Tawa Historical Society

MANA ISLAND

 

By Elsdon Best

MANA ISLAND


    This article is taken from the publication “PORIRUA :   AND THEY WHO SETTLED IT” by Elsdon Best that was serialised in the Canterbury Times commencing 4 March 1914.   Elsdon Best (1856-1931) was born on his father’s farm known as “Grasslees”, Section 48 Tawa, and became one of Tawa Flat’s notable son’s becoming a pre-eminent Maori scholar and historian.

    The first mention of Mana in the works of early voyages is that made by Captain Cook, who gave it the name of Table Island.   In the early part of last century it was occasionally alluded to as Warspite Island, so named after H.M.S. Warspite, that passed through the Straits in those far-off days.
    As to the Native name that has clung so well, Native traditions tells us that it was a name for the mana (prestige, power, fame) of Kupe, the first Polynesian voyager in those waters.   If this be true, then both vowels should be short, whereas the first is almost invariably; we believe, pronounced long, even by Natives, a fact that casts discredit upon the tradition.
    In his work “Murihiku”, M’Nab states: “The ‘Sydney Herald’ of November 24 (1834?) states that the commander of the William Stoveld had made extensive arrangements for the improvement of Mana Isle.   This man’s name was Davidson.   A correspondent of the paper, writing from ‘the Island of Mauno, Cook’s River’, on November 9, 1833, reported the arrival of the above vessel at that place about six weeks before.”
    M’Nab quotes some remarks on Mana made by “R.W.S.” in the Sydney Press of 1834, of a trip round the North Island: “In addition … we have one of the few references to the visit of the H.M.S. Warspite in 1827.”
    “R.W.S.” says: “ … I was necessitated to beat about for several days previous to reaching my first destination, the Island of Manna (Mana), the Warspite Island of Captain Dundas, R.N., during which I discovered a shoal, not previously noticed, lying about ten miles S.W. of Mana.”
    He speaks of the Bay of Purrirua (Porirua), and says of Mana : “This island is the property of Mr Bell, who is just gone down with a quantity of cattle for the purposes of forming and establishment to supply vessels with stock, etc.   A part of the island is already in cultivation, and a very fair crop of tobacco was grown there last season.   Vessels homeward bound through Cook Strait will find Mana a very convenient place to refresh at.”
    The writer witnessed a large meeting of Natives on Mana during his stay.
    Brett’s “Early History of New Zealand” says : – “The first white owner of the island was a Mr Bell, whose white widow, according to Wakefield, quite mad, lived among the Natives and had acquired all their habits and ways of living.
    “In 1836, we are told, Ngati-Toa were disposed to be hostile towards the shipping and Europeans at Mana.”
    This arose from a quarrel between a Native and the crew or officers of a vessel from Hobart Town in regard to a purchase of potatoes made by the latter.   The Native, considering himself underpaid fro his goods, took a hatchet from one of the ship’s boats.   In the quarrel that ensued one of the sailors thrust a lance through the Native’s body.   The boat’s crew was fired on and another outrage chronicled.   We do not know on what authority this date rests, and it may not be correct.
    The Fraser brothers, who long lived on Mana, came to the colony in 1839.
    Wakefield’s first mention of Mana Island as seen from across the Straits : – “As our eyes wandered across the Strait, they were met by Kapiti, Mana, and the adjacent mainland, the high lands about Cape Terawiti, which is the nearest point to the middle Island, etc.”   Terawhiti is probably a misspelling of Tarawhiti, and it is not the Native name of the cape.   On MacDonnell’s early map of New Zealand it is named Cape Poliwero, which is obviously a misrendering of some Maori name, possibly Pariwhero.   Its proper name is Omere.
    In passing through the Straits Wakefield remarks : – “As we neared the north shore, we could distinguish the opening nearly abreast of the table island of Mana, where a small harbour called Porirua indents the wooded hills.”   It may be noted that Mana is called Table Island on many of the earlier maps, on which also Kapiti is styled Entry Island.
    In his work on “The Old Whaling Days,” M’Nab in writing of Cook Strait in 1833, says : – “During the year of portion of Mana Island was cultivated and a crop of tobacco grown thereon.   Europeans resided on the island, as is shown by the fact of a letter dated ‘Island of Manno, Cook’s River, 9th November, 1833’, giving particulars of the shipping over a considerable period.   Bell’s vessel, the William Stowell, had called on her way to England six weeks before, and a Van Diemen’s Land celebrity had evidently been there painting the pas a deep vermilion.”
    This celebrity, it appears, was a gentleman known to fame as “Lincoln Bill,” who seems to have had a penchant for kidnapping officers of the law and escorting Vandemonians across the high seas.
    In describing Cook Strait affairs of 1834, the same authority says : – “On March 30 our first farmer set out from Sydney to establish himself in southern New Zealand.   Mr John Bell had made the necessary arrangements for settling himself and his belongings at Mana Island, and, with a cargo of ten head of cattle, 102 sheep and two and a half tons of hay, sailed in the Martha for Cook Strait.”
    Under the heading of “Cook Strait, 1835,” this writer gives the following : – “The brig Children, which had been chartered to load for Otago and get a return flax cargo in other parts, called at Mana Island and brought away ‘a small piece of wool,’ the first clip of Mr Bell from the little flock he had taken down in the Martha the previous year.”
    It is shown, however, that the above was not the first “piece of wool” exported from New Zealand.
    In August, 1838, says M’Nab, the Minerva brought to Sydney “four bales wool shorn from the back of sheep at Mayna (Mana), N.Z.,” so that the Mana clip in that year was more than a small piece.   Moreover, it is satisfactory to learn that this wool was “shorn from the back of sheep,” thus proving that it had not been produced by the genus sus [Eurasian pigs], or the dissolute goats of Kapiti.
    In this year, according to M’Nab, “Mr Bell, who was farming at Mana, had 400 to 500 head of sheep and twenty-seven head of cattle on his farm.”
    A contributor to “Stories of Banks Peninsula” gives the following account of an early visit to Mana : – “I may state that I arrived in New Zealand in May, 1836, in the whaling ship Louisa, of Sydney, Captain Haywood.   We anchored under Mana Island, in Cook Strait, where the ship remained during the bay whaling season, from May to October.   Te Rauparaha was our chief, or we were under his protection, for which he was well paid in blankets, etc.   Although he was a terror among the Natives, he was always very good to the whites; in fact, in one instance I have to thank him for saving my life.   It happened this way: I was ashore with a boat’s crew, filling water casks, when Te Rauparaha’s son, a lad about sixteen years of age, was very troublesome to our men, and annoyed them so much that one of the crew, in a hasty moment, struck young Rauparaha in the face, and made his nose bleed.   Now, to draw the blood from a chief was one of the greatest crimes that could be committed, and the transgressor very seldom escaped with his life.   When the Natives saw the blood they were very much excited, and came rushing upon the crew, flourishing their tomahawks.   We all thought our last hour had come.   Old Rauparaha, hearing the noise, came out of his hut to see what was up.   On hearing the particulars he told the Natives not to touch the white men, for his son was in the wrong.   He must take his own part and fight the pakeha (European) – very good, one Maori, one pakeha.   It ended in a stand-up fight, in which, to our delight, young Rauparaha got a good thrashing, and we were thankful to get off with our lives.   However, young Rauparaha soon forgot it, and we were ever afterwards the best of friends.   Had not old Rauparaha been at hand, I am afraid it would have been a serious matter for us.”
    Stock was introduced at Mana and Kapiti some years before any was brought to the mainland.   There was a goodly herd of cattle on Kapiti, and a number of sheep on Mana Island.   Wakefield says there were two horses on Mana long before the first settlers arrived at Wellington.   After the Wairau massacre Te Rauparaha took these horses to Otaki.   At this time Mr Fraser was living on Mana.
    In a letter written by a surgeon of the Tory, on November 7, 1839, the writer states : – “We were weather bound at Mana a few days.   It belongs to white men, there are two on it, both claiming it for their employers at Sydney.   There were plenty of sheep and cattle on it, also two horses.   A ride was quite new to us, who had not seen a horse since leaving England.”
    It is highly probable that these were the first horses seen by the local Natives.
    Colonel Wakefield, in one of his despatches, says : – “Mana Island is level on its wedge-like summit.   There are many cattle and more than 500 sheep on it, which thrive well.   Both Mana and Kapiti are excluded from my purchase, and will be the subjects of many disputes, parts of them having been sold over and over again to different parties.”   This was written on October 25, 1839.   Another Tory voyager remarks that there were 60 cattle and 400 sheep on Mana.   Colonel Wakefield, who landed on the island on October 30, 1839, remarks : – “On the side of Mana facing the main is a small amphitheatre formed by hills.   The settlement is abreast of our anchorage, at the foot of the slope, and consists of the owner’s house and small whaling station, and the huts of Te Rangi-hae-ata and forty or fifty resident Natives.   We landed and walked over the whole island.   It is in most parts a good sheep walk, but in its small valleys there is good feeding for cattle, of which there are about thirty head.   There are also two draught horses belonging to the owner of the island.   Mana often serves as a rendezvous for Ngati-toa and Nga-ti-awa, when on friendly terms, where they meet on neutral ground.   At the late crying feast as many as 3000 people met here, and during their visit were very annoying to the English settlers by killing 50 sheep and committing other depredations.   We found here the purchaser of the island, between whom and the late proprietor a dispute was to their rights had arisen, in consequence of our expedition having so much enhanced the price as to induce the latter to wish to call off from the bargain.   A resort to New Zealand law is talked of to obtain possession, and all arbitration is refused.   Several other Sydney people were also here, anxious to buy land in the Strait.”
    In his private journal Dr Dorset remarks that “the wool from the Island of Mana fetched 2d in the lb more than the Sydney wool, and that in their own market.”
    A letter from Francis Molesworth, dated May 18, 1840, contains the following : – “The redcoats are already ordered off to Mana, where there have been some disturbances between the whites and the Natives.”   He had previously stated that a force consisting of Mr Shortland, thirty rank and file, five catskins (mounted police), and two old union jacks had arrived from Auckland charged with the task of crushing the Wellington rebellion!   We can find evidence of the invasion of Mana by this rebellion crushing army, not even by the catskins.
    The last act of cannibalism on Mana we wot of occurred at the mortuary feast above mentioned, whereat a Rangitane vassal was slain, cooked and eaten.   This occurred before the arrival of the Tory.
    The Maori population of the island of Mana, in the province of North Durham, in 1840, was given in Wakefield’s despatches as thirty.   These were Nga-ti-Toa; while 120 Ngati-Toa and Nga-ti-Rarua were living on Kapiti.
    In June, 1840, Major Bunbury visited Mana in the course of a voyage apparently undertaken for the purpose of obtaining Native signatures to the famous Treaty of Waitangi.   The major made this trip on H.M.S. Herald, which reached Kapiti on June 19, 1840, took Te Rauparaha on board and proceeded to Mana.   “On our arrival, the Herald having anchored, I went on shore accompanied by Mr Williams and Rauparaha.   We learnt that Te Hiko, son of the late chief, Te Pehi, had gone on an expedition to the main.   The other chief, Te Rangi-Haeata, returned with us on board, accompanied by Te Rauparaha, when both signed the Treaty.   Whilst on shore I as much tormented by the over-officious zeal of some European sailors, who appear to be a drunken set of lawless vagabonds belonging to different whaling establishments in the neighbourhood.   The only respectable persons among them was a stock-keeper in charge of some sheep and horned cattle, and the captain of a whaling vessel anchored ahead of us.   I learnt when there that a whaling boat had upset, and the owner, a Mr Thomas, and part of the crew drowned about three weeks before.   Thomas was married and had a family by a New Zealand woman.”
    On April 28, 1840, Wakefield and Captain Lewis, an American whaler and trader, left Kapiti in a whale boat for Port Nicholson.   They called at Mana, and remained that night at a Native village on the mainland, probably the Bridge Pa.   He remarks : – “On Mana I saw Te Rangi-haeata, … he had a magnificent whare puni in the pa on Mana.   The ridgepole of the house was at least twelve feet form the ground, and the front of the veranda was covered with the most elaborate carving.   On the apex of the conical gable a grotesque wooden figure was perched, profusely ornamented with feathers and a tuff of red horsehair, with a pipe in his mouth.   This, he told me, laughing, was meant to represent “Wideawake”.   This name Wairaweke was the Maori name for Colonel Wakefield.   Augas gives a good illustration of the above described carved house on Mana.   Its name was Kaitaugata.
    Heaphy states (1842) : – “The island of Mana … has for years been a sheep farm, owned by a Sydney merchant.   … the wool obtained form the sheep was pronounced to be very fine, and the quantity obtained from one animal nearly double what was got from New South Wales.”
    In 1842, the time of amazing land claims, the island was claimed by Thomas Bell.   It was alleged to have been bought by his son John Bell, Alexander Davidson and Archibald Mossman for various articles of merchandise value not stated.   The claim reads : – “All that piece of land or island known by the name of Manua, called by the English has Warspite Island, etc.”   The nature of conveyance was not stated.
    Dieffenbach made the following notes on Mana Island in his “Travels in New Zealand”, published in 1843 : –
    “The island of Mana was called by Captain Cook Table Island, from its appearance.   … Where trees formally grew, in the hollows and indentations of the land, the soil is good; the rest is covered by fern, native and artificial grasses, and cover which are all that can grow in the thin layer of vegetable earth that scarcely covers the yellow schistous clay of which the island consists.   But this vegetation is suitable for the pasture of sheep, of which there are about two hundred on the island, in very good condition.   From this fact we may conclude that the hills of the same appearance around Port Nicholson are equally well adapted for the feeding of sheep.   Besides these sheep, the island yields food to about thirty head of cattle, which were likewise in capital condition, and to some horses.   Mana was sold some years ago to a Mr Bell, who resold it to a Mr Petersen in Sydney, under whom it was held by a German farmer.   During our stay, however, it was the subject of a law-suit, and was actually in the hands of two claimants, each of whom tried to ruin the other by selling the stock.   The roadstead of Mana is a very bad one, being open to the south-east winds with a strong tide setting.”
    G.F. Angus, who travelled in New Zealand in 1844, visited Mana Island from Porirua, whither he had gone in order to obtain portraits of some of the Ngati-Toa celebrities.   He left Taupo in a canoe, and says : – “With some difficulty I obtained a canoe from Rangi-haeata’s wife, who pretended they were all tapu, and, with three of the slaves belonging to the pa, I crossed over to Mana or Table Island.   It was a dangerous passage … for we were nearly swamped … the canoe rocking from side to side and taking in water faster than we could bale it out.   … We landed at a small pa, now nearly deserted, consisting of not more than a dozen houses.   Here, however, still remained two of the most perfect and elaborately ornamented Native buildings in this portion of the Straits, the celebrated house belonging to Rangi-haeata, called Kaitangata, and the mausoleum of Tohi (Waitohi), sister of Te Rauparaha.   Kaitangata is of large dimensions, with posts and boards forming the portico, curiously carved in grotesque shapes.   … The portico, or verandah, is about twelve feet deep and the ridge-pole and frame boards of the roof are richly painted in spiral arabesques of black and red, the margin of each spiral being dotted with white spots, which adds richness to the effect.   The spaces between the woodwork are filled up with variegated reeds, beautifully arranged with great skill, and fastened together with strips of flax dyed red and tied crosswise.   The tomb or mausoleum of Tohi is erected near to Kaitangata.   It consists of a semi-circular erection of wood, within which the body was placed in an upright position.”
    The Rev R. Taylor makes a curious statement regarding the isle of Mana in his work “Te Ika a Maui.”   The Natives told him, he says, that there was a large frog on the island : – “The Natives describe a large frog, which they call moko mokai a Maru te whareaitu*, as having once been very abundant on that island.   They say it was as large as a small pullet, and, in the tadpole state, more than a foot long.   They also affirm there was a smaller one found in the same locality.”   Frogs seem to have been fairly robust in those times on the classic isle.   No other writer mentions this pullet-like frog, and, with a pang of regret, we abandon all faith in his existence, past, present or future.
    R. E. Malone, of H.M.S. Fantome, who landed on Mana in November, 1852, complains of its being a miserable spot, with no trees on it, and no shooting, and its only inhabitants an old deformed Maori woman and a white boy.   Presumably other inhabitants were on their walks abroad, for the ship obtained supplies there : – “The wind invariably blowing through the straits, one way or the other, destroys the young trees, but numbers of sheep and goats depasture on the hill.   We supplied ourselves with sufficient quantities of cheap and fine poultry, turkeys six for 1, ducks, fowls and eggs proportionately cheap, and pigs fed on milk and potatoes, besides excellent cream and butter.   The soil of this island is very rich, and, if drained and fenced from the wind, would produce anything.   The old Maori woman was out of tobacco, and we won her heart by giving her some, and she would always hand out some bread and butter and milk in our trips ashore.”

* Or the mokomoko o whareaita

PUKE-RUA

    Puke-rua is a name that frequently occurs in early works on New Zealand, and the Wellington district, inasmuch as across it ran the only track leading from Wellington and Porirua to Waikanae and the West Coast generally.   Hence it is often mentioned in old chronicles.   The earliest mention of it speaks of a large clearing there, where the Natives cultivated their food supplies, but that clearing may have been made after the introduction of the potato.   The Natives soon discovered that the newly-acquired tuber would flourish and furnish good crops in situations unsuitable for the cultivation of the kumara, or sweet potato; hence, when the potato was acquired, the felling of bush in order to make plantations was carried out on a considerable scale.   Prior to that time the Maori sought suitable lands on the sea coast, or in valleys containing alluvial deposits, for the cultivation of the sweet potato, and very little bush was felled or cleared.   The destruction of forests in New Zealand in pre-European times was due almost entirely to the vigorous growth of the common fern (Pteris) and some other plants.   A growth of fern, flax, toetoe, etc., for several years provided a quantity of dry material through which fires, kindled designedly or otherwise, spread with great rapidity.   Each such fire encroached on the forest area, destroying the timber on the margin, which ground would soon be occupied by the ever-encroaching fern.   Even a clearing in the midst of a forest often becomes overgrown with this fern, whereas it is not found growing within miles of the spot.
    Wakefield describes a trip he made in March, 1840, through Porirua and Puke-rua.   He passed the night with Jim Cootes and two other men just about where the Native village of Takapu-wahia is situated.   Next morning he went by boat to Wai-kawa, a Native village on the south side of Porirua Heads, where he found the Natives building a residence for a Mr Berners, who had claimed Mana Island some time before, but had been obliged to evacuate that place.   Here Wakefield found “Nayti,” a Native who had visited England and there posed as a chief, returning to his native land in the Tory, leaving the vessel when she reached Kapiti.   When seen at Porirua he had already discarded clothing and cleanliness and returned to rags and dirt.
    Of the entrance to Porirua harbour Wakefield says : – “About the middle lies a reef of rocks, and vessels enter between this and the south head, over a bar which bears fifteen feet at high water spring tides, the fall of tide being from six to seven feet.”
    “We now ascended a wooden ridge, through a forest of smaller timber, and less impeded by karcao (supplejacks) than that between Pito-one and Porirua.   Four or five miles of easy travelling brought us to an extensive and somewhat tabular amphitheatre, cleared to the extent of 200 or 300 acres for Native potato gardens, whence we looked, through the naked trunks of trees left standing, upon the island of Kapiti, and a long reach of the sandy beach and level country opposite.   Penetrating through the gardens to the edge of a steep declivity overlooking the beach of a semi-circular bay, we saw, on a spur of the tableland separated by two deep gullies through which streams run to the sea, a Native pa or fort.   This, my guides told me, was Puke-rua, or ‘Two Hills’, the usual residence of ‘the Wild Fellow,’ whose noisy acquaintance we had made at Kapiti.   (This was Tungia, of Ngati-Toa, a truly savage warrior, whose son Pirihana, or Nga-huka, often called ‘Sugar’ by Europeans, lived at Puke-rua until his death.) From the depressed end of this spur the cliffy edge of the amphitheatre rises on either hand to great height.   To the north, especially, the coast for four or five miles is backed by an almost perpendicular wall 300 feet in height, but completely covered with stunted verdure.
    “In crossing the gully to arrive at the pa, we were met and welcomed by a madman, the first I had seen among the Natives.   He was fantastically dressed in a mixture of European and Native clothing, and jabbered away on all subjects with great speed, to the unbounded amusements of the monkey-like children, who flocked round the pakeha hou, or ‘new white man.’   The madman was quite harmless, and led me very politely to the hut assigned for my residence.
    “I found that the ‘Wild Fellow’ (Tungia) was absent at Kapiti.   … The madman, Whiti, fastened himself to one of the posts of the house with an iron hoop, and amused the Natives by extravagant orations till a late hour.
    “In the morning … I proceeded along the foot of the verdant wall of which I have spoken.   … At one spot, we passed through a natural arch in a spur of rock which jutted into the sea (This was Te Ana o Hau).   I had to get on Puke’s shoulder, and he seized a favourable time to run through the passage, as the surf occasionally rolled breast high into it.   A little further on some neat plantations of kumara betrayed the neighbourhood of a settlement.   They extended about thirty yards up the face of the hill, in terraces formed by logs of wood laid horizontally and supported by large pegs.   The terraces were covered with sand from off the beach, which the Natives assured me was the best soil for the growth of the kumara.   … We soon reached Te Paripari.   … The village is situated on a terrace of the hill, about fifty feet above the beach, and very neatly built.   Below, two or three canoes were hauled up under some karaka trees.   The old men of the pa were sitting beneath their shade, enjoying their pipes.   Theses folk were of the Ngati-awa tribe.   … There were about one hundred Natives at this village, men, women and children.   At Puke-rua I had only seen about twenty, but others were said to be absent at Kapiti.   (The latter was a Ngati-Toa settlement.)
    “About half a mile beyond Te Pari-pari the hills recede from the coast, and the rocky shore is replaced by a shoal sandy beach backed by sand hummocks.
    “This Ngait-awa hamlet at Te Pari-pari, was the place often alluded to in writings of that period as the ‘Rocky Settlement.’”
    Mr Stokes, surveyor, who passed through Puke-rua on August 29, 1840, remarks : – “Here the Natives have an extensive clearing and potatoe grounds.   The pa of Pukerua, of which Tungia, or the Wild Fellow, is chief, is a short distance beyond the potatoe grounds, on a hill near the beach.”   He also speaks of the pa at Te Paripari, beyond the perforated rock known as Te Ana o Hau as being situated on a natural terrace near the shore.
    A white man named Nicholls was living at Puke-rua in the early days.   He seems to have kept a store there for trading with the Natives, and it was probably his place that we read of as being an accommodation house.   Nicholls had a Maori wife and was said to have sympathised with Te Rangi-haeata in his hostilities against the whites.
    Power speaks of an English missionary who lived for a time at Puke-rua prior to the fighting in 1846.
    Early in 1842 the “Gazette” remarks : – “About a month since we joined the surveyor-general’s party and proceeded with them to visit the country between this part and Manawatu … Leaving Thoms’ at Pori-rua, after a journey of eight miles over hilly country, mostly covered with forest, the traveller finds himself upon the sea coast (below Puke-rua).   This block of land will afford, we should think, at least one hundred desirable sections (!), and a road may be obtained, through their centre, commencing at the place called Taupo Valley, and falling out on the sea coast at Puke-rua.   This road … will be traversed by horsemen and foot passengers generally, but the great north road we have no doubt will continue up the Pori-rua Valley and fall out at Waikanae, or Otaki.”   One hundred “desirable sections”!   Kindly think of trying to make a living off one of them!
    It is probable that many are not aware that a work of fiction has been published, the scene of which is laid in the Porirua district.   This work is “Ena, or the Ancient Maori,” by George H. Wilson, published in 1874.   The scene is laid at the old pa over looking the beach at Puke-rua, which pa the writer calls Wairanki, probably a fanciful name.   This pa he holds with a garrison of Mua-upoko against an assailing force of Ngati-Rankawa.   One of the principal characters is Mary Morven, an American girl, the lone survivor of a ship wrecked at Puke-rua.   The style of writing in this work appeals not to most readers; in fact, it is an excellent work to leave unpurchased.

OWHARIU

    The following item may be of some interest to old settlers in the above district: –

OWHARIU VALLEY DISCOVERED

    About the middle of 1841, the “New Zealand Gazette” gave an account of the discovery of the above valley by Mr Kettle, assistant surveyor, who proceeded about six miles down the Porirua Road and then took a westerly direction to the coast; when he came across a fine valley that widens towards Porirua.   The land is very fine, and it is supposed that there are about 100 sections, or 10,000 acres.   Soon after this the Surveyor-General crossed over to Owhariu from about Crofton or Khandallah.
    This discovery was only equalled by the following: –

CROFTON DISCOVERED

    In January, 1841, the “New Zealand Gazette” announced that the surveyors had cut their way into a beautiful and extensive valley at the back of Kaiwharawhara.   That beautiful and extensive valley was the fair vale of Crofton, where the first sawmill of the settlement was erected.   It was situated a little north of the Ngaio railway station.
    In the early days Owhariu was a famous place for wild pigs, which were hunted by the settlers, who obtained a good price for them, selling the meat at sixpence a pound.
    In describing a visit to the Owhariu Valley in 1862, Mr B. A. Heywood says : – “Nothing was presented at our view but one endless forest.   The various lines of green were very pretty, but the most charming effect was caused by the rata blossoms.   The blossom, of a deep red, is most luxuriant, covering the foliage as the white blossoms of the horse-chestnut do at Home.   The effect certainly is very fine.”

GROWTH OF POPULATION

    The following notes on the population of the district have been culled from old journals: –
    A “New Zealand Gazette” of May, 1840, remarks that the white population of Port Nicholson four months after the founding of the settlement was 1300.   Also that a post route up the valley of the Hutt and across the country to the Bay of Islands has been suggested!   Six hundred immigrants landed at the Hutt during January and February, 1840.”
    In August, 1845, the Porirua Road district had a white population of 225, of whom 65 were adult males.   Wadestown (named after Johnny Wade, an early settler from Tasmania) and Kaiwharawhara mustered 231 Europeans, while Karori claimed 215.   The total white population of the Wellington district, including the above-mentioned places and the Hutt, was 4074, of which 2657 lived in the town of Wellington.   During the preceding twelve months the district returns showed 171 births, 21 deaths and 13 marriages.   The returns do not include outside districts, as Otaki, Wairarapa, etc., nor yet the whalers of adjacent coast stations, who numbered 673.
    In 1847 the Porirua Road had 283 Europeans to its credit, of whom 81 were adult males.   This was not much of an advance in numbers, but the hostile Natives prevented much settlement during 1845-46.   But under the heading of Porirua, etc., appear another 96, of whom 55 were adult males.   These were probably whalers.   Karori is credited with 253 Europeans.
    The census of 1851 gives the European population of Wellington as 3286, of the Hutt as 1334, Wairarapa 183, and that of Wadestown, Karori, Porirua and as far as Manawatu as 948.

EARTHQUAKE OF 1848

    Alarming reports reached England anent the effects of the earthquake of 1848 at Wellington.   Lieutenant-Governor Eyre’s report on the subject seems to have been somewhat highly coloured.   Three lives were lost, owing to a falling wall, but both bricks and mortar of local make were of very poor quality.   Some chimneys built of English bricks and cement were unimpaired; those constructed of local material were destroyed.   The report of Mr Fox on this subject is of interest.   At the Hutt little damage was done, and only one house on the Porirua road was injured.   It is safe to assert that houses in the Porirua district in 1848 were scarcely of a palatial character.   About forty of the Wellington folk are said to have boarded a vessel in order to migrate to foreign parts and so escape the wrath to come.   However, the vessel got into difficulties, and the passengers were landed somewhere near the Heads, whence they had to walk back to Wellington, whereupon they decided to remain and take all the wrath that was coming to them.
    The only building seriously damaged by the shock in the Porirua district seems to have been the stone fort and barracks at Paremata, as already related.
    Thomson, in his “Story of New Zealand” says : – “On October 17, 1848, exactly a month after the death of Colonel William Wakefield, the founder of Wellington, every wooden house in the town was rocked to and fro, all the stone and brick buildings were injured and barrack-sergeant Lovell and two children were killed.   On the 16th and 19th there were also grand shocks, followed by minor vibrations.   Settlers expected the earth to open; some slept in the bush, and all were panic-stricken; business was suspended, a solemn fast was ordered and the churches were filled with penitent sinners.   Men thought Wellington was ruined for ever.   The Lieutenant-Governor laid an embargo on the ships in the harbour; one bark stole out with sixty-six colonists, but the vessel, as if to punish the law-breakers on board, was ship-wrecked, and the passengers were thrown back on the shattered settlement.   During the earthquakes rumbling noises were heard, hurricanes of wind and rain preceded the shocks and sulphurous gas escaped from the ground.   These shocks injured the stone barracks at Porirua … they had for their centre the Wairau Valley, at which place a fissure opened.   … At Wellington property was destroyed to the amount of 14,000.”
    In his report on “Military Operations in New Zealand”, published in the Corps Papers of the Royal Engineers for 1855, Captain Collinson remarks : – “In October, 1848, shocks of earthquake were felt in Cook’s Straits, lasting altogether for nearly two months, which injured most of the brick buildings in Wellington, and caused the inhabitants after that to build their houses with a framework of wood.   The colonial barrack at Porirua, a stone building, was destroyed by this earthquake.”
    In a despatch on the subject of the earthquake, Lieutenant-Governor Eyre says : – “Under this awful visitation I deemed it my duty at once to summon my executive council, and, with their approval, to proclaim a day of public and solemn fast, prayer and humiliation … to avert the recurrence of any similar visitation, and Friday, the 20th October, was appointed for this purpose.”
    The Lieutenant-Governor does not state, however, that he issued an order for the tide to cease to flow, a sad oversight on his part.   Presumably, the effect of the fast wore off in about seven years, and, no other being proclaimed the result was the earthquake of 1855.   All this sounds very much like the thirty-third century B.C., but it is a cold fact.   Presumably, the idea was that, in some unexplained way, going with an empty stomach for twenty-four hours would prevent a recurrence of the shock.
    These penitent sinners of 1848 remind us of a man who rushed to a neighbour’s house and attended a prayer meeting during the Tarawera eruption.   He as not worried about prayer meetings since, but, then, there have been no more Tarawera eruptions.
    In this connection we beg to quote from Morrell’s “Voyages” the purport of a petition signed by the priests of Valparaiso when that town had just been visited by a severe earthquake.   This was praying for the expulsion of all “accursed heretics,” i.e., English and Americans, from the place, on the grounds that their sinful and vile presence had been the cause of the earthquake.   Next, please!
    Of the Wellington earthquakes, the Rev R. Ward says : – “The terror occasioned by these awful events soon passed away and with their fears the religious impressions to which the earthquake gave rise among many of the people were obliterated.”   Any religious impressions produced by fear should be described as superstitions.
    One who experienced the earthquake of 1848 says : – “I found myself being rocked violently from side to side of the bed.   … The shepherds rushed out of the house, imagining the end of the world was come, and did not venture to return till daylight.   … Wide and deep cracks in the ground showed how sharp the shock had been.   … For several days slighter shocks were felt at intervals.   … During one, six days after the shock, we distinctly saw the top of a hill heave to and fro.”
    Old-timers say that trees could be seen swaying during some of the shocks.   One writer puts a curious item on records, viz., that a settler who had experience of earthquakes in Mexico procured long poles and laid them on the ground, upon which he camped with his goods and bed, lest an earthquake rift wallow him.

EARTHQUAKE OF 1855

    The twenty-four hour’s fast not possessing any permanent virtue, trouble again came upon the early settlers seven years later.
    Mr J. C. Crawford mentions a curious illustration of the effect of the earthquake of 1855.   “I took up my quarters for the night with Mr Chalmer at his farm of Potsdam, or Woodside, on the south bank of the Wai-o-hine, near the gorge of that river.   Here the split or fissure may be observed which was caused by the earthquake of 1855, and the western side of which, or that nearest the mountains, stands at a height of several feet above the rest of the plain.   This fissure may be observed along the whole western side of the Wairarapa valley for a distance of sixty miles, and was clearly produced by the rise of the main range, and not by the sinking of the plain … the extreme elevation being about nine feet.   … On the Opaki Plain strong evidences of earthquake action appears.   The plains are severely fissured.   …”
    At a meeting of the Wellington Philosophical Society held on September 18, 1872, Dr Hector stated that the land was elevated nine feet at Palliser Bay, but that no movement was perceptible at Porirua, while at Blind Bay there seems to have been a depression.
    The Rev R. Taylor remarks that the earthquake of January 23, 1855, raised the land about Wellington fully four feet and a half.   Thomson says five feet and a half.   Buller says four feet.   Taylor also states that the strip of available land at the base of the bluff at Wellington (Lambton Quay) was not more than sixty feet wide until the earthquake of 1855 raised it.

THE PORIRUA MAORI COLLEGE

    The cession on the Whitireia peninsula as a site for a Maori college originated with Tamihana Te Rauparahua and others.   In August, 1848, a letter signed by Te Rauparaha, his son Tamihana, Matene Te Whiwhi, and five others, was addressed to Governor Grey, stating their intention of handing over Whitireia as a college site.   This peninsula was a portion of the lands reserved for the Maoris when Porirua was first bought.   Tow years after the above cession a Crown grant for Whitireia was issued to the Lord Bishop of New Zealand, in which it appears that the college or school was intended for the education of children “of our subjects of all races, and of children of other poor and destitute persons, being inhabitants of islands in the Pacific Ocean.”   Hence was Whitireia ceded by the Natives for the support of such school.   This institution was, however, never built at Porirua, a fact that caused much dissatisfaction to the Maoris, more especially Ngati-Toa, who had given the best piece of land, about 500 acres, in the district for the above purpose.   It was not until a few years ago that authority was given by Act of Parliament to combine the Porirua endowment with the old Church Missionary Society’s land at Otako, and to locate the institution at the latter place.
    Bishop Selwyn, accompanied by some Natives from Otaki, came down the coast in 1848 in order to select a site for the Maori College.   In his journal, the bishop says : – “It was generally agreed that 500 or 600 acres should be freely given up to the bishop and his successors for this purpose.”   It may be remarked that the donors had a long time to wait ere they received any benefit from their generous gift.   Possibly their great grandchildren may derive some benefit from it.   However, the worthy bishop was not a bad judge of land, apparently, for he picked out the best piece in the Porirua district.   He says : – “In order to pass over the best situations, I avoided the splendid road which the Government has carried through the Horo-Kiri valley, and followed the old horse track by Pukerua to Porirua.   Two beautiful sites were offered on this line of road, but the approaches to them from Wellington are too difficult.   Coming down to Taupo, on Porirua harbour, we dined with our Native ally, Rawiri Tuaha, and then crossed the neck of the harbour to Whitireia, a peninsula opposite the island of Mana, where a space of 600 acres is separated from the mainland by the bay of Titahi and the harbour of Porirua, with an isthmus of three-quarters of a mile between the two waters.   It is within a mile or two of the main road to Wellington.   About 200 acres of the land are covered with wood, but the remainder is open, rising into grassy hills.   … Whitireia itself (Mt. Cooper) is a bold headland.   … In the centre is an old Native clearing, with large trees scorched by fire, standing on the spot on which I hope, in submission to Divine Providence, that Trinity College may be built; but I have learned this lesson … not to presume upon any thing that is not yet attained.”
    In 1852 there was much talk of the Catholic Mission being about to build a large college at Porirua, but like the Whitireia college, it never came to anything.
    At the request of the chief, Tamai-hengia, of Ngati-Toa, the Rev. Mr Buddle lived for some time at Porirua.
    When the New Zealand Company became defunct, the directors presented a cheque of 300 guineas to its late secretary, Mr Harington, who, according to the “Hobart Guardian”, donated it to the funds of “Trinity College, Porirura.”

CROPS AND STOCK IN THE EARLY DAYS:

    On the arrival of the first settlers at Wellington in 1839 and 1840, they had to depend largely on food supplies obtained from the Natives, and, for years after, their main efforts were directed towards growing such products as potatoes, wheat, etc., as a means of subsistence.   Of a verity those were the days of the simple life, of simple fare, or living near to Nature.   As a worthy old pioneer of Taranaki was wont to say : – “I bean lookin’ for no fancy tucker.   Gie I kum-a-kum and milk” (kamokamo – pumpkin squash).   Wheat was chipped in with hoes between roots and stumps by early settlers.   Parrakeets assembled in flocks to eat it, and were a great nuisance.   Old hands said parrakeets used to perch on fences by hundreds and call out “sow it thick!   Sow it thick!” Such of the crop as did mature, was reaped and threshed by hand, then ground in exasperating hand-mills at the rate of several bushels a year.   We have a vivid recollection of a diminutive water power rigged up on section 48, the wide world of childhood’s days, in order to run a small mill, but the fifty-five earthquake attended to that masterpiece.
    Fred Brady fixed up a steel hand-mill so as to be worked by a windmill, which ground 1cwt flour in 3hrs, as against 1cwt per day by hand.
    And those were the days when the camp oven was ever present, swung on high in huge fireplaces that ate up firewood by the cord, when the good man eyed his wood pile in careful selection of a back-log for the evening.   And of those quaint old Dutch ovens, wherein you hung up your joint and set it before the fire to roast, forgetting sometimes to turn it at the proper time.   And of banking up the fire at night with ashes, to find a mass of glowing embers in the morning, where-with to start your fire and warm up ere you fared forth into the bush to hunt up the cows.   For, mind you, matches were sixpence to eighteenpence a box in those days, and sixpences were mighty scarce in the old bush homesteads.   Hence you were no whit surprised when a neighbour sent a bare-footed urchin round to “borrow a firestick.”   Their fire had gone out.   Not that you ever get your firestick back again, the “borrow” was a species of poetical license.
    Back over the weakening chords of memory comes the remembrance of the life work of the old Bush Legion, the strenuous toil of bush “failing”, the crash of mighty pines, the roar, glare and smoke of the burning off, the black labour of “logging up”.   At other times the handling of the beetle, the riving of huge logs, in discussion of the merits of three rail, four rail, side-lap and goose-neck, stab and dog-leg.   Again, the daily, never-ending tasks of the “cow spanker”, and the making of butter with curious old world churns, all for glory and sixpence a pound!   Item: The old pit sawyers of the “Road,” they who wielded heavy eight-foot breaking down plates, slid their ditches, and walked through them with the ripping plate even as giants of old wrought, even for wealth, the wealth that comes from three shillings per hundred s.m.   upwards, according to the times.
    But the battered old bush sloggers of the road have gone from us now, strained and stiffened with toil and age; they have gone on in search of new sections.

EARLY STOCK

    Sheep and cattle were brought from Australia to Wellington in 1840, but before that time cattle were numerous on Kapiti, and there were a few sheep and cattle on Mana Island.
    Wakefield writes in March, 1840, that two vessels from Sydney and Port Phillip had arrived, bringing 600 sheep and 100 bullocks and cows, while another stock ship was lost near Cape Farewell.   Many other vessels, laden with stock, were then expected.
    The third and fourth numbers of the “New Zealand Gazette” (April 25 and May 2) state that stock was pouring into the settlement.   One ship brought 700 sheep and 80 cattle, another 600 sheep, 59 cattle and 2 horses, a third 70 cattle and 3 horses.   We are also told that an exploring party of twenty-four volunteers was proposed to explore the Hutt to its source.   On February 25, 1840, a brig arrived at Port Nicholson from Sydney with 24 cows, which must have been one of the earlier lots of stock to be landed there.
    In E.J. Wakefield’s journal we note the following : – “February 25, 1840.   The brig Luna arrived from Sydney with 30 or 40 head of cattle, and the agent of a Polynesian company there with a capital of 50,000.   They have bought some land at Porirua, opposite Mana, but have been stopped from buying any more by the proclamation of January 14, which he brings in a Sydney paper.   They ask between 30 and 40 a head for their cattle, but can find no buyers at that price.”
    About 1000 head of cattle were imported at Wellington 1841.
    The first stock drive from Wellington to Whanganui is said to have been made by Mr W. G. Bell, who in May, 1841, took six bullocks and a cow through the weird bush trail to Porirua, crossed at Paremata, and so on by Pukerua up the coast.   The last seen of Bell and his charges by Wellingtonians was the procession of the six yoked bullocks and the cow, with packs on their backs, and attended by Bell and his two sons, filing up the steep hill above Kai-wharawhara, the Gentle Annie of Porirua pioneers.
    We believe that this was the same Bell who, when some Maoris at Whanganui attempted to turn him off his land, and performed a war dance before his cabin, replied thereto with a Scotch war dance and Scotch yells of such amazing vigour that the bewildered savages fled in dismay, followed by wild tullochgorum shrieks emitted by the incensed son of Ossian.
    In his “Narrative of a Residence in New Zealand,” published in 1842, Heaphy remarks : – “On the island of Kapiti … cattle have for some time been wild.   A bull and cow were originally left there by a Sydney coasting vessel, and the increase from them is now considerable.   … At Porirua Bay … cattle have been left by the New South Wales people for the purpose of breeding.”
    The early settlers were much surprised at the way in which stock thrived here on rough feed in bush and swamp, before grass paddocks came into being.   Wakefield wrote, in 1843 : – “It is a curious fact, however, that cattle will not only not starve, but thrive in the New Zealand forest.   … Captain Daniell has a herd of fifty or sixty that keep in excellent condition on his farm near Kaiwharawhara; although there is but little grass.   … The cottagers along the Porirua road keep cows, which give excellent and abundant milk, although there is nothing but leaves to eat for six miles in any direction.”
    At the end of the year 1844, some 188 acres had been cleared by settlers on the Porirua road, and another 101 acres were cleared during 1845.   In the latter year the return showed the area under crop along the road as – Wheat 134 acres, oats 20 acres, barley 9 acres, potatoes 23 acres, also 25 acres of miscellaneous crops, while 19 represents the number of acres in pasture.
    The live stock returns of this period include the whole district, and the lately settled Wairarapa.   These include 11,880 sheep, 2429 cattle, 270 horses, and 10 asses.   Unkind persons asserted that the number of asses in Wellington alone far exceeded these modest figures, but we decline to dwell upon such trivial matters.
    At this period there was really no stock farm in the Porirua district, save that of Mr Cooper on the Whitireia peninsula.
    In 1847 the stock returns showed that, on the Porirua road, were 13 horses, 154 cattle, 53 sheep, 28 goats and 3 asses and mules (lucky Porirua!).   Kapiti and Mana islands are returned as possessing no asses and mules, but, to atone for this oversight, they claim 1 horse, 14 cattle, 1100 sheep and 150 goats.   The method of checking the goat population is not explained satisfactorily.
    By this time Porirua had cleared 384 acres of bush, but had only 144 acres in crop.
    In 1851 the district embracing Wadestown, Karori, Porirua and as far as Manawatu showed the following return of stock : – Sheep 4420, cattle 1723, horses 146, goats 800, pigs 854.   The Hutt gives 350 sheep and 1202 head of cattle.   Wairarapa – Sheep 40,754, cattle 3814.
    But who counted the goats and the pigs in those days?
    Horses were not numerous in early days.
    The first settlers were essentially workers, and essentially walkers.   Many never kept a horse until, after many years, fate dealt more generously with them; then came the day of spring carts, those old-fashioned vehicles we wot not of in these times.   Many an old-timer would trudge into town from the Ferry, or even further, and return home in the evening, lucky indeed if he had no swag of purchases to carry.   We remember when some of the settlers as far off as Rangitikei used to walk down the coast to Wellington and back, staying at inns or with friends on route.   Then there were the coaches, long and short distance lines, running on the main roads, for those were the days when –
                “ … Lit with flashing lamps,
                Old Cobb and Co. in royal state
                Went dashing past the camps.

    And who among the old hands does not remember Driver Ike swinging his team into Blackie’s at Horokiwi for breakfast, or lilting gaily along the Waikanae beach; and burly Andrew Young of the old coaching lines; and cheery Sam Prosser tooling his coach (no, we called it the van) through the Flat and down the Line, to put up at the old Crown and Anchor on the “Beach”, and it surely was a beach in those days?
    Back over the weary and slackening wires of memory cometh the remembrance of the time when the “Flat” represented the eternal universe, when the Ferry and Titaki were as foreign lands, and when Oriental Bay, seen on a first exploring expedition of amazing experiences, was firmly believed to be a part of England, probably London.   For those were the days when a handful of those old-fashioned fish and scissor lollies brought more joy to our sinful soul than a pint of red gold would now.   “When all the world was young, lad; and all the fields were green”, the days when the simple life was led, and simple pleasures enjoyed, when picture shows and motor-cars were unknown, and the trail of life seemed passing fair to tread – the days of childhood.

EARLY NEWSPAPERS AND THEIR NEWS

    The first newspaper published in Wellington appeared on April 18, 1840, according to Wakefield (Adventure in New Zealand, first ed., fol. 1, p. 272), who ways : – “The apparatus of the newspaper had been obtained by subscription among the principal colonists and the management of it undertaken by Mr Samuel Revans, who arrived in the Adelaide.   The first number had been published in London, in September, 1839, under the title of “The New Zealand Gazette.”   A private letter from Samuel Revans, the editor, says : – “’The New Zealand Gazette’ was presented to the public on April 18.   My fellow-colonists were most eager to obtain the first paper printed in New Zealand.   We printed an edition of 400, which was disposed of in course of the afternoon.   On the Monday following I printed 150 more.”
    Late in 1840 the name of the settlement of Port Nicholson was altered from Britannia to Wellington, where upon “The New Zealand Gazette” altered its second title to “The Wellington Spectator.”
    Early in 1841 the “Gazette” published the following item : – “Listen!   We partook of a cabbage a few days since which, when cut, measured more that eleven feet in circumference, and weighed about 17lb, and we may add we never ate better cabbage in our lives.”
    Oft in the stilly night have we conjured up a vision of the starving hordes of England feasting upon that eleven foot cabbage.   We can see good old Sam, with a dozen boon companions, holding high jinks round an eleven foot cabbage, weighing 17lb, each doubtless armed with a hatchet where-with to hew off another chunk of cabbage.   Here, at last, was the true Eldorado, the Asgard and Itrimaya of the Mar del Tur, the virgin lands of Pito-one, where cabbages grew by the yard and weighed 17lb net av.!!
    The “New Zealand Journal” of November 13, 1841, contains the prospectus of the “New Zealand Herald” of Auckland.
    The “New Zealand Gazette” of August 3, 1842, remarks : – “The first number of the ‘New Zealand Colonist’ and ‘Port Nicholson Advertiser’ was issued yesterday.”
    In the early days of settlement, the “New Zealand Gazette” (first published at Peto-one) was wont to chronicle all the doings of settlers. e.g.: “Messrs Bowler and Smith have cut down the wood upon eighty-six acres of land at the Hutt.   Mr Frank Johnson will have shortly cut down wood upon an equal quantity of land on his section upon the Porirua Road.”
    The first number of the “New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Straights Gazette” appeared on Saturday, October 12, 1844.   It contained a statement to the effect that it had not time to enlarge on its political principles, as the Bella Marina was about to sail for England, and it was important that a report should be published and sent concerning the state of affairs in the settlements formed by the New Zealand Company.   This report was concerned principally with the question of Crown grants for the lands purchased by the company and settled by Europeans.   Such grants were not granted, and Captain Fitzroy had told the New Zealand Company that they must make a second payment for the lands they had purchased.   The company’s agent deposited the money in the bank, in the name of Protector of Aborigines, where it still remained at this time.   Eventually this second payment was made, and, in some cases, a third one.
    The “New Zealand Journal” of October 11, 1845, containing Wellington new up to May 7, notes the birth of the “Independent”, now known as the “New Zealand Times”.
    “A new paper, the ‘Wellington Independent’, has been started at Wellington.   It appears to have had its origin in one of those bitter personal quarrels which are probably bitter personal quarrels which are probably more bitter in small than in small than in large communities.   However, the Guelfs and Ghibellnies of Wellington appear to drill together most harmoniously.   The ‘New Zealand Spectator’ continues to be the same sagacious journal as ever, and deports itself with a staid decorum that befits the established newspaper.   The ‘Wellington Independent’ caters more for amusement, supplies tales for readers who like them, and embellishes its pages with woodcuts.   These are a new feature in New Zealand Press.   They are apparently the work of no trained artist.   The ground is black and the delineation white, reversing the usual method … the latest, a view of the bridge and blockhouse on the Hutt, is marked by a decided advance in artistical taste.”
    In an issue of the “Wellington Spectator” of December, 1846, appeared the following : – “We must apologise to our readers for being obliged, from the unusual scarcity of printing paper, in the colony, to publish the ‘Spectator’ on blotting paper.”
    The following appeared among local items in an issue of the “Wellington Independent” in the ’forties : – “Great novelty!   Otto of Roses outdone!   Any gentleman who wishes to create a sensation at an evening party, should air himself on the little bridge, near the butcher’s shop, at the bottom of Willis Street.   Shipping supplied!” Such was the “Independent’s” way of drawing attention to a nuisance.
    In his “History and Politics,” Mr R. Wakelin tells us that the Wellington newspapers in 1850 were the “New Zealand Spectator”, published bi-weekly by Mr Robert Stokes, and the “Wellington Independent”, edited by Dr Feather.

THE MAILS

    In these days of penny postage and post offices at ten minute intervals, when you can stick a stamp on a crayfish or the flattest side of a founder, and post it to Kikiwhakaririwhakarongomai in a careless jaunty manner, who pauses to consider the state of things disclosed by the following items, or the days when old postman Angell, swathed in mail bags, jigged mournfully down the Flat.
    The fourteenth number of the “New Zealand Gazette” (July 11, 1849) states that “A mail is about to be established between Thorndon and the Hutt.   The rates will be twopence for letters and one penny for papers.   This looks like business.”   It did!
    The “New Zealand Journal” (published in London) of January 30, 1841, contains the following : – “We have again to go to press without further intelligence from New Zealand, albeit nearly seven months have passed away since the date of our latest Port Nicholson news.”
    In 1848 the postage on letters to England, direct, was eightpence, but if by way of Sydney or Adelaide, it was elevenpence.   The charge was afterwards reduced to sixpence.
    In the early fifties the gold mania reached New Zealand and many left for Australia, while others turned their attention to prospecting local areas.   Hence the discovery of gold at Hauraki and elsewhere.   In December, 1852, a party prospected Karori, prompted by the reward of 200 offered for the discovery of a payable goldfield in what the “Independent” styles New Munster, about as euphonious a title as Wakefield’s North Durham.   There is no record of prospecting parties at Porirua, but, away back in the sixties, we were shown a prospect hole at Tawa Flat on Harry Taylor’s farm where some one had sought wealth and found it not.   We also saw others up the Korokoro stream.
    The Wellington “Independent” of September 19, 1857, contains an account of the discovery of gold at Karori, and of various attempts made to locate a payable field.   The first gold bearing specimens were brought into town by Mr John Reading, of Karori, on September 18.

INTRODUCTION OF BEES

    The London, which arrived at Wellington on May 1, 1842 (second trip) brought the first pheasants, a cock and three hens, brought by Mrs Wills.   A hive of bees brought by the same lady perished on the voyage.   On May 3, 1842, a vessel from England bound to Nelson ran ashore near Ward Island.   By this ship a hive of bees, sent by Mrs Allom, of London, was carried safely to Nelson.   They were the first to reach that place.   A letter from Mrs Allom to the “New Zealand Journal”, published in No. 71, states that she sent one hive out by the Clifford in December, 1841, and another by the London in January 1842.
    The “New Zealand Journal”, of November 25, 1842, contains the following : – “The bees forwarded by Mrs Allom by the Clifford were sent to Nelson, as a fear was entertained that, if they had been placed at Wellington, the high wind might have prevented them, when out, from returning to their hives.   Colonel Wakefield has received bees from Sydney, in April last he had five swarms.   … Since bees were established at Wellington clover seeds all over the settlement, which it did not do before.”
    Bees were introduced at the Bay of Islands in 1840.

THE BRANKS MURDER

    This dreadful murder occurred on March 22, 1849.   Maroro, a Native, who had been imprisoned at Wellington for some offence, on being released resolved to avenge himself on some European.   He started to walk to Porirua, and on arriving at a spot just below the church at Johnsonville, some time after dark, he stopped at a cabin occupied by John Branks, a widower, and his three children, William, eight years old, Catherine, five years old, and John, two years.*   Maroro asked Branks for a light for his pipe and while the latter was getting it from the fire the Maori killed him with an axe, after which he murdered the three children.   Maroro continued his journey, and is said to have been arrested next day, as he was washing the clothes he had worn when he committed the crime.   It is comforting to learn that he was hung.
    Maroro was caught somewhere about the Half-way House, according to Hanikamu Te Hiko.
    Thomson states that Maroro had served four months in Wellington Gaol for robbery, and that three days after his release he murdered the Branks family near the Porirua church, in revenge for his imprisonment, taking back to Wellington a watch, some money and clothes belonging to Branks.   He confessed the crime.   Prior to his execution he dictated letters to his sister, his tribe and Lieutenant-Governor Eyre, and made rude drawings of the locality of the murder.   Five hundred people, including many Natives, assembled to see him hung.   He met his death with the usual calm or apathetic manner of his breed, and though he did some praying with a Catholic priest, as Thomson put it, “neither the prospect of the agony of a violent death nor the uncertainty of the world to come had any terrors for the unfortunate man.”   Thomson did not grasp the true cause of Maroro’s calmness, who quietly signalled to the executioner to do his work.

* Mrs Branks died in Wellington at Thorndon Hospital, September 30, 1847.

NAYTI (?)

    Early works mentioned one Nayti (Neti?), a Native of the Porirua district and a member of the Ngati-Toa tribe, who went to France in a French whaler, and was taken over to London by the Wakefields.   He came back to his home in the Tory, but was of little service in land purchasing transactions being a person of no standing in his tribe.   He soon disposed of the clothing and other things that had been given him, and E. J. Wakefield found him at the Wai-kawa Native hamlet at Porirua Heads soon after with no clothing but a dirty blanket.   His family are said to have lived on Mana.   Nayti (Neti) died at Titahi Bay in May, 1842, of consumption.

EARLY ACCOMMODATION HOUSES AND INNS

    In 1848 there were fourteen public houses in Wellington, and Porirua rejoiced in four bush licenses.   In 1847 Porirua had three bush licenses, besides one at Puke-rua, and even Okiwi had one, the establishment of the notorious Okiwi Brown, a man who was suspected of murder at that place, and also of having been concerned in the Burke and Hare murders in the Old Country.   The district was well supplied with such places in early days.   There was Geordie Bolt’s rude “bush pub” at Paremata in the forties, one at Jackson’s Ferry, and afterwards, we believe, two “pubs” at the Ferry, London’s at Tinipia (Paremata), the Half-way house on Section No. 23, a mile or more from Johnsonville, Ames’s inn at Johnsonville, another at Paua-taha-nui, and Blackie’s at Horo-kiri, on Section No. 20.
    Who among old-timers does not remember the old-fashioned inns of the old coaching days, Clapham’s and Wallace’s at Nga Uranga, Ames’s at Johnsonville, Clapham’s half-way House (opened prior to 1851), Floyd’s, near Jimmy Mitchell’s, at the place now occupied by Mr James Wall, the tow inns at the Ferry, M’Grath’s and Bromley’s with others we have mentioned.   Quaint, old-fashioned places, that woke into life when the daily coach pulled in; reminiscent of ham and eggs, beefsteaks and brandy shot, and far and away more homely and comfortable than the “hotels” now seen in their place, or the still more cheerless boarding-house, whatever may be said by prohibition folk.
    We have some recollection of London’s place at Tinipia, near the railroad bridge, where he had a store and accommodation house, and a little wharf for trading purposes.   Large numbers of natives used to visit London’s for such purposes, bringing canoe loads of potatoes, wheat, maize and pigs from bay and coast settlements.   Ngati-Haumia, of Wainui, thus made enough to pay for a flour mill they had erected.   This place was named Tinipia (Ginger Beer) by the natives, because London was in the habit of brewing quantities of that seductive beverage.
    On February 17, 1859, Messrs Bolton and Wilson’s accommodation house at Paua-taha-nui was burned down, the inmates having some difficulty in escaping.
    M’Grath’s inn at the Ferry is still standing, though long shorn of license and glory.   Blackie’s was burned down some years ago, while the more modern “hotels” are cold and silent.

EARLY SAWMILLS

    The location of the first sawmill on the Porirua Road is by no means clear.   It is said to have been erected at a place eight miles from town, which would be about Johnsonville, or a little north of it.   However, it was never in operation, as the Porirua Natives destroyed the buildings, whereupon the plant was moved to Crofton and erected a short distance north of the present railway station.   It was a water power mill, and an interesting picture of it appears in Brees’s work.   It seems to have been owned by Messrs Hurley, Torr and two others, in the first place, but in after years it became the property of Mr Chew, a well-known local timber man, afterwards head of the firm of Chew and Wagg.
    The account of the destruction of the Porirua sawmill is given as follows in the “New Zealand Journal”, of July 18, 1846 : – “Te Rangihaeata, the chief of the island of Mana, accompanied by about fifty Natives, armed with muskets, took violent possession of and utterly destroyed four tenements and preparations for sawmills which had been built on the Porirua Road.”   This raid seems to have occurred in 1842.   Wakefield states that the owners of the mill took a lease of four sections in the Porirua district, about eight miles from town by the bridle-road.   They set to work but were ordered off by the Natives.   The builders complained to a magistrate in Wellington, who sent a constable to pacify the Natives.   On work being resumed Te Rangihaeata came with fifty armed men and destroyed the buildings.   The authorities had apparently, neither the power nor inclination to assist the owners.   Whereupon those owners moved their machinery to the stream at Crofton, where they set it up, and seem to have begun cutting timber toward the latter end of 1842.   The stream was dammed up and provided power to run the circulars.   It was a picturesque place, according to Wakefield’s description of it, and a picture of it in Bree’s Panorama.
    These sawmillers cut out much of the timber on Captain Daniell’s land.   Daniell was the “discoverer” of Crofton, and it was he who made a bridle road from Kaiwharawhara to Crofton, which the sawmillers continued to the mill.   This was the commencement of the old Porirua Road.
    Te Rangihaeata went from Taupo with his people in order to destroy the mill on the Porirua Road, after which operation he returned to Paremata, where he demanded a bottle of spirits, and became very violent.   This was a common custom of his, hence the shanty keeper always kept on hand bottles of alleged spirits, a generous proportion of which consisted of water.   At this time Porirua had not achieved fame as a whisky manufacturing centre.   Its strong point was home-made rum.
    At this time Te Rangihaeata was described as a peculiarly abusive and foul-mouthed savage.   For at this period the Ngati-Toa tribe were extremely overbearing and threatening in their demeanour toward Europeans.   After the Wairau massacre they held Europeans as a cowardly and utterly contemptible people whom they could slaughter with ease when so disposed.   Nor is such a state of things to be wondered at.
    Halswell, in his report on the subject, blames some white men from Sydney as the principle cause of Te Rangihaeata’s hostility.
    In October, 1842, the “Gazette” remarks that a sawmill, the property of four working men, had been erected on a tributary of the Kaiwharawhara stream, and that timber was being sent into town at rates of from 12s to 18s per 100ft.
    The same paper states that Captain Daniell had a cattle station nor far from the sawmill, also that “If the road was continued into the Owhariu Valley, it would throw open a large (!) and fertile district.   For station road farm, and for large district draw on your imagination.
    When the Kebbell Brothers set up a steam sawmill at Manawatu the Natives are said to have termed the engine a piria mokai, tame volcano or geyser.
    The “Spectator,” of January 22, 1859, gives an account of the opening of a sawmill at Owhariu by Messrs R. and J. Wallace, when a dinner was given to a number of visitors and the employees.   The town guests journeyed thither by the newly opened Ngauranga Line Road.
    The first sawmill in the Porirua district north of Johnsonville was Bailey’s mill at the Small Farms Settlement.   After this another mill was started up Duck Creek, and also Wallace’s mill at Owhariu.   Yet later, Chew ran a mill situated a little distance up Cameron’s Creek, back of M’Grath’s Accommodation House.   Then R. Woodman and Jones ran a mill for about six years at the Small Farms Settlement, when Camm and Sandy Brown were hauling the product into town.   Then Booth had a mill at Owhariu, and this is all we can tell of sawmilling in the district.