1852 - Shaw, John. A Tramp to the Diggings [New Zealand sections only] - NEW ZEALAND, p 26-36

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  1852 - Shaw, John. A Tramp to the Diggings [New Zealand sections only] - NEW ZEALAND, p 26-36
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THIS colony is situated about 1000 miles to the eastward of New South Wales, and contains an area of 125,000 square miles. It consists of three islands: the northern, or Ea-heinomaive, 500 miles long; the middle, or Te-wai Pounamu, that is, the "island having the greenstone," 550 miles long; and the southern, or Stewart Island, 50 miles long.

The British population is about 27,000; the Maories, or natives in the northern island, amount probably to 80,000; and in the middle island, perhaps, to 5000.

New Zealand has a moister climate than Tasmania or New Holland; and has, therefore, greater luxuriance of vegetation. The mean

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temperature of Auckland is 60 deg., and Wellington 58 deg. The soil is in many parts very favourable to agricultural purposes.

The colony is now divided into two provinces, the Northern or New Ulster, and the Southern or New Munster. New Ulster embraces the County of Eden, or parish of Waitemata, Wanganui District, Kaipara District, Kawau Island, Great Barrier Island, and the County of Bedford, or Bay of Islands.

New Munster, the southern province, consists of the southern part of the northern island, and the located portions of the middle and southern islands, containing the districts of Port Nicholson, Wanganui, Taranaki or New Plymouth, Nelson, Bank's Peninsula, and Otago District.

The capital of New Ulster is Auckland, in lat. 37 deg. S., long. 174 1/4 deg. E., standing upon the southern shore of Waitemata, in the Frith of Thames; the town and district contain a population of 10,000. The capital of New Munster is Wellington, lat. 4l 1/4 deg. S., long. 174 3/4 deg. E., situated on Port Nicholson, in Cook's Straits : with a population of 5000. Wellington is between 500

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and 600 miles from Auckland, and 120 miles from Nelson. The principal settlements in the northern island beside Auckland and Wellington, are Russel, Pahia, and Kororarika in the Bay of Islands, the Waimate, or Deadwater, near the bay, Hokianga to the north-west, Taranaki or New Plymouth on the west coast near Mount Egmont, and Wanganui or Large Bay, Wairarapa, Otaki, and Manawatua in Cook's Strait. Beside these there are several small locations of soldier pensioners from England, situated near Auckland.

The settlements of the middle island are Nelson, 4000 inhabitants, in the same latitude as Wellington; Cloudy Bay and Port Underwood in the Strait; Akaroa, the French location, on Bank's Peninsula; New Canterbury, or Church of England Settlement, near Port Cooper on Bank's Peninsula; and Otakou, or Otago, the Free Church of Scotland Settlement in the Otago District.

No regular chain of mountains runs through the northern island, but a lofty range extends through the middle island, which has peaks always covered with snow. Mount Arthur, near Nelson,

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is 8000 feet; Edgecumbe, by the Bay of Plenty, 10,000 feet; Ruapahu 9000 feet; and Tongariro, south of Lake Taupo, 6500 feet. Hikurangi is in the valley of the Waiapu, the Rua-Hine range is in the centre of Ulster, and the Tara-Rua and the Rimutaka ranges are to the north of Port Nicholson.

The country abounds in rivers, but those on the western side of the northern island have sandbars at their entrance. The largest in the northern island are the Waikato, 350 miles long; the Waipa, 200 miles; Wairoa, or Long-water, 200 miles; Hokianga, Thames or Waiho, Kiri-Kiri, Hutt, Wanganui, Wangaihu, Waiwakaia or Canoe River, and Wairarapa. Those of the middle island are the Molyneux in the Otago District, Maitai near Nelson, and Wairau, which falls into Cloudy Bay.

The Waikato flows from Lake Taupo, and falls into Waikato Harbour; the Waipa is its tributary. The Wairoa falls into Kaipara Harbour; the Hokianga into Hokianga Harbour; the Thames into the Frith of Thames; the Hutt into Port Nicholson; the Wanganui and Wangaihu into

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Cook's Strait; Wairarapa into Palliser Bay; and the Waiwakaia runs from Mount Egmont to the sea near New Plymouth.

Several of the lakes were originally the craters of volcanoes. Taupo, in the centre of the northern island, is 36 miles long by 20 broad. Roto-Rua, or Two Lakes, is 24 miles round. There are also Rotoiti, or Small Lake; and Roto-mahana, or Warm Lake. Many sulphurous and hot springs exist near Rotorua. Wihola Lake, in the middle island, is 50 miles long; and several lakes in Otago District are from 12 to 15 miles long.

The waterfall of Kiri-Krri is 95 feet deep, and 60 feet wide; and that of Waiani-waniwa, or Waters of the Rainbow, is 70 feet deep, and 50 wide.

The chief bays and harbours in the northern island are Wangaroa Harbour, Bay of Islands, Frith of Thames, Bay of Plenty, Poverty Bay, and Hawke's Bay, on the east; Hokianga, Kaipara and Waikato Harbours, and Port Elliot, on the west; Port Nicholson and Palliser Bay, on the south. Those of the middle island are Blind, or Tasman's Bay, Massacre Bay, Admiralty Bay, Port Gore, Queen Charlotte's Sound, Cloudy

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Bay, and Port Underwood, on the north; Open Bay, Milford Haven, Doubtful Harbour, Dusky Bay, and Chalky Bay, on the west; Pegasus Bay, Akaroa Harbour, Port Cooper in Bank's Peninsula, and Port Otago, on the east. Port Pegasus is in Stewart's Island.

The chief capes in the northern island are North Cape and Maria Van Diemen, on the north; Brett, Colville, East Cape, Table, and Kidnapper Head, on the east coast; Egmont, on the west; and Palliser and Sinclair Head, to the south.

Those of the middle island are Farewell, Jackson, and Campbell, on the north; Rocky and Cascade Points, on the west; and Saunders, near Otakou, on the east. South Cape is in the southern island.

Cook's Strait is between the northern and middle islands; it is 100 miles wide at the northern extremity, and 50 miles at the southern. Foveaux Strait, between the middle and southern islands, is 40 miles long and 10 miles broad.

The islands off the coast are few. The Three Kings are to the north of the North Cape; the

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Cavelles are near the Bay of Islands; Barrier is at the entrance of the Frith of Thames; the Volcanic, White Island, and Meyers, are in the Bay of Plenty; and Kapiti or Entry, and D'Urville, are in Cook's Strait,

The Chatham Isles are 300 miles east of the middle island. The Lord Auckland Isles are to the south of Stewart's Isle. A British colony has been established about three years since in the Auckland Isles. Mr. Enderby, the founder of the settlement of whalers, is the Lieutenant-Governor. The Judge, Macquarie Isles, and the Bishop and his Clerk, are south of the Auckland.

The exports of New Zealand consist of the native flax, for which there is always a ready demand in Australia, for the purpose of wool-lashing; timber, Kauri gum, wool, oil, whalebone, manganese, copper and sulphur.

Tasman, the Dutch discoverer of Van Diemen's Land, came to the shores of New Zealand, December 13th, 1642.

Zealand is the name of one of the provinces of Holland.

Captain Cook took possession of the country

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in the name of King George III., on November 15th, 1769. He paid a second visit in 1773.

Runaway sailors and convicts were the first European inhabitants; afterwards came the enterprising missionaries; and the land was then proclaimed a dependency of New South Wales. A British resident was appointed in 1833; and in May, 1841, it was, by authority, pronounced a colony of the British Empire.

The middle island was placed under the sovereignty of England only two days before the arrival of a French frigate at Akaroa, which was to have assisted the claims of France.


The natives, who call themselves Maories, were formerly much more numerous than now. In the time of Captain Cook, the population is thought to have been half a million; but exterminating wars and raging epidemic diseases have reduced them to a quarter of that number. Up to a recent period, their intercourse with white men proved as destructive to their morals as their health. Now, however, being, by the praise-

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worthy agency of the missionaries, in most instances, converted to Christianity, being placed under the care of protectors appointed by the Government, and being brought in contact with a better class of settlers, they are more comfortable and happy. The discussions between them and the colonists have resulted wholly from the interference of the British Government with the interests of the natives in their lands, and not from any unwillingness, on their parts, to have Englishmen residing among them. There is, however, a strong desire manifested to treat this intelligent and high-spirited people with justice and kindness.

As aborigines they are, perhaps, superior to any in the world. Their pahs, or villages, are regularly fortified. The readiness with which they fall into the habits of civilised life is very striking. They make excellent seamen and mechanics; and in the settlements they dispose of the produce they raise. Many of them are possessed of property in farms and trading vessels, and have considerable sums in the savings' banks.

Though heathens, the New Zealanders were

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never worshippers of idols. They thought that the spirits of the dead passed to the Parengarenga, near North Cape, and thence into the sea, to the region of the blest. The tabu, or sacred prohibition of the use or injury of certain objects, exists among them, as among other Malayan races of the South Seas. One curious effect of this custom occurs in the arbitrary tabuing of certain words. The natives appear always to have held slaves, who were chiefly captives taken in war. Like the ancient Jews, they used to shave their heads and cut their bodies in mourning for deceased friends. When first visited by Captain Cook, they were found living in well-constructed houses, amply provided with food and rich clothing, possessed of splendid canoes, but sadly addicted to cannibalism. They had then a knowledge of eight points of the compass. They reckoned thirteen months to the year, and were acquainted with numbers to a considerable extent. Great resemblance has been detected between their manners and language and those of the Sandwich Islanders. By their traditions, it

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would appear that a part of a great fleet from Hawaii got driven to New Zealand, which had previously been fished up from the bottom of the ocean by one of their gods. Some persons have considered that there are two races among them; one the regular Maori, and the other an inferior and dark-skinned people, supposed to be the aborigines of the islands.

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