1950 - Chudleigh, E. R. Diary of E. R. Chudleigh 1862-1921 - [Front matter] p 1-24

E N Z B       
       Home   |  Browse  |  Search  |  Variant Spellings  |  Links  |  EPUB Downloads
Feedback  |  Conditions of Use      
  1950 - Chudleigh, E. R. Diary of E. R. Chudleigh 1862-1921 - [Front matter] p 1-24
Previous section | Next section      


[Image of page ii]

[Page ii is blank]

[Image of page iii]

[Page iii is blank]

[Image of page iv]

[Page iv is blank]

[Image of page v]


Chatham Islands


[Image of page vi]


L. G. D. Acland, author of "Early Canterbury Runs," son of Tom Acland; and R. T. Richards, Rakaia Gorge, for whose pleasure the diary was copied.

[Image of page 1]

E. R. CHUDLEIGH, 1907.

[Image of page 2]

E. R. CHUDLEIGH, aged 20.

[Image of page 3]


Chatham Islands



[Image of page 4]

[Page 4 is blank]


[Image of page 5]



New Zealand; Chatham Islands


The Chudleighs; the Diary.

CHAPTER I.........25

Arrival at Lyttelton; Cadet at "The Springs"; droving to Dunedin. January 11-July 3, 1862.

CHAPTER II.........47

Sorting stock before the sale of "The Springs"; Longbeach; offered work at Mt. Peel; the sale. July 4--November 12, 1862.

CHAPTER III.........66

At Mt. Peel, mustering; Mt. Somers, droving. November 13, 1862--April 26, 1863.

CHAPTER IV..........85

Droving to Otago; round Lake Coleridge; hunting for cattle; Abner's wedding. April 27--September 21, 1863.

CHAPTER V.........104

Lake Heron; still droving; looking for land; droving in Canterbury. September 22, 1863--January 28. 1864.

CHAPTER VI..........120

Mt. Peel; ' Samuel Butler; death of Grim. January 29, 1864--June 12, 1864.

CHAPTER VII.........135

Butler's run; Mt. Peel; mustering; snowbound; Emily Acland. June 13, 1864--November 6, 1864.

CHAPTER VIII.........152

Sheep again; exploring the Rangitata River; glaciers; boatwork; Tom Acland. November 7, 1864--March 24, 1865.

[Image of page 6]

CHAPTER IX..........170

Cattle to the West Coast; Glenmark; Hurunui Saddle; the Paddock; Hokitika; back to the saddle. March 25, 1865--June 2, 1865.

CHAPTER X.........188

Bully Hayes; Dr. Moorhouse ill; the Rangitata River; plans to visit the Chatham Islands. June 3, 1865--December 31, 1865.

CHAPTER XI..........210

Starting a run on the Chathams. 1866-1867.

CHAPTER XII.........214

The escape of the Hau-haus. January 24, 1868-1869.

CHAPTER XIII..........234

Searching New Zealand for the perfect farm. March 5, 1875--September 20, 1876.

CHAPTER XIV..........252

Dissolution of Partnership; Ocean Mail; Pattissons leave; Maori leases in danger. September 20, 1876--January 5, 1878.

CHAPTER XV..........266

Boundaries wrongly drawn on the plans of the run; finds the perfect farm; Belle Shand hurts her knee; King Tawhiao holds court. January 10, 1878--December, 1879.

CHAPTER XVI.........283

Orongomairoa; engaged; married. January 1, 1880--July 30, 1881.

CHAPTER XVII.........302

At Wharekauri. August 6, 1881--July 30, 1883.

CHAPTER XVIII.........325

Dog tax; Chathams; New Zealand; Chathams. August 27, 1883--December 31, 1886.

CHAPTER XIX.........351

Steamer; gold at Orongomairoa; land there and at Wharekauri deteriorating; church land bought; dog tax; church built. January 3, 1887--December 31, 1889.

[Image of page 7]

CHAPTER XX.........370

A day in Mabel's life; Gordon Jacobs ill; Church consecrated; Orongomairoa for sale; Donald Potts; shipping sheep; Jack Barker; icebergs; Blakiston and Turner; wreck of Jessie Readman; drowning accident in the big lagoon. January 7, 1890--July 21, 1894.

CHAPTER XXI.........388

Mrs Lyne Stephens died; stone fish hooks; Mrs Wi Te Tahuhu died; Maori troubles; tribal canoe burnt; Clara lost; 9 Maoris drowned; to N.Z. in H.M.S. Archer. July 26, 1894--December 25, 1901.

CHAPTER XXII.........410

Boer prisoners; Chudleigh v. Himeona to be heard by F.; Talk of "Wireless" being used at the Chathams; the Waikato; Himeona again; 95 blackfish ashore; Timaru; Mabel. January 3, 1902--December 26, 1904.

CHAPTER XXIII.........427

Huia sees a ship; a strange bird; Seddon at the Chathams; S.S. Ripple; potatoes; leaving for trip round the world. March 24, 1905--June 28, 1907.

CHAPTER XXIV.........443

Toronto; Spain; Cornwall; N. Z. again; Abner Clough; Wharekauri; at Orongomairoa to live, now the Chudleigh Estate; drainage troubles; D. Potts manager; A. Shand dead; also J. G. Engst; started the milking machine; Clara Dix; at the Chathams. October 6, 1907--December 31, 1911.

CHAPTER XXV.........455

Lease up at Wharekauri; W. Hood dead; E. R. C. died January 22, 1922. March 30, 1912--December 23, 1921.



[Image of page 8]

List of Illustrations

E. R. Chudleigh.........Frontispiece

South Island of New Zealand.........176

North Island of New Zealand.........177

Chatham Islands.........192

Dominion of New Zealand with Dependencies.........193

Mrs E. R. Chudleigh.........288

Wharekauri Homestead.........289

J. G. Engst.........289

Waitangi, Chatham Islands.........304

Shipping Wool, Taupeka.........304

Church of St. Augustine, Te One.........303

Wharekauri Sheep.........303


[Image of page 9]



MANY hundreds of years ago a group of Polynesians started in their canoes from Hawaiki, a mythical land probably in or near Malaya, passed New Guinea and arrived in Samoa where they stayed for many generations. Then, under the leadership of Kupe, some of them sailed south till they found New Zealand where they settled and Kupe returned to Samoa. Either then or later, two canoes travelled 500 miles to the east, to the Chatham Islands, where they landed, made friends with a few people of a darker complexion than their's who were already on the islands and lived in peace till 1789 A.D.

In the 14th century the Historic Canoes reached New Zealand from the north-east via Tonga. They also claimed Hawaiki as their homeland, called themselves Maoris and the earlier inhabitants Morioris. In 1769 Captain Cook discovered New Zealand though Tasman had touched at and named it before that and in 1789 Broughton landed on a small group of islands, 500 miles to the east, which he named Chatham Islands after his ship. Sealers and whalers in the Australian waters soon heard of the new fishing grounds; a few settled on the Chathams and many on the New Zealand coasts especially in the north of Auckland. Missionaries followed them and New Zealand was under the authority of the Governor of Australia but he had no control over the Chathams. Seventy years after Cook's first voyage to New Zealand that country was declared a separate British colony and the Chathams considered a portion of that country though not mentioned in the Treaty of Waitangi by which the Maoris ceded their land to Britain. Captain Hobson, already acting under Governor Gipps of Australia was appointed the first governor of the colony and proceeded to make roads and put white settlers on the lands the Maori tribes had sold to Britain. Many Maoris did not understand they had sold their property and there was much dissatisfaction. War broke out in the north first, then in Taranaki on the west coast and in 1864 on the east side of the north island. There was no trouble in the scantily peopled southern island; the inhabitants hardly seemed to know a war was on. By this time most of the natives were nominally converted to Christianity and many were genuine believers. However a new religion the Hau-hau sprang up. Matene, its author, ordered his followers to burn their bibles and kill the

[Image of page 10]

missionaries. This they proceeded to do and even planned to murder the old bishop of Waiapu near Gisborne. He escaped to Napier but several of the clergy were slain.

Sir George Grey, now Governor of New Zealand, though he was trying in every way to keep the peace even to allowing the Maoris after the Taranaki war to elect a king of their own, decided the soldiers must be called upon once more. As in all the Maori wars there were friendly natives fighting on the British side against their hereditary foes. In 1865 the Hau-hau Maoris were defeated in a long drawn out battle. One hundred were killed and 200 taken prisoners. One of the friendly Maoris who did not take part in the actual fighting was seen speaking to one of the enemies. He was accused of spying and though he asked three times to be tried, was bundled off with the hostile Maoris and their families to prison on the Chatham Islands, all being told they would be released as soon as the war was over and in any case no later than after two years' exile. By that time the war had died down but new seed corn and provisions for the winter had been landed on the Main Island, as the largest island of the Chatham group was often called. Te Kooti, as the presumed spy was later named, had brooded over his wrongs, joined the Hau-haus and become their leader. He planned to escape and when the small trading vessel the Rifleman arrived on July 4, 1868 with stores and passengers he acted quickly. The passengers (among whom was E. R. Chudleigh) and the captain went ashore, were seized by the Hau-haus and together with the Resident Magistrate and a few others were locked up in the redoubt; the Rifleman was boarded, the crew battened down and the ship laden with the prisoners now increased to 400 and their families. As soon as all were aboard the crew were released and ordered to sail for the east coast of New Zealand near Gisborne. Before leaving Te Kooti handed over the key with orders to unlock the redoubt as soon as the ship was away. The Rifleman reached the desired place in a few days, set the Hau-haus ashore and sailed for Wellington to report what had happened.

Te Kooti marched inland to where the officers responsible for his capture in '65 were farming and killed them and their families. Pursued by British troops he made for the impenetrable King Country where lived Tawhiao the Maori king, son of Potatau whom the Maoris had elected in 1863 and who had since died. Te Kooti and Tawhiao having joined forces eluded all attempts at capture but were unable to leave the King Country or

[Image of page 11]

do any harm. In 1881 Te Kooti was pardoned and Tawhiao laid down his arms in a ceremony, witnessed by Chudleigh, on the border of the King Country as the centre of the North Island was called. Te Kooti lived ten years longer. Tawhiao soon died and was succeeded by another chief. The kingship is in existence to the present day.

After the Maori wars were over colonisation proceeded apace. Roads were made as fast as possible and, even while fighting was still going on, the N.Z. Association sent out batches of immigrants to various parts of New Zealand to found new communities. Ten years after the colony had been proclaimed a British possession the whole of New Zealand was divided into nine provinces each with its own superintendent and council who sent representatives to the Legislative Assembly which sat first in Auckland and later in Wellington.

Canterbury, one of the South Island provinces, was settled by the Canterbury Association. In 1850 the first four ships laden with pilgrims arrived. By the end of the year the population of Canterbury had increased to 2,600. In 1852 the Provincial Councils were established all over the colony. The first Superintendent of Canterbury was Mr J. FitzGerald who, when his term of office was over, represented Christchurch, its chief town, in the Legislative Assembly held at Wellington. Mr FitzGerald, in partnership with others owned for a short time Southern Station now known as Longbeach and The Springs near which is the present Lincoln Agricultural College. While he still held those properties E. R. Chudleigh arrived from England to learn farming as his cadet. He was there from 1862-63 at which date Mr FitzGerald sold his land. Chudleigh then went to Mt. Peel a large back country run belonging to Mr J. B. Acland under whose care he had come out to the colony. There he made his home in intervals between cattle and sheep droving and from there he went to farm on his own account on the Chathams in 1866, going to England 1873-5. On his return he bought 3000 acres of swamp on the Waikato plain 100 miles south of Auckland. This he visited about once a year, making his run of Wharekauri on the Chathams his home to which he brought his wife, Mabel Potts, in 1881. They visited England in 1907-9 and on their return settled on his Waikato property to superintend its conversion into dairy farming land, a long and costly but successful job. He died there in 1922 and his wife in Christchurch ten years later. They had no children and most of the property was left to his brother's family.

[Image of page 12]


The Chatham Islands, a group of small islands, the largest about 30 miles long, situated in the Pacific Ocean 500 miles east of New Zealand, had been inhabited for a long time by a people whom the Maoris called Morioris and who had originally come either from New Zealand or the same place from which the first New Zealanders had come.

When the Chatham discovered the islands in 1789 there were estimated to be over 2000 natives there living a peaceful, happy existence without any weapons. Sealers and whalers heard of the new discovery, found the shores swarming with seals and the coastal waters full of the very valuable sperm whales. Several men settled on the islands to carry on fishing from shore bases or to escape from the boats. In 1833 two Maoris, who had gone to Australia from New Zealand in search of adventure, came to the Chathams and lived there for several months, one on the north coast where, owing to the presence of a warm current of water and shelter from the south-west winds, the climate is milder than elsewhere, the other wandered over the island. After a few months they had an opportunity to return to New Zealand. They arrived at the future site of Wellington and found their own tribes there who had wandered down, one from Taranaki and the other from beyond Auckland. These tribes were related to each other and were under the leadership of Pomare the son-in-law of Te Rauparaha the great Maori warrior of that time. Pomare was planning an attack on the South Island Maoris, but when he heard of the weaponless condition of the Morioris who spoke a dialect of his own language, of the abundance of food on the islands owing to the slaughter of seals and whales as well as the presence of myriads of ducks and seabirds, eels and fish, he and the leaders of the Awa tribe agreed to take their people there. The two tribes seized a ship then in the Wellington bay and forced the captain to make two trips to the Chathams. On the first one he took a few men and all the women and children, 500 in all, dumped them ashore and immediately returned to New Zealand for the warriors and their seven canoes. As soon as they landed they attacked the defenceless Morioris, killed and ate many of them and enslaved the rest, the sealers and whalers apparently looking unconcernedly on.

As the Maoris conquered the Chathams in 1835 before New Zealand was a British colony and the Chathams were not men-

[Image of page 13]

tioned in the treaty (1842) by which the Maoris sold New Zealand to England there was a good deal of argument later on as to who were the real owners of the islands, the Morioris or the Maoris and whether the Maoris were entitled to the free education and doctoring guaranteed them in New Zealand by the treaty.

In 1842 Mr Aldred, a Wesleyan missionary, paid a short visit to the Chathams which by this time had a terrible reputation as the home of cannibals, convicts and all the scum of the earth. He brought three Maori assistants and several copies of portions of the Bible in Maori. One of his assistants remained behind to teach the islanders how to read and pray. In the same year a party of five Lutheran missionaries from Germany made their home on the main or Chatham Island and Hunt an Englishman settled with his family on the next largest island, Pitt Island. He, however, had little to do with the main island. Partly through the missionaries' demand for law and order of some sort and partly to obtain custom duties from the sealers and whalers a customs officer was appointed in 1855 with the title of Resident Magistrate. He brought his family of wife and 12 children with him but was not the sort of man to insist upon law and order and was succeeded in 1863 by Captain Thomas. The sealers and whalers, having killed all the seal mothers and pups on shore and the mothers and pups of the whales in shallow waters off the coast, no longer flocked to the Chathams which in 1840 had been the centre of the world for sperm whaling. The pigs and potatoes they had introduced and taught the natives how to cultivate were no longer required and the few ships that did come preferred to go to Pitt Island where Hunt had sheep and cattle as well as a variety of vegetables. Pitt Island was small, 12 by 15 miles, and only the north shore was cleared of bush, but Hunt was fast making his fortune and Maoris from the mainland moved there to try and share it. Other Maoris thought they would prefer to go to New Zealand to Taranaki from whence many of them had come and join in the warfare going on there. Naturally the British did not wish for these fresh enemy recruits and put what difficulties they could in the way.

In 1865 Hunt arrived in New Zealand to find a market for his surplus stock and came to Canterbury due west of the Chatham Islands as likely to be a suitable place. There he met Mr Tripp of Orari Gorge and gave him such a glowing account of the Chathams that Mr Tripp persuaded several young men of his acquaintance seeking land to go and try their luck there. Among others was

[Image of page 14]

E. R. Chudleigh. He and his partner Hoel Pattisson leased twenty miles of country along the north coast and took up residence there in 1866.

It had been legally decided that as the Maoris had eaten the Morioris they also had possession of the Moriori territory. This they were now anxious to dispose of to get money to go to Taranaki. However no Maoris were allowed to sell all their land; they had to keep enough to live on themselves but they could lease it and this they did. Unfortunately for the lessees the land was originally owned by the tribe and later by individuals. Also the boundaries were defined more or less by guesswork. The first land court was held on the Chathams in 1868 before whom the leases were signed. A surveyor was appointed who spent several years surveying the pathless island. He found the boundaries were nearly all wrong and required readjusting. Meanwhile most of the Maoris had left for Taranaki and the lessees had to take yearly trips there to hunt up their numerous landlords to whom to pay their rents.

Fighting was still going on in New Zealand, down the east coast. The East Coast Maoris had no connection with those already living in the Chathams which probably was one reason why that place was chosen as the place of detention for those captured in battle and known as Hau-haus from the religion they professed. In 1868 the prisoners led by Te Kooti escaped from the Chathams in a sailing ship to the east coast of New Zealand and made for the King Country where no one could follow them.

When the war was over in 1872 many Maoris returned to the Chathams. In 1881, the year Te Kooti was pardoned, a Maori prophet Te Whiti rose in Taranaki who taught a religion based on missionary teachings and whose main tenet was that his followers must never use force against the Europeans to obtain their desire which was that all whites should leave New Zealand or at least not live near Maori settlements and that road making and the consequent settlement of the country should cease. Te Whiti had a great following amongst the natives. This the Government thought dangerous and likely to lead to another war. One day a force of constabulary was sent to Te Whiti's camp near New Plymouth to arrest him and some of his followers, none of whom made the slighest show of resistance. He was treated as the honoured guest of the Government, taken all over the South Island, and finally returned to Taranaki. From that time reserves were set aside for the Maoris where whites were not allowed to settle. The most ardent Te Whiti-ites were the Chatham Island Maoris who used to send

[Image of page 15]

their prophet much money and many tons of food each year, and firmly believed for a time that if they moved in solemn silent procession seven times round the main island all the whites would depart from the Chathams.

After the departure of the Hau-haus and the return of the West Coast Maoris, life settled down pretty quietly on the island. There were several large sheepruns and a few smaller places but, with the fall in the price of wool and absence of any sale for potatoes, times were very hard for a bit. E. R. Chudleigh was appointed J.P. (the first person to be so) in 1868 and was the leading inhabitant till his departure from the island in 1907, often acting as magistrate when that post was vacant. Of late years the Government is building roads over the swamps that are now partly drained. Caterpillar tractors are at work on some of the runs and a limestone crusher is erected to grind the local cliffs into the topdressing Mr Chudleigh always declared the land needed before it could be made fully productive. With lime available the jubilant farmers hope to greatly increase their flocks and at last to make their fortunes out of sheep like the fishermen are doing out of the blue cod so abundant round the coast.

[Image of page 16]

[Page 16 is blank]


[Image of page 17]



Edward Reginald Chudleigh was born in Cornwall, 1841. His father, rector of St. Colombe Minor, married Ecclesia Lyne, a writer of religious books and poems and as her cousin described her, "One of the saints of this earth, and a name to conjure with." There was an elder brother, Augustin who was also a clergyman with a parish in Dorset. Augustin married Marian Lyne, a distant cousin, and had five children to whom E. R. C. left most of his property. The Bobie Lyne who was at Wharekauri was a cousin of another branch. E. R. Chudleigh went to school at Truro. He learned a little Latin and no spelling. When he left school he was told there was a position for him at Court. I don't know in what capacity he was to go. (Mrs Selwyn, wife of the future Bishop Selwyn of New Zealand, was a friend of the family and at that time Mr Selwyn was Victoria's chaplain at Windsor, so she most likely was responsible for the suggestion). E. R. C.'s answer was he was going to the North Pole with Nansen. A compromise was effected. Mr J. B. Acland from Canterbury, N. Z., was in Cornwall with his wife. He agreed to add E. R. C. to his party sailing in the Matoaka and to keep an eye on him in New Zealand. They left England in 1861. He began the diary the day he left Plymouth but the voyage was very dull. "The water is very bad. I drank two bottles of stout, 4d. a bottle," is a frequent entry.

On his arrival in Canterbury E. R. C., as Mr Chudleigh was generally called, went straight to the "Springs" station then owned by several partners one of whom was Mr J. E. FitzGerald the first superintendent of Canterbury Province and at that time, 1862, representative for Christchurch in the Legislative Assembly in Wellington. Young Chudleigh had a letter of introduction to Mr FitzGerald who at once accepted him as a cadet. E. R. C. loved the life especially the wild rides after stock, and when the station was sold in September 1862, took up stock droving to the goldfields making his headquarters at Mt. Peel, the property of Mr J. B. Acland under whose care he had come to New Zealand. Hoel Pattisson, E. R. C.'s friend in England and companion on the Matoaka, was cadet to the famous Samuel Butler then living at Mesopotamia the next station to Mt. Peel. In 1866 Chudleigh

[Image of page 18]

and Pattisson together leased land from the Maoris in the Chatham Islands as did several other young men from South Canterbury, urged thereto by Mr Tripp of Orari Gorge, who had been recently visited by Hunt the first white farmer on the Chathams and was fired by the latter's account of the profits to be made by providing food for the sealers and whalers calling at the island. Chudleigh and Pattisson leased about 20 miles of bush and open moors along the sheltered northern coast from the Maoris and were offered also the whole of the Kekerione Block of about the same area. Part of this they declined because it was bush and in their then opinion worthless for sheep. They at once bought the small mob of sheep owned by their next door neighbours the Lutheran missionaries and started sheep farming on their own account.

In 1872 Pattisson went to England and returned next year with a bride. E. R. C.'s turn came next. He left in '73 and returned in '75 with the promise of £10,000 or £12,000 to be invested by him in land. He rode over most of New Zealand and at last decided to buy 3,000 acres of swamp land in the Waikato near the Thames River and let it to a tenant who was to put the value of the rent back into the land. E. R. C. then returned to the Chathams. He found Pattisson very ill and the estate neglected. Pattisson and his family returned to England and Chudleigh took over all the lease so that the latter now had two large undeveloped properties on his hands at once. Till 1907 he lived at Wharekauri as the Chatham property was called and paid yearly visits to the other, known then as Orongomairoa but later as the Chudleigh Estate. In 1907 he and his wife nee Mabel Potts, daughter of the naturalist T. H. Potts, Governors Bay, Lyttelton, whom he had married in 1881, left New Zealand for a two years' trip round the world. On their return they found the manager of Orongomairoa had gone bankrupt and expert advice assured Mr Chudleigh the only way to make the place profitable was to live on it himself. They therefore left Wharekauri to the care of managers while they lived in the Waikato on the Chudleigh Estate. Under his care it became in fit condition to be divided up into small dairy farms. The first block for this purpose was sold about 1919 and before his death in 1922 he had the satisfaction of seeing the beginning at least of his dream come true of settling the countryside with young hard-working men who would bring prosperity to the land he loved so well. Now (1950) there are about 50 settlers on the Estate and not much of the original property remains to be sold.

I, E. C. Richards, was at Wharekauri at intervals from 1896-

[Image of page 19]

1907, my visits generally lasting from two to six months at a time. I met Mrs Chudleigh only once or twice before sailing to the Chathams with her and her six-year-old niece and had never seen Mr Chudleigh who, however, was a friend of my father.

Mr Chudleigh met us at the Waitangi jetty and escorted a very sea-sick party to the Residency, then presided over by Major Gascoyne. When I was feeling well enough to look at him Mr Chudleigh struck me as an ideal English gentleman, gentle, courteous, pleasant-voiced with grey hair and a long pepper and salt beard. It was arranged that he should ride back to Wharekauri that night and we return to the steamer and land from the surf-boat next morning in front of the homestead. Next morning the sea was calm enough for the surf-boat to come almost to the beach. Mr Chudleigh waded through the waves and carried his wife ashore and two of the men carried the niece Clara and me. We all walked up to the very plain house and breakfast and life on the Chathams had begun for me.

Father had told me my special duty was to keep Mr Chudleigh company and not let him brood over his quarrel with the Maoris about the ownership of what he considered was part of his land, nor worry over the decline of the population in France. To fulfil these instructions I was out with Mr Chudleigh all day long walking over the home paddocks or riding over the clears, the local name for inland sand-dunes covered with scrub, rushes, grass and bracken, or working in the gardens. He was always a steady worker and expected his men, of whom there were about half a dozen, to be the same, and whom he must have treated very well for rarely did one see a new face among them. However, he was unpopular with the rest of the islanders and disliked his visits to Te One to discharge his duties as J.P. very much. The trouble was, I think, that most of the inhabitants were of the roughest types, escaped convicts, sealers, a black slave from St. Helena, Maoris from Taranaki. In 1900 there were 27 different nationalities on the islands.

Mr Chudleigh was happiest at home. He and his wife adored each other but he grieved very much that they were childless. Both had very regular habits. On Sunday afternoons he and she went for a walk to see the work done during the week whatever the weather might be. It was generally tea-time when they returned and Sunday tea consisted of Cornish pilchards or else bacon and fried bread. The bell, salvaged from a near-by wreck, and hung on a short tower, always rang at 6.30 a. m., 7 a. m., 12 and

[Image of page 20]

5 and at other times for an emergency call. Breakfast was on the table at 7. The cow-boy came over from the station-house for a heavily-laden tray filled with plates, etc., chops or stew, fried potatoes, bread, butter, jam or treacle, milk and tea. The kitchen helpers, generally Bella, an enormous half-caste Maori and her family, had the same. We had porridge with cream served in two quart bowls, one plain cream, the other Devonshire. Mr Chudleigh always had the cream off the milk jug. Then followed cold mutton and fried potatoes topped up with coddled eggs kept warm by a small fire lit for that single purpose and wrapped in cloths made from the all-useful bleached flour-bags. Of course there was tea to drink and the meal ended with the surprising sight to visitors of Mr Chudleigh folding his table-napkin with the aid of his long, thick, sunburned nose that almost hid the sight of his tiny blue eyes. Lunch consisted of cold meat, potatoes and lettuces followed twice a week on churning days by hot buttermilk scones; on other days by bread, buns and home-made cheese, and of course, cream. Dinner at 6.30 consisted of hot meat, plenty of vegetables and a milk pudding accompanied by stewed rhubarb, gooseberries or apples. (No other fruit would grow.) Supper at nine was bread and milk or cocoa. Mr Chudleigh always had a hot bath in his round tub before dinner and changed into a black and white check suit, white shirt, flowing tie, red socks and slippers. After dinner he'd go to his office to write up the diary and other books, and then appear in the sitting-room to take up the three-month-old daily paper. He read one each night in its proper sequence and never looked ahead to see the latest news. That ceremony over, he would read and talk while Mrs Chudleigh rested on the sofa till time to make the supper and then everyone was expected and generally ready to go to bed. In winter a cattle-beast was killed in May. Fresh meat lasted a fortnight--followed by salt beef for six weeks; another beast and salt meat till spring. Mutton was much nicer, one never tired of that; but, more than forty years later I never willingly eat cold roast beef. If Mr Chudleigh were in New Zealand (he generally went in the winter) Mrs Chudleigh and I would sit down to the same joint three times a day for a fortnight.

Provisions used to come from New Zealand three or four times a year and consisted of flour, oatmeal, currants, sugar, tea, rice, salt and pepper and a case of pilchards; also kerosene in tins. Mrs Chudleigh salted meat and bacon, made candles and cheese, vinegar, gooseberry and apple jam, butter and bread. All house-

[Image of page 21]

hold requisites possible were made out of flour-bags from aprons to egg mats. Sometimes the men brought in eels, flounders, or barracouta, but they rarely reached our table. Thanks to the delicious lettuces and bowls of cream one never got really tired of anything except beef.

The wool-shed was five miles away near a partly sheltered bay where shipping by dray and surf-boat could take place pretty easily. Mr Chudleigh with his own half-dozen men, a dozen Maori shearers and a Maori cook would disappear down the lane for a fortnight or so till the shearing was done. Latterly he always rode Dudley a big handsome bay horse, and the last we'd see of him was his head above the gorse fence with his grey beard blowing round the back of his neck under the brown half-chimney-pot hat he always wore winter or summer. All the animals adored him, but Mrs Chudleigh would only allow Pilfer the cat in the house, everything else had to keep outside the garden. I'd been out walking with him one day in the back paddock, and looked behind at a suspicious sound and there was the whole herd of dry Herefords following at our heels. There were about thirty horses in the home paddocks and he had only to appear at the gates for the whole lot to gallop towards him. The pigs were his greatest pets; there were nearly always little carrotty ones to come snorting up to have their ears scratched and even the big ones would plump themselves down in his path to be tickled.

After 1900 Mr Chudleigh generally stayed with us in Christchurch and if I wasn't down keeping his wife company at the Islands I often took him out in the gig to visit his old friends, nearly always ladies. The Miss Gressons and Miss Prestons were never omitted, nor Susie Kitto or Marjorie Stoddart if in Christchurch When he visited us after 1908 when I was living with my brother at Four Peaks I drove him over to Mt. Peel and Peel Forest. It was the same everywhere, he was delighted to visit his old friends: they all said to me in private "How can you endure that old bore?" and the younger generation would be missing when he wanted to see them. I never found him a bore: his speech was slow and his words long, but his subject-matter was always interesting.

The Chudleighs had always talked of going for a two-years' trip to celebrate their silver wedding. On their return from this trip they decided to settle in the North Island at his cattle station, Orongomairoa. Before they did so he went down to Wharekauri and told me never to go down there again if I loved the place. The beautiful bush gardens were drowned in bracken; the big beds of

[Image of page 22]

Chatham Island lilies round the dairy were destroyed; the animals had forgotten him and all was a scene of desolation. Instead, I went up to Orongomairoa two or three times to look after him while Mrs Chudleigh came south. They never made a home there; the place always looked as if they were just moving on, but Mr Chudleigh saw his long-cherished wish of putting settlers on the land partly carried out before he died in 1922 "full of years and honours." He was buried in the little churchyard at Mt. Peel, the place he loved beyond all others.


The eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs T. H. Potts, Governors Bay, Lyttelton, Mabel was her mother's right-hand in looking after the family of 13 children. She was very ill when about 14 years old and never grew afterwards, but got quite well and strong. She married Mr Chudleigh when she was 26 and he 40, and went down to Wharekauri almost at once. Besides being indispensable there she was a shocking sailor and the trip most unpleasant, so she usually visited New Zealand at about two year intervals.

Mr Chudleigh adored her and the adjectives he uses to describe her in his diary are almost laughably appropriate. They are "clean and bright." They were her outstanding qualities. Dirt never stuck on her; wind never made her untidy; milking, gardening, thistling left no traces. Out of doors she pinned up her long skirts showing a striped petticoat that reached to her calves and put on a "busy apron" made of sacking. Indoors she always wore a spotless white apron with a bib and big pockets. For the evening she put on a black dress with a lace collar.

Nothing ever flustered or hurried her, and it was amazing what an amount of work she got through, and what she knew how to do, but she was not interested in anything outside the home and her conversation to me was solely of her life at Governors Bay. She must have had a very dull time travelling for two years. In his diary E. R. C. is always complaining of the price of everything and having rows with the hotels and railways which must have spoilt any pleasure for her. I never heard her say anything about what she saw and other people I asked say the same. We think loyalty locked her tongue.

She left Orongomairoa soon after Mr Chudleigh's death in 1922 to live in Christchurch. Her chief interest there was to come to Sumner once a week and sew for my children all day sitting upstairs overlooking the sea as she used to do at Wharekauri.

[Image of page 23]

She died in 1932 and was buried at Mt. Peel beside her husband. At the head of each grave stands a rough Cornish cross like the one erected by E. R. C. over his father's resting place in Cornwall.


The first years of the diary beginning from the arrival of the Matoaka at Lyttelton are almost unabridged, the spelling is his, unaltered all through, except quite towards the end where it evidently is just a slip like writing road for rode, a habit he had got out of several years before, but full stops are employed and occasionally commas. E. R. C. did not bother with such things to begin with. Some of the descriptions that seem exaggerated are not so. The following is Mr Percy Cox's account of the cattle drive to Dunedin. Mr Cox was Mr FitzGerald's partner. "Mr FitzGerald bought big bullocks known as the Twelve Apostles. They were outlaws which had never been inside a yard for years. Directly they came in sight of one they would charge anything and everything and clear away. These and others like these, FitzGerald started in charge of George Draper and a cadet just out from home. They had no assistants except one old accommodation-house keeper who was absolutely useless except to lead the packhorse and to cook. Such a 'put-together' mob of wild cattle required at least six to eight experienced stockmen and it would have taken them all their time driving all day and watching all night to get them safely down. The journey should have been done in a fortnight or three weeks had there been sufficient hands but undermanned as they were it took six weeks. George Draper told me the cattle often got back by night further than they had been driven by day. When they finally arrived, horses, men and dogs were done, and the cattle were reduced to the condition of stores and had to be sold at £16 per head instead of the £30 which had been offered if delivered in good condition. Worst of all, sixty were missing and many of them were never heard of again." (Personal Notes and Reminiscences of An Early Canterbury Settler.)

Then as to the constant brutal use of the stockwhip Mr L. Acland says, "It was apparently the custom in those days, in fact I have had old chaps even in my time who thought if you hammered dogs and stock enough they would do anything you wanted. If you don't put some sort of note about it, people will think Chudleigh was an absolute monster of cruelty."

[Image of page 24]

Again E. R. C.'s account of the weather experienced during their famous drive seems much exaggerated. However the winter of 1862 was the coldest ever known in Canterbury and presumably in Otago too.

His other terrible trip to Hokitika can also be checked. He wrote to Mr Acland from Hokitika more details of the trip. In this letter he says "Old Wilmer (a Canterbury drover) lost his horses on the sadle and another started from Christchurch with seven horses and arrived at Hokitika with one."

Again (E. R. C.'s mate) "Allan nocked up so I left him at the Terrible Cow. He has a tent and my blanket, some oatmeal and flour. His trousers are gone to above the knee and no legings and a spare suite only in bed. His horse nocked up, do, my old pack mare."

His account of the heart attack suffered by Dr Ben Moorhouse was copied out for Sir Hugh Acland at his own request. He said it was the best account he had ever met of such an attack and its treatment. Evidently, as E. R. C. says of one of his own men "He is not a romancer," and his accounts can be trusted.

The years 1870-73 are missing but their place can partly be filled by references in other parts of the diary. In '74-5 he was in England. That portion is omitted here altogether to make more room for his travels from one end of New Zealand to the other to find the perfect farm. This he decided would be in the Waikato swamp where he bought about 3000 acres. From this date onward the diary is much abridged and the last few years are just summarised. The last entry is in December 1921, "Ill. Just managed to write" and he died January 22, 1922.

Previous section | Next section