leading to the head of Ohora Harbour. Veronica diosmæfolia was observed in a small gully which flows into the harbour from the northwest side of Mount Camel, but only in small quantity. Our road now led over open kauri-gum land with the usual sparse vegetation of Leptospermum, Pteris, Dracophyllum urvilleanum, Epacris pauciflora, &c. Many of the gullies contained large clumps of Todea barbara, its erect rigid habit and massive mode of growth making it easy of recognition from a considerable distance. It was often associated with Gleichenia flabellata, to which it offered a most striking contrast. We reached the Waihopo Stream, at the head of Ohora Harbour, a little before dusk, and camped near Mr. Tynan's gum-store.
The Waihopo, which is a stream of considerable size, in the lower portion of its course flows through an extensive raupo swamp, which we had not time to visit. Near our camping-ground it was fringed with Cladium and Eleocharis, amongst which the New Zealand form of Nephrodium thelypteris was not uncommon. Large masses of Myriophyllum variæfolium choked the bed of the stream, and Glossostigma was plentiful on the muddy banks. Further on, the banks of the stream became higher, and were covered with Leptospermum and occasional bushes of Coprosma cunninghamii. In a warm and sunny corner some distance back from the stream Melianthus major was abundantly naturalised. The road to Parengarenga, on which we were now travelling, follows the course of the Waihopo for two or three miles. For the whole of this distance, and as far beyond as we could see up the valley, the stream was fringed with thickets of an Australian Acacia with lanceolate phyllodia. In many places both sides of the stream were entirely blocked with it, and single plants were thickly scattered on the slopes of the hills flanking the valley. It is evidently spreading fast, but I was unable to gather any particulars as to the mode of its introduction. Leaving the Waihopo, the road traverses a dreary stretch of kauri-gum land, with the usual vegetation of Pteris and Leptospermum. For several miles the only plant of interest noticed was Spiranthes australis, which was abundant in one little swamp, specimens fully 2ft. in height being collected. The flowers vary in colour from dark-rose through pink to white. With the exception of a solitary locality on the Great Barrier Island, it had not been previously observed to the north of the Auckland isthmus. At noon we reached the Maori settlement of Te Kao, situated near the head of a little stream flowing into the southern branch of Parengarenga Harbour. The settlement consists of about twenty whares, a meeting-house,
native school, and schoolmaster's house. There is some fairly good land by the side of the stream, the Maoris cultivating kumaras, maize, potatoes, and melons. Chenopodium ambrosioides was plentiful about the whares, and Hibiscus trionum was noticed growing as a weed in the cultivations. At Te Kao the geological structure of the country changed. We had left behind the consolidated sands, and had entered upon a volcanic conglomerate of Middle Tertiary age. The soil was red and friable, and loaded with pebbles of ironstone; and, although by no means fertile, was not so excessively barren as that over which we had travelled during the morning. After leaving the settlement the road became much more hilly. On our rights we passed several lakes, some of which were examined for water-plants, but without finding anything of special importance. To the left the gullies contained small patches of bush, mainly composed-of puriri, Knightia, Dysoxylum, Corynocarpus, Cordyline, Cyathea medullaris, and C. dealbata. Crossing a tongue of the drifting sands from the western coast, the road followed the watershed between two of the main branches of Parengarenga Harbour, passing over open “gum” country with a very monotonous vegetation. Pomaderris edgerleyi was of common occurrence, but hardly any other plant of importance was noticed. Mr. Yates's station at Te Paua, on the shore of Parengarenga Harbour, was reached a little before dark.
Parengarenga Harbour is a large and, in many respects, a remarkable inlet. The entrance is narrow, being barely more than half a mile in width. The northern head is formed by a bold bluff of volcanic conglomerate; the south head is a spit of dazzling white sand, which stretches away for miles, forming the shore of what is called Great Exhibition Bay. When the entrance is fairly passed the harbour spreads on all sides like the fingers of an outstretched hand. One broad arm runs due southwards in the direction of Te Kao, and is only separated from the sea by the spit of sand just mentioned. Another takes a northern course, reaching within two miles of Spirits Bay. Two more run respectively west and north-west, both of them penetrating to within a short distance of the western coast. All the branches are shallow; and at low water a great portion of the harbour is laid bare in the shape of extensive mud-flats. The adjacent country is composed of low undulating clay hills. It is quite bare of forest, and the vegetation is nowhere luxuriant; in most places it could be correctly described as sparse and scanty. The geological structure is interesting, mainly on account of the great variety of formations represented in a comparatively small area. It would take up too much space to describe it in detail here; nor is this necessary, seeing that full particulars are given in
Mr. McKay's report. A passing allusion may be made to one feature, especially as it is sure to attract the notice of all visitors. In many places along the shores of the harbour, and particularly at the junction of the various branches, are extensive fiats, elevated from 10ft. to 15ft. above high-water mark, and composed of estuarine deposits. They contain numerous fossils of species still living in the locality, and are covered with a thin stratum of peaty soil, in which kauri gum and the remains of kauri-trees are embedded. The size and number of these flats, their even surface, and the fact that in all parts of the harbour they maintain the same height above high-water mark render them a very conspicuous feature. Their significance is obvious: they prove the existence of a period of depression, followed by one of considerable elevation.
We remained a day and a half at Te Paua, waiting the arrival of the little steamer “Staffa” with a further supply of drying-paper. During this time short excursions were made to several points on the shore of the harbour. The most noteworthy plant collected was Drosera pygmæa, which was plentiful on the low peaty flat stretching from Te Paua towards the entrance of the harbour. It was first collected by Mr. Colenso in 1839, “in marshes near Cape Maria van Diemen,” according to the Handbook; but Mr. Colenso informs me that he fancies his specimens were really obtained near Ahipara. It was not seen again until 1877, when Mr. Kirk collected it on the Bluff Hill, in Southland. These two stations, at the two extremes of the colony, have been the only ones recorded until now. Its distribution appears to be most anomalous; but it is so easily overlooked that it may be expected to occur in intermediate localities.
Having obtained our drying-paper, we left Te Paua about noon, intending to ford the Ngatikorangi branch of the harbour and then proceed by way of Te Paki Station to Cape Maria van Diemen. On reaching the ford, however, we found the tide too high to admit of our pack-horse crossing without endangering the collections, and we consequently turned to the south-west, intending to head the creek and then proceed direct to the western coast. After travelling for some hours over open kauri - gum land, we crossed a stream called Whakatiriohau, chiefly remarkable for the immense masses of Gleichenia flabellata growing along its sides. Passing over some hills largely covered with Pomaderris edgerleyi and Epacris pauciflora, we at length reached the Ngatikorangi near its source. Here the consolidated sandhills contained numerous funnel-shaped holes from 12ft. to 15ft. in depth, their sides covered with a profusion of Gleichenia flabellata, Todea barbara, and Doodia media. Proceeding a mile or two
further, we camped for the night in a little hollow near the edge of the drifting sands.
Our camp was within a short distance of a celebrated pohutukawa-tree widely known to the northern Maoris by the special name of Kahika. It has an enormous crown of spreading branches, which are buried in sand almost to their tops no part whatever of the trunk being visible. Notwithstanding the immense amount of sand which must be piled around it, the tree has every appearance of health and vigour. According to the Maoris, it is of great antiquity, and has for generations been used to mark the boundary of the lands belonging to a particular hapu. It is evidently the tree mentioned by Dieffenbach in his “Travels in New Zealand” (vol. i., p. 201), although he erroneously calls it a puriri. Probably he was never actually close to it. As it stands on the eastern slope of the sandhills it is a conspicuous object from most parts of Parengarenga Harbour and Captain Drury, in the “New Zealand Pilot,” uses it for one of the leading marks for entering the harbour.
The next morning we crossed the drifting sandhills to the coast, the greater portion of our road being down a broad sandy valley called Kanaparana. On either side were tall sandhills absolutely bare of vegetation, but in the moist sand near the stream some interesting plants were observed, such as Eleocharis neo-zealandica, Myriophyllum pedunculatum, Grunnera arenaria, &c. From the mouth of the stream a walk of three miles brought us to the bold rocky bluff called Pukekarea, locally known as Scott's Point. This is the northern end of the sandy beach, which, commencing at Ahipara, runs thus far—a distance of over fifty miles—without a single break. The vegetation on the cliffs proved most disappointing. It consisted mainly of Arundo, Phormium, Cassinia, Arthropodium, Apium, and Mesembryanthemum. Coprosma baueriana was present in small quantity; and in one little bay I observed a few plants of Hymenanthera latifolia. Panax lessonii and Fuchsia procumbens were plentiful in a small gully. On a sandy flat at the foot of the cliff, evidently often used as a camping ground, Polypogon monspeliensis was abundantly naturalised. A curious Nertera, probably undescribed, was common in grassy places. Finding it impossible to make our way any further by the beach, we ascended to the top of the bluff, which formed a broad plateau with an elevation of from 400ft. to 500ft. A more dreary place can hardly be imagined. Exposed to the full force of the westerly gales, the wind-swept soil was in many places entirely bare of vegetation. Usually, however, it was covered with a dwarf growth of tea-tree, mixed here and there with Cyathodes and Leucopogon. At the very edge of the cliffs were large patches of Zoysia,
Selliera, Samolus, Leptocarpus, and other plants that delight in salt-sea spray. In one sheltered little bight a patch of Veronica speciosa was observed—really the only plant of special interest seen in the locality. Descending into a sandy bay on the northern side of the bluff, we passed a moist bank covered with Gunnera arenaria loaded with ripe fruit. From the abundance of the yellowish-red fleshy spikes it presented quite an ornamental appearance. Further on the slopes leading down to the bay were clothed with Phormium, or with a coppice growth of pohutukawa 6ft. to 15ft. in height, the stems growing quite close to one another like tea-tree. Reaching a long low point called Pitokuku, we struck inland over some sandhills to a sheltered camping-ground close to a little tributary of the Werabi Stream.
Half an hour's walk on the following morning brought us to Cape Maria van Diemen, the extreme north-west point of the colony. The cape itself consists of a small island about 250ft. in height, separated from the mainland by a passage perhaps three-quarters of a mile in width. About fifty species of plants, native and introduced, were catalogued on the island. Phormium was the most abundant plant, but Cassinia, Muhlenbeckia complexa, Mesembryanthemum, Arundo, Scirpus nodosus, and other common seaside plants were plentiful. Under the flax-bushes the rare land-shell Bulimus bovinus can be obtained in some numbers, although it has decreased considerably since pigs and goats were introduced. Originally it must have existed in immense numbers, for the landward slope of the island is covered with the dead and bleached shells. Immediately opposite to the island, and bearing south-east from it, is a high rocky hill quite 400ft. in height, joined to the mainland by a low strip, of drifting sandhills. It is bare and desolate-looking, and has little vegetation on its landward face, except scattered plants of Cassinia, Leptospermum, Scirpus nodosus, &c. The cliffs towards the sea are still more barren. Here and there Coprosma baueriana may be seen, flattened and appressed to the rock; in other places are some straggling pohutukawas, shorn by the wind until their branches barely exceed a foot in height. In crevices of the rock the typical form of Asplenium obtusatum was not uncommon, accompanied by Lobelia, Samolus, Triticum multiflorum, &c. Desmoschænus, Spinifex, Festuca littoralis, and Convolvulus soldanella were the commonest plants on the sand. On the whole, the neighbourhood of Gape Maria van Diemen cannot be said to be attractive. Bare and barren rocks, flanked by high rounded sandhills, make up the dreary landscape; while seawards there are the miles and miles of savage breakers on the Columbia Reef, and nearer at hand the incessant roar of the waves on the shore.
Travelling eastwards, we soon reached the mouth of the Werahi, a stream of considerable size. A small Maori village once stood there, mentioned by Dieffenbach and other early travellers, but it has been abandoned for very many years, and a line of kitchen-middens and shell-heaps alone remains to mark its site. Crossing the stream, we proceeded along a sandy bay for a few miles, at length reaching a steep and jagged bluff, which effectually prevented all further progress on the beach. Turning up a little gully, we gradually gained the top of the steep range which now ran parallel with the coast. Following the ridge for a short distance, we soon arrived at the top of the hill overlooking the Reinga, so well known in Maori tradition.
Most of us are aware that the Maoris believed that immediately after death the soul made its way to the extreme north of the country and descended into its future abode beneath the earth at a place called Reinga. So implicit was their belief in this tradition that they asserted it was quite possible to hear at night the sounds made by the spirits passing through the air on their northward journey, and that this was especially the case after a great battle, when multitudes were slain. In such instances they became aware of the event long before the news could reach them by ordinary means. Persons who had been so seriously unwell that their lives were despaired of, but who recovered, were said to have been at the brink of the Reinga, but to have returned. They even had traditions of people who had died, and descended the Reinga, but who nevertheless returned to earth and life and related what they had seen. A belief so widespread and so generally accepted invested the locality with a particular sanctity in the eyes of a Maori, and hence in the early days of the colony the visits of Europeans were regarded with dislike. So far as I can ascertain, the first European who actually reached the Reinga was the Rev. W. G. Puckey, who journeyed thither from Kaitaia in 1834. An account of his visit is given in. the “Missionary Register” for 1835. In 1839 the Rev. Mr. Matthews and Mr. W. R. Wade followed in his footsteps. An interesting notice of their journey is also given in the “Missionary Register,” and, as that publication is not now generally accessible, I will give a few extracts from it. “It became dark before we reached the village adjacent to the Reinga (Werahi). At first we could not find a single individual in the place, till we discovered three men crouched in a dark corner. We shook hands with two of them; the third was Wareware, a chief of some importance, and father of Te Morenga. On Mr. Matthews holding out his hand the old man drew back with a peculiar growl of displeasure, demanding what business we had there, telling us
we had better be off, and adding, Spear me! kill me! meaning that if we did so it would scarcely be a greater offence. This is the last village at this extremity of the island, and the only one, except Kahokawa, within many miles of the Reinga, the fabled departing-place of the New-Zealanders.” On the next morning, “leaving two of our lads in charge of the tents, about 8 a.m. we commenced our journey to the Reinga. After the first ascent the road ran along the very edge of a tremendous rocky precipice; and in one sharp ascent the grass was so slippery that it was difficult to keep one's feet. The descent to the rocks of the Reinga was rather better than the ascent. This brought us down to a little rill of water, called Wairatane, or Waioterata. The kehuas, or spirits, travel, it is said, along the road which we had passed. At one place, near Kahokawa, they stop for a parting look and a long farewell to the land of their fathers. Other spots on the road are marked by wakaaus, or tokens, to denote the resting-places of the wearied spirits. These are little bundles of rush tied in a loose knot; a green bundle, of course, indicating a recent death, as each spirit, in passing, leaves “his wakaau. On arriving at the Wairatane, some kehuas make a stop there, and then return. An old spirit stands waiting at the opposite side of the river with a stick or plank in his hand, which, on the arrival of a new-comer, he appears to lay down as a bridge. Sometimes his offer is rejected. ‘No,’ says the newly-arrived, ‘I mean to go back again.’ The case meant by this emblem is that of a native who has been, as we say, at death's door, and has recovered. Sometimes the friends of the individual who has so recovered ask him, ‘No hea koe ?’ (whence have you come ?) He replies, ‘No te Waioterata’ (from the Waioterata). But once past the stream there is no return from the dreary region beyond. The opposite is, with them, the bourne from which no traveller returns. From the Wairatane the spirits of the deceased glide along the rocks till they come to a perforated rock, where, passing through a small hole, they then ascend to the peaks of those projecting rocks to which more properly belongs the name of Reinga—wild rocks running out to sea, Prom peak to peak the spirits again descend—where none but spirits could—till they arrive at the projecting branch of a pohutukawa-tree (Metrosideros tomentosa). Why this is called the Aka of the Reinga I could not ascertain. On this branch the spirits hang for a while, taking their final earthly rest. The branch is bent downwards in consequence, it is said, of the number killed in Hongi's wars, whose spirits crowded together upon it. Thence they drop on to the flat rocks below, and pass out to the extreme point—which might fairly be called ‘the land's end’—there plunging into the deep. A
hole beneath, the mass of floating seaweed, the entrance to the unseen world, finally receives them.”
We had no difficulty in identifying the chief features of the locality as described in the preceding narrative. Descending the hill, in all probability by the same track as that followed by Mr. Matthews and Mr. Wade, at its very foot we encountered a tiny rivulet of water—a mere trickle—evidently the Waioterata of Maori story. It was fringed with Phormium and Cassinia, accompanied with Cyperus ustulatus, Scirpus nodosus, Pratia angulata, Mentha, and other common plants. The stream evidently drains from a little hollow on the face of the hill, in which was a group of small pohutukawa-trees. Grossing the stream we stood at the foot of the Reinga itself. It is simply a rocky headland about a quarter of a mile long, of no great width, jutting out into the sea in an almost due north direction. At the part next the mainland, which may be called the “neck” of the point, it is quite low, certainly not exceeding 50ft. in height, and is partly swept over by drift-sand from the westward. It then rises abruptly, forming a steep round-topped boss of rock perhaps 250ft. high. On the further side of this it sinks quite as suddenly, passing into a narrow knife-edged ridge beset with sharp points and pinnacles of rock, over which it seemed impossible for either man or beast to pass. It then again rises and drops, finally rising a third time to form a rocky rugged mass about 150ft. in height, which sinks precipitously into the rocky beach below. Seen from the westward, the outline of the headland thus presents three prominences of gradually-decreasing height, separated by much lower portions. The Reinga is surrounded by a broad shelving beach of solid rock, and as it was low water at the time of our visit we were able to walk round it. The western side is almost entirely bare, except on the upper part of the first prominence, which has a good deal of Phormium, Arundo, Cassinia, Leptocarpus, Senecio lautus, Lobelia, Sonchus, and other maritime plants. On the eastern side there is rather more vegetation. The pohutukawa or “aka” of the Reinga, so famous in Maori story, still exists, although bearing the marks of extreme age, and evidently only a fragment of what it once was. The overhanging branch, from which the spirits of the Maoris were said to drop on to the beach below, had long ago been broken off—probably by some storm—and only its whitened stump remains. The tree stands about 50ft. above the level of the beach, and is placed rather more than two-thirds of the length of the headland from the shore. A second pohutukawa of smaller size grows a little distance higher up than the first, and a few plants of Coprosma baueriana and some patches of Mesembryanthemum may be
seen in close vicinity. We looked in vain for the floating mass of seaweed which was supposed to protect the entrance to Hades; but possibly the sea was too rough or the tide not low enough for us to observe it.
To the eastward of the Reinga the coast is high, rocky, and precipitous. In many places the sea beats full against the foot of the cliffs, so that further progress along the beach became quite impossible. Travelling along the top of the cliffs for about two miles, we reached, a sheltered little inlet called Otongawhiti. A pretty little stream runs into it, its banks fringed with pohutukawas, amongst which we noticed a few handsome and well-grown specimens of Sapota. Entelea, Hoheria, and Myrsine urvillei were plentiful; and Coprosma rhamnoides and Rhabdothamnus formed dense thickets by the side of the stream. At the head of the little valley were numerous specimens of Veronica diosmæfolia, varying from 12ft. to 15ft. in height, some even reaching 20ft. The slender trunk was about the thickness of a man's wrist, and was bare almost to the very top, where it suddenly expanded into a broad and dense round head. The whole appearance of the plant was so very different from the usual form of the species, which is a closely-branched bush 2ft. to 4ft. high, that at first I took it for Veronica parviflora, a large form of which it much resembled. It was only by breaking down a specimen and obtaining flowers and fruit that I satisfied myself of its true nature.
A short walk over very uninteresting country brought us to Tapotopoto Bay, one of the most picturesque indentations on the northern coast. Its sides are formed by steep rocky cliffs, which, near the entrance, reach a considerable height. At the head is a narrow strip of sandy beach, perhaps half a mile in length, backed by a miniature belt of sand-dunes, with the usual covering of Cassinia and Phormium. Further back still the bay is shut in by a semicircular range of hills, most of which has been cleared and grassed, although in many places the indigenous vegetation is again asserting itself. A little sandy flat near the sea has at one time been planted with buffalo-grass (Stenotaphrum), which still holds its own, and has even pushed colonies up the sides of the hills. A stream of considerable size enters the bay at its eastern side. At its mouth it forms a brackish-water inlet, covered with mangroves, Plagianthus divaricatus, Juncus maritimus, Dichelachne stipoides, and other well-known littoral plants. A little distance up the valley the stream forks, and near the junction is a little patch of bush containing some fine tree-ferns (Cyathea medullaris). The principal trees noticed were Vitex, Tetranthera, Eugenia, Dodonæa, Melicytus ramiflorus, and Hoheria populnea. The last mentioned appears to be abundant in the northern.
peninsula in the patches of forest. The undergrowth was largely composed of supplejack (Rhipogonum), Pteris macilenta, and Polypodium pennigerum.
Crossing the stream, we ascended a ridge leading to the summit of Tirikawa, or Darkins's Hill. This reaches an elevation of 1,010ft., and is the highest hill in the North Gape peninsula. It is situated close to the coast, its northern slopes plunging almost precipitously into the sea. Most of its southern side is covered with light bush, forming one of the largest tracts of forest in the peninsula. Near the summit, which must be completely exposed to the full force of the westerly winds, the vegetation is principally composed of stunted Brachyglottis, mixed with Phormium, Coprosma rhamnoides, Ozothamnus glomeratus, and Rhabdothamnus, the latter a somewhat unlikely plant to occur in such an exposed locality. Myrsine urvillei, Leucopogon fasciculatus, and Cordyline australis were also noticed. Lower down the hill a few kauris were seen, but poor, dwarfed, and stunted compared with those forming the magnificent kauri forests of Kaipara and Hokianga. Two or three small totaras were also noticed. Nikau-palms were plentiful, but all much under the average size. A few ratas were scattered here and there on the side of the hill, their, round massive tops, covered with flaming bunches of flowers, rendering them conspicuous from afar. The most abundant tree was Leptospermum ericoides, but tarairi, kohekohe, mangeao, Schefflera, Pittosporum tenuifolium, Panax crassifolium, and P. lessonii were all-plentiful. The undergrowth was largely composed of Freycinetia, Astelia trinervia, and several species of Coprosma. A large muchbranched form of Dracophyllum squarrosum was collected, but was apparently far from common. On the seaward side the slopes were mostly open and grassy, but here and there were patches of pohutukawa and Sapota, while Olearia angulata, was plentiful.
Between Tirikawa and Whangakea, near the western end of Spirits Bay, the country is composed of low steep hills separated by narrow gullies, many of which contain patches of forest. Kauri and rimu were occasionally seen, but the major portion of the bush was composed of Leptospermum, mixed with Vitex and Nesodaphne tarairi. In swampy places Eugenia was plentiful. Descending to the sea, near the mouth of the Whakapoko stream Ipomæa palmata was observed in great abundance on the cliffs. An undescribed Coprosma, with curious verticillate leaves, was also gathered. It was originally found near Tapotopoto by Mr. T. Kirk many years ago, and I have much, pleasure in associating his name with it. Passing Whangakea, where there is a fertile valley partly occupied with
Maori cultivations, a walk of barely a mile brought us to Spirits Bay.
Spirits Bay is at least eight miles in breadth. It is backed from end to end by a ridge of low sandhills, in many places bare of vegetation, in others covered with a scanty growth of Spinifex, Desmoschænus, Coprosma acerosa, Muhlenbeckia complexa, and other common arenarian plants. Here and there the loose sand on the crest of the ridge has been blown inland, exposing a much older surface of hardened and consolidated sands. Over this, numerous remains of Maori occupancy are scattered—lines of shell-heaps and old cooking-places, human bones, and a few moa-bones. Most of the latter were very fragile, and but few perfect specimens were collected. Immediately behind the sandhills is a belt of marshy ground of varying width; behind that are low undulating clay hills, mainly covered with short tea-tree and fern, and presenting a dreary and barren appearance. [Further back still lies a tall conical hill called Rangitane, the summit of which is crowned by the remains of a large Maori pa. At the western end of the bay is a stream of considerable size—the Waitahoro—but its mouth is almost always closed by a barrier of sand. An extensive lagoon is consequently formed, which is entered by the sea at spring-tides and during storms. Zostera is plentiful in the lower portion of this, and higher up Ruppia is equally abundant. Fringing the lagoon are wide sandy or muddy flats, most of which are evidently overflowed at high spring-tides. Mimulus repens was common over almost the whole of this area, accompanied with such species as Selliera, Samolus, Chenopodium glaucum, Cladium junceum, Juncus maritimus, &c. Cladium articulatum and Polygonum minus were the most prominent species in the swamps at the back of the sandhills.
The eastern side of Spirits Bay is much more picturesque. A little stream, the Kapowairua, enters the sea at the very end of the bay. On one side are Maori cultivations—neat and well-tended patches of kumaras and potatoes. On the other rises a steep pinnacle of basaltic conglomerate, a perfect sugar-loaf in shape, perhaps 500ft. in height. At its base is a pretty little grove of karakas, mixed with a few pohutukawas. The sides and summit are practically a mass of solid rock, in the crevices of which occasional plants of Phormium and Arthropodium maintain a precarious existence. Further to the northwards is Hooper's Point, a low, rounded headland mainly covered with Arundo and Phormium.
In a little swamp close to the Maori settlement we observed a few plants—certainly not more than half a dozen—-of the handsome Hibiscus diversifolius. It was originally discovered in this locality by the Rev. Mr. Colenso, in the year
1839, and was also noticed by the Rev. R. Taylor and others of the early travellers and explorers; but the first actual record of its occurrence in New Zealand was given by Mr. Kirk in the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute” for 1868. It was once comparatively plentiful in Spirits Bay, but the introduction of cattle, and frequent fires, have now pretty well exterminated it. The few plants we noticed have been preserved only on account of their growing in a swamp too wet to be crossed by cattle or easily burnt. Fortunately it still lingers in other parts of the North Gape peninsula, but it is much to be feared that its ultimate extinction is only a question of time. Naturalised plants were abundant in the Maori cultivations, the most interesting being Sisyrinchium micranthum, which has not been previously recorded front New Zealand.
Immediately to the eastward of Kapowairua, and lying between it and Tom Bowline's Bay, is a rough and rugged district mainly composed of basaltic conglomerate. Curious peaked and dome-shaped hills are abundant, and everywhere huge masses of basaltic rock protrude from the surface. The highest peak, Uruwhao, has an altitude of 995ft., but several other summits almost equal it. One known by the name of Hairoa is remarkable from possessing a curious vault or cave near the summit, from which the surrounding country can be viewed. It is mentioned by Dieffenbach, and is sure to attract the attention of all travellers. A branch of the Kapowairua rises almost at the foot of this hill, and, flowing through a narrow gorge, drops abruptly on to the fiat below by a pretty little waterfall of about 30ft. in height. That portion of the gorge just above the fall is most picturesque. The little stream winds among huge rocks of all sizes and shapes piled together in the wildest confusion. The sides of the valley are precipitous and wall-like, here and there worn into hollows and small caves. One of the chief burial-places of the Aopuri Tribe is said to be concealed somewhere in the recesses of this valley, which is hence held as extremely tapu by the Maoris. The vegetation is principally light bush, the chief trees being the pohutukawa, puriri, tarairi, Dysoxylum, Leptospermum ericoides, Pittosporum, umbellatum, Hoheria, Sophora, Alectryon, and Olearia angulata. In sheltered nooks by the side of the stream Were large masses of Colensoa, its pretty blue flowers giving it a very attractive appearance. Clumps of Todea hymenophylloides were seen, but no Hymenophylla or Trichotnanes. To, the north and east of Uruwhao and Hairoa is quite an extensive area covered with light forest, apparently mainly composed of the trees mentioned above; but time would only allow us to examine a small portion. Still further to the eastward, and stretching as far as Tom
Bowline's Bay, is a high table-land, mostly open and covered with a scanty vegetation of Leptospermum and Pteris. The declivities towards the sea, however, are mostly clothed with light bush.
Only a portion of the coast-line between Tom Bowline's Bay and Hooper's Point could be examined. In many places the shore is lined with tall craggy cliffs of basaltic conglomerate, on which were noticed occasional plants of Asplenium obtusatum and Coprosma baueriana, but little other vegetation. Here and there are sheltered nooks and bays, mostly filled with pohutukawa-trees, mixed with a few plants of Sapota. Ipomœa palmata presented a gorgeous sight in these localities, often climbing to the tops of the trees, and everywhere laden with its magnificent mauve-coloured flowers. Other noteworthy plants were Coprosma Kirkii, Hymenanthera latifolia (by no means common), Sicyos angulatus, and Sieges-beckia orientalis.
Tom Bowline's Bay is rather more than two miles long, and is sandy from end to end. It is lined by a chain of low sandhills not exceeding 30ft. or 40ft. in height, mainly covered with Cassinia and Coprosma acerosa, although most of the common arenarian plants are also represented. Immediately behind the sandhills is the Waikuku Flat, a sandy or peaty tract only slightly raised above high-water mark, and which stretches across to the eastern coast, a distance of rather more than two miles. A considerable portion of the flat is occupied by a Maori settlement and its cultivations, and the remainder is covered with tea-tree and Pteris. At the extreme western end of the bay, and not far from the banks of the Waitangi Stream, I was pleased to find large patches of Hibiscus diversifolius growing with great freedom and vigour, and loaded with flowers. Its congener, H. trionum, was also noticed, and in still greater abundance.
The North Cape proper, which we now proceeded to examine, is a high promontory with a broad and flat table-like top, the average height of which is about 600ft. It is cut off from the rest of the district by the Waikuku Flat, and at no very distant geological epoch has been an island. Even at the present time a depression of less than 25ft. would again sever it from the mainland. It is about four miles in length, by perhaps three in greatest breadth. It is surrounded by steep and often inaccessible cliffs, usually washed by the sea, so that progress along the beach, except for short distances, is difficult or quite impracticable. On the top of the promontory the vegetation is excessively sparse and scanty. The surface soil is mostly composed of a bright-red clay or laterite, which is naturally infertile, and from its stiff and tenacious nature, and the absence of free drainage, is choked with water in
winter and spring and baked as hard as stone in summer. The predominant plant over hundreds of acres was Schœnus tenax, mixed here and there with Pomaderris edgerleyi, or Stunted Leptospermum. But on the northern side, however, and especially to the eastward of Kerr Point, we gathered many interesting plants on the declivities leading to the edge of the cliffs. Among them may be mentioned a new species of Cassinia, with much of the appearance of C. vauvilliersii, but of dwarfer habit. The heads are narrower, containing fewer florets, and the scales among the florets are usually wanting, so that the plant might with perfect propriety be referred to the Ozothamnus section of Helichrysum. A curious prostrate Coprosma with orbicular fleshy leaves and finely-pubescent branches was not uncommon. It is clearly distinct from any described species, but in the absence of flowers and mature fruit it seems hardly advisable to describe it. A puzzling Haloragis, with the flowers and fruit of H. alata, and with foliage approaching that of H. tetragyna, var. a, was gathered in several places. A variety of Geniostoma ligustrifolium, with leaves less than half the size of the type and exceedingly thick and fleshy, was also observed. At the very edge of the cliffs the slopes were usually covered with Veronica speciosa, which occurs in immense profusion. Except in very sheltered places, it seldom rises more than a Couple of feet from the ground, but, as the branches are closely interlaced and spread far and wide just above the ground, a single plant often forms a clump 2 yards or more in diameter. At the time of our visit it was just coming into bloom—two or three weeks later the cliffs would present a charming appearance from the multitudes of its crimson flowers. Other plants of interest noticed were Pittosporum pimeleoides, P. umbellatum, Melicope simplex, Panax lessonii, Corokia cotoneasier, Olearia angulata, &c. I was much surprised to find numerous patches of a dwarf variety of Phyllocladus trichomanoides, growing from 4ft. to 6ft. in height. Many of the plants were evidently of great age, and were loaded with fruit. In its mode of growth it reminded me of Podocarpus nivalis, so common on the mountains of the South Island, or of the stunted specimens of Phyllocladus alpinus sometimes seen at the upper limits of the mountain forests of Nelson and Canterbury.
The vegetation gradually lost its interesting features as we travelled in an easterly direction. The cliffs became less abrupt, and were principally covered with Phormium and Arundo, with scattered patches of pohutukawa and karaka. The extreme eastern portion, to which the name of the North Gape is usually confined, consists of an island perhaps 150ft. in height separated from the mainland by a narrow channel dry at low water. Rounding this, we skirted the southern
shore of the promontory. One or two of the gullies contained small patches of bush, composed of common species, so far as we had time to examine them, and on the hills the dreary vegetation of Schœnus tenax again appeared. No change of importance took place until the southern side of the Waikuku Flat was reached.
Leaving the neighbourhood of the North Cape, and travelling southwards along the eastern coast, we reached Wharekau, finding Ipomœa and Fuchsia procumbens plentiful along the beach, while Hibiscus trionum was abundant on the sides of the hills, growing among the short Leptospermum. Passing Whareama, where there are some small patches of forest sheltering caves said to be former burial-places of the Aopuri, we slowly made our way along the coast, finding the vegetation scanty and uninteresting. We passed Maukin's Nook, Mokaikai, and Otuo, and, striking inland from the last mentioned place, a walk of three or four miles brought us to the Maori settlement at the north head of Parengarenga Harbour. This virtually brought our explorations to a close, and on the following day we took our departure by the little steamer “Staffa” for Mangonui and Auckland.
The subjoined catalogue of the flowering-plants and ferns observed in the district contains the names of 416 species. This is a small number for so large an area; and, although it will be increased by future explorers, yet there can be no doubt that the flora is a poor one. The sameness of the physical conditions is in some measure responsible for this, and the almost total absence of forest is another powerful reason. In a hilly and forest-clad district many plants flourish that have no chance of existence on the bare hillsides and open gullies of the North Cape peninsula. But the flora is poor, not only as regards the total number of species, but also from the point of view of its general aspect. Almost everywhere the landscape has an arid and sterile appearance. On the open hillsides the vegetation is low and stunted, uniform in character over large areas, and monotonous and depressing to a degree. The long stretches of sand-dunes, either altogether bare or thinly clothed with their peculiar vegetation—a vegetation which is specially remarkable for its poverty and persistence over wide areas—add greatly to the general appearance of sterility. And the few patches of bush are poor representatives of the magnificent forests which stretch from Hokianga southwards. The trees are small, of few kinds, and we nowhere find the deep and densely-shaded fern gullies with their wealth of varied and luxuriant foliage. In short, any idea that the flora of the extreme north possesses increased luxuriance, due to its more northerly situation and warmer climate, may be dismissed at once, for in
point of fact the vegetation cannot compare in richness and luxuriance with that of many districts far to the south.
A few remarks on the composition of the flora may not be out of place. As stated above, the total number of species catalogued is 416; but there should be added to the list a few plants observed on the Three Kings Islands, which must be regarded as a part of the district. These number ten, five of which—Pittosporum fairchildi, Coprosma macrocarpa, Veronica insularis, Paratrophis smithii, and Davallia tasmani— are endemic. The five remaining species, which, although found elsewhere in New Zealand, have not yet been observed within the limits of the North Cape peninsula, are Angelica rosæfolia, Meryta sinclairii, Myosotis spathulata, Pisonia umbellifera, and Lomaria acuminata. We have therefore to deal with a flora of 426 species, distributed in 78 natural orders, The largest orders are Filices, with 46 species; Cyperaceæ, 41; Compositæ, 28; Gramineæ, 23; Rubiaceæ, 17; Orchideæ, 15. The largest genera are Coprosma, with. 13 species; Carex, 9; Pittosporum and Epilobium, 8 each; Scirpus and Cladium, with 6 each. The following species (including some plants of wide range beyond New Zealand) are either-confined to the district or occur only in small quantity in other portions of the colony: Pittosporum fairchildi, Hibiscus diversifolius, Haloragis cartilaginea, Meryta sinclairii, Coprosma macrocarpa, C. kirkii, C. n. sp., Olearia angulata, Cassinia amœna, Colensoa physaloides Ipomœa palmata, Veronica insularis, Cassytha paniculata, Paratrophis smithii, Kyllinga monocephala, Davallia tasmani, Lomaria acuminata, Todea barbara, Lycopodium drummondii.
If the question should be asked as to whether a tropical element shows itself in the flora, the answer must be that such is barely discernible. The proof, such as it is, would lie almost altogether in the presence of the five following species: Hibiscus diversifolius, Ipomœa palmata, Cassytha paniculata, Nephrodium unitum, and Todea barbara. A trace of Polynesian affinity may possibly be indicated by such species as Meryta sinclairii, Colensoa physaloides, Paratrophis smithii, and a few others. It is a curious anomaly that tropical species, or endemic species of tropical genera, should exist in some numbers in both Norfolk Island and. Lord Howe's Island and yet have been unable to reach the northern extremity of New Zealand, or, with but few exceptions, even the Kermadec Islands.
A comparison of the flora of the North Gape district with that of other portions of the North Island would unduly extend the limits of this paper. It would also involve a reconsideration of the whole question of the distribution within the colony of the species of the New Zealand flora, a
matter which is of sufficient importance to receive separate treatment.