LATEST INFORMATION FROM THE SETTLEMENT OF NEW PLYMOUTH.
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FROM THE SETTLEMENT OF
THE following pages, which have been compiled from the latest official despatches and private letters, will enable the reader to form as correct a judgment of the resources and prospects of the New Plymouth Settlement as the very short time which has elapsed since its original formation renders possible. The settlers all lament the want of a harbour, but there is no difference of opinion as to the extraordinary fertility of the soil, and the great promise which is held out to agricultural settlers. The general wish expressed for moorings had been anticipated by the Directors, who sent out in the Timandra, in October last, two sets, capable of holding the largest ships.
In a commercial point of view, the settlement will necessarily be secondary to Wellington, which, from its superior harbour, must be the great commercial entrepot. An exceedingly intelligent settler, however, writes to a friend in London, "that there is a good opening for goods, and from all appearances there will be for some time, as the parties principally coming out are agriculturists." This gentleman says that the goods he brought with him from England
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have averaged two hundred per cent. profit. There appears to be a spirit of enterprise growing up, evidenced by the rapid erection of houses, and the clearance and cultivation of land; in addition to which, a whaling company is projected, and about to be formed.
The opinions of the labouring class are favourable, as will be seen from that portion of the work which contains extracts from their letters; and the whole will present a continuous statement of proceedings connected with the settlement, from the date of the surveyors' tour of discovery in January 1841, to the arrival of the Oriental at New Plymouth, on the 9th of November last. The advantage of this general view will excuse a little repetition.
On the 26th of December, 1840, Mr. Carrington, the principal surveyor for New Plymouth, was recommended by Colonel Wakefield to visit Taranake, Tasman's Gulf, and Queen Charlotte's Sound; and, accordingly on the 7th of January, he embarked on board the Brougham for Taranake, and steered for the Sugar Loaf Islands, at that place, where he arrived the following evening. There, on the mainland, Col. Wakefield thought would be the best location for the town of New Plymouth.
On the 8th of January, the surveyor writes:
"We had a fine view of the coast of Taranake and Mount Egmont. We kept close to the coast all day, and had a clear view of the country for sixty miles, in which distance we saw only one hut and seven natives; the country the most magnificent I ever saw for agriculture; the slope gradual from the mountain to the coast, with sufficient undulations in other directions, which make it naturally drained.
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THE SUGAR LOAF ISLANDS.
Not more than a mile and a half from shore, we came to an anchorage half a mile E.N.E. of the centre Sugar Loaf. Nothing here worthy of the name of harbour, nor could a perfect one be made without considerable expense; but much good could be done by a breakwater, which is very practicable, abundance of materials being on the spot. The anchorage is a hard sand and clay--could not be better."
The following is an account, by the Surveyor, of the Sugar Loaf Islands and the anchorage there:--
"All the rocks which compose the Sugar Loaf Islands are very hard--a kind of granite; the one which joins the main land is five hundred feet high, the centre one about three hundred feet, and the outer one about two hundred and fifty feet; they are all of them more or less covered with vegetation, flax, evergreens, &c.; beside these, there are high rocks or islands; there are also several other rocks, some of which are under water, and some never covered, even at high water. The average depth of water round the islands and rocks is about seven fathoms, except from the centre Sugar Loaf to the main, which is about two fathoms and a-half; and if a breakwater was made here, we should seldom or ever have any swell upon the beach, and vessels might come alongside, discharge, and take in cargo. The length of breakwater required would be little more than a furlong." --Surveyor's Journal, Jan. 10.
There is a difference of opinion amongst the agents of the Company as to the possibility of forming a breakwater; but a jetty, affording great shelter and accommodation to small coasters, appears quite practicable, and was contemplated by the settlers.
The surveyors now proceeded along the Taranake coast; and, having arrived off the mouth of the river
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Waitera, "sounded the entrance, and found in the shallowest place on the bar seven and a-half feet; this was out of the channel of the river. The tide had fallen three feet in the channel--at spring-tides there is thirteen and a-half feet water. Directly over the bar is three and four fathoms water, in a basin formed by the river. We pulled up the Waitera for about three miles; a most beautiful country. The vegetation is beyond description. Fern trees and numberless evergreens, and fern-flax, and grass from ten to twenty feet in height. The country, the whole way from this to the Sugar Loaves, just the same character; except where it is intercepted by large timber, which joins the great forest round the base of Mount Egmont, and radiates in places nearly to the coast. Indeed the whole country, as far as the eye can reach, appears generally fertile, except the summit of Mount Egmont, which is covered with snow.
"The soil, a rich dark mould. I thought this a most valuable piece of country; but there was no harbour for a ship. I looked, and re-looked at the river; its parallel banks, where boats might be brought alongside, and take in or discharge cargo. Its bar, I thought, might be improved by small piers being run out on either side. This was my first visit; the sea like a mill-pond, and every thing most satisfactory, but the one great essential--a harbour. I remarked to Mr. Barrett, it was open to the north-west, and perhaps ships would not like to bring up there on that account. He assured me the north-west wind was by no means frequent, and lasted but a few hours when in that quarter, which I have since found to be correct."--Surveyors Journal, Jan. 11.
As far, therefore, as the surveyor had already seen, the deficiency of a commodious harbour was the only
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BLIND BAY AND ASTROLABE ROADS.
drawback to Taranake, as the site for a settlement; and in anticipation of that quarter being selected for its natural advantages, Mr. Carrington next visited the opposite harbour of Port Hardy, and minutely examined the port.
"Arrived and anchored in Port Hardy (south arm, fourteen fathoms water) at a little after six o'clock, P.M. Almost immediately after, we were visited by two canoes, with three or four natives in either. Soon after anchoring, pulled round the harbour to see if any place would do for building store-houses; saw but few. Ground, almost every place, steep to the water edge. The best spot would be on the north-east beach of the east arm, directly you enter this branch of the harbour: in other words, half a mile south of Castle Head. There is much timber here; but I expect it will not be found valuable for building any thing beyond small craft. The evergreens are by no means so plentiful as in many other places which I have seen in this country. The scenery, however, is truly grand; and the harbour being so safe, must, some day, be of great value to the opposite coast of level country (Taranake).--Surveyor's Journal, Jan. 15.
Mr. Carrington now proceeded to examine the country round Tasman's Gulf, on the north coast of the South Island, where he arrived on the 16th of January. At dusk, on the same evening, he reached Adele Island, and next morning, Sunday, entered
"Astrolabe Road (more properly, Harbour.)--It is perfectly safe, and sheltered from all winds, owing to its position with Adele Island, Fisherman's Island, and the main land. At ten o'clock I went on shore with Mr. Barrett, and took a walk for several hours over the ground, all of which is much too steep for
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QUEEN CHARLOTTE'S SOUND.
cultivation, and a great portion of the hills are little better than rock. There are here, on the main land, several truly beautiful coves and ravines, with about an acre or so of level land, where might be built a gentleman's house with garden and pleasure ground, but nothing beyond this. I had a fine view of the level land towards the south of the bay. There appears much of it, with a small river running through its centre; it also appeared as if a great mass was flooded at certain seasons of the year."--Surv. Journal, Jan. 17.
The Surveyor-general's impression of this place appears, from an extract from one of his private letters to Mr. Woollcombe, to have been, on the whole, very favourable:--
"Next to Taranake, Tasman's Gulf possibly may prove the best part of the New Zealand Company's land for a settlement. But should it be contemplated at any time to form one there, a surveyor who understands the sketching and drawing of hilly ground ought to be sent with several labourers some months before settlers, to see if it is practicable to find a road from where the town must be (at the harbour) to the agricultural part of the country, which is distant about seven miles. In my journal of the 18th January, I have stated that I thought it a bad place for a settlement, as the land which I had that day been over was so much intercepted by marsh, and upon the following day I found it was flooded for some considerable way every rise of the tide; but seeing the great extent of level land which I did on the 20th of January, I could not help thinking but there must be some valuable country."
Last of all, Queen Charlotte's Sound was visited, with regard to which it is observed:--
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TARANAKE.--QUALITIES OF SOIL, ETC.
"Its localities have been commented upon by so many different persons, that it is useless my endeavouring to afford further information respecting the place. It is an immense, splendid, and safe harbour, with water varying from seven to twenty-five fathoms. On either side, all through the Sound, you find the most beautiful little coves with small patches of ground, just enough for a cottage and garden. Jackson's Bay, where is a whaling establishment, and the next Bay, where is a native settlement, are the only places favoured with a few level acres. The hills in every direction are particularly steep, and covered with an endless variety of foliage, even to the water. It is therefore quite out of the question seeking for any extent of land worth cultivation in this part of New Zealand."--Surveyor's Private Letter, Jan. 17.
Final Choice of Taranake.
On a general review of the capabilities of the various districts he had thus visited, the portion of Taranake, between the rivers Enui and Ewatoki, was finally fixed on as the site of New Plymouth; and as far as agricultural qualities are concerned, the propriety of this choice will appear from the following quotations, in addition to the numerous testimonies which have been already published.
"If New Zealand is to prosper, this must become the great granary, from its possessing such an immense extent of land fit for agriculture--many millions of acres. I looked to this, and also to its position with the Australian and other colonies; and I thought I could not do better than fix the settlement here.
"And now, after having been here some few months, I feel much pleasure in being able to assure the Directors, that I do not see that the selection could be
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QUALITIES OF SOIL, ETC.
bettered as regards the site of the town or settlement in general.
"I have made a drawing of the grounds of a great portion of the town, but cannot complete it till I have finished my cuttings. By the next ship I hope to send it home, when you can have a model made from the drawing, which will at once show those unacquainted with topography the exact formation of the land. I shall, therefore, only say that a more beautiful and promising country for agriculture is perhaps not to be found. A more healthy climate I believe there is not: myself and family lived in a native hut for five months, a great portion of the time without either door or window; the shed was so small that it was impossible to erect any kind of bedstead without taking up all the spare room; we, therefore, slept upon native mats on the ground (and occasionally a little rain), yet, for all this we were blessed with the best of health.
"A steam tug would be an invaluable acquisition to this place, as we could then discharge large ships with great facility; and during many months in the year she might be employed in many ways for the good of the colony, and in bad weather she might lie at the Waitera."--Surveyor's Private Letter.
Opinions of Settlers.
On the arrival of the Amelia Thompson at Port Nicholson, the greatest dissatisfaction prevailed amongst the passengers at the intelligence that no harbour existed at Taranake, and it was said by one of the most influential settlers whose subsequent letter will te presently referred to, "It is the intention of most of us to enter the settlement under protest, leaving the matter open to redress." The following extract, how-
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ever, will shew that a personal examination has materially altered the writer's views.
"I am happy now to give you a more favourable account of the settlement, than reports at Port Nicholson when there, enabled me. The absence of a refuge for shipping will always be a serious matter, but the land is so fine, at least compared with Port Nicholson, Cloudy Bay, and all the coast of New Zealand I have seen, that I have not the least idea of the failure of the place. I am sorry, or rather glad to differ with some residents here, who argue ill of the settlement, and I seriously trust for all concerned, that time will prove them wrong and me right. It has too many recommendations to go to the ground, and it is hardly to be expected that the New Plymouth, or rather the New Zealand Company, are merely a money-making set, and that they would now abandon us, after such proofs of confidence on our part, having actually left our homes for this distant settlement before its locality was even known to them or to us. I think, moreover, that the government to whom they are indebted for their charter would expect them to make every effort for us. You will be pleased to hear that Captain Liardel is at the helm of affairs--he is a man of spirit, and fitted to uphold every thing he undertakes. He is an old shipmate of Captain Hobson's, and that circumstance cannot be unfavourable to us.
"You will be pleased to hear that I am one of the five magistrates. The governor, however, made a sad mistake in not insulting me with two or three hundred a year. He thought from ------'s letter that I came out as a gentleman. A sad delusion, I am only working hard to become one." Private letter from W. H. H. Esq: dated 13th Nov.
The same gentleman writes to another party at the same date as follows:
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"We must now speak of our settlement, and of the natives. You have long since heard that it is on the western coast of the Northern Island, but the charts are all wrong which we brought with us from England. As nearly as we can ascertain, the exact position of the town, or rather the site, is in lat. 39 deg. 3' S., and 174 deg. 20' E., and about twenty-five miles north of Eg-mont, a mountain of great height, covered with eternal snow, at times distinctly seen, but generally lost to view in the clouds. The district of Taranake in appearance much resembles a park, and when cleared of fern will be considerably improved. The land is comparatively level, the soil rich and fertile, the climate delightful (at this time the temperature ranging in our marquee from 65 to 86), and the land well watered with two rivers (the Ewatoki and Enui), streams, and frequent rains. Governor Hobson told Capt. Liardet, on meeting him at Port Nicholson, that Taranake was the garden of New Zealand, and that he hoped soon to see a road between it and Auckland, his seat of government, and that he should visit us the ensuing summer. The want of a harbour will, at all times, be a drawback; but, as Mr. Carrington observed to us, he had three places to choose from, and he selected land without a harbour in preference to a harbour without land,--alluding to the mountainous country round Queen Charlotte's Sound; and we hope that, as art can effect many improvements in the place, the New Zealand Company, so rich in capital, will make an effort for so fine a part of New Zealand, particularly as so many have staked their interest in the success of it. We are glad that the Waitera river, about twenty miles to the northward, is secured to us, and that the boundary of our settlement is fixed on the other side of it. The Waitera river is of great importance, as by
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removing some obstacles, and deepening its mouth, it will be capable of receiving vessels of small burden."
Mr. C--n, a gentleman who went out in the first expedition in the William Bryan, writes on the subject of the anchorage, that it is quite practicable to form a jetty for landing goods nearly opposite the town, where some rocks run out some distance. He states that a settler who has lately arrived from Van Dieman's Land calculates that it might be done for 500l.
This gentleman, in remarking on the rivers Enui and Ewatoki, states, that "though not navigable, they will be very useful as affording water power for mills."
As to the Anchorage, the surveyor states:--
"We have got the garden of the country, and though perhaps 80 or 100 miles in extent, here is the only landing-place for cargo. We have now safely discharged (with small boats) three ships at different seasons of the year, and while the place is in a perfect state of nature. Much can be easily done to improve the accommodation for large ships, and facilitate landing. A mooring ought to be here, also a jetty, which I suppose we shall quickly have, and then this place will go a-head; and if a steam-tug, we shall be all right."--Surveyor's Journal, Sept. 1841.
"The Company's Store 1 is built in a valley on the north side, with several other houses adjoining. Capt. King's residence is at present on the south side, at a short distance from the most suitable spot for the landing-place, at which they talk of running out a jetty; which, if carried into effect, will enable ships to land their passengers and cargoes with much greater safety and ease; it would also be a saving of an
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infinite deal of trouble and expence. The other landing point is at Moturoa or Sugar Loaves, two miles from the town: cargo landed there has to be transported this distance over a sandy beach, compelling the owners to incur additional expence, which might be avoided if landed at the town."--Private Letter from H. R. Aubrey, Esq., Sept. 26.
The following extracts from letters give the impressions of Mr. C---n, whose letters we have before quoted, immediately on his arrival in May, and subsequently in August 1841. After a most glowing description of the impression made on him at his arrival by the beauty of the scenery, the writer says:--
"You will say this would do all very well for a landscape; but what of the country as regards cultivation? From what I have seen of it, I think it very good, and likely to become a very flourishing settlement. Generally speaking, the land can be cleared for 10l. an acre; of course, I now mean put in a good state for cultivation, for I would undertake to clear it sufficiently for a crop for half that sum. The forest land will cost more to clear, but then you have a set-off in the value of the timber, which I think will pay well; the town and the greatest part of the country land being covered with fern and shrubby wood."
In August, the writer says:--"From what I have seen of this district, I have no doubt the settlement will succeed well, particularly for capitalists coming here; and I am glad to find some are expected by the next ship. A mill and steam-engine is to be brought out by one of the colonists, and will be a valuable acquisition. I wish you were here to see my establishment: I have quite a little farm-yard
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within my fence--a hen-house, goat-house, and pig-stye--and, better still, have occupants for them. I have been exceedingly busy fencing and building, and am now going to prepare some land for potatoes, &c."
Before proceeding to a resume of affairs in the settlement, from the final decision of the surveyors and the landing of the stores in the month of March, to the latest advices in November, we subjoin a few miscellaneous extracts on the subject of the natural qualities of the soil and probable articles of export from the colony, and also on the character and disposition of the natives.
"In the course of twelve months' time I expect we shall be able to export to England from New Plymouth. Whales are very numerous close to the shore, and it is said that next season the fishing will be carried on with spirit. We have a great variety of wood quite handy; I cannot attempt to give you the different names, they are too many. Suffice it to say, it is most valuable for all kinds of building and furniture. Also the most pure black dye from the bark of the hinau; it is a large tree, and very plentiful. Fruit trees, I have no doubt, will here flourish in great perfection. I know peaches will. We have two large trees, planted by a native, from stones brought from Sydney about twelve years since; they are five or six miles inland from the town, and were loaded with fruit last season."--Surveyor's Private Letter.
"New Zealand, however, in my opinion, will make quite different returns from the Australian colonies. There, rapid fortunes are made by certain parties in sheep-farming. Not so here; people who come to
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OBSERVATIONS ON VEGETATION, ETC.
this country must be content to settle down for some years. There is much labour to be done in clearing, and this of course will go on progressively, consequently it will take a few years before you can get great returns; but ultimately the value of land here will be infinitely beyond that in sheep countries, and there will always be found a good market for this place."--Mr. Carrington's Letter, Sept. 1841.
"Went this morning, with Mr. Aubrey and two of the labourers, to the Enui River, the proposed eastern bounds of the town;--walked inland along the bank of said river for about a mile. It is extremely beautiful, and clothed on either side with copse, timber, innumerable evergreens, and tree ferns. The soil, just the same, equally good, every place inclosed which I have yet purchased. The river is about 20 yards wide, and keeps a parallel width. I expect it will prove valuable, some day or other, to bring down timber from the forest through which it runs."-- Surveyor's Journal, March 20.
"Early this morning, I walked into the country for two miles, at the back of Nga Motu, through a fine flat fern country, the fern on which only requires to be cut and burnt, to set the plough at work. Some thousands of acres might be tilled here at a trifling cost. The surface soil is a fine, black, light mould, but at spade's depth, a rich loam. In New Zealand, every part is covered with vegetation--either fern, scrub, or wood. The fern grows to various heights, from one to twenty feet, but, generally, on good land, open to the weather; it averages from three to five feet, and is so thick that it is impossible to walk through it. There is but little grass, so that it will be necessary to cultivate it before any quantity
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of cattle can be maintained."--Mr. Cutfield's Journal, April 11.
"The karaka, (Corynocarpus Levigata,) kohekohe, and kow-wiri, are the prevailing trees in this part of the wood; the two first are not in good repute, and the latter is too hard for general use. Mr. Carrington was shewn some fine kikatea trees, this morning, by a native. The kikatea is a species of white pine, and well adapted for all purposes of house and boat building."--Ibid, April 12.
"This morning, with one man, I cut through the fern from the wheat land to the wood, about three quarters of a mile distant, in an easterly direction, in search of pine. Found fine karaka, towa and tawariva (commonly called honeysuckle), but no pine. The towa is a fine wood, something between the ash and the oak, and will prove a useful wood for the boat and ship builder, as well as to the wheelwright."--Ibid, May 21.
"The kikatea timber lies in a valley, near the banks of the Enui; many of the trees measure 5 feet in diameter. There are also, near the same place, fine kikatea and towa trees; so that, having formed our saw-pits, we can furnish ourselves with a large quantity of plank of either sort; and, when a nearer cut is made to the town, it will not be more than 1 1/2 mile to the store-house, a point which we at present calculate distances from."--Ibid, May 22.
"Having examined every piece of stone which has come in my way since landing, I have been unable to discover any other than sand and iron stone, and granite; indeed, the country appears to be ill supplied with stone, except on the sea-shore, where there is plenty of very hard granite. From certain indications, iron, I apprehend, will be ultimately found in
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large quantities in this neighbourhood."--Ibid, June 18.
"Stones on the land are scarcely to be met with; but as there are plenty in the beds of all the rivers and streams, it is reasonable to suppose they will be met with in places at some distance under the surface. But should this not be the case, large quantities of stone may be collected on the coast from the beds of the rivers, for road-making."--Ibid, July 4.
"The whale which Mr. B. anchored on the 30th June, rose, and drove to sea. To whale here with success, six boats at least should be employed; and to form a six-boat establishment a capital of £3000 would be required. To allow the Sydney merchants to form establishments would be folly on the part of the settlers, because Sydney would derive all the profit, which is great, and all the trade incident to whaling, by sending whaling gear, slops, and provisions, and taking away the oil; whereas the oil ought to be an article of export. Lines and cordage might be made, and boats built here, as easily as at Sydney. It is to be hoped that as soon as a few persons of capital collect, a joint-stock whaling company will be established. Had there been a six-boat party here, six or eight whales might by this time have been taken, even at this early part of the season."--Ibid, August 3.
It will be seen that this object has been since accomplished, as one of the early settlers writes, on the 13th August,--"We are going to form a whaling company here. It is an excellent place for it, and will be highly advantageous to the colony. It is a natter of policy to support this undertaking ourselves, otherwise most of the profit will go out of the colony to Sydney, &c. The capital proposed is £5,000,
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which would fit out six boats. A great number of fish frequent this place; the other day, when one was towing home, I saw several playing about."
"On my first arrival here the inhabitants were very few, perhaps sixty or eighty, (in the Plymouth district they are now more numerous, perhaps three hundred). Many are constantly returning from captivity. The Waikato tribe, whose slaves they were, having embraced Christianity, permit them to return to their native land. Not twenty years since, there were ten thousand fighting men between the Sugar Loaves and the Waitera river; but the continuous wars have reduced them to their present state.
"Though these people have fixed habitations, they are continually on the tramp from place to place, and appear to think no more of walking across the country or along the coast for 150 or 200 miles, than we should in England of going from one village to another. Some of their houses are neatly made, particularly those which are lined with reeds placed in a vertical position. They are, however, for the most part, very rude, being constructed by a certain number of poles placed in the ground, about four or five feet high, and from four to six feet apart. At right angles to these poles, and distant from ten to fourteen inches, they tie a certain number of long sticks, to which they again place, in a vertical position, flags or rushes. The roof is constructed in a similar way, and is always covered with an outside layer of coarse grass: generally speaking, these roofs are impervious to rain. In their cabins there is neither door nor window, but a square hole is left, for the threefold purpose--access and egress of themselves, smoke, and light. During the winter months, and in the evening, they make a fire on the earth, in the centre of their
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building, around which they squat, lounge, and sleep. Their usual occupation in-doors is making articles of clothing, of which they make a great variety, chiefly from the flax, prepared in various ways; this work is principally performed by the women. Their food is mostly vegetables; occasionally a little fish, and seldom pork or birds. These are always cooked out of doors in an oven made in the earth. A hole is made, from two to four feet in diameter, and about fifteen inches deep, which is carefully paved with smooth stones, spurious granite got on the shore: a fire of wood is made on these stones till they are nearly red-hot, when all the ashes are carefully removed; and a quart or two of water being sprinkled on the hot stones, a great steam is created, when they instantly place whatever they have to cook upon them, and quickly cover all up with small mats and different gum plants; these are again covered with earth, and effectually prevents the escape of steam. Things cooked in this way are excellent.
"Their idea of cultivation is curious; they seldom plant twice in the same ground, saying it is no good. About two months before they intend sowing, they leave their homes in small parties for a day or two, walk a little inland, and select a lonely spot in the wood or bush, but never in the fern land. Soon after this, the weather proving favourable, they commence cutting down all the timber or bush which is on the spot chosen, except the karaka, which is carefully preserved, on account of its producing food; the fruit of this beautiful evergreen is in appearance like a date. The trees are all cut down about four feet from the ground, and the stumps are never disturbed. About a week or two after this, if dry weather, it is burned and carelessly cleared away, and with a
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pointed stick they make the earth a little loose, and put in their seed. Potatoes will do well in New Zealand, if planted from the beginning of September till March. Water-melons, pumpkins, and various other vegetables, are planted by the natives early in November. They have a name for every bird, fish, insect, or plant, that I have here yet seen, and are much pleased if you cannot readily furnish the same.
"The majority of the men are athletic, well proportioned, and above the ordinary stature, particularly the chiefs or "rangatiras," in whose appearance you generally see a marked superiority. Many of them, though so much tattoed, are remarkably handsome, having fine Roman features, and beautiful teeth. The women are by no means so pleasing in their appearance; now and then you may chance to see a good-looking one or two, but it is rare; all, however, have very fine teeth, eyes, and nails. Those who have embraced the Gospel, cease to tattoo either themselves or children. I expect in a few years it will be quite exploded. It is a long and painful operation. The natives tell me it takes six or eight years to complete a face that is full tattooed; and at every operation, which is once or twice a year, the swelling is enormous, and, now and then, they die from the effects. This work is performed by the men.
"Their wood-carvings are now very rare; occasionally you may see an elderly man so occupied, but never the young people. I expect, in the course of a few years, this art will be lost among them. Writing in the hurried way in which I now am, I will not add more upon the customs and manners of the people. I send the above from observations, as I do not recol-
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lect having seen them mentioned."--Mr. Carrington's Letter, Feb. 8, 1841.
"In England, we were favourably impressed with the natives; but we find them a much better race of people than we had imagined. As far as our experience goes, and what we have ascertained of them, an extraordinary change (chiefly effected by the Missionaries) has taken place among them within the last few years. Formerly savages, warring against each other, frequently annihilating whole tribes, and many among them cannibals; they have exchanged those dreaded characters, and become religious and peaceable men. They are nearly all missionaries, and carry with them their bible (translated in the native tongue), which they carefully protect from injury, and are constantly praying. On Sundays they wholly abstain from work, and we have watched them proceed to the native chapel in the most orderly manner, and fall down in reverence before the door, with their faces covered, and almost crawl in, us if they felt their utter worthlessness. What a lesson to many Europeans! The natives are a very fine race of people. Their dress generally consists of a mat made of flax, or a blanket; some of them have adopted different articles of European costume. The natives being now busily employed in planting their potatoes, few of them are here, and not any temptation will induce them to neglect this staple article of food. Some of the women are very good-looking, and most of the men handsome and athletic. They have all, without exception (and it is extraordinary), jet black hair. Most of them are tattooed; but this absurd and painful custom is fast falling into disuse. The men and women of caste dye their lips blue; and, during the period of our residence here, we have never seen a
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single instance of a man or woman showing the least signs of impropriety. The men appear attached to their wives--they to their husbands--and the single women generally conceal their faces in their mats, on the approach of a stranger. Their pigs are docile, and follow their owners like dogs. We have got nine pigs, which we have branded, and turned adrift in the bush, where they fatten, and increase on fern root. We procured from the natives, a short time since, a very finely woven mat, which we shall send you at a future period."--Messrs. Halse's Letter, Nov. l3,1841.
Fern Tree of New Zealand.