3rd May 1858
Breeze, S.E., overcast till nearly noon when wind shifted to steady S. breeze and clear sky, cold.
Sailed in the “Tay” at noon from Queen St wharf and anchored about 2.30pm opposite McLeod’s house in Matuku, alias Manganese Bay, Waiheke. En route, having map in hand, recoqnised Ohaki, Motu Korako, apparently an extinct crateriform volcanoe like Maungawhau alias Mt Eden, Motuhi, Tamaki, Howick, Mangamungaroa, Maratai, the Wairoa embouching (sic). Pakihi between Ponui and the mainland and Pukiki, Wakanera alias Rocky Bay, Awaawaroa alias Merricks Bay on Waiheki. Sailed inside Motu Koreka alias Browns Island, landed at McLeods and after taking some refreshment, joined an oyster party at the far point: returned to McLeod’s where I was accommodated with tea and a ‘shake down’ for the night.
4th May 1858 Wind fresh S., clear and cold.
Sallied out alone early and made a detour of adjoining forest and ranges. Tuis and Pidgeons plentiful, former warbling delightfully from the summits of the trees and latter winging their passage over in the direction of the Wairoa: returned in time to go on board the “Tay” which arrived early in the afternoon at Coromandel Harbour passing between Pounui and Waiheki and south of Tarataroa alias McIntoshe’s. About midway across the Thames, the mast snapped off. Capt. Awatea mentioned it’s having been already sprung in a sailing match with “The Maid of the Mill”. About this time went below a little seasick and laid down on one of the berths where I forgot soon all my troubles in sleep awakening is smooth water nearly inside Coromandel Harbour. Recognised Mania and Kikowhakarekare entrances. Seabirds, Gannets and Fishermen plentifully in flocks on this voyage from Matuku Bay westward of which gulls and a black duck (apparently named ‘Red Bills’ by one of the sailors), sailed and skimmed about. Caught no fish en route. The bait, a pearly shell having apparently been snapped off the line unknown to us. Recognized the Huruki, off which I was staying a week in H. M.B, “Tamborne” in 1853 and The Rabbit Island between Taratai and Waiheki where Capt. Genny and who then commanded her took a brass howitzer on shore and exercised the men at a ‘target’ on the S.W. shore of the Island, astounding no doubt the fare natives thereof. Sailing between these two Islands was very delightful, the water smooth, being protected by the high and picturesque shores. On the far side well wooded and indented with bays. The rocks along the shore white with sea fowl hovering about after the fish which are here plentiful.
The ‘Tay” after passing Anderson’s landed some goods at Beeson’s pretty location on Araparoa and then went up the Waiau partway, grounding at the entrance however, the tide ebbing fast at the time. The returning officer ‘Brewer’, (one of two whom ‘Brown’ was left at Waiheki), Austen, self and two passengers (gold diggers landed at The Tiki opposite Sanderson’s house) in a boat which we had much ado to prevent grounding in the Waiau channel, out of which the tide was ebbing fast. On the beach met Horopeta who agreed to take my baggage up to Stapleton for 1/- proceeded with him and another native and met with Mr Preece on horseback on the road. On arrival found Harriet and belongings all well.
5th May 1858
Walked with Harriet and daughter to Naysmiths and saw Elizabeth Naysmith who had grown quite a young woman since in our service as nursemaid a year and a half ago. After dinner, the children, Harriet, Eliza, Maryanne and William Henry walked about a mile into the forest behind Stapleton to the sawpit of a man named by the sobriquet of “Shamus” who had just finished his days work in the company with his partner “Hayles”. These men have both, he said, been soldiers and the former says he can earn ₤5 per week as a sawyer. The pit was at the head of a gully over a stream of water which by and by tasted deliciously cold and fresh. The situation was very picturesque, the sides and bottom of the ravine being densely wooded with masses of the tree fern and supple jack and with numerous creepers etc., being matted in beautiful profusion under the dense foliage of large cedars etc., and overhead forming altogether a delightful “coup de oriel”. The path to this pit was a side cutting on the south side of the ravine about midway up, along which we could only proceed Indian fashion, in file. The sawyers give Mr Preece a length of all the wood cut from his land. The outside pieces technically called ‘slabs’, are the sawyers prerequisite out of which “Shamus” is building his house which we passed going home. Collected specimen of foliage in this wood with the names of which I am not familiar.
6th May 1858 Breeze N., cloudy
After dinner walked with Harriet and Waltham up Naysmiths gully where we say a man called Boots and some other men at work felling trees and with Naysmith and his son sawing at another pit not far from Boots. This ravine is a prettier one than Shamus’s and the trees are larger but the path is not nearly so good, the first part being little better than the bed of a stream. This is called one of the gold creeks. Observed a pink coloured rock plentiful hereabouts and that the trees were larger than in Shamus’s gully. The “Ant” anchored from Auckland.
7th May 1858 Windy S.W., overcast.
This is the polling day for the electors of the Southern Division which resulted in a majority in favour of Mr D. Graham over Capt. Haultham. Wrote to mother and sister to go by the“Tay”. After dinner walked up to Matakitaki Hill with Alfred, the view from which was very fine and extensive, reaching as far as Mahurangi and the Hot Springs coast in the horizon. The wooded slopes on all sided were very fine. This hill is the boundary of the estate to the N.E., the line running to a point near Kauri Point in the centre of the Harbour and it’s name “Matakihaki” is synonomus with Beacon or signal or lookout hill in the English tongue. We ascended it on a wooded ridge or spur which we reached by crossing a fine clear stream. The ascent was rather laborious and rough on account of the dense underwood and I was glad when we emerged from our woody covert on the clear space environing the summit. We descended along a fern covered spur and across a dry swamp reaching Stapelton by nightfall much pleased with the walk. A person taking a trip into the ‘bush’ I find should provide himself with a pocket compass, a small hatchet or tomahawk, an oyster knife, a stout pocket knife, a pocket lense, a small telescope, a pocket pistol and a deep kit or basked with a cover fitted to it if possible. All should be of the best material and portable and if to these are added a few drawing pencils and sketch book, a diary, pens and a pocket ink bottle, they would be fully worth the carriage, but all should be on a small portable scale as to be no impediment.
9th May 1858 Wind S.W., cloudy and overcast
After breakfast walked with Waltham on Kauri Point hills. After dinner, Divine Service at which Mr and Mrs Brown and Mr Street attended. Mr Preece officiated.
10th May 1858 Wind little or none, overcast.
After breakfast walked with Mrs Preece on the beach at Kauri Point. Observed some excavations which were made 14 years ago on the North side of these hills for copper. There are some likely spots for gold hereabouts, seams of quartz and ironstone appears on the face of the cliff and running into the water. About sunset, walked with Maryann, Eliza, Waltham etc., to see the ‘Dove’ which was moored in a small natural cove at some distance from the main channel at the Waiau.
11th May 1858 Wind N., cloudy and calm
Waltham and Harriet went to Wynyard diggings. The latter rode on horseback. En route passed Kapanga, the kanga of “Pita” situated on a pretty plain on Kapanga creek and at the base of the wooded ranges to the eastward. The natives have here a neat chapel and appear well off for orchards and cultivatable land which is not thrown away on Indian corn and wheat is raised as well in this district. The road here is long and level. We met Pita on the road who was driving a horse yoked to a sleigh laden with two bags of corn. He greeted us warmly and seemed glad to see us in this part of the world. Soon after we passed through a gigantic gate hung on a pivot on the top of a strong post. The pivot ran through the top rail of the gate which extended double the length of the under rails and was of massive timber. This extension caused the gate although so heavy to be easily moved as the height of the gate was counter balanced by the propelling beam of the upper rail on the opposite side of the pivot. This is an American notion of the proprietor a man named Paget and although clumsy looking, is very simple and effective and where timber is so plentiful and cheap enough. No hinges would probably be strong enough to support so massive a gate. The road here continues good and soon entered a defile of the mountains lining us through the forest where the overhanging foliage rendered the journey cool and refreshing. About midway I saw a fine Kauri tree which was being cut up into shingles. The process I was before acquainted with. The tree has transverse sections sawn from it say two feet in length. The section is then halved and quartered vertically and shingles split from them in the same direction. A good days work would be splitting from 1000 to 1500 shingles which are packed up into bundles of 100 each, tied with supplejack ready for carriage to market where they fetch about 14/- per thousand. This road terminated at the site of the village of Belleview and at Mr Rings location in the immediate neighbourhood of the ………….and diggings. Mr Ring is erecting a timber mill on native land rented from Paul or Pita. The mill I should think would soon commence operations on the towering Kauris in the vicinity which are here flourishing in primeval grandeur and plentiful on the tops of the range. Mr Keven has here a small house not far from some immense masses of quartz rock on which the crystals were larger than usual. Harriet here demounted and borrowing a pick axe spade and tin washing dish from the Rings. We made our way to the diggings at hand, passing over a place where some deep pits had been made from one of which was mentioned ₤700 worth of gold had been taken. The shafts were now full of water, indeed the future inhabitants of Belleview will have no reason to complain of want of wells and water which abound. Waltham washed several dishfuls of earth from the banks of a stream and from the bed of it likewise, the produce being a dessertspoonful of black sand and plentifully bespeckled with the shining mineral, the effect of our search in the form of minute nugget scales. Were the native to allow of people working on these streams, no doubt a rich find would soon be made but I believe they are afraid of the rush from the Pakehas to take the land away from them by a coup de main. We saw the surveyors posts and cuttings marking out the village of Belleview. The sections appear mostly of small dimensions from an acre to a rood apparently and are mostly situated on fern clad hills and embossed among the surrounding forest scenery, from which I presume the natives would permit fuel to be taken in consequence of a reasonable “utu” or payment being forthcoming. Should this arrangement not be made with the natives, they, (the villagers) will be starving in the midst of plenty in this respect unless indeed they procured coal near at hand or brought it from Kikowhakarekare Bay immediately to the northwards of Coromandel Harbour to which inlet a path leads along the sides of the hills, along which I understand, a cart could be driven a distance of about a mile and a half from Belleville. We returned to Rings where after a welcome meal of bread, butter, wild honey and tea minus the milk, Harriet remounted and we returned to Stapleton by nightfall. Waltham catching a grey mare of his which had strayed onto an Indian corn plantation of the natives to whom he gave six shucks of tobacco as “utu” for damage occasioned thereby. Locations in the woods like Rings are just the places for goats which are more a browsing than a grazing quadruped. We observed a flock at Rings and as this is the kidding time they will soon have plenty of mild from them which they require for the children. There is perhaps enough grass about to support a cow which feeds I believe also on the karaka water cress but the immunity which the goats enjoy from poisoning by the Tipakiki or Tutu has said renders it better adapted for the peculiar vegetation afforded under the greenwood trees where native grass is scarce and English sorts of slow dissemination.
The wild honey hereabouts is dark and as thin as watered treacle, but of a pleasant flavour. A tree being felled to extract it as much as a hundred weight is sometimes obtained I hear from a single tree whether this includes the wax I have not yet learnt.
Went with Waltham to The Tiki plantation of his management, much eaten by rats and went onboard the ‘Ant’ lading for Auckland, a fine little schooner having good cabin accommodation.
12th May 1858
Took a walk this morning on Kauri Point Hills and seating myself at the foot of a stump on the summit of one of them took an outline sketch of Stapleton “nil time, mango labour,” however being all the time slowly devoured by mosquitoes and sand flies in myriads – a breeze sprung up however, relieving me in some measure of my little persecutors. Decaying vegetable matter I suspect is their natural food with only an occasional animal meal in the shape of an unfortunate victim like me by way of alternative to their constitutions. Whether their attentions confer a reciprocal benefit on those victims would be a singular speculation for a physiologist its certain the effect on the mind ‘pro tern’ is anything but sedating or carminative whether ultimately time to ti metaphyscians should determine and settle for general information and government under familiar ‘rencontres pro futuroa.’
13thMay 1858 Wing light from N, cloudy, overcast and squally with light rain.
………………….. by candlelight and ………….. between 6 and 7 in the ‘Dove’ to Anderson’s pretty little bay at Te Poro alias Araparoa Island with Waltham, Alfred, George and Johnny, Castlow and Mr Bushell, picking up Horopeta at the Post Office at the Tiki. In the doldrums most of the way which afforded me an opportunity of taking a sketch of the narrow northern passage between Te Poru and the mainland, giving time for an inspection from the harbour of the sites which Mr Preece recommended for a township and customs house when ever formed. These sites are on the southern side of the harbour, the township to the eastward of the custom house site. The coastline is here formed into bays and a custom house situated here would command the inspection of both entrances and the whole harbour besides possessing the deepest water frontage where large vessels could anchor. On landing Anderson showed me over his garden and a vessel a man named Menzies is building for Horopeta, a cutter of Kauri with Pohutukawa framework. It appeared to me substantial enough but not particularly elegant. Walked, (with the company from the Waiau) over the hills of this singularly irregular and straggling Island to its western extremity. En route Costlow securing a wild kid, its mother running away with the flock of wild goats which our company were hunting. On the beach partook of some oysters and procured specimens of shellfish and a conglomerate rock out of which component parts was Kauri gum which afterwards found had lost it’s inflammability nature whether from exposure or sea water I know not. Returned alone to Anderson’s where I was hospitably invited to dine. Anderson rents five acres from …………………. Here and has the privilege of future purchase I believe or else reimbursement for improvements by purchase when the land is offered for public competition. Returned to Waiau about sunset in Anderson’s boat with Costlow, Waltham, Horopeta and the game, (2 killed and 4 alive) leaving Mr Bushell, Alfred and George on the Island for another days sport when they will return in the ‘Dove’. Our voyage back a rapid one propelled by several squalls and favoured by the tide which carried us up the Waiau anchorage. Arrived at Stapleton rather damp and carrying sketching materials and a couple of wild kids who were obstreperous but fortunately, portable.
14th May 1858 Breeze N.E., cloudy
Finished sketch of Stapleton from the old pah site on Kauri Hill. After dinner walked with Harry and children.
15th May 1858 Breeze, N.E., cloudy
After dinner, walked with Waltham up Shamus’s gully to measure timber.
17th May 1858 Breeze N.E., cloudy
After breakfast walked with Waltham to Wynyard and Kikowhakarekare by Kapanga at which place met Mr Churton who gave us the mail per ‘Snowflake’, crossed Kapanga and passing over a hilly ridge commanding a fine view of the Kapanga plain and church or chapel which we had visited, emerged on the beach in front of Wynyardton from which it is separated by a narrow strip of swampy land at the base of the hills. Beach, a long good and shelly one. After luncheon on it, headed to the swamp near some raupo huts to the right of it and passing through a grove by a good footpath came upon the roadway that Mr Keven is making from here to Belleview through Wynyardton. Several excavators were at work on it. The cutting was a deep one through the hills which separate the sea from Webster’s valley passing through shafts of yellow and pink coloured clay, hard and apparently changing? with stone. Took sketch of the township from a hill to the north of the road – aspect be…. From Taupure hill or ………, the direction of Belleville or N.E., returned to the beach en route Waltham conversed with an excavator who informed him that they were paid 3/7 per cubic yard which they considered a high wage. Continuing our way along the beach and through a mangrove swamp, crossed the isthmus which divided the peninsular from Kikowhakarekare a hilly range and descended on the beach beyond Coromandel Harbour to the north of it, crossed three rocky bays and arrived with oysters and ….. in one of which Kitahi Bay, one of the De Thierry’s has fixed his location and entered the little kainga of Kikowhakarekare near which there is a sawmill of a Mr Rogers late of the firm of Hills and Rogers of Auckland. We here struck inland at this place, the path to Belleview is a broad and good one over the spurs of the hills and coming on a beautiful view of the surrounding scenery which is of a mountainous woodland, character indeed, indeed, this is the prettiest walk hereabouts and one which no visitor to the this place should omit to take. When one ascents to the summit of the range from Kikowhakarekare is surmounted the route is on high table land being the ………………. Of spurs on the opposite ……….side of the range which descend gently to Belleville – from which place we returned to Rings wood, Pagets gate and Kapanga to Stapleton where we arrived at nightfall. Brought back some specimens’ os Surpulea Bevalock (sic) etc.
18th May 1858 Wind N.W., rain
Forenoon indoors after dinner walk to stock yard and helping to milk two cows.
19th May 1858 Wing N.E., showery
After breakfast walked with Harriet and daughter to where the dingy is lying at landing place. Reading Irvings Wolfects Roost and other tales.
20th May 1858 Wind N.W., overcast
Forenoon walked with Mr Preece to Costelos’ sawpit where we saw Costello and Harry Innes at work cutting up mottled Kauri. This tree is rarely met with and is a pretty furniture wood. Mr Preece says the marble is caused by disease, the tree receiving a check by cold winds when the sap is in full flow. Our course to this pit lay over low swampy land at the base of the hills at the rear or E of Stapleton and up the face of the western ridge on a spur and down a ravine the other side. Half way up the ridge commands a fine view of the Harbour through the trees. Its lake like appearance is very striking and pretty. This pit is on Maori land belonging I believe to Puhata alias Broung, a very superior native one dit of Waiheki who is said, intends settling at Coromandel. The sawyers about here appear a very improvident, intemperate race and although earning excellent wages and residing in a place where living is cheap and sawn wood plentiful are mostly housed in raupo whares nearly falling to pieces, indeed, the natives have far better domiciles. After dinner sketching the sea views from Stapleton.
22th May 1858 Wind N.W., overcast and showery
Forenoon, walked with Waltham into the forest up a hill to the rear of Stapleton where we collected young forest seedlings and saw a Kauri tree felled by Shamus and Fred Halls who were two hours at work on it before it was prostrated. This tree was about 5ft in diameter and the descent of a monarch of the New Zealand forest is fully worth a persons while to see. P.m. Finished reading Wolferts Roost by Irving. ‘Ant’ arrived with letters.
23rd May 1858 Wind fresh from N.W., and showery
After breakfast accompanied Waltham and George to Kauri Point over the hills and round the north beach, brought back packs of Sulp acid and from the cliffs there also specimens of ………….and petrified wood. After dinner, Divine Service solemnized at which Messer’s McLachlan, Parker, Hales and Sandy Naysmth attended. Mr Preece officiated. During service Capt Innis arrived having been sent down regarding the coal lately found as a government agent. Left tea time accompanied by Marsden, Freddy and George, walked to Mahinepoa Point, north of Staptelton from which a fine view of Waiau entrance and the harbour to the westward is obtained. Descended to the beach, a fine shelly hard one running along a pretty flat encompassed by an amphitheatre of hills which would make a pretty site for a cottage and ascended a fern and manuka spur to the summit of the ranges where we met Mr Henry driving home the flock of goats from the Point and favoured by a fine clear moon, returned to Stapleton. After tea a cow taken ill by eating Supakiki or tutu, Waltham bled it, gave it a peppery gruel and kept it walking about which appears to have succeeded. Waltham taken poorly with a bout of colic and ill all night. The Kauri hills abound with red and white cornelian, spar and Kauri gum which recent rains have rendered more apparent. Mr Preece is of opinion and he says the Maoris are as well that cornelian is a petrified kauri gum in this Island. This stone being only found he says in Kauri districts of it. Large blocks of jasper lying on the beach and the point, cliffs about in sulph acid apparently which quite colour them in some places. The acid appears as an efflorescence of a (white?) clay between which a seam of iron stone, a whitish sulph apparently is found in this seam which crumbles on touching, said by folks here to be alum but is questionable. These hills deserve the mineralogists’ attentions. Observed today the cedar leaf to be extremely bitter Mr Preece tells me he has found an infusion of it possess all the advantages of (unning?) which I think very probable with others qualifies combined and in dyspeplic and cases of intermittent fever or ague the exhibition of it would probably be invaluable. Apothecaries should experiment on it, I believe it is a Laurel and the leaf is distinguished from that of Piriri by being larger, of a lighter colour and is crenated at the edges and being destitute of the large glands along the appertude of the leaf on each side of the petiole and the kohekahe or cedar leaf besides grows in pairs with a terminal one whereas purii leaves appear falminate growing fan shaped in tuplex with two small ones at the ……..base. Mr Preece tells me he only uses the young green leaves at the top of a tree and that they do not lose their bitter qualities by drying.
24th May 1858 Wind N., cloudy with heavy squalls
Took son to the landing place for a walk before dinner.
25th May 1858 Wind S., fair and calm
After dinner went to Makinapore wood with Wm Henry and George. Observed the Lance wood plentiful in this area.
26thMay 1858 Wind N., clear and frosty
Walked with Harriet and daughter and Waltham to Kauri Point hill, the latter ………. Us from indisposition continued our walk to the point by north beach and walking home by south beach to Makinapore and over the hills.
27th May 1858 Wind S., calm and fair
Walked and rode on Captain alternately with Waltham to Roe and Street’s mill on the Waiau and visited the diggings on this stream, picked up plenty of cornelians hereabouts among the fern. This is a beautiful walk and along a good road which leads over south side of the stream ………….. at Mr Street’s ………… the mill at work to show us the action of the circular saw.
28th May 1858Wind S.W., calm and overcast
Am collecting and packing plants and native seedlings for Auckland
29th May 1858 Gales E., rain
Am accompanied by Messer’s Preece and Waltham, Harriet, Maryanne, Marsden and the children, rowed down to the Tiki but retuned as the ‘Ant’ from Auckland we were to sail on was aground.
30th May 1858 Wind N., calm
Embarked for good on the ‘Ant’ to which we proceeded in the paint? Rowed by Shamus and Hale leaving Waltham at the Tiki. Light airs and an occasional breeze took us over the Thames .
1st June 1858
Arrived at our anchorage off Mechanics Bay, Auckland Harbour, landing at St George’s Bay from where we walked to Epsom Road, safe and sound.
24 March 1860
As you will probably be anxious to know how we fared on our passage from Auckland hither I send you this letter which goes by the first opportunity to ease your mind in this respect. As well as to acquaint you with our doings since our arrival. To commence then from our departure from Karangahape Road where we bid you a fond farewell. On our arrival at the wharf we found that the ‘Albert’ would not sail for two or three hours on account I believe of fresh cargo constantly coming alongside her for shipping, so Harry, the chicks and Mary walked to Cannings after seeing our baggage on board with the puppy who soon made himself at home on the deck being speedily engaged in a game of romps with a little white terrier pup of about the same age and size, the property of Horopeta who’s lady called it ‘Albert’ after his vessel I presume. I then accompanied by Heywood who we met on the wharf and who was bound northwards to Mahurangi, perambulated the town making purchase of eatables to which having accomplished I repaired alone to Cannings to lunch and then we all returned to the wharf but were detained for some time longer by Horopeta who was away at the customhouse and so I took the children, Harry and Mary into the customs iron store on the wharf and which fortunately was near the vessel so that at the arrival of Horopeta we could embark without loss of time. Cissy and Lucas cried a little stepping into the vessel but this soon ceased when we found ourselves comfortably settled on the ‘Albert’ in the cabin of which Mary made them believe they were ever after to live and that it was expressly intended for Cissy and Lucas and Johnny. The Albert cast off from the wharf at say 10 min to 4pm. In a few minutes we were laying over with a fine breeze for the Northhead passing just astern of the ‘Elk’, we held on till sunset bravely with a fresh wind as far as could be passed to the northward of Taylor’s Island and as the twilight faded away, we entered the Thames between McIntosh’s Island and Ponuoi at which time, feeling sleepy I went below and laid down. I came on deck for a minute some time after but finding but that we were half way across the Gulf popped into my berth again and had a good nap which was not disturbed until we were fairly in Coromandel Harbour which we entered about midnight and this accomplished the passage in about 8hrs, which period would have been much curtailed had we started sooner from town by which delay we of course met the usual abatement in the power of the wind, our propelling agent at sunset which may almost always be calculated upon in NZ but on the whole a pleasanter voyage we could hardly have had as the motion was not so great as to cause more than a little squeamishness in which I was not prepared to find Harry participated but I suppose her sedentary married life has had the effect of withdrawing the immunity from nausea she has always hitherto enjoyed on the waves. Harry, Mary and the children laid on the deck between the steersman and the cabin hatchway all night, well wrapped up which was needful as the breeze after nightfall was very chilly, another characteristic of the NZ night. We had several sawyers as passengers and about half a dozen native women of Kitahi’s Kainga near here; they were very kind to Harry and the children, noticing them much, especially Harry who most of them have seen years ago at Puriri, Hauraki and other places. These ladies laid down on the deck covered in blankets and mats, native cloaks too here and there and defied the cold to which the pipe no doubt conduced as far as the nose was concerned. We pakehas complained loudly of the fleas however which could only be got rid of by scrubbing the Vessel for 4 and 20 hours in the way an English Admiral suggested for settling Irish difficulties and killing the vermin which abound and pre…….. by the poverty, hunger and dirt of the Emerald Isle.
We anchored in a bay off William Moore’s shore on the southern shore of the Harbour and laid there riding at anchor for a few hours till dawn which was ushered in as usual under similar circumstances by the sweetly vocal throats of hundreds of the feathered choir which had passed the night near us in the adjoining groves. After sending several boat loads of cargo on shore in a dingy to the proprietor here, Mr Moore (who I should have told you was a passenger and who went ashore almost directly we anchored), we hoisted anchor and sailed across to Kauri Point where we landed with a basket and the puppy, leaving the other baggage to come on to The Tiki in the evening, as it would have been too tiresome to have carried it up to Stapleton from Kauri Point. The ‘Albert’ stood across the harbour from Beeson’s station where more cargo had to be unloaded and we passengers who had landed proceeded on foot to Stapleton across the hills, meeting Mr Preece, Marsden, Alfred and George en route and who assisted Harry and Mary with the children while I proceeded with the basket.
We found Mrs Preece and Maryanne with William Henry, awaiting our arrival. They were aware of our being on board as Horopeta had signalled as much to them at an early hour and we were all soon sitting down to a good breakfast with no small appetite after our ambulatory exertions. In the evening Alfred and I got the baggage up to the landing place by boat from The Tiki where we went to meet the ‘Albert’. Marsden and the other young men of the establishment shouldered it up to the house in a worthy style.
During the day I walked about The Tiki and Maori plantations adjoining, where grapes and peaches abound regaling there on and wishing you and Fussy were here to join in the repartee which was free apparently to all comers and abundant to profusion for everyone. The vines clambering up the forest trees, twining their tendrils and shoots around the brushwood in every direction all beautifully shaded by the same with the peach trees from with numberless birds trilled their melodies and partook of the feast which Dame Nature had here so bountifully provided both for them and for us.
Mathew is very busy fencing in the Tiki for bullocks. We saw him at work with three men. The fence runs a good deal around the edge of the Waiau River with its picturesque windings. He hopes to have it finished in less than 3 weeks from now.
The day before yesterday I went with Mr Preece and George to Rings Mill to endeavour to procure a milk goat as the goats are just now running dry at Stapleton. We had not succeeded however and intend to try Beeson’s on the Island. While at Ring’s we saw the mill at work, a perpendicular saw was slicing up a chunk of timber and soon after that was done, another huge log estimated to weigh about 4 or 5 tons and about 6ft in diameter was hauled out of the dam where it had been floating and brought into the mill to be cut up in the same manner.
We passed through a pretty flat wood on the way to the Mill, where the tree fern abounded and harmonized beautifully with the darker shades of the forest overhead in which the tuneful choir as usual in this fruit season were most charmingly vocal.
Mr Preece and I rode in turns on the mare, George holding himself too good a walker for such help in the bush.
On the road home we met “Pita”, the chief of Kapanga and proprietor of the site on which Ring’s Mill is planted, he recognized me again and we exchanged greetings as old friends. He was mounted on a fine horse which he had just broken in and on whose appearance we complimented him. Mr Preece says he is an upright good man. Yesterday, Harry, I, Mary and the children wandered about the forenoon and made for the grapes and peaches of course, after which we found ourselves surrounded by natives, who left their work threshing wheat to greet us and with whom we soon established a friendly conversational discourse by purchasing a kit of superb black grapes on which we all feasted on our return.
Harry was here recognized as an old friend by several of the natives who knew her when at Puriri on the Thames, once her father’s mission station and where her dear peepers first saw the light. These natives were enjoying quite an Arcadian life and appeared quite comfortable and happy surrounded by their sylvan scenery (which afforded peeps of Castle Rock etc, occasionally through the foliage.) The scene of their labour which is all the day long enlivened by the songs of birds and murmur of water, the latter running in many clear pools of the river close by and from which they may slake their thirst as will do as effectively as the luscious grapes and peaches.
This morning Harry and I and the children visited the cottage of two workmen near here under the woods which we found delightfully situated surrounded by gardens in which melons, pumpkins and Indian corn abounded.
You have now, my dearest mother, been made acquainted with our travels up to date. We are all at present much pleased with our visit and I think it will be of service to us in a sanatory point of view and I wish you were here without the trouble of a voyage if one may call it so but which appears to me to be more a pleasant sail than a voyage.
The English mail has I suppose ‘ere this arrived. I hope you have received letters. Do not fail dear to enclose them on to me by Horopeta and I hope everything goes well with the house and that your are all well. I send you some grapes. Harry finds them to increase the secretion of milk for Johnny. With our united love to you all.
My beloved mother,
Yours very affectionately,
A. H. Spicer.