[1858] - Smith, S. P. An 1858 Journey into the Interior [Published 1953] - The Diary, p 5-31

E N Z B       
       Home   |  Browse  |  Search  |  Variant Spellings  |  Links  |  EPUB Downloads
Feedback  |  Conditions of Use      
  [1858] - Smith, S. P. An 1858 Journey into the Interior [Published 1953] - The Diary, p 5-31
Previous section | Next section      

The Diary

[Image of page 5]

The Diary

On the 4th January, 1858, our party consisting of F. Murray, J. McKellar, A. Standish, W. Hursthouse and myself (P. Smith) started on our long talked of journey to Lake Taupo, which we had discussed last year, on top of Mt. Egmont, but then scarcely expected to realise so soon.

We left the Town at 8 a. m. having a cart to carry our things to the Waitara, where we arrived at 12 and, after having despatched some lunch, were ferried over the river, which none of us had crossed before. We now commenced our journey in earnest, and shouldered, or rather "backed" our packs, which, with the exception of one, weighed over 401b. and principally consisted of biscuits, bacon, sugar, chocolate, salt, spare clothes, a blanket, and a book or two.

Leaving Waitara, the road leads through a fine undulating country, covered with old pas, to the Taniwa stream, formerly the boundary of the settlement. Here we rested a while, for we already found our packs a great weight, but were cheered by the prospect of a 2 days rest in going up the Mokau.

We proceeded on our journey, and soon after crossed the Waiho stream, where there were some patches of wheat and potatoes, and soon after met 7 Maoris from Mimi; we found that we had a letter to one of them, but they told us to take it on and give it to the people at the pa there.

At 4 we crossed another stream, the Waiau, at the mouth of which, on the Taranaki side, is an island at high tide, and, on the other, a cliff composed of Fuller's clay, which here first makes its appearance. Ascending a hill and over a flat for some way, we came to the Motu Kariki stream, at which place, on the beach, are a large number of stumps standing up through the sand, and what was once a forest is now under high-water mark; probably the result of an earthquake. At half-past 4 we came to the Omaero, which is rather a pretty river, especially looking up it from the northern bank. Here a Maori wanted to carry us across for 2s., but as we only offered 1s, he crossed and continued on his way; we waded over, and after walking two miles, came to the Urinui river. This is the first of quite a different system of rivers from those we have in Taranaki, the water being quite deep and muddy for some way from the mouth.

After resting some time, and admiring the view up the river, we descended a hill and walked over about 200 yards of yellow soft mud, covered at high tide, and full of Pipi shells, to the bank of the river. We hailed some men on the other side, one of whom was the man we had seen at Onairo, to fetch us across in the canoe, but they demanded half a-crown each--the distance being about 40 yards--which, of course, we would not give, so marched away up the river over the mud banks for about half a-mile, till we came to a house and garden. Here part of us stopped, and J. M. and W. H. went up the river to look for a fording place, but could find none.

In the mean time, the rest of us lit a fire, and discussed the best mode of crossing the river. One proposed to make a raft; another, to swim, and float our packs on logs; and night was coming on fast, which added to our distress. Whilst drinking our chocolate, 3 Maories came up the river, and offered to take us across for 3/-, to which we agreed; and putting our packs in the canoe, we walked down the bank till opposite the pa, where they put us across, and we then went into a house, and were glad to get between our blankets, being rather tired.

On the next day (Tuesday, the 5th) when at breakfast, the mailman came in from Taranaki, and agreed to guide us to Mokau for a small sum; and we found we might have saved our money last night, as the mailman had walked across the river.

We started at half-past 6, and walked on for above a mile, when our clever guide lost his way; but, after scrambling over fern and bushes, to the imminent peril of our eyes and trousers, we again came into the track, which led along the top of the cliffs; and most extraordinary cliffs they are. In some places there are the marks of immense heels, about the size of a 300-ton ship. Per-

[Image of page 6]

haps Maui (the myth who is said to have hauled up New Zealand from the bottom of the sea) used this as a bathing place, and these are the marks of his heels.

We observed several pas, isolated from the main land, which must have been very strong ones in former times. About 4 miles from Urunui, we crossed the Mimi river, and walked along the beach for 4 miles at a great rate, as the tide was coming in. We did this in something less than an hour, which was no joke with 401bs. at one's back.

Having accomplished this feat, we went into the pa at Waiiti, where we had some capital soup, which, though very good to the palate, would not bear ocular examination, for on some of the pork of which it was made there was a very strong growth of black hair. Here again are to be seen a great many stumps standing out of the sand, as at Motukariki, and no doubt have some connection with the wood found in digging the wells at the Bell Block.

At 12 we again started, and proceeded through some very pretty karaka groves growing on an old pa. The path runs parallel to the sea, but is separated from it by a ridge of hills, over which the foam was flying. We passed over an old pa called Pukearuhe, and descended a steep hill to a stream called Huatahi, at which place we had to stop some time until the tide went down, and on starting again we had to run round several points to escape the surf.

We were now under the white cliffs (Parinini) which towered above to the height of 900 feet, nearly perpendicular. Near the end of them, we had to haul ourselves up about 20 feet by a rope, and then climb the cliff for about 200 feet, which we found very hard work. We continued along the top of the cliffs for some way, and then descending, crossed a stream and went up again, to descend directly after. We now had to walk round two points, the sea being above our waists, and the rocks very slippery.

Ascending and descending the cliffs, we at last came to Tongaporutu river, where we determined to stop, as it was 5 o'clock, and we were quite knocked up. We dragged ourselves up a very steep hill to a deserted pa, where we experienced much the same delight as Christian did, in the Pilgrim's Progress, when he got rid of his burden; and as there were no Maories about, we took possession of a house, and made ourselves comfortable for the night.

On the following morning, at breakfast, some Maories came up and agreed to ferry us across the river, one of whom we hired to carry the pack of one of our party, who was rather unwell. The Tongaparuta is a large river at high tide, and near the mouth are some very queer pinnacles of sandstone.

Our route now lay along the beach for some distance, and we got on at a good pace. On the way, we saw the wreck of the Harry lying under the cliffs, but had not time to examine it. At Mohakatino, we had to wade across the river, the water being up to our necks, and then along the beach for about a mile, when we came to Tarakihi, and about a mile further on, got our first view of the Mokau river. We descended a steep bank, and continued our way across the sand (covered at high tide) about half-a-mile, till opposite the Kauri pa, where we were taken across in a canoe.

Here, leaving the rest, A. S. and I went up to Mr. Schnakenberg, who received us kindly, and interesting himself in our behalf, came down, and got us a "whare." The country here is very broken, and mostly bush; but the river is a very fine one, being quite half-a-mile wide just within the heads.

Thursday, the 7th. --Very cold all night. Alter breakfast, F. M. and I went to Awakino river, which is about 3 miles from Mokau, to shoot ducks; and, after enjoying a delightful bathe, we went up the river for about 2 miles, but saw very few ducks. We shot at some Tetes, but could not hit them, because they dived so frequently. The scenery on this river, up which the tide flows two or three miles, is very pretty.

Our sport done, we returned to the mouth, and were invited by Ngataua to partake of some potatoes and pigeon, after which we returned to Mokau. In the meantime, the rest had been grinding some wheat, and making damper, to take with us up the river.

In the evening, Mr. Schnackenberg came down to try and hire two men and a canoe to go up to Motukaramu. There were several Maories in the house, who seemed to make it quite a public affair: and Takarei, who is one of the chiefs here as well as at Waipa, wanted £80 to let us go to Taupo, and afterwards came down to £13, which we could not give, and after a great deal talk, we had nearly made up our minds to return and try the Wanganui river, which had been strongly recommended to us at first.

On the following morning (Friday) I spoke to Ngataua; and he, using his influence, hired two men to take us

[Image of page 7]

Looking up the Mokau River.

[Image of page 8]

to Taupo and back for £10; it was too much; but sooner than not go we agreed to give it The canoe was quite a new one and very steady, so we anticipated a safe journey; and having thanked Mr. Schnackenberg for his kindness, we bid him good bye and embarked at a quarter past ten; and as we left the shore, all the Maories collected on the beach to bid us a good journey.

We paddled on till eleven, when the Maories got out, and went up a hill to get some potatoes. Some of us went up after them, and found what was to us quite a new kind of tree, called "nei nei"; it is something like a diminutive "ti".

About an hour after leaving this place, we arrived at a bend in the river called Takapu, where there are a few houses, used by the Maories when they come up to make canoes, which they do in a river called Totara, not far from here. We partook of some potatoes, and, after a short rest, again took to our paddles.

The scenery of the Mokau 1s certainly very picturesque; but one soon gets tired of it. It sadly wants a few rocks to add boldness to it. At three we ascended the first rapid, if rapid it can be called; as the water, which all along can scarcely be seen to move, here makes a few twists and turns, and again continues its lazy course.

At six we reached Mangakawhia, and proceeded to make our encampment, and enjoyed some ducks we had shot for supper. The Mokau makes the most extraordinary turns, which may be accounted for by the broken country through which it runs.

Saturday the 9th. --Having breakfasted, we started at nine, and soon after passed two veins of coal in a cliff abutting on to the river. There seems to be a very small quantity; the veins we saw were about 4 inches thick, and perhaps 40 feet long; also spread over seme of the rapids higher up are a few pieces, which seem to have been washed down.

We had some difficulty in getting up the second rapid; all the Pakehas having to get out. The high tide is said to reach this point, which is about 13 miles from the mouth, and a steamer not drawing more than six or eight feet could easily come up this far.

At the fifth rapid, we were nearly swamped The river here runs through a channel about 30 feet wide, and we got out, and the Maories poled the canoe up the right hand side, and then forced her across to the other, where we were all waiting to receive her, but she stuck on a rock, and they were obliged to shove her down a bit, and for a long time could not regain what they had lost.

We then all laid hold of a rope, and pulled her on till she got jambed against the side of a large stone, which made her heel over till the water began to run in, and she was filling fast, and must have gone down had not J. M. and W. H. jumped in up to their waists and assisted the Maories to pull her out. As it was, some of our things got wet, they having been practising the art of swimming in the bottom of the canoe. We heard that Messrs. Schnackenberg and Reimenschneider were capsized and lost all their things here; some Maories at the mouth seeing the wreck, went up and fetched them.

We soon after passed two rivers-- Mangapongahuru and Panirau--both branches of the Mokau. At a quarter to one, we met a canoe coming down, and by her sent letters to be forwarded to Taranaki. At Mangaharekiekie we had dinner, and at six arrived at Motukaramu, very well pleased to get out of our cramped position in the canoe. Here are about 20 Maories located, mostly old women.

Sunday, the 10th. --Washed some of our clothes. This place was once a mission station, but is now deserted. I believe there is a good deal of fruit at the old place, but we had not an opportunity of trying it. The Mokau is about 40 yards wide here, and full of small rapids, though it is navigable, I believe, some miles further, to Wakatumu. The land about Motukaramu is all fern, and is still broken, though not so much so as lower down There are a few horses here brought by way of Awakino river.

Monday, the 11th--Having breakfasted, and taken leave of the very many ancient dames who live here, we got under way by half-past six. We now left the Mokau, and struck right across to Taupo, where we expected arriving by Friday or Saturday, and having walked three miles over some broken ground and swamps, we came to Rotopotaka, where there was a numerous party of Maories, pig-hunting, and they seemed to have caught a great many. There was one extremely fat old lady with them, who seemed to have the greatest difficulty in getting up the hills, puffing and blowing like a steam-engine.

We now descended into a beautiful valley covered with natural grass, with a stream running along the bottom, into the mud of which one of our party slipped up to his waist, which neither improved his state of mind nor the color of his white trousers. The Maories showed us a house in which used to live a white

[Image of page 9]

man named Tommy, who had deserted from the 58th Regiment, and was hired by them to look after their cattle.

About ten we came to a river called Mokau iti, where we shot a duck. On the left of this river is a pa situated on the top of a hill, called Pukewao, in which lives Hikaka, who is the chief of this part. There are a great many Kahikatea trees growing about here, sometimes in clumps and sometimes singly, and when in the latter state they look very handsome.

At eleven we came to a settlement called Horitu, on a branch of the Mokau iti, called Weo-o-te-eka, a celebrated river for eels. Upon reaching this place, we found our Maories had to go back to Pukiwao, to get a letter of introduction to Te Heuheu, and that they did not know the road to Taupo; whereas we waxed wrath, and stormed at them for pretending to know the way etc. However, it was all to no purpose; we were obliged to stop here all day, as the men did not return till about four.

In the meantime, we walked about and amused ourselves as best we could. We ascended a very high hill, from the top of which we got a fine view of the country around, as also of Mount Egmont (bearing 3 30 deg. W.) and Tongariro and Ruapehu (the latter bearing S. 30 deg. E.).

Upon the top of this hill was the grave of a man named Tate, raised on a kind of pyramid, and neatly fenced in with red palings. This seems to be the fashionable mode of burying here, as we observed several others at Motukaramu.

The Maories told us of some caves on the Mokau not far from here, which seem to be very wonderful places, and full of moa bones: we hoped to visit them on our return. From this place there is a road leading to Waipa, and another to the Wanganui river. The Maori who went back returned with his letter nicely written on a green flax leaf.

Tuesday, January 12th. --One of our party, who had been unwell ever since starting, still continued so, which made travelling very hard work. We were obliged to hire a guide from here (Horitu) to Tunua, for which we were to give him £1. He said he was a chief, and therefore would not carry anything. His name is Parahori, and he possesses only one blear eye, which he fixes on one in a most disagreeable manner.

We started at eight, and continued along the river for some way, then crossed over a hill into a nice grassy valley, in which I saw a new kind of fern growing in a swamp. After crossing Mokau iti, we came to a deserted settlement on the banks of the river, used by the Maories when catching eels, for which this river is celebrated, and there is a large trap built across the river, in which they catch immense quantities.

Near here our guide showed us a hill upon which was once a very strong pa called Onehau, which appears to have been the stronghold of all the Ngatimaniapoto tribe who lived about here. To our surprise we learned that this was the end of the path, and that thence we should have to get on as best we could for some miles; truly a pleasant prospect! for, three miles after leaving this place, we had to wade through swamps and wet fern, till we arrived at a piece of bush through which there was a bad path, which was lost again upon our emerging into some open land, where, our guide informed us, was fought a great battle a long time ago, but who between we did not learn.

It now began to rain; and what with the swamps and the rain, we were now thoroughly soaked; and to this the impossibility of arriving at any house to sleep that night, and we were in a most unenviable state of mind and body. However, there was no use in grumbling, so we pushed on, having first taken in a reinforcement of biscuit, through some most dreadful swamps, in which some of our party were near bringing their travels to a premature end. I, for my part, had the greatest difficulty in getting one of my legs out, which had gone down an immense depth, and it was not until after repeated tugs that I at last succeeded.

We soon after fell in with a path running at right angles to our course, which, after some consultation, and not a few runnings up and down, our one-eyed guide took. It led through a bad swamp, then up a hill to some clearings and houses on the top. Our guide was evidently puzzled, he not expecting to find any people on this side of the mountains.

After waiting some time we went on up to the houses, and found two women and three children, who seemed considerably astonished at us, but soon came round when we assured them, though very hungry, we were not going to make a meal of them, and they set to work and prepared some first-rate pork and potatoes, having finished which we ordered another edition, with

[Image of page 10]

additions. They made us quite a comfortable place in an old house, and we determined to stop the night, as it was still raining, though we had not travelled more than seven miles.

We learned that the husbands of these two women had left their tribe some years before, probably tired of the hollow conventionalities of Maori life, and retired to the bush with their wives and families. The husbands had died some time ago, and the widows lived here by themselves; in fact they were regular bush Robinson Crusoes. The two youngest had not seen white people before, though the others had visited Wanganui. They had a few peach trees and some potatoe gardens. The pukekos seem to highly approve of the latter article, as we heard several in the cultivations, one of which A. S. shot. The country is much broken about here, and the scenery very pretty.

Wednesday, 13th. --We started at half past eight and descended the hill to the swamp we had crossed last night; here we endeavoured in vain to get across dry-footed, and as usual got wet above our knees in the attempt. Having ascended and descended a high hill through some bush, we came into a pretty little plain of grass surrounded by bush, containing perhaps five hundred acres. The country about here is nicely interspersed with bush and grass, and would make some very nice farms.

For five miles after leaving Puhanga (the name of the place where we had slept) we passed through a varied country of the above description, and at eleven began to ascend a mountain, the top of which we reached by twelve in a very damp state, owing to the rate at which we came up. This range of mountains is called Arawatu, and extends from Mokau to the northern end of Taupo: I suppose it is about a thousand feet above the level of the plain. There is a good track now used by horses, so we got on much faster.

After resting some time, we descended about five hundred yards, crossed Mangatahua, and again began to ascend another hill called Tapuhiwaihene, which when we arrived on the top, proved to be much higher than the last. The top having been cleared a little, we were able to get a magnificent view all round. To the north the country seemed much broken; and in the east we could see Mount Tuhua, which we should have to pass. We discussed some biscuit here, and then began to descend the mountain, at which pleasant operation we continued for three or four miles, when we arrived at the Ohura, which is the first branch of the Wanganui River. It is only a muddy stream, about five or six yards wide.

A mile or two further on we came to a house at the side of the stream, from which issued a man and a woman, who stared at us for some time, and then set up a most dismal "tangi" which lasted about half-an-hour, when the man got up and made us a long speech. All this time we had to wait, and employed ourselves in peering about into storehouses, etc., to see what chance of a supper we had.

Having dried her tears, our hostess proceeded to cook some potatoes, and we to boil our chocolate. After tea we took some of the fire-sticks with which we had been cooking, and put them into the house to make a larger fire. Our host happened to turn round, and seeing what we were doing, immediately set up a yell, and threw them cut again, saying they were "tapu" and some harm would come to him if they were burnt inside, as they had been used in cooking our food.

We now turned in, and before going to sleep were enlivened by a good hour's tangi between our guide and the woman (who was his sister) at the end of which, our guide, getting tired, knocked off and fell upon a "kite" of potatoes, in which he made a respectable hole; but the old woman was not so short-winded, for she did not leave off whilst I lay awake; in fact she had been in a state of semi-tangi ever since we arrived.

The name of this place is Tapuhi Maori, and is inhabited only by this old couple.

Thursday, January 14th. --We started at 7, the man and his wife going with us. For some way, we kept along the Ohura, till it is joined by another branch from the north called Mangatupoto, where it runs away to the south. We continued our course to the east, through a fine grazing country, watered by numerous streams, with many clumps of wood growing in the valleys. At 10 we came to a large river called Ongaruhe, which 1s one of the chief branches of the Wanganui; it is about 30 yards wide, and full of islands and rapids. Here we enjoyed a delightful bathe whilst our natives were coming up.

Speaking of these men, let me advise any future traveller journeying this way not to have anything to do with them, for they are the most selfish, lazy, good-

[Image of page 11]

for-nothing fellows I ever met with. Their names are Te Oho and Maiwa.

We continued on for about half a-mile, when we came in sight of a Kaanga, whereupon our old guide began to adorn his beautiful person, putting on a long white garment which reached to his heels, and winding his red blanket round his body, which he seemed to consider the height of fashion. After this, he strutted on before us in a most self-sufficient manner, evidently bent upon making an impression on the simple inhabitants of the village of Ongaruhe.

We had no sooner arrived at the outskirts of the place, than we were violently barked at by about 20 mongrel curs, who, upon being looked at in a severe manner immediately disappeared behind the corner of the nearest house. This brought out 6 or 7 men and women, who, as soon as old one-eye had announced himself as Parohori, set up a most entertaining tangi, during which most of us went to sleep.

The tangi lasted about an hour, and several speeches were made on both sides, till a quantity of potatoes were cooked, which was a signal for a universal shaking of hands and falling-to on the potatoes, which disappeared in a miraculously short space of time.

Having rested long enough, as we thought, we intimated as much to our guide, at which he seemed greatly surprised, and informed us of his intention of stopping there all day, as he was tired, and it was a long way to the next Kaanga. Of course we stormed and abused him, but it was literally no go, for the old monster would not budge an inch.

This is the third day that we have only made half a-day's journey: it is very tiresome as we shan't get to Taupo this week. Taonui, Esq., who is the chief of this place, asked us what business we had to take away his friend, who had come from Mokau to see him; and what and for why were we writing in our books (alluding to our journals). We did not give him any answer, but went away un the river to look for ducks; this latter was an eminent failure. A river named Mangakahu joins the Ongaruhe here: and between the two is a pretty grove of yellow Kowai trees. Most of the houses are built of slabs of Totara bark, which is taken from the tree in sheets, often 20 feet long by 10 broad, and really make very comfortable places.

Friday, 15th. --Started at seven, and kept alone the valley of the Mangakahu for several miles. At nine we passed the junction of another path, coming also from Mokau by way of Pai Mahoe, Rangitui, Paripari, etc. This would be the best way for anyone to come, as they would then avoid the mountains. The hills about here are all topped with stone, and have very steep sides, which gives them a peculiar look. We came nearly east till twelve, when we left the river and turned sharp to the south, through a beautiful valley about five miles wide and seven or eight long, bounded on the east by the Tuhua range, and on the west by forest land, and Mount Hikorangi, which is covered with trees, and has a flat top, making it look very picturesque. We passed some Maoris going to Kawhia, as also a settlement called Papawaka, and soon after got a good view of Tongariro and Ruapehu.

At one we came to a river called Wanganui or Taringamutu, which I believe is considered the principal branch of the Wanganui; though we thought it was not so large as Ongaruhe. Here, we had some biscuit, and then continued on for about half a mile to the settlement of Tuhua, Kawakawa, or Petania (Britannia?).

Again crossing the river, we entered the village where we were hospitably received by (for a wonder) a clean man, who gave us potatoes, pork and damper. As our guide was to leave us here, and we had walked 18 miles, though only two o'clock, we determined to stop more especially as the houses seemed to be nice and clean and there are no more between this and Taupo.

This river must be subject to immense freshets, from the quantity of stony ground all along its edges; it has also a good many islands. in it, upon which the beautiful yellow kowai grass grows in abundance, giving the river a very pretty appearance.

Here again this stupid tapu annoyed us, for having lit a fire outside to cook our food, we took some of it in when we had finished, but the Maoris would not allow it there. Sometimes we might cook our meat inside the house, but not our chocolate, and visa versa; we must not stick our knives in the wall, nor hang up our pannikins, for fear of some harm coming to the owner of the place, etc.

Saturday, 16th. --At this place the engagement with our guide ended, as from here to Taupo there is a good horse track, so we paid him his pound, and he told us he would wait till our return and go back to Mokau with us.

Started at eight, and went due north for three miles on the eastern side of

[Image of page 12]

the Tuhua range. On the previous day, we came due south on the western side. The country is much the same on both sides. We crossed some branches of the Wanganui, which I do not know the name of. At ten we began to ascend the Puketapu mountain, the bottom of which is covered with wood; but as it got near the top we met with stones and shrubs, which made it more difficult to ascend. The top has been cleared of the shrubs so that we were able to get a very fine view towards the west and south.

In the former direction we beheld a fine country, half bush and half fern, and in the distance our horizon was bounded by the Rangitoto range, over which we passed on the 13th. From here Mount Hikorangi bears N. 75 W. and Mount Tuhua (which is about ten miles north of the pas of that name) N. 40 W. The Maories told us Mount Egmont can be seen from here in fine weather; but we could not obtain a view, which I wished very much to do, as I could then fix the position of this place.

It took us an hour and a half to get up; and having rested some time, we descended on the other side, until we came to a stream and determined to stop for dinner. At one we again proceeded, and had not gone far when it began to rain, and we were, as a matter of course, soon soaked through. But we still continued on, the road leading over high ridges (all forest) and across some very bad gullies, down the side of which one of our party fell head over heels shaking him most dreadfully; but not a word escaped his lips; he bore it most stoically.

At four, coming to a dry place under a pine, we thought it best to stop, so we set about getting firewood, with which we soon made a roaring fire. The great drawback to us was, that whilst warming one side, the other was getting as wet as ever by the rain. I and another went out exploring for water, and carried 5 pannikins full for nearly a quarter of a mile through the bush.

Having had some very hot chocolate, which did us much good, we attempted to sleep.

Sunday, January 17th. --Passed a most dreadful night, all of us cramped and doubled up like fowls about to be roasted. The rain continued pouring down in torrents all night long, with terrific thunder and lightning. Our blankets this morning weighed about 5 times as much as they did the day before, and most of our things were wet. However having partaken of some biscuit, we got under weigh, and in about an hour, to our delight, came out of the bush into some grass land.

Crossing this and a rapid stream, we again entered the bush, through which we continued some time, and then came to a beautiful plain, dotted over with clumps of trees, which gave it a very pretty appearance, though we were scarcely in a position to do justice to its beauties, all of us being wet through, cold and hungry.

At nine we came to a kainga, called Hokairorui, where we found an old woman who had come here to grow fat upon fern root. She directed us on our way, and told us we were not far from Taupo. We descended a hill, and crossed the Kututau river on a bridge hollowed out of a log; just above it was a pretty fall about 10 feet high.

After crossing the river, we ascended three immense hills, all of which were dreadfully slippery, and came to a kainga called Poaru. The place seeming to be deserted, we entered a house and made a fire, whilst one of our party went to look for something to eat. He got some fern root, there being no potatoes, which we cooked, and it really was not bad. It tasted something like tough new bread. Having rested some time, we again started, passed through a piece of bush composed mostly of Kahikatea and Ti trees, and came out near some houses, from whence to our great joy we got our first view of the great Lake Taupo, looking like the sea in the distance.

We gave a hearty cheer, which brought out a woman, who offered us some food; but we were in too great a hurry to stop. We commenced running as hard as we could, supposing the lake to be quite close; but soon getting tired of that, we sobered our pace into a fast walk. Instead of being near, we found that we were quite 5 miles distant from the lake.

From Poaru to Taupo it is a gently undulating country, mostly grass, though to, our right rose a mountain covered with trees.

At halfpast one we came to the brow of a hill overlooking Pukawa, the celebrated Pa of Te Heuheu and, descending, we entered the pa, and found two children playing in a house. They did not seem to be the least surprised at our appearance, but answered all our questions in a plain and distinct manner, which, to tell the truth, I think rather mortified us. They seemed to hold white people very cheap.

[Image of page 13]

Pukawa, Lake Taupo

[Image of page 14]

They told us Te Heuheu was then at church, but would soon be out. We went on and met a woman, who welcomed us by opening and shutting her hands, and she pointed out the chief's house. We entered, and immediately began to strip off our wet things, so that in a couple of minutes the whole floor was covered with miscellaneous articles of clothing. Whilst dressing, old Te Heuheu came in and shook hands all round, asking us where we came from, where we were going, etc I fainted whilst dressing, from fatigue, want of sleep, and hunger.

J. M. having a letter to Mr. Grace, went up with Te Heuheu (to whom Mr. Parris had kindly given us one also) to his house, and stayed dinner; afterwards all the rest of them went up to tea, leaving me, who was too unwell to go, writing a letter home, which was going by a man by way of Wanganui.

Monday, 18th. --This morning we breakfasted off the whitebait or inanga, which is so common in Taupo; and it is very nice fried. Though still raining we managed to take a stroll down to the lake and about the pa; but I must say we were somewhat disappointed in Pukawa. It may have been a large and populous place at one time; but now it is fast sinking into decay. There are not more than 15 houses inhabited, if so many, and we scarcely saw any one but Te Heuheu and his women.

Not far from his house is a splendid Pataka or store house; it is elevated on four red posts, in fact the whole concern is painted red. The doorway end is beautifully carved, the carvers seeming to have vied with each other in making the ugliest faces and letting in the biggest bottoms of glass bottles for eyes. I believe that at the meeting called together to erect this, the Maori king movement was first mooted.

In it Te Heuheu keeps all his household goods, such as plates, chairs, dishes, basins, wheat, etc

The pa is situated on a promontory, the northern side of which is a sandy beach, upon which are lying numerous canoes, and on the south-east side are steep cliffs, quite perpendicular to the lake. Also, the latter side, the coast forms a bay, which is one of the prettiest parts of Taupo, the sides being clothed with trees and numerous rocks scattered about.

The lake looks an immense size from here, and Mount Tauhara, which is at the other end of it, looks quite blue and indistinct; in fact it can only be seen in fine weather.

Mr. Grace (who is the missionary here) came down and invited us to dinner. We visited the church on our way up; it is a large building of rapo, and is used as a school. We were much surprised at seeing some music, which Mrs. Grace is teaching the Maories. I am sure we were all very much obliged to Mr. and Mrs. Grace for asking us to their house, as we five hungry mortals must have been an immense tax upon them.

Mr. Grace thinks the lake was at one time 100 feet higher than it is at present, and therefore must have been very much larger. There is a line to be seen running all round it at about that elevation; the Maories have some tradition of it also. We could see, from Pukawa, the steam rising from the hot springs of Tokanu, to which place Te Heuheu afterward took us.

Tuesday, 19th. --This morning we heard a great row outside, and on one of our party going out to learn the cause, we learned that it was old Te Heuheu administering a little "supplejack sauce" to his women, who had not got up so early as usual.

Having breakfasted, we started for Te Rapa, under the guidance of Mr. and Mrs. Te Heuheu. After leaving Mr. Grace's house, we ascended a high hill from the top of which is a magnificent view of the lake; it looked very beautiful in the sunshine. To the westward of Mount Tauhara, Te Heuheu pointed out to us the mouth of the Lower Waikato and the settlement of Hiruharama (Jerusalem) which is about two miles from the river, and about 25 miles from here. From the extreme ends of the lake, Mr. Grace says it is 30 miles long; and opposite Motutere, in a westerly direction, it is about 12 miles broad. The coast line from Pukawa northward is chiefly high cliffs, and it is the same also round the west bay to near Hiruharama. The nature of the coast from Pukawa southward, round a deep bay, is also cliffs, but unlike the other parts, being clothed with wood, with many little rocky bays and points, making this the prettiest part of Taupo. Prom the mouth of the Upper Waikato the eastern side of the lake is composed of low undulating hills, with a sandy beach all along.

Having admired this fine panorama to old Te Heuheu's content, we again proceeded, and at about two and a half miles from Pukawa arrived at some clearings; passing these, we ascended a hill, and saw, from the top, a pretty

[Image of page 15]

waterfall about 50 feet high. Close by, on the top of a high hill, we came to the Moroiti pa, one of Te Heuheu's places, where most of the people from Te Rapa are living; it is remarkable on account of the number of children who live here.

Whilst the people were preparing some food for us, we went to the top of a hill to visit some hot springs which rise from the earth in about 500 places; some are merely bubbles, others are basins two and three feet wide, others

Waihi Falls, Lake Taupo

again only send up steam and make a rumbling noise. The odour from them is very disagreeable, which we could smell a long distance off; it is more like the smell on board a steamer than anything else I know of. The earth round them is of various colours, such as red, blue, yellow, white, black, green and sometimes all these mixed together.

The Maories use some of these springs for cooking, though they are too far from the pa to be of much use. These being the first we ever saw, of course we thought them very grand, but Te Heuheu and Mr. Grace say they are not worth looking at after Rotomahana.

We now returned to Koroiti to partake of some pork and potatoes, set out, by Te Heuheu's orders, in a nice little clean house, with mats spread all round. After dinner, we descended a very steep and rocky hill to the shore of the lake, where, turning to the north, we beheld the beautiful waterfall of Waihi. The fall I mentioned before is just above this large one, and there is another one about 20 feet high just below it. The height of the large one is about 150 feet, and the width (when we saw it) about 15 feet; it falls over a rock, and the sides are clothed with wood, and it has a beautiful appearance.

Having admired and sketched the fall, we proceeded along the beach to the land-slip of Te Rapa, where in May 1846, the former Te Heuheu (brother of the present one) was killed, with 60 of his people. It appears that the hot springs above had loosened the earth, stones, etc, which, rushing down the course of a stream, had overwhelmed the pa in the night, covering the houses, fences, and everything in its way. The position of the pa is now occupied by a mass of yellow hard mud. with the tops of some of the houses just showing above. One of the houses had been dug out to get at the body of Te Heuheu, which, after lying in state at Pukawa for three or four years, was eventually carried half way up Tongariro, and there buried. It was to have been deposited on the top, but, owing to the inclemency of the weather, and the strong winds, they had to leave him half way up.

It is believed he would have been saved, but an old woman (whom we saw at Pukawa nearly bent double with age) called out to him that his child was in the house (called Ngatituwaretoa) when he ran back and was caught by the avalanche. The stream runs at present over the tops of some of the houses. We picked up many very pretty stones and pieces of clay.

Wednesday, 20th. --Finding that we should have time to visit Rotomahana, this morning we packed up such of our things as we intended to take with us, and got all ready for a start. J. M. and I went up to Mr. Grace's to see about the Maori who had promised to go with us. He wanted £4, which was too much, but after some time he came

[Image of page 16]

Pa of Pukawa, Lake Taupo, looking south.

[Image of page 17]

down to £2, which we agreed to give. After going back to the pa, we got all our things down to the beach ready for the canoe, the Maori having gone to Koroiti to get his companion and horse: but we waited and waited about till three o'clock, and no men came. At half-past three, a man came and told us that they, could not catch their horses, but would meet us at Tongariro Point on the morrow. We were very much disappointed at losing a day, but could not help it.

On the beach lies the canoe which brought the former Te Heuheu here after his death; it is carved and painted red. There is also a kind of mausoleum erected near the beach, surrounded by kowai trees; it is also carved and painted red. They are both strictly tapu.

Thursday 2 lst. --After breakfast Te Heuheu paddled us across to Tongariro Point, which saved us about six miles walking. Here are the remains of a very large pa. Just before landing we passed the mouth of the Upper Waikato, which falls into the lake by three branches, all navigable for canoes some distance. On the sand at the mouth of one of them were an immense number of ducks, toreas, and some pretty white birds. Te Heuheu fired at about 50 of the latter; but though only 20 yards off, he did not kill any.

We waited about an hour, and as the men did not come, we bid good-bye to Te Heuheu and went on; but we had not proceeded far when one of them overtook us, mounted on a horse; he said his brother would not come, so he came on alone. We crossed the Waitetaka river and continued along the beach, which is not overgood for walking, it being composed of very small particles of stone and pumice stone; some of the former look like small pieces of glass. Just above the high water mark is a belt of pumice stone about 40 feet wide; some of the pieces are very large. I say above high-water mark, but the lake has no tide, although the water is always higher on the leeward side than on the other.

At twelve we arrived at Waimarino, where our guide got a canoe and ferried us across the river. On the north side there is a settlement, at which we determined to stop for dinner. Opposite one of the houses we saw a man with about a dozen people round him, making a violent speech, which seemed to be principally directed towards a sulky-looking woman sitting down peeling potatoes. Upon enquiring the cause, we found that he was trying to convert a heathen. I thought it was rather a strange way to set about it. His speech lasted about half an hour, till he had exhausted all his wind and in conclusion he told her that if she did not give up her Maori god he would turn her out of the pa.

Just as we were about to fall to on the potatoes set before us, we missed one of our party, and, after waiting some time, we were just upon the point of setting out to search for him, supposing him to have fallen in the river, when he returned, bringing an enormous duck he had shot.

Having finished our meal, we again proceeded, and passed the peninsula of Motu-o-apa, which the guide told us was once an island. From Waimarino to Tauranga river, a distance of four miles, it is very good walking, the path running, about half a mile from the lake, through a fern, grass, and manuka country. Tauranga river is a good sized one, of the same description as Waikato; there are a few people living near the mouth.

We fell in with some Maories going to Rotomohana, so we determined to keep in company with them. Following the river for some way, we came to the beach, along which we continued till, at four, we came to the large pa of Motutere, situated on a promontory jutting out into the lake. The coast about here is very pretty, being mostly under cultivation, and dotted here and there with beautiful yellow kowai trees. I think they are one of the most graceful trees in New Zealand when growing by themselves, as they generally do about Taupo; they are not unlike weeping willows at a distance. Motutere is one of the largest and strongest pas we had yet seen, and is situated about half way between the north and south ends of the lake. There is a large church here in an unfinished or ruined state.

January 21st (continued): After leaving Motutere (on Lake Taupo) the road still leads through cultivations, past many pretty little rocky bays, and over two steep hills, with good bridle paths cut along the face of them. At about four we arrived at a settlement called Hamaria Orona, or Totara, situated near the edge of the lake. We thought it best to stop here, as there was no settlement for some distance further on.

They assigned us a house, which was, as usual, soon filled with people, who came to stare at and make remarks upon us; and every little thing we did they observed and pointed out to their companions.

We were now opposite the island of Motutaiko, which is about three miles from the shore, and covered with small trees and shrubs. They say it is the only island in Taupo, and was formerly a great stronghold of the Maories. At the

[Image of page 18]

Ruapehu and Tongariro from Taupo.

[Image of page 19]

southern end, the lake for some distance round is tapu, on account of the many canoes that have been swallowed up by a great taniwa called Horomatangi, which the natives say lives there. I cannot vouch for the truth of this tale, but I know the Maories will not pass in their canoes.

Friday, January 22nd. --Rained heavily all night and was still doing so this morning, so there was no chance of getting away from this place to-day. Paora, who is one of the chief men here, got us another house, which was a great improvement upon the hole we slept in.

We found it but dreary work--a rainy day in a Maori house. All of us were packed in a space about 6 by 8, with a fire in the middle, and not high enough to stand up in. We employed ourselves in mending our clothes, making damper, and writing out the arrears of our journals.

Some Maories told us that the cliffs at the back of the pa are called Taupo, and that the lake takes its name from them. There was a half caste here from Wanganui, who came to saw timber for two mills which the natives were going to build.

Our guide politely informed us that unless we would give him £4 he could not go a step farther, alleging, as a reason, the badness of the road for horses, and the want of a companion. Of course we were very angry, and tried all we could, by threats and entreaties, to make him go on; but it was of no use. After a great deal of bargaining, we agreed with the two men from Tauranga to guide us, and carry part of our things, to Tarawera, for seven shillings each.

Saturday, January 23rd. --We started at 9, and soon after leaving Hamaria crossed a deep river called Hinema-i-ai, then kept along the beach under the high white cliffs which here line the shore till 11, when we turned to the east down a bay of the lake, at the southern shore of which is Kotongaio, a lagoon about a mile long by half that width: it is joined to Taupo sometimes when the wind blows hard. There is a settlement on its southern shore. The waves on the lake this morning are quite five feet high. They differ from those of the sea in being much shorter, and have a much sharper sound.

Continuing along the beach till 12, we came to Waitahanui river, through which we waded, the water being up to our chests, and had dinner on the northern side. There is a deserted pa here, and a few cultivations owned by the inhabitants of Kotongaio. The country is more level than any we had yet seen along the lake; it is covered with fern, flax, grass and manuka. After dinner, we proceeded on not far from the lake, between it and a stream which runs parallel with the coast for about three miles. J. M. shot four ducks, and very large ones they were; indeed, all the ducks we met with at Taupo were larger than the common English kind. They are very wild, and it was only with the greatest difficulty we could get near them.

At about three miles from Waitahanui the path leaves the lake, and goes some distance inland, through manuka scrub, which is very pretty, and looks like a juvenile park. We again came to the lake at a pretty little bay, from whence we continued along the beach about a mile, to Waipahihi, a warm stream situated at the northern end of Taupo.

We saw the mouth of the Lower Waikato about a mile distant, and about three or four miles off, the settlement of Hiruharama, situated on the opposite side of the deep bay, which the lake forms here. From here the path leaves Taupo, and strikes away towards Mount Tauhara, which we passed about an hour after leaving the lake; between it and Tauhara we crossed the road by which the mail goes from Auckland to Ahuriri.

At seven we passed Rotokaua or bitter lake. Upon tasting the water we found it had not been named in vain; it tasted of a combination of alum and rusty iron. The lake is about a mile long north and south, by half that width; and at the northern end are several hot springs, which no doubt accounts for the taste of the water. There are immense numbers of ducks on it, but they are strictly tapu.

At eight we arrived at some houses and a swamp, where we immediately commenced making a fire and cooking some of our ducks which, with damper, made a very good meal, though we could conveniently have disposed of twice as much.

One of the great evils of New Zealand travelling is the scarcity of portable food, at least as far as my experience goes; though it may perhaps be accounted for by the bad time of the year at which we undertook our journey. I would advise any future traveller to start at least a month later than we did, because, though the new potatoes (which is the principal food in the interior) are ripe on the coast at this period, they are far from being so inland.

[Image of page 20]

We travelled 22 miles that day, the most we had as yet accomplished in a day. Owing to the laziness of our guides, we had never travelled so much in a day as we expected on starting.

Sunday, January 24th. --We must have misunderstood the Maories about there being a pa somewhere here, where we might have rested for the day, for instead we found we must travel on across the great Kaingakoa to Rotomahana, or else our provisions would give out. We started at seven, and kept on over the level grassy plain till eight, when we came upon the broad Waikato, which is about 70 to 80 yards wide here. It runs smoothly and swiftly along; sometimes the banks form cliffs, and sometimes they are lined with raupo, which affords excellent shelter for innumerable ducks. The water is of a dark green colour and there seems to be a constant supply of pumice stone floating down.

The Takapu river here joins the Waikato, taking its rise near Tauhara. We crossed this, and continued along the great river for two or three miles, crossing the Kerehu and Wai-a-te-rama, both deep streams. Leaving the river, we struck across the level plain which extended as far as the eye could reach in a north-easterly direction towards the thickly populated Whakatane and Ngatiawa country, straight for a mountain called Maungapurepure, or the Spotted Mount. In the far distance could be seen the table-topped Horohoro Tarawera mountains.

At eleven we stopped for dinner at a deep stream called Onepu. Started again at one, crossed the stream, the water up to our necks and soon after crossed - another quite as deep, and full of pumice stone, which makes it very deceiving, as one might step upon it thinking it was dry land, and suddenly finding himself immersed over head in water.

At three we passed some houses called Tokiamanga, from whence there is a road leading off to Wakatane At four we saw a large rock of pumice stone, upon which was cut a large G; I believe Sir G. Grey made it in 1850.

At seven we stopped at Mangakokomiko a branch of the Waikato. We had brought some flour from Pukawa, with which we made damper. I am sure the way we set about it would have greatly amused the immortal Soyer. First, the flour was mixed in a pint pannikin, then worked and kneaded on an old macintosh spread on the ground. Over a hole, about two feet long, one deep, and one broad, were placed sticks, upon which were put the dampers, and under them were put hot coals from a fire alongside. In about an hour we had plenty of good damper-- quite as good as if it had been cooked in the best oven in the country.

The country we travelled over to-day would make, I should think, good cattle or sheep runs, it being all grass from here to Taupo, and well watered. We walked 27 miles to-day--no joke with sore feet and a hot sun.

Monday, January 25th. --Started at five without any breakfast. In about an hour we got a view of Lake Tarawera through the hills, and at seven we came to a hill overlooking Rotomahana, from which clouds of steam were rising from the innumerable hot springs that surround this lake. We were rather disappointed in the lake as to prettiness, it being encompassed by high hills, with dead-looking fern growing upon them, and in some places a little manuka on the edge of the lake; nevertheless the view from this hill is grand; in the distance, towards the north, are the Horohoro mountains, with their table-like tops and steep sides; under them is a peep of Tarawera lake, and again in the line, at the northern end of Rotomahana, is the beautiful and celebrated Tarata cascade (the White Terrace). On the left or western side was the Wakatarata (the Pink Terrace) another warm cascade, resembling the Tarata in appearance, but with the colours more varied.

In the middle of the lake are the pretty Chinese-looking islands of Puwai and Pukara, covered with houses and manuka. The lake must be a very paradise for ducks, which breed in immense numbers in its tepid waters, covering it in some places like a black cloud; whilst numerous toreas and pukekos are to be seen bathing in the warm water, or feeding amongst the rushes.

Having rested some time, we descended and crossed a warm stream and swamp, through some manuka scrub, and passed many boiling springs. On account of the latter, it is very dangerous to step out of the path, for you stand a good chance of getting boiled to a jelly before any assistance could be rendered you.

In many places the crust of earth over the boiling cauldrons below is so thin that it shakes as you walk across it. Everything about has a boiled look, with the exception of the manuka trees, which seem to flourish well.

[Image of page 21]

Lake Rotomahana from Owhana. The White Terrace is shown on the right. In the lake are the island villages of Puwai and Pukara. In the background rises Mt. Tarawera.

[Image of page 22]

After crossing a delightfully warm stream running from one part of the lake to another, we put on our boots and scrambled through some scrub to a few houses, used by the Maories, when they come here to catch ducks.

The houses about Rotomahana seem to be all very cosy little places, often built over a hot spring, which always keeps them warm. Scattered about amongst the houses are an immense number of large square slabs of white stone, laid in a horizontal position over hot springs, and are used by the natives for drying tawa berries; this, I believe, being the only place in New Zealand where they can be done. All the birds about the lake are strictly tapu at this season, therefore we were unable to shoot any.

Leaving this settlement (called Owhana) we passed a deep, clear, boiling cauldron, in which, some years ago, fell two girls; the elder went to get a kite of potatoes out of the hole, having a child on her back; as she stooped, the little one slipped over her head into the boiling water, and the girl, in trying to get her out, fell in also.

After passing this human saucepan, we came to another deserted settlement called Takapu; and stopped to have some breakfast, which we spread out on some of the hot slabs, but found them uncomfortably warm, so had to shift our quarters. We made our chocolate from the boiling water of the springs; at first we liked it, but soon changed our opinions, as it had a most sickly disagreeable taste.

After leaving Takapu, we passed through some manuka scrub, in the centre of which is a large boiling pond about 40 feet in diameter; the water in the middle was springing furiously up, sometimes to the height of ten feet, and at others only three. It was surrounded by rocks and manuka, and appeared to be very deep. It is called Hahapu. The water from it ran by a channel cut in the rock into some baths, which were well pared and sided with large flat stones.

After passing this, we turned a corner, and the beautiful Tarata burst upon our view. We seemed all at once to have entered fairy land; we walked upon what appeared to be white marble, before us were dozens of marble baths and terraces, with the elegant little toreas hopping about, and bathing in the warm water that falls from terraces, getting gradually cooler as it nears the lake.

The toreas seem to lead a happy life, free from the cares of their wilder brethren of Taupo, who are likely; at any moment to fall a prey to the ruthless stick or stone of any Maori boy who passed along; these lucky rascals, protected by the tapu, have nothing to do but hop up and down all day long, first on one leg then on the other warming their feet in the water, and then jump into the air with a loud scream.

Our guides upon reaching the baths immediately immersed themselves in them and seemed to enjoy it exceedingly; probably they had not been washed since last time they were here--about six months previous.

Whilst they were performing their ablutions, we ascended the terraces to the large basin on top, the water of which is too hot to hold one's hand in: it is a most beautiful blue, as is also the steam rising from it. The basin is about 40 feet across, and 60 above the level of the lake, towards which it descends in terraces, which spread out and increase in number near the bottom. The terraces vary in height from six feet to six inches, a great many of them being above the latter height.

I think the best idea that can be given of the Tarata is to imagine an immense surf of 60 feet high just after it has broken, and is all foam. The Tarata is, I believe, composed of siliceous deposit.

We now left Rotomahana, passing, on our road to Tarawera, the Ariki, a hill where the Maories were fighting some time ago, and kept along the eastern side of the Kaiwaka stream, which joins the two lakes; half a mile from Rotomahana it is joined by the Araporohe, which carries off the waters of Rotomakariri, a small lake to the eastward.

About a mile from the Tarata (White Terrace) we reached a branch of Lake Tarawera, at the mouth of the Kaiwaka river. On the top of a hill is a pa called Pukekuore; we did not go to it, but kept along the lake to Koutu, where our guides got a canoe. From here we paddled along the eastern side of the arm of the lake till opposite Moura point, when we turned to the north-west.

Tarawera far surpasses Taupo and Rotomahana in beauty. The arm we came along is about two miles long, and nearly as broad in some places; the eastern bank is steep and covered with Pohutakawa trees, then in full bloom, which added considerably to the beauty

[Image of page 23]

Lake Tarawera from Te Mu

[Image of page 24]

of the scenery; in some places bold rocky cliffs stand out into the lake, with beautiful little bays on each side, and trees growing in the ravines, dipping their branches into the water. In many places we paddled along under the branches of the Pohutakawa trees, disturbing the ducks as we went along A. S. shot two of them.

After passing Moura (a pretty pa built at the southern side of the arm on the top of some beautiful white cliffs) we got into the body of the lake, and at once arrived at Kauehape, the home of our guides, where we partook of some potatoes, dried crey fish, and tutu wine. At two we started again in another canoe for Te Mu, the residence of Mr. Spencer, situated at the western end of Tarawera, about five miles from Kauehape. We passed up a pretty little arm of the lake to a settlement called Poniromia, where we landed our things.

Our guides now demanded 6/- instead of the 4/- we had promised them to bring us from Rotomahana, which we refused to give; but, whilst we were not looking, they seized upon F. M.'s pack, and jumped into their canoe and made off, telling us they would not give it up till we had paid the 6/-. We told them we should not pay them, and that they might take the pack at their peril.

A man now came down from the pa, and called out to them to bring back the pack, which, after some time, they did. We then ascended a rocky path, and on the top, to our great surprise, came upon a broad cart-road, with trenches cut on each side, etc.; but we were more surprised, a little further on, when, upon turning a corner, we beheld a regular village laid out in European style, instead of being huddled up together in a heap, as most Maories live.

We were met by a number of Maories, who shook hands all round, and guided us to the chief's house, which seems to be used by travellers. The chief's name is Kemp, and he seemed to be a nice straight-forward honest man, dressed entirely in English costume. There was an Englishman named H. Sampson located here to impart instruction to the natives. J. M. had a letter to Mr. Spencer, which he went to deliver, and was kindly Invited to stop at the mission house till we left Tarawera, which we expected to do in a day or two. The Maories have a mill here, and we bought from them 40 lbs. of flour at 2d. per pound. The Wairoa river (from which the village takes its name) runs just behind the house.

Tuesday, January 26th. --Mr. Spencer and J. M. came down to ask us to go to Rotokakahi, which is about a mile from the mission house. We kept along the road past the mill, which is a very nice, strongly built little place; the stonework was done by the Maories, and speaks volumes for their mechanical skill; and passed over a little trellis-worked bridge thrown across the Wairoa river; it was made entirely by the Maories as a surprise for Mr. Spencer when he returned from a journey once; it is about 20 feet long and 5 broad and is painted green.

We now came in sight of Rotokakahi (lake of shell-fish; there is not one to be found in it), upon the banks of which we procured two canoes, and raced for three miles as far as Motutawa, an island situated at the western end of the lake. On it is built a pa with a great many carvings about it. Having visited the church, which is built of grass, and looks very neat and comfortable, we again started, pulled across to a pa on the southern side called Kaitiriria (all its inhabitants Catholics) and then round by the north side of the lake to the eastern end, where we got out, walked over a hill about a furlong in length, and were rewarded for our pains by a sight of the beautiful lake Tikitapu.

It is about a mile long by the same in width; in some places the trees grow down to the edge of it, and in others it is fern and manuka; altogether, it is a beautiful little lake. The water is a very deep indigo colour, and very clear; far different from Rotokakahi. the water of which is quite yellow, and full of small particles of pollen from the fern growing on its banks.

After admiring the lake for some time, we returned to the canoes, pulled back across the lake again, and left the canoes where we found them in the morning. We then returned to the village and were invited to dine with Mr. Spencer. He has a beautiful house and garden here, and in the latter we observed some elms and oak quite 20 feet nigh. The oak was covered with acorns.

Wednesday, January 27th. --One of our party was now laid up with a bad leg, so as we should not be able to get to Pukawa (Taupo) in the eight days, the two Maories whom we left there would be off home. Mr. S., J. M., A. S. and myself therefore started for Rotorua Lake. Passing Rotokakahi, Tikitapu, and a piece of bush, we entered some fine

[Image of page 25]

grass valleys, along which we continued until we came to two paths; Mr. S. took the one leading to Te Ngae, the old mission, whilst we proceeded along one that led south-west for about a mile, then sharp to the north, over some small hills, from the top of which we beheld Rotorua, the largest lake except Taupo in New Zealand.

I believe it is about 12 miles long by 8 broad. It has the large island of Mokoia near the middle, which was once the stronghold of all the Maories about here, and was considered impregnable till the great Hongi, having hauled canoes overland from the Bay of Plenty, took it and massacred most of its inhabitants. It is now a celebrated place for kumeras.

We descended and, walking cautiously among the hot springs, arrived at a settlement called Wakarewarewa, and partook of some potatoes cooked in one of the boiling springs, without any disagreeable taste, as we expected them to have.

The springs about here are not near so fine as those of Rotomahana, though I believe sometimes there are some splendid jets of water shooting up to the height of 30 feet; they were not at work during our visit, though we saw the spots from whence they rise. After having admired all there was to be seen, and bathed ourselves in a basin about 50 feet square, one end of which is quite hot, and the other, adjoining the river, quite cold (from the latter, a Maori who was with us caught some crey fish, and taking them to a boiling spring just above our bath, cooked and presented them to us), we returned to the Wairoa by the route we had come

Thursday, January 28th. --A. S. and I walked to Rotokakahi, and ascended a very high hill, from the top of which we got a magnificent view of the numerous lakes about here; we could see six at one time. Mount Edgecumbe (Putawheke) bore N. 55 degrees E. Washing clothes, etc., rest of day.

Friday, January 29th. --A. S. and myself started for Okareka Lake. The road leads through grassy valleys and wheat patches over a hill, from the top of which is a very fine view of Tarawera. After a little time we came to the edge of the lake, along which we continued to a beautiful small bay and waterfall called Waitangi; here A. S. took a dip in the water, and we washed off the purple stains on our faces from the quantity of tutu berries we had sucked coming along.

Leaving Lake Tarawera, we proceeded about half a mile to the west, till we came out at the pretty little lake of Okareka. It is nearly surrounded by trees, and a few white points jutting jut add greatly to its beauty. We observed two or three pas on its banks. It is joined to Tarawera by the Waitangi, the western half of its course being underground. We returned to Wairoa to dinner.

Saturday, January 30th. --A. S., W. H. and J. M. went to see Okataina Lake, situated about a mile from the northern end of Tarawera. They described it as one of the prettiest lakes about here, and something in the shape of a starfish, with many bold headlines jutting out, and deep wooded inlets; they also observed a settlement, but did not visit it. The inhabitants of Okataina are called bushmen by their more civilised brethren of Wairoa, on account of the few white people who visit them.

C. Spencer and I went down to the lake, and we pulled about some time in the pretty arm at the mouth of the Wairoa river. He pointed out to me the place where the Taraweraians had sunk two large war canoes at the time of Hongi's invasion, and which they have not since been able to recover. This arm, at a particular place, is about 90 or 100 yards wide, and on one side are to be seen the roots of a large totara tree, and on the other its branches, where it had fallen across.

Sunday, January 3 lst. --Our patient was getting much better and we hoped soon to be on the road again. Kemp was dressed out very fine this morning in English costume, as he is preacher as well as chief. In the evening the Maoris told us of a nearer way to Mokau; one and a half days from the north end of Taupo to Rangiaohia; one day to Pukitui; and thence another day to Punihangarua, on the Mokau, near Motukaramu.

February lst, 1858. --We had now been a month from home, and our friends must have expected us as we were to have been back by this time; but there is no use in depending on New Zealand travelling, for you never arrive at your destination at the time you expect Mr. Spencer asked F. M. to go and stay with him until he was well enough to start; so we dressed him and walked him off up to the house. The view from the mission station across the lake is very beautiful; nearly the whole extent can be seen. Tarawera is something in the shape of a cross, the largest part of

[Image of page 26]

Okareka Lake

[Image of page 27]

which, running nearly east and west, is eight miles long; the southern part (along which we came on our arrival) is about two miles long, and is divided into two branches; the northern arm is also about two miles long. The waters of Tarawera are carried off by the Tarawera river, running from the eastern end into the sea near Maketu, in the Bay of Plenty.

Tuesday, February 2nd. --Visited a waterfall on the Wairoa, down which a child fell, and was of course killed, the height being about 50 feet. It is rather a pretty fall, surrounded by trees.

Wednesday, February 3rd. --F. M. and J. M. came down to help us to make a damper for our homeward journey; we made 20 large ones about a foot in diameter, and baked them in the ashes. The Maoris wanted us to go back by way of Paeroa and the Waikato; but that would have entailed the necessity of hiring another guide, which the state of our funds would not admit of.

Thursday, February 4th. -- Having packed up our things we bid goodbye to the Maoris and Sampson, who had been very kind to us, and then went up to the Mission House to bid goodbye to the Spencers. Mr. S. accompanied us part of the way down to the water. I am sure we must all bear witness to the excessive kindness of Mr. Spencer and his family, but for whom what was to us a very happy week would have been a most wearisome one.

At Poniromia we found the old man and canoe, procured for us through Mr. Spencer's kindness and forethought. Into this we tumbled, and made the canoe fly through the water, as it was coming on to blow; and blow it did before we reached Moura, so as to keep one of our party constantly baling. I, being in the bow of the canoe, received most of the waves into my lap, for instead of riding over the surf as a right-minded boat would have done, this insane, crazy old canoe preferred making a short cut under them; but after passing Moura we got into calmer water, and soon after landed at the mouth of the Kaiwaka stream.

From here we proceeded to Ohana at Rotomohana, where we deposited our loads, and took our way, under the guidance of the old man, to the terraces of the Wakatarata (the Pink Terrace). It is a beautiful place, of the same description as the Tarata (the White Terrace), only smaller; the colours of the water and terraces being more varied. We enjoyed a delightful bathe in one of the baths, the old man having considerable difficulty in persuading us to get out, and when we did our bodies were stained a very light blue colour by the water.

As at the Tarata, there is here a large cauldron of nearly boiling water, of a very deep blue, called Watakapua. Having admired it sufficiently, we started back to where we had left our things, passing, on our road, a swamp, from which we filled our pannikins, and carried them round the lake, a distance of half a mile, through fern, manuka, and a river without spilling any. When we reached Ohana we found it was too late to go on, so made ourselves comfortable in one of the many snug little houses there.

It will be needless for me to describe our journey back to Taupo as we travelled the same route as that by which we came to Rotomahana.

Monday, February 8th. --At six we arrived at Hamaria on the banks of Lake Taupo; here we were told that the two Maoris left at Pukawa had returned to Mokau; so we should have to go home by way of Rangitikei and Wanganui.

Tuesday, February 9th. --Paora (one of the chief men here) lent us a canoe to go to Pukawa in. Robinson, the man from Wanganui, went with us. We left a passenger at Motutere, and then crossed the lake to Pukawa, where we arrived at three. Te Heuheu was down on the beach to welcome us.

Wednesday, February 10th. --Much of this day was employed in grinding flour, and making damper to take us to Rangitikei. But for Mr. Grace's kindness in letting us have the wheat and the mill, I do not know what we should have done, as we could not depend upon the Maories on the road for food at this season of the year. The natives of Taupo appear to be very expert divers; we saw two little girls diving under the whole length of two canoes, each about 30 feet long, placed in the shape of an L.

Thursday, February 11th. --Packed up all our things, bid good-bye to Mr. and Mrs. Grace, whom we shall ever remember for their kindness to us, and stepped into the canoe, in which Te Heuheu kindly ferried us across the lake, and up the Tokanu river to some hot springs where we parted with Mrs. Te Heuheu. Her husband continued to guide us through the village of Tokanu, which is the chief place of his great rival Te Herekiekie. We saw his house, which

[Image of page 28]

is beautifully carved, but did not go up to examine it closely, as Te Heuheu did not appear to approve of our doing so; for the same reason we passed some boiling springs without going to look at them. The Maories had more land under cultivation here than anywhere on the part of Taupo that came under our notice, which accounts for the many patakas or storehouses to be seen about the place.

Having guided us past the village, Te Heuheu now took leave of us, telling us just before he did so, that Ihaia had killed Katatore at Taranaki; we did not believe it. After leaving the good old man, our course led us over a fine level grassy country for two or three miles, till we came to the (here) rapid Waikato, on the banks of which we dined off some potatoes we had got out of a plantation, for which we left payment in the pataka.

Leaving this, we ascended some fern hills, where we missed the path at a deserted kainga; but, after an hour's search, A. S. happily hit upon it again. About three miles further (making eleven in all from Pukawa) we arrived in sight of the eastern end of Rotoaira Lake, at some houses called Taniwa, situated on the Poutu River, which is the chief feeder of the Waikato. We were greatly disappointed at Rotoaira, as we had been led to expect to see a lake of no ordinary beauty. I don't know how the other end may be, but this is a most dreary, swampy place. There were only about five or six Maories here just now, the others having gone to Wanganui with Te Herekiekie; therefore we were unable to obtain a guide to Turanga-a-rere, as Te Heuheu promised us.

Friday, February 12th. --Leaving the houses, we crossed Poutu, and continued along the grassy plains which slope away to the east, crossing many branches of the Upper Waikato. At eleven we were nearly opposite Tongariro mountain, and met four Maories from Manawatu, with whom we exchanged some tobacco for their damper. At twelve we stopped for lunch at another branch of the Waikato, upon the banks of which, as on most of the rivers about here, grows a tree quite new to us, it is something like the Patepo, and very graceful. At a place we called three o'clock river, from the time of our crossing, we saw a shrub with beautiful scarlet, bell-shaped flowers an inch and a half long, something like a fuchsia. On the plains here grow many purple plants; one we saw was a little purple bulb something like a crocus, and a great variety of koromikos.

About four we crossed the last branch of the Waikato, running very swiftly. It takes its rise in a rock on the mountain of Ruapehu, and about 50 yards from it is the source of the Wangaihu, the first running into the sea near Manukau, the other near Wanganui. At six we came to the end of a sandy plain called Rangipo, where we determined to stop. We were now under Ruapehu, about two miles off; it looks an immense mountain from here, and is half covered with snow, in which it differs from Tongariro. Upon the latter there is only one small speck to be seen; it is smoking a little occasionally. From its northern side a range of hills extends towards Taupo; and on the summit of one of its peaks are some boiling springs. I believe it was near here the former Te Heuheu was buried.

Saturday, February 13th. --Started at half-past six and followed the tracks of some horsemen over the sand, and lucky it was for us they were not more than a day or two old, or we should have had great difficulty in finding our way across, as the wind soon obliterates all such signs. At half-past seven we came to a stream running from Ruapehu, at which we breakfasted. Soon after starting again, we crossed the Wangaihu river, the water of which is something the colour of milk, and tastes of a combination of rusty iron, alum and zinc. Here we met another man from Manawatu, with some dogs lamed in pig-hunting.

We lunched at a stream called Waitangi, and from there entered a beautiful country of grassy valleys, interspersed with trees, with many delightful views, especially towards the Ruahine mountains. Towards evening F. M. and A. S. were knocked up with sore feet, indeed none of us were free from them, on account of the heat of the ground we had been travelling over. At every turn of the road we fancied we were getting to Turanga-a-rere; but it was not until dark that we arrived there, thoroughly tired. As there were no Maories, we took possession of a house and some new potatoes, and made ourselves comfortable.

Sunday, February 14th. --We found Turangi-a-rere, a pretty place by daylight; it contains about six houses and a handsomely-carved pataka (store house) and is situated on a point formed by the river Waioru. On the south side is a pretty fall of about thirty feet, and on the top of it we found a quantity of sea-shells, mostly cockles, but some were of fan-shaped pink shells; they were all embedded in the stratum

[Image of page 29]

Mt. Ngauruhoe (three miles distant)

[Image of page 30]

of rock which juts out over the fall. The Manawatu natives having told us where to find the people of Turanga-a-rere, we determined to push on to them, so, taking the path up the hill, we entered the bush, through which we continued for some distance, then into open land, across the Huatapu river, and up a steep hill.

We saw a man on the top, who no sooner caught sight of us than he "made tracks" as hard as he could till he got about a hundred yards ahead of us, at which distance he kept, though we tried to come up with him, till we entered the pa of Kokako, where we found the people of Turanga-a-rere, who soon prepared an excellent meal of wild pork and potatoes. The country here is very beautiful; such a nice combination of forest and plain, with distant views of the Ruahine mountains.

Monday, February 15th. --We had determined to stop here for the day to rest; but found that the natives had very few potatoes, so we had to trudge on. Started at eight, and kept along for some way, then descended, and crossed the Mangaiwa river at its junction with the Huatapu, into which it falls in a very pretty manner. We then passed along an extremely beautiful valley, with thousands of pigeons flying about, and over a variegated country of bush, grass, hill, and valley till one, when we stopped for dinner, and to wring the perspiration out of our clothes.

Here begins the long bush. We kept on over hill and dale, crossing one of the feeders of the Turakina river, till six, when we stopped, made our encampment, and enjoyed some of the pigeons we had shot during the day.

Tuesday, February 16th. --Started at eight, with the same kind of travelling as on the preceding day. It began to rain at ten, just as we began to ascend a steep hill, on the top of which we arrived at twelve. As the place was cleared a little, we got a fine view of bush. It was still raining fast when we again started, but we continued on till two, when we halted, and commenced building a totara bark hut.

As we were on a ridge several hundred feet high, with streams only at long intervals, we could not choose our bivouac where liked. J. M. and I walked back half a mile to get water from a stream we had observed, and happily brought it back without spilling any; but one unfortunate fellow afterwards capsized his into the fire. A violent hail-storm, which threatened to knock our house down, came on soon after, and he was enabled to fill his pannikin again.

We considered it one of our greatest misfortunes to spill our chocolate; and the deepest insult to tell a fellow you would capsize his pannikin. Every traveller in New Zealand ought to carry Fry's soluble chocolate; and I'm sure the inventor should have a medal if any one should.

Wednesday, February 17th. --Although it rained and thundered a great part of the night, our tent (made of a blanket and totara bark) kept it out much better than could have been expected. Started at eight, continuing along the high range of hills called Otairi. It was dreadfully wet, and in some places the hail was six inches deep. We passed some capital totara bark houses, which we might have reached the night before, had we known of them; they are called Korakora.

At last we descended the ridge (about 500 feet) crossed the Makohina river, and again ascended on the other side. Along this ridge we continued till twelve, when we stopped under a tree, which gave us some shelter from the rain which was coming down in torrents. Directly after starting again we came out into the open land of Otara, and the Rangitikei river; but, to our great disappointment, found all the Maori houses deserted. Scarcely knowing what to do, we directed our steps again along the path, beginning to feel very anxious about our provisions, as we had only one day's full allowance left, and we had fully expected to find some Maories there.

The path led us along the river for some way, and on the opposite side we beheld plantations of potatoes, but owing to the swollen state of the river were unable to get at them. After leaving the river, we ascended a high hill, and proceeded on till six, when we came to a stream. Here we pitched our blanket tent, which looked quite picturesque in the twilight. Shot seven pigeons to-day, which nearly finished our powder.

Thursday, February 18th. --At breakfast, this morning we finished our damper, bacon, and sugar, so that if we did not get out soon it would be a case with us. The path led over broken country for some way after leaving our encampment. At 11 we came to a deep stream called Porewa, which we crossed six times before half-past twelve, at which time we stopped for dinner. We dined off pigeon flavoured with a good appetite. It was just about this time of day in the preceding year that the present party, with the exception of one, were admiring the magnificent view from the top of Mount Egmont.

We continued on, crossing the river five

[Image of page 31]

times, till six, when we stopped; but one of our party, thinking the settlers were near determined, though against our rules, to go on. Just as the rest of us had finished our tea (consisting of chocolate without sugar, four spoonfulls of rice each, and a pigeon amongst us) two Maories leading a calf passed by; they told us they had met our "advance guard" near the edge of the bush, and that he would get out to a settler's house by dark.

Friday, February 19th. --Breakfasted off half a pigeon and two spoonfulls of rice each. At 10, to our unspeakable joy, we got out of the forest into grass land, over which we continued to the beautiful farm of Mr. S., where we found our companion. After having rested, and partaken of an immense breakfast, kindly set before us by Mr. S., we took leave, and walked on to Mr. McD's station, where we were most hospitably received, and asked to stay the night. Mr. McD having been to Taupo, calculated the distance to be 116 miles, whilst we make it 113--very near for guess work.

It will be unnecessary for me to give an account of our journey from Wanganui to Taranaki, as it is now an everyday occurrence. We reached home on the 3rd. of March, having walked 500 miles, canoed 46, and ridden on horseback 60.

Previous section | Next section