1958 - Torlesse, C. O. The Torlesse Papers: Journals and Letters... 1848-1851 - 2. Selecting a Site for the Canterbury Settlement, p 39-58

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  1958 - Torlesse, C. O. The Torlesse Papers: Journals and Letters... 1848-1851 - 2. Selecting a Site for the Canterbury Settlement, p 39-58
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2. Selecting a Site for the Canterbury Settlement

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Selecting a Site for the Canterbury Settlement

12th December 1848 - 18th February 1849

The Bernicia has called at the New Zealand Company's settlements at New Plymouth and Nelson before depositing the three surveyors at Wellington. Information received from settlers at Nelson has determined Captain Thomas to proceed at once to the unexplored plains stretching north and west of Banks Peninsula in the 'Middle Island'. These appear to offer the only likely site in New Zealand where the Canterbury Association might obtain its requirements, namely, a million acres with a large harbour, little fear of native interference and sufficiently removed from other settlements to be formed into a separate province.

Thomas, Cass, Torlesse and Fox, the Company's Principal Agent in the colony, with five survey hands are about to embark in the cutter Fly for the journey south.

12th December. Very fine. Strong wind, NW. Despatch and Duplicate No. 2/48 to T. C. H. given to Mr Kelham. 1

Capt. Thomas, Mr Fox, Cass, ego & 5 men 2 embarked on board the Fly cutter, 25 tons--sailed for Port Cooper 7 p.m.

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Gave letters for C. G. T. & E. J. W. to Bell. Letters from Hursthouse and Watts. Strong NW. wind.

13th. Very fine. Off the Kaikouras at 3 1/2 a.m. Light winds NE., NW. all day.

14th. Very fine. Light winds NE., SE. all day. Settled some names for Canterbury Streets, &c. 3

15th. Very fine. NE. Up at daylight and entered Port Cooper at 5 a.m. Anchored at Puru 4 or Rhodes Bay. Captain Thomas, Mr Fox, Cass & I breakfasted at Rhodes's; afterwards pulled across the harbour and ascended the ridge that bounds the harbour on the North side to Mt. Pleasant, an out-station of Rhodes; from which we had a fine view of the Northern part of the plain. Returned Rhodes 6 p.m. Saw White, 5 who gave accounts of the plain. Rhodes sheep shearing--men whalers during the season.

16th. Very fine. NE. Mr Fox & I bathed in the stream at Puru, then on board the Fly for provisions for the plain. Accompanied by Rhodes, with our 5 men & 2 horses, started from Rhodes' at 2 p.m. and walked over the ranges to the bay at the head of the harbour, called Terape. 6 Arrived at Mr Gibie's 7 cattle station at 5 p.m. --cows in abundance. Liked the head of the bay as site for commercial port. Plenty

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of timber upon the hills on the west side of the bay from the maori station at Raupaki.

Heaphy 8 arrived from Akaroa, 40 miles, gave an account of an attempted expedition from Otago to Nelson. When on Snowy Range, opposite the northern end of the plain, saw a fine district 1000 square miles running to the back of the Kaikoras--river running out at Motunau. Terape 8 miles from Puru.

17th. Sunday. Very fine. NE. All hands started from Gibie's at 9 a.m. Gibie accompanying us halfway to Mr Deans 9 when he returned by a short route over the hills at the back of his house in two hours from the point where he left us at 1 p.m. We walked over the low pass leading from the head of the harbour to the plain and then walked over the spurs and along the foot of the hills West of the Peninsula 12 miles from point of entrance--struck across to Deans--desperately tired. Mr Fox and I bathed in the R. Otagara 10 --very cold. Men left in

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the plain with the 2 pack horses and luggage. Walked over low swampy land with creeks, &c., fine good soil--flax, toi-toi, grass, &c. Not a stick of firewood all the way--observed patches of wood on the Peninsula gullies. Heard from Mr Deans favourable account of the large wood under the hills at the head of the Wai-maka-riri on the North side. 300,000 acres of land accessible to bush and available. Tuckett 11 would not go over the plain though he was told that there was plenty of bush at the foot of the hills. Heaphy and White taken on as pilots.

18th. Very fine. NE. Sketched Messrs Deans' house, the wood at the back and the snowy mountains. The men and horses came in at 12 1/2 p.m., having slept on a sandhill without fire. Found it too late to proceed further to-day and therefore laid up at Messrs Deans. Mr Fox, Mr J. Deans and I strolled down to the landing place of the Otagara and afterwards over his land to see mares, &c. 700 acres fenced in. Fine hot day. Bought 60 lbs mutton and 50 lbs pork from Messrs Deans for onward journey.

19th. NW. Very fine. The whole party with 2 pack horses started from Messrs Deans at 9 a.m. and struck across the plain to the R. Waimakariri, passing the Papanui Bush and steering NW. by N.: arrived at the river bank at midday where we met some of the Kiapoi 12 natives, who had been to Port Cooper to see us--and had now struck over to meet us. A strong NW. wind caused such a ripple in the river that we could not cross the Coldstream 13 and bushed it on the banks. Excellent soil from Messrs Deans' to the river bank, along which there is a breadth of about a mile of sandy soil. The horses, which had headed the streams we forded, arrived at

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the river as soon as we did, White's dog Sailor having been ripped by a boar.

20th. NW. Very fine. The whole party pulled across the river by the maories at 5 a.m., and walked to the pah at Kiapoi about 2 miles from the beach, where we breakfasted. Restarted at 10 a.m. and steered WNW. past the bushes--saw some of the marks left by Messrs Mantell and Wills for native reserves. 14 After passing the bushes struck towards the hills about West to the R. Rakahouri. 15 Then steered South and camped at 5 p.m., finding that we should not have firewood for the night if we proceeded further on the banks of the R. Rakahouri.

After leaving the bushes the soil was inferior--sand with poor grass. The R. Rakahouri has an extensive bed with hardly any water now. R. Karetu branches from it. Observed wood in the gorges all along the hills. Plenty of it in the valley of the Rakahouri.

21st. NW. Very fine. Steered 8 miles NW. up the Rakahouri, and lunched on a wooded branch of it which enters the hills there. Then down the plain parallel with the hills, and over the low table spurs of them till we came to a bush at 6 1/2 p.m., 10 miles from the place where we lunched, having crossed one branch of the Rakahouri, and that river itself, 16 7 miles from the lunching place, the river running for that 7 miles parallel to the hills. Soil nearly all excellent--some manuka bush--mostly strong flax land.

22nd. NW. Very fine. Walked parallel to the hills, along the edge of a fine bush, to the R. Waimakariri, which we could not cross--high banks 250ft--3 p.m. --Then struck down the North bank of the river---examined a pass 17 3 or 4 miles from the hills. Camped on river bank, very cold. Westerly wind. Soil excellent--strong flax and toi-toi.

23rd. SW. & W. Left our encampment at 8 a.m. and walked towards the bushes and pah on the plain. Saw fine swamp

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land, and large grazing tracts of excellent quality. The dog 'Sailor' died from want of water. Hot sun, crossed a river-bed and drank of 3 streams. Camped about 7 1/2 p.m. near a bush 5 or 6 miles from the pah. The manuka near our last night's encampment set fire to. Slept on the site of a former pah and in the humu's. 18 Out of provisions. Fine soil near bushes.

24th. Sunday. NW. Very fine. Started at 6 a.m. and walked to the pah at Kiapoi where we got some flour and potatoes for breakfast. Then went to Messrs Deans. In a canoe as far as Coldstream. First rate soil near the bushes, and all the way from the river to Messrs Deans. The tract between that and the sea intersected with sandy, poor portions.

25th. NW. Very fine. Heaphy and White kept on. Two Maories (Heika & Eou) £2 for 2 weeks work, and 5 shillings for provisions from Mrs Eou. Lent Capt. Thomas £1. Stayed at Messrs Deans. Christmas Day.

26th. NE. Fine. Rain at night, SW. I and Comerfele started for Port Cooper. Met messenger to Mr Fox from Mantell and Wills from Akaroa. Went on board cutter and measured out provisions for my traverse of Waimakariri and beach. Slept at Rhodes'. White arrived in Port Cooper at 4 p.m., got &cs for Messrs Deans from Rhodes and started for the Avon.

27th. SW. Rain. Went in Fly's dinghy to Raupaki 19 towards Riccarton. Met Capt. Thomas and Mr Fox on road to Akaroa, thence to Otago, 20 also Cass and 2 men on top of Raupaki range. Arrived Riccarton 3 p.m. White arrived Riccarton 5 p.m., having come up the Avon with provisions, &c.

28th. NE. Fine. White started in boat for Port Cooper at 9 1/2 a.m. Heaphy at ditto to Kiapoi for natives to carry provisions for me. I traversed 3 miles of the Avon down. Returned to Riccarton at 7 p.m. and found Heaphy and 4 maories who had come to apply for work.

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29th. NW. Very fine. Started at 9 1/2 a.m. from Riccarton for Coldstream. Horse and cart and Todd, 21 Comerfele, Heaphy, Robinson, Tweed, 22 Eou, Heika. Chased pigs. Arrived at river at 12 1/2 p.m. Camped, 2 tents. Bathed Coldstream, water warm. Planted a cross on a tall ti-tree by Big Fellow. Name of snowy hill, head of Coldstream, Otarama.

30th. NW. Very fine. Up at 4 1/2 a.m. Started for the head of the Coldstream. Saw 3 wild cattle 23 --2 cows, 1 bullock--on high bank of R. Coldstream. A strong NW. wind impeded our progress. Arrived at Coldstream Pass 7 p.m. Robinson and Tweed bushed it. Saw whirlwinds on North plain.

31st. Sunday. NW. Very fine. Walked up the hill above the Coldstream Pass and sketched the Peninsula.

1st January 1849. SW. Very fine. The Big Fellow 24 and I started at 6 a.m. from Coldstream Pass and ascended the Otarama mountain. 25 Arrived at the summit at 4 p.m., not having rested or fed since starting. Warm on East side, bitterly cold on West, there being a strong wind from the snowy mountains. Drank deliciously cold snow water. Sketched plain and hills to the Southward. Saw the Waipera and Rakahouri through a pass between low hills which skirt the North plain and the mountains. Descended by a shorter route and arrived at John Hay's 26 house at Matariki at 9 p.m., where we found

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Comerfele, Robinson and Tweed, who had arrived there at 4 p.m. to be ready for work in the morning.

2nd. SE. Very fine. Traversed from junction of Kowai with Coldstream to Coldstream Pass.

3rd. NE. Very fine. Traversed from Coldstream Pass 14 miles down the river and camped at the water's edge. Fine soil all the way above--on the high banks: mixture of grass, fern, small tutu and anise. Curious clefts running at an acute angle Southward into the river, formed by springs breaking out from the high plain. Measured breadth of river at Coldstream Pass --8 chains. Saw 3 wild cattle.

4th. NE. Very fine. Traversed nine miles down the river. Came upon a poor sandy tract extending a mile or two inland from the river. Abundance of wild pigs. Plotted the traverse up to this point upon a piece of asse's skin, 27 but obliged to commence replotting as the skin would not contain all my work.

5th. NE. noon, SW. eve. Calm, very fine. Traversed 12 miles down the river to the point up to which it is navigable for boats. Rheumatism (from which I have suffered more or less since starting upon the exploring expedition) very bad to-day. The poor sandy soil discontinued. Fine growth of fern, grass, &c. Abundance of wild pigs.

6th. SW. Rain. I and Heaphy to Riccarton. The men up the river to the last camp to fetch provisions. Plotted the traverse upon a sheet of asse's skin. As cold as in the winter time. Received letter from Cass about the old pah at Kiapoi.

7th. Sunday. SW. Very fine. At Ricarton plotting, sketching, &c. Borrowed £4 from Messrs Deans to pay the Maories for work. Wrote to Cass about trip to the Rakaia. The three men and 2 maories got down to navigation point with the provisions.

8th. NE. Showery. I and Heaphy walked across to Navigation point in the morning. Rain middle of the day. In the afternoon went down the Coldstream in a canoe which the Big Fellow had brought up in the morning. Sounding and setting up flags at the bends. Paid the Big Fellow £1/14/6, being 1 week and 4 days pay, and 2/6 for ascending the

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Otarama. He then went off to cater for his family. A boy and Old Windy remained to manage the canoe.

9th. NW. Very fine. Heavy North-wester, smothered with sand--thick country. Traversed 4 miles to opposite the point where the Korotuaheka 28 joins the Coldstream. Crossed over to the right bank and camped among sand, and with nothing but brackish water.

10th. NE. Very fine. Spring tides. Got up before daylight and changed the traverse over to the right bank. Up to the middle in water. Had several maories from the pah to breakfast (Flash Charley, whom Wills knocked down, among the rest). Lost my telescope. Some korero about the white man's land being South of the Coldstream and Maories' North. 29

Traversed to the mouth of the Coldstream, being 46 miles from the commencement of the traverse. Then traversed the beach to the mouth of the R. Rakahouri, and camped. Abundance of whales' carcasses. Fine beach for walking without shoes. Paid a Maori boy 3/- for the use of a canoe. Engaged the maori Jack for carrying provisions, &c. Had great difficulty in getting to our encampment, crossing some streams near the Rakahouri up to the neck.

11th. NE. Fine. Cold Easterly wind. Up to the neck again crossing creeks, &c. Traversed the beach to the Double Corner and camped; brackish water, abundance of wild dogs, eels, ducks, &c.

12th. NE. Very fine. Walked to the pah at Kiapoi. Saw old Kiapoi--fortified pah--where Rauperaha 30 attacked and feasted on the inhabitants of the plain, of whom we saw the skulls. Camped at the pah, nothing but potatoes to eat. Innumerable mosquitoes.

13th. NE. Very fine. NW. eve. Paid Eou (Windy) £2/3/-for 2 weeks and 1 day's work. Moved to the junction of Korotuaheka and Coldstream in a canoe from the pah, and camped.

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Found notes in my tent from Captain Thomas and Cass, written on the 12th. Feasted on potatoes. Hot North-wester; in the evening it blew very fresh from the Westward, quite cold. We were attended by a mob of maories who were glad of what biscuit and refuse we had to spare. Searched for my telescope.

14th. Sunday. SE. Rain. Miserable wet day. Remained at tent on Coldstream. In the evening went in a canoe down the river, nearly to the mouth, to see the bends. Plotted my work up. Several maories remained with us all day, and made a shelter, having been thoroughly wetted in the night. Searched for my telescope and offered the maories reward for the recovery of it.

15th. NE. Fine. Smothered with sand. Cold North-east wind. Engaged Big Fellow and Windy to carry loads to the mouth of the Avon, and kept on Jack, sending him round to the same place by way of Riccarton to ask for Messrs Deans' canoe.

Delayed by the high tides, and started at 11. Traversed 12 miles towards the mouth of the Avon (Otakaro, 31 maori name). Camped at the point where the Avon takes a bend to the southward near the beach, and found several maories at the tents who were on their way from Raupaki to Kiapoi.

16th. NW. Fine, rain at night. Waited till 12 o'clock for Jack, whom I expected early with a letter from Messrs Deans and provisions he had carried from the Coldstream. He arrived at noon with a note from Captain Thomas directing me to sketch in the Avon and Opawa rivers, but without provisions. I started Jack off to the Opawa 32 for Messrs Deans' canoe, and went with the hands to finish the traverse to the mouth of the Avon--2 miles. After waiting till nearly sunset, we saw Jack with the canoe at a distance, and after struggling up to the middle in quick mud, reached the Avon, and arrived at camp at 7 1/2 p.m. No grub, smoked and drank tea galore. The Kiapoi mob of natives left us, but the Big Fellow and Windy remained.

17th. NW. Fine. Got up at daylight and started in the canoe up the Avon to Riccarton. Arrived there at 8 1/2 a.m. Paid Jack 15/- for 5 days work. Got pork and sugar at Ric-

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carton. Lost my belt in the Avon and stuck a pole in at the spot. Plotted my work; the hands cutting poles, &c. Borrowed £2 from Messrs Deans.

18th. NW. Fine. SE. afternoon. Started early from Riccarton and sailed in the canoe to the mouth of the Avon to search for my compass. Searched in vain at spit and over mud flats, but at last found it up the river. Arrived at camp a little after dark and found that we had left our tea behind. Slashing breeze, both up and down.

19th. NE. Fine. Measured from the line 61 at the beach to cut the R. Avon where it branches to the West, leaving the sandy spit. Then went up the river in the canoe to endeavour to traverse down from my work of the 28th December. Course too winding, and growth too thick to admit of a running traverse. Ned Comerfele ill.

20th. NE. Fine. SW. eve, rain. Started up the Avon in Messrs Deans' canoe, taking bearings to known objects at the principal bends. Arrived at Messrs Deans' at 7 p.m.

21st. Sunday. SW. Rain. Captain Thomas, Wills and party arrived at Riccarton at 2 p.m. from expedition to Waihola, 33 having bushed it last night at the edge of the big swamp, and leaving their blackbirds behind, who would not move on Sunday.

22nd. NE. Fine. I started at 9 1/2 a.m. for Port Lincoln. 34 Had great difficulty in getting a canoe from Raupaki. At last with inducement of 5/- prevailed upon Billy and two women to push me across--heavy head wind and flood tide. Arrived at Puru at 5 1/2 p.m. Found the cutter Fly returned from Otago with Mr Fox, and Newcome 35 just arrived in the Ajax from England. They and I immediately started in White's boat for Raupaki and arrived at Riccarton at 9 1/2 p.m. Got 7 lbs tobacco and 1 pair trowsers from Mr Rhodes for Robinson.

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23rd. NE. Fine. Mr Fox and Newcome started for Port Lincoln at 3 p.m., intending to embark in Fly for Port Nicholson. Captain Thomas, John Deans, Wills, myself, Ned, Tweedale, German boy with horse and 2 maories started for the head of the Rakaia at 3 p.m. and camped on the R. Coldstream about 1 1/2 miles above my old camp of 4th January.

24th. NW. Fine. Party walked 17 miles and camped on R. Wai-ani-wenua, 36 NE. end Malvern Hills near Race Course. 37 Hot North-wester and no water all the way. Wills and I walked up the hills in the evening and sketched Tawera. 38

25th. SW. Fine morning, hail and rain afternoon. Party walked along the foot of the Malvern Hills and camped on the R. Hororata at 3 p.m., a violent storm of thunder, lightning, hail, and rain having come on. Very large hail fell and remained on the ground all night in shaded places. Wills and I started for the 'Hog's Back' ridge, a detached group of the Malvern Hills. Caught 2 Paradise Ducks on the Waikirikiri. 39 Took bearings of stream. Sketched bushes on hills, &c. Found sandstone on this group. The Malvern Hills afford first-rate pasturage for sheep, with sufficient bush accessible. Wills and I escaped the hail and rain and arrived at camp at 5 1/2 p.m. Soil along the foot of the hills generally inferior, but having good growth for runs.

26th. NE. Fine. Party walked to the R. Rakaia and camped in the river bed, the natives having convinced Wills that we could cross, which they and Wills and I attempted but could not succeed. Wills and I walked in the afternoon about 6 miles up river towards a pass, 40 somewhat similar to the Coldstream Pass which we saw in the distance. Arrived at camp at 8 1/2 p.m.

27th. NE. Fine. Party remained at camp on Rakaia. Captain Thomas, Wills, myself, Kaupo, Johnny and the horse

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started to ascend Pukitikumu, 41 a hill on North side of the Rakaia, whence we saw the course of the river to the westward and a branch leading from a Lake, beautiful snowy ranges, &c. Found plenty of flint upon the hill. 42 Then walked down to the Rakaia to examine the Pass which was romantic enough, and appeared to allow of a bridge being thrown across it, there being an island in the centre of its course. 43 Fired near the pass and had a hard walk to arrive at camp by 9 p.m.

We saw from Pukitikumu the large bush, 44 15 miles South of Rakaia of about 20,000 acres, the visiting of which was the object of our journey. The soil and appearance of country much similar to that about the Coldstream. The country on the other bank appears to have a different subsoil.

28th. Sunday. NE. Fine. Party fired the grass and walked down R. Rakaia about 6 miles, when we could climb the terraces with loads; and then steered by compass 65° in the direction of Riccarton, till we struck the Wai-kiri-kiri where we encamped, finding beautiful water for drinking and bathing. Soil moderate, surface stony, vegetation grass. Lost my knife near camp on the Rakaia. Wild dogs at the Waikirikiri and wild pigs at Rakaia. Fired the country on our route and saw the fires of yesterday burning.

29th. NE. Fine. Finding that we should have 26 miles to walk to Riccarton without water, the party walked 11 miles (straight) down the Waikirikiri, and camped at a celebrated eel-catching and bathing place of Captain Thomas's former trips. 45 The soil of the upper part of plain is moderate with a stony surface and fair growth of grass.

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30th. NE. Fine. Party turned out at 3 1/2 a.m., found the horse had bolted. Left the loads and the 2 Maories to watch them and started for Riccarton at 5 a.m., arriving there at 10 a.m.

31st. SW. Fine. Messrs Deans' servant, Todd, went with horse and cart to R. Waikirikiri to fetch up our loads, also taking Johnny and Robinson to search for horse, whom they did not find. Captain Thomas and I walked into Raupaki, found Cass encamped in bay East of it. 46 He joined us and we went over to Puru. Commenced plotting my work. Captain Thomas expressed himself much pleased with my work and told me that he should write to the Association in his next despatch applying for my Salary to be raised to £300, according to former agreement.

1st February. NE. Very fine. Cass went to finish his work from the head of the harbour to the mouth of the R. Avon. Captain Thomas and I went in Mr Rhodes' boat to Gibie's, landing Mr Scott and party for Motenau at Raupaki. Plotting my work. Wills, Ned and Johnny arrived at dusk from Riccarton, leaving Robinson and Tweedale behind in the bush-- little man much exhausted.

2nd. NE. Very fine. Plotting my sketch of the plains. Wills working from Cass's base towards the lake.

3rd. SW. Cloudy, rain evening. Plotting, &c. Cass arrived from Raupaki. Heavy rain at night.

Port Victoria 47 (or whatever else it may be called).
3rd February, 1849.

E. W. Stafford, Esq.,
Aldourie, Nelson.

My dear Stafford,

I write for the first time that I have had one moment to spare; and I should not write in the hurried manner that I must but that I expect that Captain Thomas will start off without giving time for letter-writing, leaving Cass and myself

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here to go on with the surveys. After thoroughly examining the district of level land adjoining the Peninsula, of about a million acres, Captain Thomas has come to the decision that this is the place for Canterbury. If he is able, he will leave us here and merely go to Port Nicholson to send despatches home, get the Governor and Bishop's sanction, and buy all the paraphernalia for our future operations. If he is compelled to go up to examine the Wairarapa, as to which he will be informed by Mr Fox from Wellington, I believe that he will do it merely to satisfy people, not that he has any notion of pitting one place against another.

I have been employed in making a sketch map of the district which I cannot help telling you I am much pleased at. I have had very rough work and all sorts of difficulties. Captain Thomas says that he is delighted with my work and shall write to the Association to raise my salary to £300, according to former understanding. He also intends to write about me to people in England, so that at present I am all in the right way. Cass has made an excellent survey of the harbour and is a first-rate fellow for his part of the work.

I will give you a hurried description of the district. It is bounded on the North by a range of low hills, the commencement of a series of fine grazing downs that reach up to the Kaikoras. On the West by the Snowy mountains. On the South by one of the main rivers that run from the mountains to the coast in a SE. direction, called the Hororata. 48 On the East by the Ocean and Peninsula.

As to its extent--there is a million of acres included in the district with the boundaries on the North. West, and East sides that I have described down to the R. Rakaia for the South boundary--the country between that and the Hororata to make up for inferior land within the block of a million. [A rough pen and ink map of the country follows, covering half a page.]

The Harbour is decidedly a good one--2 miles from good anchorage to site for a commercial port. Ridiculously easy of ingress or egress. First-rate holding ground, with the advantage that with a foul wind for entrance, good anchorage outside.

The Rivers--3 in number, the Waimakariri navigable for boats some 5 miles up and allowing of the entrance of a small schooner (20 tons or thereabouts) or a steamer over the bar. The other rivers huge incumbrances. The Streams are plentiful

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--2 first-rate leading from the beach near the NW. end Peninsula westerly--one to Deans' station, and both navigable for large boats for 7 miles.

Soil. The strips of land about 10 miles inland from the Sea, Peninsula and Waihola Lake, deducting in places along the beach sometimes a mile or two for sandy ground from the Rakaia to Double Corner 49 (say 50 miles) is of first-rate quality --a great deal of swamp, flax, toi-toi, and grass growth--good loam with a clay subsoil--at least 300,000 acres of land for the most part ready for the plough. The middle of the plain (a stripe running North and South and about 15 or 20 miles in breadth) unvarying grass--a tolerable soil--generally much better than the Waimea, light loam, gravelly subsoil.

The western side of the plain is a good soil--in some places stony on the surface, in others sandy, and almost all resting on a shingle bed. There is strong growth generally upon this stripe.

Speaking generally of the whole plain there is no part of it unfit for some purpose or other. Cattle can be grazed over the whole of it and there are unlimited ranges for sheep outside of the block, besides a few pretty runs on low hills within it. The land gradually rises from the eastern side of the plain towards the west side where it is about 300ft above the level of the sea.

Bush. There is abundance on the Peninsula both on the South side accessible from the plain by means of the Waihola Lake--enough in Port Cooper for some time to come. Enough also on the first stripe of land which I described for purposes of first settling (say about 3,000 acres). There is a bush of about 100,000 acres on the North side of the Waimakariri--part on the plain, but the great proportion in the hills. Port Levy. Pigeon Bay, and O'Kaine Bay will furnish almost unlimited wood for the settlement. There is also a very large bush south of the Rakaia which we have seen in the distance, and bushes down the plain to the Southward.

The Climate is not so severe as that of Otago and with difference that snow lies on the ground sometimes for a day or two, much similar to that of Port Nicholson--this I judge from what I hear.

The Scenery. Peninsula wild and beautiful, the lower plain flat but within range of pretty scenery, the middle plain monotonous in the extreme. The upper or western side of the

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plain very pretty and views from the snowy mountains most romantic.

I believe that this place will not only do for the site of Canterbury, but that, considering its harbour and extensive grazing country (for the whole country from North of Otago to the Kaikoras looks to this as its shipping port) is the best district in New Zealand. I am quite sure that there is more good cultivable land than will be required in our life-time and am astonished at the good quality of the soil over the whole country. The only drawback seems to be that the bush is not well disposed over the country--but there is plenty of it: and with everything else so cheap as it will be on this place but wood, surely people will be able to pay dear for that one item...

I think of enclosing this to my uncle Dan so that he and Bell can see what I have tp say as I cannot write any more.

Yours ever,

Tuckett must have been blind to pass over this place. As I said to you--Providence interfered with him and saved this for Canterbury. I am thinking of writing home for agencies for the selection of land, if you can forward my views, I shall be obliged.

I have been up a snowy mountain and other high hills and have had fine views of the whole place from them besides walking over the greater part of it and measuring 80 miles.

4th. Sunday. SW. Fine. Plotting, &c.

5th. NE. Fine. I went across from Gibies to take Cass's place, and men to cut the road from Raupaki to Terapi. Fine living at Light's quarters. 50

6th. NE. Fine. Cutting line of road.

7th. NE. Fine. Cutting line of road. Jim Tweedale sent to Raupaki to fetch Norie's navigation. 51 Finished line of road up to Government bay 52 and knocked off, leaving a flag.

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8th. NE. Very fine. Ranged out a line of road from the top of the range above Cass's bay to the plain, down a gorge left of path to plain.

9th. NE. Fine. Ranged another line down to the plain from the same place over ridge of path on West side of it-- very good line. Captain Thomas and Cass came over from Gibies to fetch me to finish up the map of the plain and harbour, Cass remaining to cut line of road to Terapi.

10th. NE. Very fine. Very hot. About noon Cass and Swann 53 arrived, the Fly having come in to Puru yesterday afternoon and come up to Cass's bay this morning, then walked round with the General. 54 He brought me a letter from C. G. T. of 28th July and P. C. T. of 31st July--via Sydney--my letters per Ajax not having been forwarded. Wills came in from the lake with his men. Wrote a letter to C. G. T.

11th. Sunday. Mapping. Wills' men (Ned, Jock and Johnny) went back to the R. Selwyn for their traps.

12th. NE. Very fine. The men above, and Macintosh, 55 went off to Cass's bay. Gibie to J. Hay's place on Kowai.

13th. NE. Very fine. Mapping. Shipped a new hand, discharged from a whaling vessel at Port Levi--Corn Stalk.

14th. NW. Fine. Mapping. Paddy Woods 56 arrived from Akaroa, via Port Levi and Raupaki, having in view to set up a store and grog shop at the latter place. Up till 1 writing to E. J. W.

15th. NE. Fine. SW. evening, rain. Up at 5 a.m. Finished

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maps and cleared out from Gibies and went to Lincoln 57 to finish letters and give commissions to Ned Comerfele. Captain Thomas, Cass and Wills walked round. Severe SW. storm in evening--thunder, lightning and hail for about 1/2 an hour just as we commenced sealing letters. Wills drunk. Captain Thomas, Wills, Ned, Jock Craig and Light went on board Fly for Wellington, but could not sail as the wind fell at night...

16th. NW. Very fine. Captain Thomas came ashore at Lincoln. The cutter went to Puru to land Wills at Rhodes to copy French chart of the Peninsula 58 for Capt. Stokes. Cass and I cutting and traversing line of road from Lincoln to Christchurch. Very hot. I commenced line of road from Raupaki to plain. Saw much difficulty in carrying it through. Captain Thomas went off again in the evening to Rhodes.

[There is no entry for 17th February]

18th. Sunday. NE. Very fine. Perfect peace and quietness and enjoying myself with the General till 2 p.m. when the cutter hove in sight. Captain Thomas came ashore and a long discussion ensued as to what should be done. Mr Fox's letter giving Eyre's 59 answer respecting French claims, having caused Captain Thomas to think of taking all hands right away from this place till all claims were settled, and the Governor's sanction obtained and place formally handed over to the Association: but at last determined to proceed himself to Wellington and Auckland, leaving Cass to see Stokes, and me to take an exploring trip to the Southward. 60 Little man row with Capt. Thomas--very sulky. Sent him my Shakespeare, some brandy and bouilli soup.

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1   James Kelham, an acountant in Wellington, had been employed in the New Zealand Company's offices in London before coming to the colony in 1842.
2   The five men embarked were Edward Cumerfele, James Tweedale, T. H. Leight, Robert Craig and John Robertson. They were employed from 9th December 1848.
3   Edward Jollie's oft quoted account of the naming of the streets of Lyttelton, Sumner and Christchurch may need modification in view of this interesting observation.
4   Purau Bay, on the south side of Lyttelton Harbour (known at the time as Port Cooper), was settled originally by the Greenwood brothers in 1843. They sold to W. S. and George Rhodes in 1847, and George lived there until joined by his brother Robert Heaton in 1850. The earliest known chart of the harbour, Fournier's of 1838, calls the bay 'Poulao'.
5   Thomas White, whaler, sawyer and farmer, was a native of Rhode Island, U. S. A. He went to sea early and worked as a whaler at Waikouaiti, and at Goashore on Banks Peninsula, before settling at Port Levy, and later Pigeon Bay. Captain Thomas hired a whaleboat from him and gave him work as a boatman and chainman during this preliminary expedition.
6   The stream Te Rapu flows into the head of the bay from Gebbie's Pass. On the east side of the stream lay Gebbie's farm, and on the west Manson's. This was the site originally proposed for the city of Christchurch. At least three contemporary maps mark Christchurch here: Thomas's, an Acheron ms. map, and one by Wyld.
7   John Gebbie, with his family, came to Canterbury in 1843 in the Richmond. He continued in the employment of the Deans brothers for two years and then took up land at the head of the bay. Mrs 'Gibbie', as the name was usually mis-spelt, was well known to early wayfarers for her hospitality and good table.
8   William Heaphy, not to be confused with Charles, arrived in New Zealand in the Cuba in 1840 and was at Port Chalmers with Tuckett's party in 1844. From there he attempted to walk to Nelson alone. In February 1845 William Deans wrote to Dr Monro of Nelson informing him that Heaphy had arrived safely at Riccarton and had continued on his way north. The rugged hills of North Canterbury defeated him and, injured by a fall, he floated down the Waiau River on a flax raft until it overturned. After a series of hardships he managed to reach the whaling station at Motunau Island. He was the first European to explore the country north of Kaiapoi. His 'fine district 1000 square miles running to the back of the Kaikoras' was probably the Culverden plain. W. J. Gardner in The Amuri, 1956, gives a map with Heaphy's route in North Canterbury going up the Mandamus River and entering the Waiau at its junction with the Hope well above the upper Waiau Gorge. But perhaps Heaphy entered the river much lower and rafted through the lower gorge below the present township of Waiau. His route must remain very problematical. Heaphy squatted in Lyttelton in 1849 and had a hotel there for many years.
9   The Scottish brothers John and William Deans had been farming at Riccarton since 1843. They were not the first to farm there, though at the time they were the only Europeans living on the plains. They kept open house to all comers, and one hears nothing but praise of them.
10   Otagara, or Otakaro, is the Maori name for the Avon which the Deans brothers named after the stream in Lanarkshire on whose banks they had played as boys. For a while the later settlers called it the 'Shakespeare'. An article entitled 'Earliest Canterbury. Reminiscences by Mr T. Cass' in the Canterbury Times, 26th May 1892, contains the following: 'It was on one occasion, when Mr Cass and Captain Thomas were together, that Mr Deans asked them to have a look at the creek, when he told them that he purposed naming it after a stream that ran near his father's property in Scotland.'
11   Frederick Tuckett was Principal Surveyor and Engineer to the New Zealand Company. In April 1844 he visited the Deans brothers at Riccarton in search of a site for the proposed Free Church of Scotland Colony of New Edinburgh. He disapproved of the 'Port Cooper plains' and chose Otago. There is a map in the Public Records Office, London, drawn by C. H. Kettle in Wellington in 1843 before Tuckett went south, marking Port Cooper as the site of the New Edinburgh Settlement.
12   Torlesse uses the spelling 'Kiapoi' for Kaiapoi throughout his journal. This was the principal Maori settlement on the plains.
13   The Coldstream was the main branch of the Waimakariri, of which it is a literal translation.
14   Alfred Wills' 'Sketch Plan of Native Reserves at Tuahiwi' (near Kaiapoi) is dated September 1848. W. B. D. Mantell was at that time commissioner for the extinguishment of native titles in the Middle (South) Island.
15   The Rakahouri is the Ashley River.
16   The narrative is confused here. The two streams crossed were the headwaters of the Eyre, not the Rakahouri.
17   The lower Waimakariri Gorge.
18   Maori ovens.
19   The Maori village of Rapaki on the north side of Lyttelton Harbour, mid-way between Governor's Bay and the town of Lyttelton.
20   T. M. Hocken (ms. v. 37, Hocken Library, University of Otago) states that on arrival at Akaroa Thomas and Fox 'found Mantell [down on some Government business] playing his accordion in Bruce's grog shanty.' Fox went on in the Fly to Otago, undertaking to return and pick up Thomas in a few weeks time.
21   William Todd was employed by Deans as a servant.
22   Tweed is apparently Tweedale, and Robinson should read Robertson.
23   Probably Greenwood's. See entry 8th April 1850.
24   A Maori, George Tuwhia of Port Levy.
25   Captain Thomas named the mountain Torlesse in honour of this first ascent. Torlesse does not make it clear which of the five peaks he climbed. However, it is apparent from sketches in an Oxford survey field book (No. 169, Lands & Survey Department, Christchurch) that it was in fact Rubicon Peak, 6,442 feet, which is the most readily accessible from the Kowai-Waimakariri junction. See Plate X.
26   William Deans, writing on 3rd August 1848 (Pioneers of Canterbury, p. 128) says: 'We are to have neighbours on the plains this summer, Mr Hay and a Mr Rhodes at Port Cooper being about to form sheep stations beyond us.' FitzGerald's sketch (Plate XII) shows Hay's hut on the bank of the Kowai River with Mount Torlesse behind. John Hay was a nephew of Ebenezer Hay, and joined his uncle in Wellington and accompanied him to Pigeon Bay in 1843. Nothing else is known of his house at the Kowai. In the late 'fifties he took up land at Lake Tekapo after working as a sawyer and builder during the early years of the settlement.
27   A form of parchment.
28   Wills, in his report of September 1848, identifies the Korotuaheka with the Cam. This stream and its tributaries drained several extensive patches of bush, namely those at Rangiora, Tuahiwi and Ohoka.
29   This refers to H. T. Kemp's purchase, the northern boundary of which ran in a straight line NW. from old Kaiapoi.
30   Te Rauparaha, the redoubtable Kapiti chief, sacked the old pa of Kaiapohia about 1831.
31   See entry for 17th December 1848, and footnote.
32   The Heathcote River.
33   Lake Ellesmere on the south side of the Peninsula.
34   Lincoln was a proposed town on the Selwyn River, close to its entry into Lake Ellesmere. Port Lincoln here refers probably to Cass Bay in Port Cooper. It appears to have been the name first given to the settlement's intended port town. See footnote to entry for July 4th 1849.
35   Newcome was one of the Association members who saw Thomas's party off at Gravesend. He was a Welshman, the son of an archdeacon, and had been in the army before coming out to New Zealand. He settled in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough.
36   The Hawkins River.
37   The present Racecourse Hill. It is not clear whether they were using this name for the first time.
38   The Torlesse Range.
39   The Selwyn River.
40   Torlesse uses 'pass' for gorge.
41   Shown on the earliest maps as Mount Talbot, probably High Peak, 3,177 ft, but possibly Round Top, 2,917 ft, both of which command a view of Lake Coleridge. Pukitikumu is from 'puke', a hill, and 'tikumu', a variety of Celmisia.
42   This could be the pitchstone which outcrops on the southern spur of Round Top.
43   Thomas's Sketch Map (see front end-paper) shows a proposed road to Buccleuch crossing the Rakaia Gorge at this point. The present gorge bridge is placed here.
44   Alford Forest.
45   On the Selwyn River near where it runs into Lake Ellesmere.
46   Cass Bay.
47   Port Cooper was named Port Victoria by Captain Thomas, and Port Levy he called Port Albert, after the Queen and Prince Consort. Port Victoria became Port Lyttelton in 1858, and Port Albert reverted to its old name.
48   Torlesse has confused the Hororata River with the Hakatere (Ashburton) River.
49   A headland just north of the mouth of the Waipara River, so called from its appearance from the sea.
50   T. H. Leight was one of the five men who came in the Fly with the exploring party.
51   J. W. Norie & Co., London, publishers of charts and navigational tables.
52   Later Governor's Bay. The line of road is that shown on Thomas's sketch-map. It ran from the town site of Lincoln, on the Selwyn River, over Gebbie's Pass to the site of Christchurch at the head of the harbour. From there it skirted the harbour to Rapaki and over to Stratford, the proposed market-town where Christchurch now stands.
53   Swann was skipper of the cutter Fly. His crew consisted of one boy.
54   Cass.
55   Alexander (Sandy) McIntosh arrived in Wellington in 1840, leased Mrs Sinclair's place in Pigeon Bay in 1846 and about a year later established himself in the bay further east, which was named after him by the Acheron officers in 1849, but which is now often referred to as Menzies Bay. Sandy was a warm hearted, much respected farmer, famed for the excellence of his cheeses which sold locally and on the Australian market. Torlesse is probably referring here to Andrew McIntosh, who was working at the time as a chainman for one of Thomas's parties.
56   James (Paddy) Woods took over the Goashore whale fishery on the south coast of Banks Peninsula from Paddy Ryan in 1840. In 1848 George Rhodes acquired the station from Woods, who had taken to hotel-keeping in Akaroa.
57   Lincoln here seems to be used for Cass Bay. See entry for 22nd January 1849.
58   The French Hydrographic Office published a chart of Banks Peninsula in 1848 which had been prepared by the officers of Le Rhin. a corvette which had been stationed at Akaroa from 1843-5 to look after the interests of the French settlers.
59   E. J. Eyre, stationed at Wellington, was Lieutenant-Governor of New Munster, the southern of the two provinces into which New Zealand was at this time divided.
60   Captain Thomas was anxious to meet Captain Stokes and to obtain his opinion of Port Cooper as a harbour, but he was also determined to be in Wellington in time to put a despatch aboard the Cornelia which was due to sail for England on 1st March. He decided to leave Cass to see Stokes, and he himself left for Wellington on 26th February. In The Early History of New Zealand, 1914, Dr Hocken, usually a reliable historian, has a curious paragraph. After describing Captain Thomas's arrival at Port Cooper in the Fly in December 1848, and the initial exploration of the plains, Dr Hocken continues (p. 218): 'But the search was not yet concluded; it could not be considered exhaustive until he had visited the more southern districts, which were reported to be extremely fertile. Accordingly the bows of the little cutter were turned to the southward, but she refused to move in the face of a strong sou'wester which suddenly sprang up. A little later another attempt was made, but with like result. Captain Thomas accepted the omen. "Here," said he, "let us stay; the fates are against us: these shall be the Canterbury Plains." On so small a circumstance was determined so important a result. But for it the Bluff and Invercargill might have been Port Lyttelton and Christchurch, and there no towering mass of hills would have separated the harbour from the plains'. In fact, as already noted, Thomas went direct to Wellington without apparently having any desire to go further south in search of a site.

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