EUROPEAN ACCOUNT OF THE MASSACRE IN AKAROA HARBOUR
The following narrative of the Maori massacre was published in the Auckland Herald. It was written by a Canterbury resident, in reply to a tale told by John Marmon, a celebrated "Pakeha Maori," whose history of the affair was published in the northern capital.
The compiler of these stories gives it space here, because he wishes to place before his readers everything that is known on the subject:
"In your weekly issue of Jan. 20, I notice your comments on one of the most shocking stories in Maori history, as told by the late John Marmon, and which you believe to be substantially accurate.
You further state that Captain Stewart, the well- known discoverer of Stewart's Island, New Zealand, was master of the vessel that took Te Rauparaha and his party to Banks Peninsula, and that his name will always be infamous for his connection with the atrocious massacre there.
In justice to the memory of the dead, I feel it my duty to correct your statement, and not to allow the name of one of our earliest pioneers to be handed down to posterity in connection with that sad affair.
Now, sir, Captain Stewart, the well-known discoverer of Stewart's Island, and Captain Stewart, master of the brig Elizabeth, were not one and the same person. The former was for many years master of a trading and sealing vessel, sailing out of the port of Sydney. In one of his sealing expeditions he discovered the island which now bears his name.
In his old age he retired from the sea, and took up his abode with an old friend, a Mr Harris, of Poverty Bay, with whom he lived until the day of his death, which occurred in the year 1843 or 1844.
He was a man much respected, and on his visits to Auckland could be easily recognised. No doubt there are a few old settlers still living that have seen, as well as myself, a very tall man walking up Shortland street, in full dress of Stuart tartan (Scotch plaid), and who will recognise in the description Captain Stewart, the discoverer.
Marmon states that Captain Stewart, on his arrival in Sydney, was arrested and put in prison, where he remained six months. This is not true.
I may state that I arrived in Sydney in April, 1833, when everything connected with this notorious voyage was quite fresh in everybody's memory. I have heard it related over and over again. It appears Captain Stewart, after leaving New Zealand, made his way to Sydney. Soon after his arrival the news got spread about, and finally reached the ears of the Government, but, whether from having no jurisdiction, or for want of sufficient evidence, I cannot say, no immediate action was taken in arresting Captain Stewart. In the meantime, and while the Government were deliberating, Stewart cleared out of Sydney, and sailed for a port in South America. This was the last heard of Captain Stewart or the brig Elizabeth in these colonies.
As to Marmon's account relative to conversing with Captain Stewart and John Cowell after their return to Kapiti, I should say it is a fabrication; for to my knowledge Marmon had been living in Hokianga, where he died, for nearly fifty years. I have never heard of his living at any time in the south. Again, it is the first time I ever heard John Cowell's name in connection with Captain Stewart or the brig Elizabeth.
In referring to Captain Stewart and his infamous voyage, I may relate the story as I heard it at the time I speak of, viz.:
In the early days of New Zealand there was a great chief named Te Pahi (head of the tribe to whom Te Rauparaha belonged), who was taken to Sydney, and from thence to England, where he was presented to King George, who was very kind to him, and made him several presents, and told him when he returned to his country to be good to the white man. On Te Pahi's return, he was full of what he had seen in England.
He appears to have been a very good man, and anxious to tell of the wonderful things he had seen to other tribes. He went with a small party in a canoe to Akaroa (Banks Peninsula), to pay a friendly visit to the chief, Te Mairanui. On his arrival, he and his party were treated very kindly.
Not having any suspicion of the treachery in store for him, they all went into the pah, when Te Mairanui and his men fell on them and killed every man. When the news reached Kapiti, there was great excitement amongst Te Pahi's tribe, of whom Te Rauparaha (after Te Pahi's death) was head. Of course, as was the custom then, the tribe were bound to have their revenge on the first opportunity.
This opportunity offered when Captain Stewart made his appearance. Whether Captain Stewart was aware of the real intention of the natives is a mystery, but for certain he was promised a large quantity of flax.
On the arrival of the vessel in Akaroa, the natives, as was the custom, soon came on board to trade, among them the chief Te Mairanui and his daughter, a girl from ten to twelve years of age.
During this time Te Rauparaha and his party were in the ship's hold, keeping out of sight. As soon as the decks were full of men from the shore, Te Rauparaha's party rushed up from below, and killed all they could, with the exception of Te Mairanui and his daughter, whom they took alive.
Te Rauparaha and his men then went on shore, took the pah, and killed all they came across. It was rumoured that human flesh was cooked in the ship's coppers, but this appears to be doubtful.
The brig then sailed for the island of Mana, in Cook's Straits. On the passage Te Mairanui was lashed to the mainmast, and his little daughter allowed to walk about the deck. The story goes that one day Te Mairanui called his daughter to him, and, using these words, said, “They are going to kill me, but they shall not kill or make a slave of you.” With that he took hold of her and dashed her brains out against the combings of the main hatchway.
On the arrival of the brig at Mana, Te Mairanui was taken ashore, and killed in this way:
He was hung up by the heels, a vein cut in his throat, and as he bled to death, they caught the blood in a bowl and drank it. I have never heard (as Mr Travers asserts) that a red-hot ramrod was pushed through his neck, or that Te Mairanui’ s wife was taken by the party of Te Rauparaha. I have not read Mr Travers' work on “The Life and Times of Te Rauparaha,” but I question very much whether he was better informed than myself.
Marmon says that Te Rauparaha and his party went overland from Cloudy Bay to Banks Peninsula. Now, this of itself is sufficient to throw a doubt over his whole version. And, again, he must have been quite ignorant of the geography of the Middle Island of New Zealand, or he must have known that it was impossible in those days to travel the distance without canoes. Then for Te Rauparaha to bring away fifty slaves was another impossibility.
How could he cross the many rapid rivers, where could he get food from for them (there was little or no fern root, as in the North Island) are all questions to be asked. Then, again, Rauparaha's settlement pah was on the North Island. He had no settlement or pah in those days on the Middle Island, being always in fear of Bloody Jack and his tribe, from whom he had several narrow escapes.
At one time they had a desperate fight in Fighting Bay, close to Port Underwood, in Cloudy Bay, which is called to this day Fighting Bay in memory of the fight referred to, so that it is very clear that Te Rauparaha would have to take his departure for his own settlement on the North Island, and this could not be done without canoes.
Then, again, natives in these days never travelled any distance by land when they could go by water in their fine large war canoes, carrying from fifty to a hundred men. If Marmon's version is true, Rauparaha had full satisfaction or revenge for his brother being killed, in killing the unfortunate natives and taking away the fifty slaves. He would not have gone a second time. It is the first time that I have ever heard John Cowell's name in connection with Captain Stewart.
I may state that I arrived in New Zealand in May, 1836, in the whaling ship Louisa, of Sydney, Captain Haywood. We anchored under Mana Island, in Cook's Straits, where the ship remained during the bay whaling season, from May to October.
Te Rauparaha was our chief, or we were under his protection, for which he was well paid in blankets, etc. Although he was a terror among the natives, he was always very good to the whites; in fact, in one instance I have to thank him for saving my life.
It happened in this way: I was ashore with a boat's crew, filling water casks, when Te Rauparaha's son, a lad about sixteen to seventeen years of age, was very troublesome to our men, and annoyed them so much that one of our crew, in a hasty moment, struck young Te Rauparaha in the face, and made his nose bleed.
Now, to draw blood from a chief was one of the greatest crimes that could be committed, and the transgressor very seldom escaped with his life. When the natives saw the blood, they were very much excited, and came rushing upon the crew, flourishing their tomahawks. We all thought our last hour had come.
Old Te Rauparaha, hearing the noise, came out of his hut to see what was up. On hearing the particulars, he told the natives not to touch the white men, for his son was in the wrong. He must take his own part, and fight the Pakeha very good, one Maori, one Pakeha.
It ended in a stand-up fight, in which, to our delight, young Rauparaha got a good thrashing, and we were thankful to get off with our lives. However, young Rauparaha soon forgot it, and we were ever afterwards the best of friends. Had not old Rauparaha been at hand, I am afraid it would have been rather a serious matter for us."
GEORGE HEMPLEMAN AND HIS PURCHASE OF AKAROA
In this paper we publish the text of a memorial forwarded in 1843 by the late Mr Hempleman to George Grey, Esq., then Lieutenant- Governor of the Colony. As will be seen, Mr. Hempleman claims to have been the first purchaser of the greater part of Banks Peninsula, including what was then Wangoolou, but is at present known as Akaroa. It will of course be apparent that if these claims had been substantiated, Captain Langlois' subsequent purchase would have been illegal. Of one thing there can be no doubt, and that is, that the Maoris sold the land twice over, and no doubt would have done the same thing ten times, if they had had the chance. Further on will be found the story of George Hempleman and his claims to Akaroa. The following is the memorial referred to:
To His Excellency George Grey, Esquire, Lieu tenant-Governor and Commander- in-Chief in and over the Colony of New Zealand, &c.
The Memorial of George Hempleman, of Peracke, in the Province of New Munster, Master Whaler and Mariner.
That your memorialist on or about the month of March, in the year 1837, purchased of certain natives, the occupiers thereof, the tract of land hereinafter described, and in the month of November, 1839, when full and complete payment was made to all the parties interested, and at that time assembled for the purpose, received from them a certificate of such purchase, which certificate is in the words and figures following:
" November 2nd, 1839.
This is to certify that Captain Hempleman has purchased the extent of land from Bloody Jack as undermentioned: From Mowry harbour south to Flea Bay north, including Wangoolou, as agreed by the undermentioned, viz,, by payment of one big boat, by name the Mary Ann, including two sails and jib. Extent of land fifteen miles east, south inland.
TOBY X PARTRIGEE.
JACKEY X WHITE.
ALLON X TOMMY ROUNDHEAD.
WALKATOWKEE X A HANE.
KING JOHN X.
JACKEY GAY X BANGANA X.
And witnessed by
JACK X MILLER.
JAMES X REED.
That your memorialist has at times been resident on the land so purchased, and has also fenced and cultivated a portion thereof, and also established and worked a whaling station thereon. That the chiefs of and in that neighbourhood have been always, and are now, ready and willing to admit the sale of such lands to your memorialist, and his rightful claim thereto.
That on or about the month of April, 1840, your memorialist caused to be addressed a statement to the Colonial Secretary for the Colony of New South Wales, and forward of the same to Sydney in the same month, in which statement his claim to the said lands was set forth, agreeably with the provisions of a certain Act of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, empowering the Governor of that Colony to appoint a Commission to examine and report on claims to grants of land in New Zealand.
That sometime afterwards, viz., about November, 1842, your memorialist was informed by the Chief Police Magistrate of Akaroa that your memorialist's claim was not among the gazetted claims to land published at Auckland, whereupon your memorialist immediately wrote to the Colonial Secretary at Auckland a letter setting forth his claim, together with a copy of the statement which had been addressed to the Secretary of New South Wales.
That your memorialist received a reply thereto, stating that the claim had not been received in the Colonial Secretary's office, and inviting him to produce any proof in his power that the letter to the Colonial Secretary of New Suth Wales was actually forwarded at the date specified.
That your memorialist with such invitation obtained a declaration from one Alfred Roberts (the person who wrote the statement to the Colonial Secretary of New South Wales setting forth his claim) of the facts before mentioned. A copy of this declaration is annexed hereto.
That in February, 1840, when Captain Fitzroy was in Wellington, your memorialist addressed a memorial to His Excellency, wherein, after setting forth the facts hereinbefore referred to, he prayed that he would be pleased to take the case into his favourable consideration, and grant your memorialist permission to prove his claim.
That Captain Fitzroy, through his private secretary, replied to your memorialist that the Commission having returned from Banks Peninsula, could not then go again; an officer would inquire into the case.
That no steps whatever or instructions, as your memorialist has been informed, have been taken or issued for the investigation of his claim, the delaying which is to him a source of great loss and anxiety, and
Your memorialist humbly prays your Excellency to permit an investigation to be made into his claim, in order that he may receive a Crown grant upon his establishing a right thereto, or that you will grant to him such relief as under the circumstances may to your Excellency seem meet.
Copy declaration referred to in the foregoing memorial.
I, Alfred Roberts, of Wellington , in the Province of New Ulster, in the Colony of New Zealand, boatman, do solemnly and sincerely declare that I did in the month of April, in the year 1840, by the request and at the dictation of George Hempleman, then of Perake, in New Munster, in the said Colony of New Zealand, master whaler, write a certain letter setting forth the said George Hempleman's claim to certain land therein mentioned, and situate in the district of Perake aforesaid, which he, the said George Hempleman, had purchased of certain native chiefs who had declared themselves the owners and possessors thereof, and who had conveyed the same lands by deed dated November 2, 1839, and further, that I did direct such aforesaid letter to the Honourable C. Leas Thompson, Colonial Secretary for the Colony of New South Wales, and did forward the same by brig Nimrod, which sailed for Sydney in or about the month of April, in the aforesaid 1840, and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of an Act made and passed in the 6th year of the reign of His late Majesty, entitled an Act for the more effectual abolition of oaths and affirmations taken and made in various departments of the State, and to substitute declarations in lieu thereof, and for the more entire suppression of voluntary and extra- judicial oaths and affidavits, and to make other provisions for the abolition of unnecessary oaths.
(Signed) ALFRED ROBERTS.
Declared and subscribed at Wellington aforesaid, this 15th day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-three.
(Signed) M. RICHMOND, C.P.M.
Examined with the copy memorial and declaration in possession of the Commissioner, Col. Campbell.
After his purchase of the Peninsula from Bloody Jack and the other Maori chiefs, George Hempleman appears to have lived quietly at Peraki, making occasional whaling trips, and visiting Sydney to exchange the oil for other commodities. He seems to have seen the occupation of Akaroa by the French with indifference, and to have had no dispute with them whatever about their taking the land. When, however, about the year 1852, he found out that the Peninsula had been included in the Canterbury Association block, and that the English Government had given that Association some right over the land which he looked upon as his private property, he made a complaint to the Lieutenant-Governor in Auckland that his rights had been infringed. The result of his complaint was, that in the first session ever held of the New Zealand Legislative Council, the second ordinance passed was to the effect that all claims made by persons professing to have purchased lands from the natives, prior to the English occupation, should be at once enquired into.
Colonel James Campbell was appointed the Commissioner to investigate the Middle Island claims. Appended is his report on Mr. Hempleman's claim:
Report of the Commissioner appointed to examine and report upon the claims to grants of land under the Ordinance of the Legislative Council of New Zealand, Session 1. No. 2.
Claim No. 39.
Claimant's name George Hempleman.
Address Peraki Bay.
Natives' names from whom Purchased or Obtained. Tuhawaika (or Bloody Jack) and other Native chiefs, with their tribes assembled (see original certificate forwarded), when a deed of sale was executed by the above chiefs and others. John Miller and William Simpson, examined as witnesses in the case, were present on the occasion (see proceedings pages 13, 14, and 15), when the natives unanimously admitted the payment they received, and the alienation of the land in question, of which the following are the boundaries.
From Mowry harbour (as then called), situated on the northern extremity of the Ninety Mile Beach, between that harbour and Flea Bay, and from thence as a base line extending fifteen miles inland, or across Banks Peninsula, that is to say, within a nearly square figure, three sides of which are each fifteen miles in length, including Wangooloa, now called Akaroa harbour. (See accompanying map).
Date of Alleged Purchase.
Made in 1837, but completed 2nd November, 1839.
The payment made to the natives for the land appears to have been a small trading vessel, named the Mary Ann, of about ten tons burden, previously employed in conveying whale oil and bone from New Zealand to Sydney, a quantity of tobacco, blankets, and other slops, etc. Estimated value of the whole at the time, £650,
Commissioner of Crown Lands Office,
Akaroa, March 3rd, 1853.
Sir, As I have nearly concluded my investigation of all claims to land in Banks Peninsula, and as Mr. Boys is proceeding as rapidly in the necessary surveys as the difficulties thrown in his and my way will admit of, I have to request, as there is now no necessity for delay in its final adjustment, you will bring the case of Mr George Hempleman before His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief. I am so dissatisfied with the report I made on the 19th March, 1852, upon Mr Hempleman's claim, and more particularly with what I then recommended to be done for him, that I beg they may be cancelled. And to this I conclude there can be no objection, as His Excellency has not as yet come to any decision as to his case. Therefore, in justice to him, I beg leave to forward another report and recommendation, which I hope will be approved of by His Excellency. As I may now say that all the claims but Mr. Hempleman's to lands in Banks Peninsula have been satisfied, I have also to request, in order to obviate the necessity of Mr. Boys returning to Akaroa, that I may be authorised to employ him surveying the lands to be appropriated to Mr Hempleman, so that I may be enabled to make out Crown grants of them for him,; and in doing so I shall take care that there be reserved for town purposes the whole of the available lands in French Farm Bay, and any other lands I may consider necessary for Government or other purposes, such as Native reserves, etc. As to the latter, I have been anxiously expecting to hear from you. I shall, however, be glad to know as soon as possible if His Excellency would wish me to prevent Mr. Hempleman from selecting any of the lands which Mr. Godley, though he knew they were subject to claims or contracts to be fulfilled, has conveyed to Canterbury colonists and others, not only in Akaroa, but also in other parts of Banks Peninsula, which are within the block purchased by Mr. Hempleman from the natives. You are aware that notwithstanding Mr Godley's conveyance of it to Mr Watson, he (Mr Hempleman) still keeps possession of Peraki Bay, and of which, I conclude, he is, along with other lands, to have a Crown grant. This being done, of course the remainder of Banks Peninsula which is not disposed of will be at the disposal of the Canterbury Association. Yours, etc.
JAS. CAMPBELL, Commissioner Crown Lands, The Hon. the Colonial Secretary, Wellington.
P.S. I think it advisable now to inform you that soon after I had the honour of receiving your letter of the 26th January last, having no hopes of Captain Simeon making any communication to me, I considered it would be best that I should write myself to him on the subject of it. I forward a copy of my letter to him, and I beg you will acquaint His Excellency that I shall as soon as ever I am able, make known to you the result of the efforts I shall make, in order if possible to make an effort to effect an arrangement with Capt. Simeon. But I do not see, in the present state of the Canterbury Association's affairs, what he can do for the colonists, I, however, feel myself by the task assigned me, both most responsibly and unpleasantly situated.
JAMES CAMPBELL, Commissioner of Crown Lands.
The Commissioner has the honour to report for the information of His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief, that having carefully considered what is contained in the foregoing proceedings, and the evidence taken in the claim No. 39, he is of opinion that the said George Hempleman made a bond fide purchase from the Native chiefs, whose names are attached to the deed of sale, forwarded herewith, and their tribes assembled, of the tract of land, the boundaries of which are given on the other side.
And the Commissioner therefore respectfully begs to recommend, in accordance with the 6th clause of the Land Claims Ordinance, that a Crown grant may be given to George Hempleman of two thousand and six hundred and fifty acres of the land situated within the block which he purchased from the natives. And it is further recommended that George Hempleman should only be allowed to select the above extent of land in such parts of the said block as may be approved of by the Commissioner. JAMES CAMPBELL,
Commissioner of Crown Lands.
No. 39. George Hempleman.
Acres 2,650, the extent of land which, under the 6th clause of the Land Claims Ordinance, the Commissioners are authorised to recommend to be allowed to a claimant.
Purchased from Tuhawaiki and other Native chiefs, with their tribes assembled, when a deed of sale was executed by the said chiefs and others, and when the natives unanimously admitted the payment they received and the alienation of the lands, of which the following are the boundaries: " From Mowry harbour, as then called, situated at the northern extremity of Ninety Mile Beach, between that harbour and Flea Bay, and from thence as a base extending 15 miles inland, across Banks Peninsula, that is to say, within a nearly square figure, three sides of which are each 15 miles in length, including Wangooloa, now called Akaroa harbour."
Purchase was made in 1837, but not completed until 1839.
Requires Crown grant.
Description of Land selected by Qeo. Hempleman.
Peraki Bay 500 acres
Flea Bay 500
Land unappropriated by the Crown, situated between German and Robinson's Bays, being within Akaroa harbour , 650
Land unappropriated by the Crown, situated at the head of what is properly called Akaroa harbour, and extending on to and including what is usually called Barry's Bay 1,000
Total 2,650 acres
HEMPLEMAN'S PURCHASE OF AKAROA. 71
N.B. The Crown grants could not be filled up at Akaroa before the Commissioners and Government Surveyor had to leave Banks Peninsula, the winter being too far advanced, and the weather become too inclement for surveying operations. The surveys, however, can be made in the spring, or as soon as the weather will permit.
JAMES CAMPBELL, Commissioner of Crown Lands.
Copy of Report on No. 39.
The Commissioner has the honour to refer His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief to the investigation, report upon, and favourable recommendation as to George Hempleman's claim, which he forwarded on the 19th March, 1852, and also to his communication dated the 3rd March last, upon the subject. To that communication, as also to the Commissioner's whole proceedings in the investigation of George Hempleman's claim, he begs again to refer His Excellency. The Commissioner has also the honour to refer to opinion, dated 15th December, 1852, given by Judge Stephen, the original forwarded to the Civil (Colonial?) Secretary, as to George Hempleman's case, in which His Honour says, " Unquestionably the contract referred to by you " (in the case submitted to the Judge for his opinion, a copy of it also forwarded to the Civil Secretary), "if confirmed by the Commissioner's reports, would take the land as found by the report out of the block granted by the Crown to the Canterbury Association."
The Commissioner having carefully considered what is contained in his proceedings above alluded to, and the evidence taken by him in support of claim No. 39, he is of opinion that the claimant made a bond fide purchase from the Native chiefs, whose names were affixed to the deed of sale in the presence of their assembled tribes, of the tract of land thrown in the said claim, and the Commissioner begs respectfully to recommend, in accordance with the 6th clause of the Land Claims Ordinance, that Crown grants should be given to claimant of two thousand six hundred and fifty acres (2,650 acres) of the land situated within the block which claimant purchased from the natives, as described in claim No. 39.
JAMES CAMPBELL, Commissioner Crown Lands, etc.
George Hempleman was not at all pleased with Mr. Commissioner Campbell's report. He considered that he had fairly bought the fifteen square miles of country for which he dealt with Bloody Jack and the other chiefs, and that the Government should give him a Crown grant. He went to Wellington shortly after the report was made public, to press his claim and he refused to accept the 2,650 acres in compensation. The Government, as a matter of course, stood by the report of their Commissioner. In the meantime the Government gave instructions to have the 2,650 acres surveyed, and Mr. Boys was sent instructions to that effect, as will be seen by the following letter:
Crown Lands Office, Christchurch,
August 23rd, 1853.
Sir, As I am desirous of not interfering with surveys which it may soon be requisite to make up the country, and regarding which I have fully communicated with Government, I have to request that at your earliest convenience you will be so good as to arrange that the lands shown beneath, situated in Banks Peninsula, may be surveyed for Mr. George Hempleman, of Akaroa, for whom Crown grants of them will as usual be prepared.
Directions will be given to Mr Hempleman to attend to and point out where, within the localities specified, he may select in blocks the extent of land pointed out, but of course you will take care that he is not allowed to interfere with or encroach upon any lands for which you are aware that Crown grants have already been recommended by me to be given to other persons, and I beg you will confine him to Government regulations as regards frontages and all, necessary roads, etc., to be reserved for Crown and public convenience.
No. 1 Peraki Bay 500 acres
No. 2 Flat Bay 500
No. 3 Lands unappropriated by the Crown, situated between German and Robinson's Bays, and situated in the Akaroa harbour 650
No. 4 Lands unappropriated by the Crown, situated at the head of what is properly called Akaroa Bay 500
No. 5 Lands unappropriated by the Crown, situated in what is usually called Barry's Bay, and, if necessary, extending from thence towards No. 4 500
Total 2650 acres
The whole of these lands having been saved from any proceedings whatever of the Canterbury Association, under their first Act of Parliament, 14th August, 1850, you will pay no attention in making the necessary surveys to conveyances of any portions of them to the Church, etc., or to individuals, by the agent of the Canterbury Association. Yours, etc.
Commissioner. John C. Boys, Esq.,
Before Mr. Boys, however, had time to put the work in hand he was recalled to Wellington, and the matter was left in the hands of Mr Justin Aylmer, the present Resident Magistrate, who was then Mr. Boys' assistant. Mr. Aylmer, however, resigned almost immediately afterwards, and after some negotiations, Hempleman is said to have signed an agreement that he would take 250 acres where Mr. George Breitmeyer's farm is now situated, in German Bay, and 250 acres in Barry's Bay, where Mr. Birdling's property now is, to settle the whole thing. This statement, however, George Hempleman strongly denied, and the Government, so far as we are aware, never produced any documentary evidence that he had done so. Hempleman must have had a certain right to these properties, for they were actually sold for him. The following letter, written by Hempleman to Sir George Grey in 1876, shows his views on the subject, and makes it quite clear that he had not parted with the whole of his claim for the 500 acres in question:
Wellington, Nov. 16th, 1876. Sir George Grey,
Sir, I have the honour to hand you enclosed herein copies of two letters relating to Mr George Hempleman's claim in Banks Peninsula. The one from Mr James Campbell to Mr J. C. Boys, states, as you will perceive, the whereabouts of the estate then in the possession of the claimant; the other, written by J. E. Fitzgerald, Esq., and directed to your Excellency, is not correct in every particular. The writer states that the Commissioner neglected or refused to examine certain individuals, whose evidence would materially affect the case for the prosecution. Such was not the case; nearly all, if not quite all, were examined, including several English and Native witnesses. He also states that the inhabitants of Akaroa sent in a petition against the decision of the Government. Four of the signatures were Messrs Aylmer, Watson, Doyley, and D. Watkins. Mr. Golden, Collector H.M. Customs, first started the petition, and the four above-named persons possessing fifty acre sections in the town of Akaroa, were afraid that Mr. Hempleman would select their land, hence the petition. Mr. Fitzgerald also states that the claimant was at that time reeling about Christchurch intoxicated. Mr. Hempleman arrived in Christchurch late in the evening, and left again early next morning, allowing very little time to make himself known in that manner.
When Mr J. C. Boys received instructions from James Campbell, Esq., to lay out the land for Mr. Hempleman, he at once made arrangements with the claimant to proceed with it. Unfortunately as soon as arrangements were made, Mr. Boys had to leave for Wellington, and so it was put in the hands of the assistant surveyor, Mr. Aylmer, son of the before- mentioned person. He immediately resigned his position, and so the matter fell through. The next- thing the claimant heard was that he was to receive 250 acres instead. The claimant also signed the requisition under protest. Sincerely trusting that justice will at last be administered.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your very obedient servant,
Sir George replied to this letter from Kawau on December 5th, stating that it was not a matter for him to decide, and referring Hempleman to the Government.
From his earliest residence in the Peninsula, in the year 1835, up till some years after the arrival of the Canterbury Pilgrims, George Hempleman kept a very minute diary of all his doings.
A great deal of it consists of unimportant matters, being a record of the everyday work of the men and the state of the weather. There are occasional entries, however, with regard to the squabbles with the natives and his dealings with them, that are of great interest.
He seems to have had a great dislike and contempt for the Maoris He kept several native servants, who were practically in a state of slavery, and he used to ill-treat these so badly, that the severe thrashing he administered reached the ears of the Government, and on the visit of the Britomart to Akaroa, Captain Stanley, who was in command of that vessel, ordered him on board, with the whole of his dependants, and read an official letter to him, warning him against his proceedings, and informing him that if the cruelty were continued, steps would be taken to punish him severely.
It is not known whether this remonstrance had very much effect, and no one knew that he had received such a document till it was found after his death amongst his papers. There were, however, some excellent traits in his character.
He was twice married, his first wife being a German, who died at Peraki and was buried there. His second wife, who lived in German Bay with him. suffered severely from illness, being bed- ridden for many years, and during the whole of that time Hempleman nursed her with a tenderness which surprised those who knew the many asperities of his character.
He was born at Altona, the principal city of Schleswig-Holstein, in 1799, and died on February 13, 1880, being therefore 81 years of age at his decease. He was a sailor by profession, and being of humble origin, had to go before the mast, gradually rising till in 1835 he had the command of a whaling brig, which came here on a cruise from Sydney. In that year he left a party of whalers in Peraki, and on his return from Sydney in a few months, he made his celebrated purchase from Bloody Jack and the other natives, particulars of which I have already recorded.
Hempleman lived in Peraki for many years, but afterwards removed to German Bay. The last few years of his life were spent in the hospital, this matter having been arranged by the Government for his greater comfort. Whilst there he met with an accident, which was undoubtedly the primary cause of his death, for his iron frame would otherwise have probably enabled him to continue his conflict with the Government up to the present time.
It appears that a fellow resident at the hospital named McGregor, in a fit of insanity, seized hold of old Hempleman, pulled him out of bed, and threw him on the fender, giving him a very severe shaking, and inflicting other severe injuries. From this time Hempleman never fully recovered, the last days of his life being occupied in preparing his case, which the Government had arranged should be heard before the Middle Island Native Land Purchases Royal Commission, consisting of Messrs T. H. Smith and F. E. Nairn, who were to hold their sitting early in March. Mr. Izard was to have appeared for Hempleman, but it was destined that before the Court sat he should have passed away. On Friday, February 13, when visiting his old friend M. Malmanche at his orchard, he suddenly fell and expired whilst eating a peach.
Hempleman was a remarkable looking man. Firm determination was expressed in every lineament, from his prominent nose to his iron chin. His frame was a fitting adjunct to such a head, being large, square, and bony, showing a great power of endurance. He was well known all over the provincial district, and was very genial, being very fond of company, and never tired of repeating his stories of bygone days. He was very exact in these narrations, seldom varying in any important point.
Like most old whalers, he was fond of a glass, and occasionally exceeded, his favourite beverage being Rum. He was enthusiastically fond of the sport of pig hunting, and his gaunt figure was usually accompanied by a pair of brindled bell and mastiffs, and a long stick. When overcome he lay down for a sleep, these dogs would not let a soul approach, and sometimes stopped people from passing along the road.
One strange peculiarity of his was, that he had totally forgotten his own language, not being able to understand a single word of German, which he must have solely spoken till he was twenty-five or twenty-six years of age.
He was continually travelling to Wellington during the session, to urge his claims, and his figure was nearly as well known in the lobbies of the House as that of the Premier. The Hon. Mr. Mantell was an earnest advocate of Hempleman's claims, and took a great deal of trouble in the matter.
During Hempleman's visits to Wellington he used to spend a few days with his friends in Christchurch on the way, and during one of these visits, whilst resting on one of the parapets of the Victoria Bridge, he fell over into the river, and was locked up for attempted suicide. The police, however, soon discovered that Hempleman was not the sort of man to swallow any quantity of cold water voluntarily, and allowed him to proceed on his way to Lyttelton.
He bequeathed his wretched legacy of defeated claims to a grand-daughter, named Miss Kate Welsh, who has, we learn, been advised that she has a claim, but understand she has no intention of prosecuting it. So ends the story of George Hempleman's claim.
GEORGE HEMPLEMAN'S DIARY
The compiler has had placed at his disposal a number of log books, which comprise the diary of George Hempleman, They are yellow with age, dating from November, 1835, at which time Captain Hempleman sailed from Sydney to Banks Peninsula, on a whaling voyage, in the brig Bee.
It was on the 29th November that the brig left Pinch Gut, where she had been lying, and after a short anchorage at Watson's Bay, finally cleared the Heads, a terrible thunderstorm from the southward prevailing at the time. No damage, however, was done, and the vessel got clear of the coast without mishap. The usual events of a voyage followed, but on December 20th a poor woman who had stowed herself in the fore-hold "for love of Mr Wright's nephew," as it is quaintly put, was discovered. She was of course sent back to Sydney by the first opportunity, which happened to be in a whaling barque called the Governor Bourke, with 1,200 barrels of oil aboard.
There were many vessels spoken, and most of them seem to have had a lot of oil aboard, showing how plentiful whales were in those days. The Bee, however, seems to have been a very leaky craft, for they had to pump ship every two or three hours. On Monday, December 21st, they got a supply of vegetables from Lord Howe's Island. On January 11th, 1836, the first whale was captured. A sperm whale that yielded thirty-one barrels was caught on January 25, but the leak kept increasing, and on the 30th they tried to discover where the water came in by breaking out the run, but were unsuccessful.
On Saturday, the 6th of February, the East Cape was made, and the ship hove to for natives to come aboard with pigs and potatoes. She got a good lot, and then stood away to the southward. On Wednesday, the 17th, to quote the log, " Strong breezes and squally. Made and shortened sail as required , and lay-to till daylight; then stood in for the harbour, to come to an anchor in 4 fathoms water, clay bottom,"
The harbour was in Banks Peninsula, but whether or not it was Akaroa is a moot point. Some persons are of opinion it was Port Levy. At any rate, wherever it was, they found a convenient place for hauling the brig ashore, and, stripping off the copper, found several bad places.
Wherever the harbour was, it must have been close to Akaroa, for on March 27th we read that two boats were sent to "Wangaloo," as it is spelt, and on April 15th a boat was sent to Pigeon Bay to cut spars for a house.
On the 18th of April they commenced building a house of "timber and flags," the latter, no doubt, being Raupo. Maoris helped them at the work. On the 27th of the same month the American ships Friendship and Nile arrived. From this time whales seem to have been very plentiful, for there are almost daily records of their being taken.
The Caroline, ship, Captain Cherry, arrived on May 20th, so the harbour, wherever it was, must have been quite lively. Some of the whales gave them a good deal of trouble, for we hear of the boats being stove in, and of narrow escapes, but fish, as they called them, were very numerous indeed, no less than ten being caught in one week.
On Friday, July 15th, they finished their shore works, and all hands were employed getting ready the vessel for sea, and on the 16th they sailed. They got a number of whales outside, and returned to the harbour to try them out.
At length, on Sunday, the 24th of the same month, the vessel put to sea. The voyage back to Sydney was very uneventful and quiet, and on the 9th of August the pilot came on board, and the same evening the good brig Bee, with her valuable freight, dropped anchor in Sydney Harbour.
The records in Hempleman's diary of the events of 1839 are very unsatisfactory. There are bare statements, no doubt intelligible to those who knew all about it, but to us, living so long after, many bear no coherent meaning.
Some of the most interesting passages in the diary refer to the murder of some Northern natives, who came from Queen Charlotte's Sound, and who were working with Captain Hempleman. It appears there were two boys named Jacky and Tommy, who worked in the whale-boats, besides several women living with Hempleman's men. One of these women was actually killed, and Simpson in speaking of it always refers to it regretfully, because he says he could have saved her life by buying her for a blanket, if he had only known.
Bloody Jack being at feud with the Northern natives, and knowing some of them were in Hempleman's camp, came down to kill them, and did actually kill one boy. It appears that this boy Jacky was walking up the Peraki hill with some of the white whalers when they met the Maoris. Jacky was carrying a basket of potatoes, which he dropped instantly and ran for dear life, but they were too quick. One soon overtook him, and stunned him by striking him on the back of the head with a greenstone mere mere, and Bloody Jack then shot him through the head with a musket. The other boy, as will be seen by the diary, was ransomed, and there is a tale to the effect that Hempleman kept him stowed away in a cask for days, and so enabled him to escape the vigilance of Bloody Jack and his followers. We append a few extracts from the log verbatim, thinking it best not to alter either spelling or composition in any particular:
" Saturday, October 26. Fine weather through- out. At 10 a.m. one boat's crew to the river, in search of provisions; at 2 p.m. one out fishing; carpenter employed as yesterday.
" Sunday, October 27. Fine weather throughout. People employed shooting in the bush, one boat's crew at the river.
" Monday, October 28. Fine weather throughout. At 9 a.m. the captain went out fishing and returned at 6 p.m. with the boat's crew from the river, who brought a good supply of pigeons; carpenter employed as yesterday.
" Tuesday, October 29. Fine weather through- out. One boat out fishing, but returned shortly, the wind being too strong; carpenter employed as yesterday.
" Wednesday, October 30, Strong winds through- out, from S.W. At 10 a.m. one boat's crew went to the river; carpenter employed as yesterday.
" Thursday, October 31. Fine weather through- out. At 10 a.m. the boat's crew heard the report of guns up the river, and found it to be two Maoris from Bloody Jack, who was in Oashore Bay, with fifteen boats. At 11 a.m. walked up the hill to Maori Harbour, where the boat was hauled up, when were greatly surprised at seeing about one hundred natives, who came with the intention of killing the boy Jacky, which they did in the most barbarous manner, when having got to Maori Harbour, they refused us our boat, we then walked over the hill to the next bay, where they kept us as prisoners; carpenter employed as yesterday.
" Friday, November 1. Fine weather through- out. The river party still as prisoners, being in great suspense, not knowing whether they were to live or die, still kept as prisoners; carpenter employed as yesterday.
" Saturday, November 2. Fine weather through- out. This day the river party were escorted to Peraki Bay by fifteen of Bloody Jack's boats who came ashore at 10 a m. and hauled their boats up, on their first landing, they discovered the other boy Tommy when in the act of killing him a chief named Taiaroa prevented them by claiming the boy, and shortly after came upon the captain for payment for the boy, which was a new six-oared boat, which the captain consented to, knowing it to be the only way of saving the boy's life; carpenter stowed away in the bush.
" Sunday, November 3. Fine weather through- out. Bloody Jack and his crew still ashore, who asked the big boat as payment for the place, which the captain gave, with three new sails; carpenter still in the bush.
" Monday, November 4 Fine weather. At 10 a.m. Bloody Jack and his gang started for Wangaloa; at 11 a.m. one boat out fishing; at half- past ten a.m. carpenter came out of bush. This day took two white men on, who came with gang from Otago.
" Tuesday, November 5. Fine weather through- out. One boat out all day fishing; carpenter employed at Tonguers boat.
" Wednesday, November 6. Fine weather throughout. One boat out all day fishing; carpenter employed as yesterday.
" Thursday, November 7. Strong winds from the N. One boat out fishing; at 8 a.m. saw five of Bloody Jack's boats pass the heads bound to the southward; carpenters and sawyers at work."
Such is the brief record existing of a tragedy that is a favourite subject for discussion amongst many of the Peninsula veterans.
(CONTRIBUTED BY THE REV. J. W. STACK.)
Some of the Akaroa residents probably remember a wall-eyed old Maori, who lived at Wainui twenty years ago. Among my notes I find the account of his imprisonment at Peraki, as told me by his cousin, the late Henare Pereita, of Kaiapoi. Though somewhat similar to a story already given in the published extracts from the Peraki log, it relates to quite another event. It is interesting as illustrating the merciless manner in which the managers of whaling stations sometimes behaved in those far off times, when they were obliged to take the law into their own hands. The story was as follows:
"While I was living with my friends at Onuku, in Akaroa harbour, I heard that a relative of ours, named Puaka, had been seized by the Pakeha chief (Hempleman) of the whaling station at Pireka, and put into an empty oil cask, and headed up. In vain I begged Tukiauau and Mantai to go and demand his release; for some reason or other they would not, so I went with Mohi Patu and our white man Jim to attempt to obtain it myself.
We were all rather afraid about our errand, as the Pakeha was known to be a hot-tempered man, and we were not quite sure of escaping without punishment, if our interference aroused his anger, as he had forty white men around him ready to do what he told them.
On reaching the station we sent a message to say that we wished to speak to the chief. While waiting for the interview, we got into conversation with the “hands” about the place, and learnt some particulars from them about our friend's capture.
Presently we heard calls for us to go up to the house. We went up feeling very nervous and uncomfortable. Hempleman asked our business, and when we told him that we wanted to see his Maori prisoner, greatly to our surprise, he at once consented.
Taking up a hammer that was lying near his feet, he walked up to a great cask that stood a few feet from his house, and knocked off the hoops round the top of it, and removed the head, then overturning the barrel without any seeming regard for its contents, he told Puaka to come out. Then, slowly and with difficulty there crawled out a horrid-looking object, with matted hair and filth-besmeared body. The stench from the cask was quite over- powering, and we all shrunk back from it.
Then Hempleman told us to carry the man to the front of his house, but only Mohi could venture near him, and he did so by holding his breath. We could not restrain our tears at the sight of our friend, and I went for some water to wash off the filth, but it was long before we got him anything like clean, and then his captor came and fastened him by the leg to an iron bar at the side of the house.
When Puaka was able to speak to us, I asked him what he had done to incur such a terrible punishment. He said, “I happened to be at Wairau when the Pakehas attacked Rauparaha, and the Wairau massacre followed. I was so alarmed at what I witnessed on that occasion, that I hurried down the coast with all speed, to escape the consequences that I feared would follow from the Pakeha's vengeance, but without revealing to any one on the way the cause of my hasty flight. It was not till I reached Otago that I dared to open my lips about what happened at Wairau. A stay of three months in that far off place calmed any fears, and I prepared quietly to return home, but on my way to Akaroa I passed along the coast from Wairewa, instead of going up the valley.
On reaching Pireka (Peraki) I was recognised by the hands, and taken before Hempleman, who said that he had lately heard of my hurrying past him without giving the alarm, and as he, in common with the Maori inhabitants of the Peninsula, lived in constant dread of being surprised by Rauparaha and his northern warriors, he vowed to punish me in such a way as would deter any other Maori from copying my example. Whereupon he took the head out of an empty oil cask, placed food and water in it, and then put me into it and fastened the lid. The only air and light I could get was through the bung-hole.
Here I have been kept for many weeks, never allowed to get out, or to have my cell cleaned, the head of the cask being occasionally removed, when it was necessary to supply me with food and water.
Having heard my cousin's piteous tale, I told him a plan I had devised for securing his escape, since Hempleman positively refused to let him go. I said that when he felt a little stronger he should ask to be allowed to join a boat's crew; and as it was the practice for the crews to pull out to sea very often, on returning to land somewhere along the shores of the bay he would soon have an opportunity of getting into the woods unobserved.
When once clear of the station he was to make for a particular point opposite Onuku, and there light a fire. Having given him these instructions, and seeing that he was fast recovering from the effects of his confinement in such cramped quarters, I returned home.
Not long afterwards I observed the smoke of the signal fire agreed upon between us, and at once paddled my canoe over to meet the fugitive. I learnt from him that he owed his liberty to having acted on my advice. At first we feared pursuit, but Hempleman took no further notice of the matter, and we afterwards met as very good friends."
THE FRENCH SETTLEMENT OF AKAROA
In this and following numbers an account is given of the foundation of the French Colony in Akaroa, and the causes that led to it. The subject is a most interesting one, and so it has been endeavoured to procure information from every available source. This number is taken from "Odd Chapters from New Zealand History," originally published in The New Zealander, and there entitled:
THE NANTO BORDELAISE COMPANY
Though, perchance, somewhat out of chronological order, the attempt to form a French settlement in the Middle Island may follow, pertinently, in these papers, the narration of the intention to found a semi-French kingdom in these Islands.
That the French Government had serious intentions of establishing colonies in the South Pacific, and a penal colony in New Zealand, is apparent from the angry debates in the French Chamber of Deputies on the 27th, 28th, and 29th of May, 1844, when M. Guizot, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, declared that after ' repeatedly repudiating the sovereignty of New Zealand, the British Government was induced, by the proceedings of a rich and powerful company (the New Zealand Company), to adopt measures by which the acquisition of that sovereignty had been completed, at a time when vessels from France were on their voyage to New Zealand for the like purpose.' M. Guizot was, however, misinformed, as the sovereignty was proclaimed prior to the despatch of the vessels mentioned.
In August, 1838, a Captain L'Anglois, the master of a French whaler, purchased, he asserted, from the natives on Banks Peninsula, a block of land defined in the claim as follows: “All Banks Peninsula, with the exception of the Bay of Hikuraki and Oihoa on the south, and Sandy Beach north of Port Cooper; the supposed contents 30,000 acres.”
The block included the whole of the head of the Akaroa Harbour and the site of the present town. Two deeds exist, in the French language, purporting to convey this cession of land, but they were probably not executed, but of this there is no certainty until the return of Captain L'Anglois and M. de Belligny in 1840, after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, neither was there any evidence, either Native or European, that such a purchase had been completed in 1838, save that of one George Fleuret, who deposed to the belief “ that an agreement was then made by Captain L'Anglois for the purchase of some quantity of land.”
Fleuret was desirous of remaining on the Peninsula when the Cachelot (the vessel in which he was serving) went away, but on the captain's remonstrance with him, that he could not stay there alone, and that he (the captain) intended to return, he continued the voyage, and returned with the other immigrants in the Comte de Paris in August, 1840.
On his consenting to return, on his first voyage, the captain showed him “a paper,” which he said was a contract or agreement, signed by a native named Chigarry, (?) for the disposal of, or promise to dispose of, land to him (Captain L'Anglois) upon his return to New Zealand.' He also added in his evidence that he saw the captain “give some pantaloons and cloaks to the Native Chigarry, and others, which he understood was on account of the payment he had promised the natives for land.”
The full amount of the purchase money, in kind, was to have been £240, of which amount only £6 was paid by the captain, in 1838. Upon the captain's return to France, he ceded his right and title to his reputed purchase to a company, consisting of two mercantile houses at Nante, two at Bordeaux, and three gentlemen of Paris, who formed a company called the Nanto-Bordelaise Compagnie, reserving to himself an interest to the amount of one-fifth in the said company, and giving up the deed of sale from the natives, as his subscription of 6,000 francs to become a partner to the amount of one-fifth in the company.
There is a certified copy of this deed, which is of some length, to be found in the proceedings of the New Zealand Company, but it carries no native signature or mark, as would have been the case had it been completed.
We are told by M. S. de Belligny, who styled himself the company's agent, that the object of the expedition was “the colonisation of the Middle Island of New Zealand, and for fishing upon its coasts, and that the company was formed before it possessed the slightest knowledge of the intention of the English Government to take possession of the said island.”
A similar amount of ignorance, however, was not manifested on the English side of the Channel, as the New Zealand Journal in February of the same year, prior to the departure of Captain L'Anglois on his second voyage, remarks: “If the French Government should send her political prisoners to British New Zealand, let it be clearly understood that they are free the instant they set foot on British land. France can exercise no jurisdiction over them there, and supposing the project should ever ripen into action, which is very improbable should the sons of France accept the hand of friendship, which we are quite sure will be held out to them, the New Zealand community will be the better of their peculiar intelligence and skill.”
This, it should be remembered, was a comment on an article in the Journal du Harve on the question whether the Middle Island was a suitable place for the deportation of criminals, the company having agreed to cede to the Government a portion of their acquired territory for this purpose it being in “an excellent position for defence as well as climate.”
The company had a capital of one million francs (£42,000), a sixth of which was only paid up, but the Company had agreed to cede to the French Government one-fifth of its territory “to establish a penal settlement.” Accordingly the ship Comte de Paris sailed from Rochefort, commanded by Captain L'Anglois.
King Louis Philippe was an interested party in the company, and gave a grant of money and picked men from the French Royal Navy as a subsidy to the expedition.
The emigrants, who were 63 in number, although stated in the Journal des Debats to number 100, comprising 30 men, 11 women, and 22 children, complained while on board, and after arrival, of the treatment they received on their passage as other immigrants have since that early date so frequently done.
But those French pioneers had certainly a considerable reason for thus murmuring, for although the good ship Comte de Paris had a complete whaling crew men enough to man four six-oared boats and work the ship at the same time, the captain made the emigrants work in the same manner as the crew, with the exception of their not being compelled to go aloft and furl or make sail.
The immigrants on landing were to have been. “furnished with the necessaries required by the climate, and the implements necessary for the carrying out the mission they were commissioned to fulfil, and to have provisions to serve for twelve months, counting from the time of landing, and five acres of land per adult.” Those conditions, it appears, were not carried out in their integrity.
Five days previous to the arrival of the Comte de Paris, H.M.S. Britomart arrived at the Peninsula, and took possession of the island in the name of the British Crown, whether legally or otherwise is a moot point, as the French flag had been planted on the Peninsula in 1838 by Commodore Cuille, of the Heroine.
Three days later the French frigate L'Aube, commanded by Commodore Lavaud, arrived, and on August the 13th, two days later, the immigrants also, having been on board from the latter end of February.
Among the stores brought were six long 24-pounders, which, upon Captain Stanley's remonstrating with Commodore Lavaud, were not allowed to be landed.
Mr. Robinson, who came from the Bay of Islands in another vessel, was left there as magistrate, and from the Gazette we learn that the Commodore was particularly hospitable, and offered to send his carpenter on shore to build a house for Mr. Robinson, and insisted upon that gentleman's living on board the L'Aube during her stay in the waters of the Peninsula, which offer, of course, was gratefully accepted until the completion of the magisterial residence.
On the 19th the immigrants landed in “a sheltered, well-chosen part of the bay, where they could not interfere with any one,” and commenced, with the characteristic industry of the French workman, to erect houses and cultivate land, and so successful was one of the cultivators, that the Constitutionnel of the following year, commenting on the progress of the Colony, stated that one of the colonists, who had planted himself a league from Akaroa, had, with the aid of his wife, from two acres and a half of land, cleared, in five months, 1,500 francs by the sale of vegetables.
The English inhabitants of the Peninsula, at the time of the landing of the French immigrants, amounted to 84 adults, and their children, so from this source the 1,500 francs would probably partially come.
At the end of the year the immigrants had not procured any stock, but were living on preserved and salt meats, with what vegetables they could get from their “small gardens,” while the commodore of the L'Aube had commenced building a store for them, to protect their property from the weather.
It must be remembered that the frigate stayed at Akaroa for a lengthened period, and the Commodore thereby arrogated to himself the domination of the settlement, but avowed most distinctly to Captain Hobson that he “disclaimed any national intrusion on the part of his Government, but he supported the claims of the company as private individuals, asserting this to be the only bond fide purchase of that district which had been made from the natives.”
It was at this time (November, 1841) that the Governor made the proposal that the company should be given similar terms to the New Zealand Company, and put in possession of a block of land, in proportion to their outlay of capital, in the extreme northern district of the North Island, ' in the district of Kaitaia, where there is a good harbour, with an abundance of fine land with an undulating surface, well adapted for vineyards.”
This proposal was not adopted, and early in the following year (1842) Monsieur Mailleres arrived in England to make arrangements with the Government, with a view to the settlement of the claim and the company's title, when the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners found that an expenditure by the company of £11,685 had been incurred, including, of course, the subsidy obtained from Louis Philippe.
In 1845 Lord Stanley authorised an award should be given to the company of 30,000 acres, their claim not having been brought before the Commissioners appointed to inquire into land claims.
This paper and narrative cannot be better concluded than by quoting a paragraph from Mr. Mackay, in his second volume on southern Native affairs:
“The New Zealand Company purchased the claims of the Nanto- Bordelaise Company, and, in virtue of other subsequent arrangements, whatever lands the New Zealand Company possessed have reverted to the Crown, but through all these proceedings the original question as to what extent the Native title has been extinguished by the French Company has never been decided.
After the cession of the territory to the New Zealand Company, the French Government offered to take the emigrants free of charge to Tahiti, and give them the same amount of property as they possessed in New Zealand, but they all declined the offer."
THE STORY OF THE FRENCH COLONISATION OF AKAROA
As a fitting narrative to follow the last, the compiler has selected the following account of the French settlement, principally written from information furnished by Mr. Waeckerle, one of the original settlers, who came in the Comte de Paris.
About the year 1820, the adventurous seamen who had hitherto captured the whale in the Northern Ocean, found that the fish were fast decreasing in number, and turned longing eyes to the vast waters of the South Pacific, which voyagers had told them swarmed not only with many varieties of the whale tribe found in the north, but also with the huge sperm, whose oil was of great value, as well as the spermaceti found in its head.
A few soon ventured, and their good reports and great success induced many to follow their example. At first the Cape of Good Hope was chosen as the centre of the operations of those daring men, whose lives were in continual peril, but whose profits were enormous, but year by year they fished further and further, and the coasts of Australia and New Zealand were soon made the scene of their dangerous avocation.
About 1835, before the first representative of England (Captain Hobson) had taken up his residence in Auckland, an adventurous French mariner, named Captain L'Anglois, came on a whaling cruise to these seas.
Amongst the many harbours that he visited was the beautiful Bay of Akaroa, the perfect safety of whose sheltered waters went straight to the heart of the rough seaman, after the fierce gales he had encountered in the stormy southern seas.
The luxuriant vegetation that everywhere fringed the inlets, showed that the soil was of exceeding fruit-fullness, the mighty pines that towered above their meaner fellows gave promise of a vast supply of timber, whilst the innumerable Kakas, pigeons, and other native birds, that woke the echoes of the bush with their harmonies and discords, and the fish that swarmed in the waters of the bay, showed that an abundant supply of nutritious food would always be obtainable.
So charmed was Captain L'Anglois with the tranquillity of the spot, that, with a true Frenchman's love of France, he coveted it for his country, and determined to found a colony on this scene of primeval loveliness.
It was in the year 1837 that he first had an opportunity of taking the premier steps in this direction, by purchasing all that part of the Peninsula from the Maoris, which lies between Peraki and the Akaroa Heads. Mr Waeckerle did not know the name of the chief from whom Captain L'Anglois purchased the land, and the price paid for it, but doubtless the amount was a comparatively small one.
In 1838 Captain L'Anglois returned to France, and on his arrival he told some of his countrymen of the purchase he had made, and the result was the formation of a company to colonise his estate.
The company appears to have been encouraged by the French Government, for an old ship of war called the Comte de Paris was lent to Captain L'Anglois to take out any persons who might be desirous of settling on his land, and another armed ship y called the L'Aube, was sent out to New Zealand before hand, under the charge of Commodore Lavaud, to protect the colonists on their arrival.
All this, however, was done quietly, for the English had already settled in parts of the islands, though New Zealand was not proclaimed a British Colony till 1841.
It was not till the middle of the year 1839 that the company was formed, under the name of the Nantes Bordelaise Company. The principal people taking an active part were Captain L'Anglois, and his brother, M. Jacques L’Anglois, and M.M. St. Croix and Eugene de Belligny.
In August, 1839, the company advertised for emigrants in Havre de Gras, offering a free passage and the occupation of five acres of land on arrival, which would become the freehold of the occupier in five years, if cultivated within that time, but if not cultivated it would revert to the company.
Each emigrant was also promised provisions sufficient to last eighteen months after landing in the settlement. There does not seem to have been much enthusiasm shown, for it was the 1st of January, 1840, before some thirty persons left Havre in a steamer bound to Rochefort, whence the Comte d Paris was to sail for the new colony. After an eight days' passage, they arrived at Rochefort only to find that the Comte de Paris was not nearly ready for sea.
On the 8th of March, 1840, everything was ready for a start. A good many more emigrants had joined at Rochefort, so that at that time there were 85 on board, which, with the officers and crew, made the total number of souls on board the Comte de Paris 105. There were six Germans amongst the emigrants.
M. St. Croix de Belligny, who is, it is said, living in Auckland, acted as agent for the company, and by his great affability and skill he appears to have won universal goodwill. There was no stock on board the vessel, not even so much as a cat or dog, but there were choice collections of all sorts of seeds, and a number of carefully selected grape vines.
The start was a most unfortunate one, for the steamer that towed the vessel out missed the channel and the Comte de Paris stuck in the mud, and had to be lightened of part of her cargo before she could be got off. However, on the 19th of March these difficulties were surmounted, and a fair wind soon took the vessel out of sight of France.
The first part of the passage was not eventful, but was very uncomfortable, for the Comte de Paris not only sailed very slowly, but steered very badly. The weather, too, was very rough, and all on board were glad when a short stay was made at an island in the tropics (probably one of the Cape de Verdes), where fresh provisions, including a bountiful supply of bananas, were procured.
Four months after starting, when off the coast of Tasmania, a terrific storm of thunder and lightning was experienced. The lightning first struck the main topgallant and topmasts, and they both carried away. The seamen were terrified at the catastrophe, and great confusion ensued.
Immediate orders were given to take all sail off the mizzen mast, but fortunately they were not immediately obeyed, or there would have been great loss of life, for a second flash struck the mizzen mast, and it carried away about eight feet from the deck, and the vessel broaching to in the trough of the sea, nearly capsized.
Captain L'Anglois and his crew were, however, equal to the emergency. They cut away the wreck and rigged jury masts, and a month later they were off the Peninsula. Here two of the emigrants died, and, as their friends were desirous that they should be buried on land, the vessel anchored in Pigeon Bay, where the remains of the unfortunate colonists were interred on the beach. It was a primitive burial, and all trace of the graves has long since been swept away.
Captain L'Anglois was anxious, before entering Akaroa Harbour, to ascertain if Commodore Lavaud had arrived there, and taken possession of the place, as previously arranged; so he despatched a whaleboat from Pigeon Bay for that purpose.
Four days later the boat returned with the distressing intelligence that there was no sign of the frigate On the 14th of August the Comte de Paris sailed from Pigeon Bay, and anchored at Akaroa Heads on the 15th, and dispatched another boat up the harbour in search of the lagging Commodore.
This time the search was successful, for they found the vessel had arrived, and the frigate's launch was sent to tow the Comte de Paris up the harbour. Very lucky it was for those on board that such was the case, for there was a heavy sea running at the Heads, and one of the flukes of the anchor had broken, and the vessel had drifted close to the rocks. However, the frigate's boat soon had her in tow, and once inside the Heads all difficulties were passed, and the following morning found her safe anchored off the future town of Akaroa.
All on board were delighted and astonished at the delightful prospect and the colonists were determined not to spend another night on board the ship, so all the spare sails and canvas were taken ashore, tents were hastily rigged, and the wearied voyagers reposed that night where the Akaroa Mail office at present stands. The morning of the 17th was calm and beautiful, and the colonists were pleasantly awakened at the first dawn of day by the notes of innumerable birds.
A strange circumstance had been noticed by the new arrivals in coming up the harbour. When the Comte de Paris was towed past Green's Point, near where Mr W. B. Tosswill's residence now stands, all on board saw a small group of men surrounding a flagstaff, from which flew gaily in the morning breeze "the Union Jack of Old England." Such a sight naturally surprised and disturbed the new comers, but they were told it meant nothing, but was merely a piece of vain glory on the part of two or three Englishmen who happened to be whaling in the vicinity.
The real facts of the case, however, were by no means so unimportant as was represented. It appears that Commodore Lavaud, on his way from England, touched at Auckland, and that whilst his vessel was lying in the calm waters of the Waitemata, Captain Hobson, who then represented British interests in the north, though New Zealand had not yet been made an English Colony, entertained him right royally.
It appears that in an unguarded moment the Commodore let out the secret of the French expedition to Akaroa, and what was more injudicious, spoke with rapture of the beauty of the Akaroa Harbour, the fertility of the soil, and other natural advantages.
Now Captain Hobson was a man of action and of foresight. He saw that New Zealand had a great future before it, and was anxious that when it was made a jewel of the British Crown, it should be without a flaw. He then called in stratagem to his aid, and whilst the gay Frenchmen were enjoying themselves ashore after their weary voyage, a small brig of war, named the Britomart, was secretly despatched, under the charge of Mr Robinson, who was instructed to make the best of his way to Akaroa, and if possible hoist the English flag there before the French arrived.
Meanwhile, Commodore Lavaud appears to have been in no hurry to reach his destination, for he knew the sailing qualities of the Comte de Paris, and did not think she could arrive here till the end of August. Besides, the company was good, and he knew Akaroa was only a beautiful wilderness at the best, so it was early in August before the L'Aube sailed down the east coast and passed through Cook's Strait on her way to the Peninsula.
Meanwhile, Mr Robinson and his expedition had not had a very good time of it, and it was with very desponding hearts that on the 14th of August they reached Akaroa, for they feared the French must have been before them and taken possession of the place. What was their delight, then, to find that no foreign keel had ploughed the waters of the bay. No time was lost, the English flag was at once hoisted, and the country claimed for the British Crown.
It was not a moment too soon, however, for the following morning Commodore Lavaud arrived, just a few hours too late. But the new colonists knew nothing of this. The Commodore held a conference with Mr. Robinson, and it was agreed that whilst the French man-of-war remained in the harbour, the English flag should not be hoisted, and the fact of their having taken possession before the arrival of the French be kept a secret, for fear it should lead to disturbances between the English and the new comers.
The secret was well kept, and though of course many rumours were current, it was not till years afterwards that the arrivals by the Comte de Paris were aware that they were living in an English, and not a French Colony.
As soon as possible after the landing the land was allotted to the settlers. As before stated, the bush came down almost to the water's edge in many places, so there was little clear land. It was therefore arranged to divide the land facing the sea into 2 acre blocks, giving one to each emigrant, and to let them select their other 2 acres where they liked, it being the condition of the tenure that the land should be cultivated within five years of the arrival, or revert to Captain L'Anglois. The colonists all avoided selecting land in the bush, but took up the clearings which they found here and there, which were then covered with Toi Toi.
They lived altogether in the tents for about a month, but by that time they nearly all removed to the whares they had built on their respective sections.
The six Germans who were amongst the emigrants found that they could not get their sections altogether in Akaroa, so they determined to explore Captain L'Anglois' estate further. They found a beautiful bay with plenty of clear land a little higher up the harbour, and asked permission of the Commodore to locate themselves there. Permission was granted, five acres were parcelled out for each, and the bay was christened with the name it still bears of German Bay. The Germans built a great V hut, 40ft long by 30ft wide, of timber and rushes, with proper divisions, and in this they passed a very pleasant winter.
Commodore Lavaud built a magazine in Akaroa, just where the Court House now stands, and this was used for the storage of provisions and tools, and also for a hospital. Everything went peacefully along, the seeds germinated well, the vines flourished, and the colonists were content with their prospects. The French settlement was of course under French law, which was administered by Commodore Lavaud. Mr Robinson was the English Resident Magistrate, but his office was almost a sinecure.
REMINISCENCES OF THE FIRST FIVE YEARS
It has been previously related that a Mr. Green resided, when the French colonists arrived, at the point near Mr. Tosswill's, where the British flag wag seen flying by the new arrivals. Mr. Green was in charge of some six or eight head of cattle belonging to Mr. W. B. Rhodes.
Mr. Rhodes was well acquainted with New Zealand, and had had numerous transactions, both with the earliest settlers and the natives some six months before the French arrived, he had been in Wellington, and from thence he went to Sydney, then the most settled part of Australasia, and had purchased a number of the best cattle he could procure, which he brought over in a vessel belonging to him, and placed in various localities under the charge of persons in his employment.
Mr Rhodes was one of those who, at a very early period, recognised the vast capabilities of these islands, and foresaw that in the time to come they would support a large population, and his foresight was deservedly rewarded later on, by the amassing of a very large fortune.
These cattle were not allowed to be sold at any price, and were simply allowed to increase as fast as possible. The cows were not milked, the calves running with them, and one can imagine with what great longing for milk, beef, and butter, they were viewed by the colonists, who at that time had not a single head of their own.
Mr. Green did something else besides looking after the cattle, he used to purchase any grog he could from the whaling vessels that visited the port, and, as there was no hotel, it was a standing joke with the colonists to say that they were going to have a drink of milk at Mr. Green's, when they went there in search of something which they considered far more exhilarating.
In a couple of years Mr. Green left Mr. Rhodes to start an hotel, and was succeeded by Mr. Reid, and a short time after Mr. Joseph Rhodes came to superintend the place, and also another in Flea Bay, where some more cattle had been placed.
He sold the first cow, which realised the enormous sum (for an ordinary milker) of £43. Such was the first start of dairy farming in Akaroa. Cows were, however, soon to become more plentiful.
n 1841, M. St. Croix de Belligny went to Wellington about matters connected with the new settlement, and to get a supply of money. Towards the end of the following year he went to Sydney, and brought back a bull and ten or twelve cows, and also one little entire horse, the first that ever set foot in Akaroa.
This last excited the extreme admiration of the Maoris, and they coveted him exceedingly. This was rather a good thing for the French Association, for the third and last payment for the land was then due to the natives, and the horse was made a part of it. It may here be mentioned that the payment for the land was nearly all in kind, very little money passing.
The Comte de Paris brought out a large number of gaudy old faded uniforms, gold lace, cocked hats, and other trumpery rubbish, which was eagerly accepted as “utu" for the land by the unsophisticated aboriginals.
One must not forget to mention, however, that in this last payment was included a small schooner, built by Mr Sinclair, for which the Association gave that gentleman two hundred acres in Pigeon Bay, in that inlet now known as Holmes' Bay, where the property of Mr. Holmes is at present situated.
M. de Belligny, like Mr. Rhodes, let his cattle go on increasing at first, but on leaving the Colony in 1845, he sold them at the lowest price he could possibly afford, which was from £20 to £25 per head, and very glad indeed were the settlers to get them.
The colonists, however, had had both milk, butter, and beef before this, though they had had to pay a good price for them. The first steer calved in Akaroa by M. de Belligny's cows was killed in 1844, some eighteen months after the cattle arrived from Sydney. Mr Waeckerle was the butcher, and every pound of the beef brought 2s. 6d. per pound, and more would have been gladly given, for fresh beef is never so well appreciated as by those who have been years without it.
The first milk and butter came from Pigeon Bay, Messrs. Hay and Sinclair came over to that place in 1841 from Wellington, and brought some cattle with them, and they found a market for all the butter they could make, at from 2s. 6d. to 3 shillings per pound. The price was afterwards lowered to 2 shillings., and Mr. Hay used to walk over about once a week with twenty or thirty pounds, which he always disposed of at that price.
Mr. Green was the first hotel keeper; after he left Mr. Rhodes he built a commodious hotel at Green's Point, and procured a license. The building was a very substantial one; 40ft. by 30ft., and the timber for it was cut by Mr. Waeckerle. It was only one storey high, but most conveniently arranged, and was very well patronised, more especially when a whaler came in, when there were "high jinks" indeed. The building was afterwards bought by Mr. George Tribe, and taken by him to Lyttelton, and placed on Norwich Quay, where it was burnt down in 1854 or 1855.
After selling this building, Mr. Green bought a piece of land from M. Belligny, agent for the French Association, and put up another and larger hotel in the more central position now occupied by Armstrong's Buildings, just opposite the present Government Wharf. As soon, however, as circumstances warranted it, there was a French hotel, M. de Belligny's servant being the proprietor. The building he put up for that purpose is the house where Mr C. M. Henning at present lives, and, like Mr. Green's, his enterprise was a most successful one.
There was of course no grain of any kind grown the first year or two, and the colonists were dependent on their supplies from outside sources. They were supplied in this manner:
Once a year the French man-of-war on the station visited either Valparaiso or Sydney, and came back with what was required. On the first of these trips, in 1841, the vessel was delayed by contrary winds, and the colonists were in consequence reduced to sore straits for flour, rice, and other farinaceous food.
Tea, too, was at a premium, but the latter was certainly a luxury, and many supplied its place with the Outa- Whai or Manuka. Their potatoes, too, were not yet fit for digging, so that they really were inconvenienced, though of course there was no danger of starvation, with the bush teeming with birds and the harbour with fish, in addition to their own stores.
However, news came that a whaler was in at Port Cooper, and it was immediately determined to send round an expedition to procure the much longed for floor. M. Fleury took the command, and manned a whale boat with five or six men and started for Port Cooper. The winds were, however, peculiarly adverse, and he never got any further than the Long Lookout Point, for the sea was too heavy and threatening, and he was afraid the boat would be swamped.
After making the most persevering attempts for two or three days, the party had to take their boat into the nearest bay, and walk home to Akaroa. Very weary indeed were the adventurers when they started, and the walk through the then almost unexplored country was a very rough one, so that on their arrival back they were nearly dead with fatigue.
No one ever saw or heard anything after that of the whaler in Port Cooper, but a few days afterwards the man-of war arrived, bringing abundance of the much coveted stores to the Colony.
From that time the supply of flour never ran short, for in 1843 and 1844 every one began to grow their own Wheat. Little patches were sown in the clearings, and gave the most enormous returns, eighty bushels per acre being considered only, an ordinary crop. One piece of five acres, on the spur between Akaroa and German Bay, gave a most enormous yield, and, from what was then considered its vast size and extraordinary prolificness, it was the admiration of the colonists. Potatoes, too, did exceedingly well, and soon became very plentiful.
The same frigate did not always stop on the station. Two years after the landing, another frigate, commanded by Captain du Beissy, arrived to relieve the L'Aube. It was optional with Commodore Lavaud whether he should go home on his own or take charge of the new arrival, but he liked Akaroa, and chose the latter course.
Two years later, in 1844, Commodore Berard arrived in another vessel. He was the senior officer to Commodore Lavaud, and so could do as he pleased, and, although Lavaud wished to remain, he sent him Home.
Commodore Lavaud does not appear to have been at all well liked. He was too much of a martinet, and his decisions were in many cases extremely arbitrary. His successor was a very different man, and by his great kindness and general ability soon won the good will of the settlers.
Mr. Robinson, the English Magistrate, too, left in 1842 or 1843, and was succeeded by Mr. John Watson. Mr Robinson's house was where Wagstaff's Hotel now stands. He bought five acres from the French Association there, and put up a dwelling-house which was used as a Resident Magistrate’s Court.
Mr Robinson was not at all liked by the colonists, but his successor, Mr Watson, was universally esteemed both by English and French for his great impartiality in the administration of justice, and his great general kindliness.
When the settlers arrived, there were not many Maoris in the neighbourhood of Akaroa. It is true there were pahs at Onuku, Wainui, and Tikao Bay, but these had only some fifty or sixty inhabitants altogether, and they were a most weak, harmless lot, whose leading vice appeared to be the habit of begging incessantly for everything they saw.
In 1843, however, there were a good number in Port Levy, Pigeon Bay, Little River, and Kaiapoi, and it was then first reported that these were going to unite and make an attack upon the infant Colony during the absence of the frigate at Valparaiso for stores. Of course, with the man-of-war in harbour, the colonists knew they were quite safe, but they did not by any means like the idea of being attacked whilst she was absent. However, one thing was certain, the vessel must go for stores, and so best possible arrangements were made for defence, in case of an attack being made.
A garden had been established at French Farm by Commodore Lavaud, for the growth of vegetables for his crew, and here fifteen or sixteen of the sailors were left, under the command of a quartermaster. Some five or six more men, all that could possibly be spared from the ship, were stationed at Akaroa.
Their precautions, however, were not confined to this, for it was determined to erect three block-houses as places of retreat in case the Maoris came. The sites for these block- houses were selected as follows:
Where Bruce's Hotel now stands, near the beach just at the back of the present Town Hall, and in German Bay. They were very strongly built, the upright timbers being 8ft. by 8ft., whilst the planking was of black pine, four inches thick. They were two storeys high, the upper storey overlapping the lower, as we see in the old English houses in Chester and elsewhere, in order that those above could fire down on any Maoris who attempted to fire the building below.
A ditch 4 feet wide at the bottom and 8 feet at top was also dug round the walls, the earth out of which was made into a sloping bank against the sides of the house, and the ditch was filled with water. The only admittance to these houses was by a drawbridge across the moat, and thence by a ladder to a door in the upper storey, there being no entrance at all from below. When the drawbridge was up and the ladder raised, those within were nearly perfectly safe from any attack the Maoris could have made, for the 4 inch boards would stop any bullet from an ordinary gun. As a matter of course there were loopholes here and there for the defenders to fire from if the place were besieged.
These block-houses were never used but once, and that was during the absence of the ship, when the news was brought that some 250 natives were coming from the North to attack them. The rumour spread rapidly, and the more cautious removed their wives and children and more precious goods into the block-houses, and slept there at night. Sentinels were also posted to give notice of the Maoris' approach, and the men were drilled and armed with a carbine, cutlass, and two pistols each.
At last the word came that from 60 to 100 strange Maoris were actually on their way from Pigeon Bay. All the people then living in German Bay went into the block-house, and when the Maoris found them so well prepared, they of course announced that they came as friends only. They passed on and went into Akaroa, meeting the leaders of the colonists near the present site of the Town Hall.
They announced that they came not as foes, but as friendly visitors, and were accordingly welcomed and had some food given them, after partaking of which they entertained their hosts by giving one of their war dances in grand style, and then they went on to the Kaik at Onuku.
As a whole the colonists behaved very well during their trial, but one gentleman caused much amusement. This was rather a diminutive Frenchman, whose counsels were of blood and thunder before the Maoris arrived. He argued that it was no good going in for half measures; that they must put their foot down and show the natives what they could do. He scorned the idea of anything approaching a compromise, as degrading to a band of resolute Europeans, and said if they were only firm the savages must yield.
When the Maoris really did came, however, a change came over the spirit of the heroic man, and as he gazed at the fierce tattooed faces, sinewy limbs, and great bulk of the Native warriors, his face grew whiter and whiter, and at last he was unable to bear their terrible aspect any longer, and sneaked off into the block- house, much to the amusement of his comrades. He was the only man that showed the while feather, but the week the Maoris stopped was a time of anxiety, and the greatest possible caution was exercised, for all feared that the least relaxation of watchfulness would be the signal for an attack.
One night Mr. Green fired a shot, and produced quite a panic, every one fancying the struggle had come at last. However, after a week's peaceful sojourn at Onuku, Wainui, and Tikao Bay, the strange natives went away, most of them going back via Little River.
There was one pleasant custom observed during these early days, which was, that every family gave a feast to the rest of the colonists annually. These meetings were pleasant ones indeed; whilst the older colonists related their experiences to each other, the younger danced and made love in just the same manner as they do now-a-days.
At the end of the five years the colonists all got their five acres. Many of them had never fulfilled the conditions laid down by the French Association, but that was not allowed to stand in the way, and an English Crown grant was promised and given to all who applied.
There were sometimes disputes between the French officers, and one of these culminated in a duel, which was fought in the present Lavaud Street, Akaroa, in the end of 1845 or beginning of 1846. The combatants were the Commissioner and Dr. Renaut, the doctor-in-chief of the French man-of-war Le Rhin, which Commodore Berard commanded.
The people on shore were of opinion that something most extraordinary must be going on, for the combatants, accompanied by their friends, went round the place early on the morning of the duel, discharging every little liability due to the townspeople.
The duel was fought on the sandy beach opposite where Mrs. Scott's shop at present stands. The distance of 25 paces was carefully and solemnly measured by the seconds in the presence of a group of officers, and the weapons, which were pistols, were carefully loaded and presented to the duellists.
Lots were then drawn for the first fire, and the Commissioner won. Taking a steady aim, he fired, but the cap was defective, and did not ignite the priming. Dr. Renaut then raised his pistol and fired low. The bullet cut the trousers and grazed the right thigh of the Commissioner, but did no further damage.
No doubt irritated by his narrow escape, the Commissioner called out angrily to reload, but the seconds declared that wounded honour was fully satisfied, and refused to allow the combat to proceed further.
There was another circumstance which also tended to stop further hostilities. The Commodore was of course as well aware of what was going to take place as any officer in the Le Rhin, but etiquette forced him to appear unconscious.
During the time the preparations for the duel were being made, he was pacing in front of the old Roman Catholic Church, at the back of the site of Mr. O'Reilly's stables, but before they fired he stepped behind, so as not to see the duel. Directly he heard the shot, however, he hastened to the scene of the combat, and of course the mere fact of his presence prevented its being carried further.
The causes leading to the duel are not known, but are believed to have arisen from a trivial disagreement.
In Pigeon Bay there resided a family named Sinclair, who owned the property now held by the Holmes in Pigeon Bay. In the early days this family and the Hays came from Wellington the same time.
Mr. Sinclair, on his first arrival built a vessel, and went on a voyage with his son-in- law. We have not been enabled to ascertain their proposed destination, but they never were heard of again.
Mrs. Sinclair was therefore left with two sons and three daughters, and with these she worked on and made a good living. She was an exceedingly hospitable, kind old lady, and gave many a night's lodging to a traveller in those early days, who would otherwise have had to spend the night amongst the bush.
One daughter married a Captain Gay, who was commander and owner of a vessel.
After a certain time had elapsed, the family sold out to Mr. George Holmes, and started a regular family ship, and went to British Columbia. Not liking that place when they arrived there, they went to Honolulu, in the Sandwich Islands, where they bought an island for themselves. They prospered there exceedingly, and are now owners of one island and a half.
Some of the family have bought land in the North Island. Frank Sinclair occasionally pays New Zealand a visit, to take away the best bulls, rams, and entire horses he can get, to improve the stock in his island home. The family are now rich, and are shearing from 80,000 to 100,000 sheep. A description of this island was written by Miss Bird, and a few extracts may prove entertaining. She says:
"I must now say a little about my hosts, and try to give you some idea of them. I heard their history from Mr. Damon, and thought it too strange to be altogether true, until it was confirmed by themselves.
The venerable lady at the head of the house emigrated from Scotland to New Zealand many years ago, where her husband was unfortunately drowned, and she being left to bring up a large family, and manage a large property, was equally successful with both.
Her great ambition was to keep her family together, something on the old patriarchal system, and when her children grew up, and it seemed as if even their very extensive New Zealand property was not large enough for them, she sold it, and, embarking her family and moveable possessions on board a clipper ship, owned and commanded by one of her sons-in-law, they sailed through the Pacific in search of a home where they could remain together.
They were strongly tempted by Tahiti, but some reasons having decided them against it they sailed northwards and put into Honolulu.
Mr. Damon, who was seamen's chaplain, on going down to the wharf one day, was surprised to find a trim barque, with this immense family party on board, with a beautiful and brilliant old lady at its head, books, pictures, work, and all that could add refinement to a floating home, about them, and cattle and sheep of valuable breeds in pens oil deck.
They then sailed for British Columbia, but were much disappointed with it, and in three months they reappeared at Honolulu, much at a loss regarding their future prospects.
The island of Niihau was then for sale, and in a very short time they purchased it of King Kaniehameha V for a ridiculously low price, and, taking their wooden houses with them, established themselves for seven years.
It is truly isolated, both by a heavy surf and a disagreeable sea passage, and they afterwards bought this beautiful and extensive property, made a road, and built the house.
Only the second son and his wife live now on Niihau, where they are the only white residents among 350 natives. It has an area of 75,000 acres, and could sustain a far larger number of sheep than the 20,000 now upon it.
It is said that the transfer of the island involved some hardships, owing to a number of the natives having neglected to legalise their claims to their Kuleanas, but the present possessors have made themselves thoroughly acquainted with the language, and take the warmest interest in the island population.
Nihau is famous for its very fine mats, and for its necklaces of shell six yards long, as well as for the extreme beauty and variety of the shells which are found there.
The household here consists, first and foremost, of its head, Mrs Sinclair, a lady of the old Scotch type, very talented, bright, humorous, charming, with a definite character which impresses its force upon everybody; beautiful in her old age, disdaining that servile conformity to prevailing fashion which makes many old people at once ugly and contemptible; speaking English with a slight old- fashioned, refined Scotch accent, which gives naïveté to everything she says; up to the latest novelty in theology and politics; devoted to her children and grandchildren, the life of the family, and, though upwards of seventy, the first to rise and the last to retire in the house.
She was away when I came, but some days afterwards rode up on horseback, in a large drawn silk bonnet, which she rarely lays aside, as light in her figure and step as a young girl, looking as if she had walked out of an old picture, or one of Dean Ramsay's books.
Then there are her elder son, a bachelor; two widowed daughters with six children between them; and a tutor, a young Prussian officer, who was on Maximilian's staff up to the time of the Queretaro disaster, and is still suffering from Mexican barbarities.
The remaining daughter is married to a Norwegian gentleman, who owns and resides on the next property. So the family is together, and the property is large enough to give scope to the grand- children as they require it.
They are thoroughly Hawaiianised, The young people all speak Hawaiian as easily as English, and the three young men, who are superb young fellows, about six feet high, not only emulate the natives in feats of horsemanship, such as throwing the lasso, and picking up a coin while going at full gallop, but are surfboard riders, an art which it has been said to be impossible for foreigners to acquire.
The natives on Niihau and in this part of Kauai call Mrs. Sinclair “Mamma.” Their rent seems to consist in giving one or more days' service in a month, so it is a revival of the old feudality.
In order to patronise native labour, my hosts dispensed with a Chinese, and employ a native cook, and native women comes in and professes to do some of the housework, but it is a very troublesome arrangement, and ends in the ladies doing all the finer cooking, and superintending the coarser, setting the table, trimming the lamps, cutting out and “fixing” all the needlework, besides planning the indoor and outdoor work which the natives are supposed to do.
Having related their proficiency in domestic duties, I must add they are splendid horse women, one of them an excellent shot, and the other has enough practical knowledge of seamanship, as well as navigation, to enable her to take a ship round the world!
It is a busy life, owing to the large number of natives daily employed, and the necessity of looking after the lunas, or overseers.
Dr. Smith, at Koloa, twenty-two miles off, is the only doctor on the island, and the natives resort to this house in great numbers for advice and medicine in their many ailments.
It is much such a life as people lead at Kaasay, Apple-cross, or some other remote Highland place, only that people who come to visit here, unless they ride twenty-two miles, must come to the coast in the Jenny, instead of being convened by one of David Hutcheson's luxurious steamers. If the Clansman were “put on,” probably the great house would not contain the strangers who would arrive."
ARRIVAL OF THE FIRST ENGLISH SHIP
The Monarch, commanded by Captain Smale, chartered by Messrs. Robinson (formerly Resident Magistrate at Akaroa) and Smith, who was the first person who placed sheep on Mr Buchanan's run at Little River, was the first English ship that ever came to Akaroa. She arrived on April 2, 1850, and the following is a full account of her trip, published in the Akaroa Mail in 1877:
"It is now twenty-eight years ago since we first turned our thoughts towards New Zealand. The idea speedily ripened into resolve, and finally we took our passage in a small barque named the Monarch, of 375 tons register, the owners, Messrs. Robinson and Smith, coming out with her.
The crew consisted of the captain, David Smale, three officers, six A.B. seamen, and an apprentice, while the passengers numbered fifty-two, including a doctor. With a small vessel, a short crew, and a few adventurers, for such we might be termed in those days, we set sail for Auckland, but Akaroa was to be our destiny, and there we proved to be the first direct English settlers in what is now called Canterbury.
The town of our adoption, Akaroa, now boasts of a periodical publication, and it has been thought that an epitome of our voyage and the subsequent career of some of those ante-pioneers to the Canterbury settlement, ante-diluvians as we have been jocosely termed might prove interesting to the readers of that journal.
We left Gravesend on the 22nd day of November, 1849, putting into Cowes, Isle of Wight, whence we resumed our voyage at 6 a.m. on the 27th, and, with a fine light breeze, ran down the Channel that day, losing fight of land as the shades of night closed in, and hid it from our gaze.
With Madeira came our next view of terra firma, but we were not able to indulge in more than a fleeting glance, as our captain deemed it advisable to keep as near mid-ocean as was practicable. So onwards in our course until about three days' sail from 'Rio,' when we fell in with a smart-looking craft, the Pilot Fish, bound to that port from Liverpool. The breeze was light, and enabled us to sail in company for two days, during which, by nautical means, we held a long conversation with her captain, who, on changing his course, promised to report us, a promise which we afterwards ascertained he had faithfully fulfilled, and, with one other exception, his was the only vessel we sighted on our passage out.
All went well until, having rounded the Cape, a fine wind favouring us, we sailed from there to the meridian of Hobart Town in twenty- one days, which was considered a smart trip. A few days previous to our reaching this longitude, it was discovered we were getting short of provisions.
Many and loud were the expressions of annoyance and discontent when this discovery was made known to us, so much so that the owners decided upon running for Hobart Town. The wind, however, proved dead against the carrying out of their decision, and being a fair one for our proper course, the idea was abandoned, after four days of beating about, and we once more resumed our voyage to Auckland.
The same evening that we bade farewell to the distantly seen shores of Tasmania, a fearful squall struck our vessel, forcing her through the water at such a speed that the rudder was broken away before sail could be shortened. In addition to this serious mishap, the stern windows were dashed in, and the saloon flooded with about three feet of water.
With great presence of mind, two of the passengers, an elderly gentleman (Mr. Wray) and his daughter, seized feather beds, and managed to hold them over the broken windows until the sailors succeeded in battening them down. In this rudder-less, and therefore helpless state, we were driven before a gale of wind down the west coast of New Zealand.
Fortunately, the weather abating, we were enabled to fix a temporary rudder, and, in about a fortnight from the time of our severe handling by the elements, found ourselves sailing past the Snares. All went well with us until nearing Cape Saunders, when our temporary rudder fell from its bearings, leaving us once again at the mercy of wind and tide, and our escape from shipwreck and destruction on that bold rocky promontory was little short of a miracle.
Soundings were taken at once, only twelve fathom of water being discovered beneath us, while a light breeze, dead on shore, was slowly, but surely, drifting us on to the rocks. Consternation prevailed, but despite the confusion, the boats were got ready for lowering, and the anchor was let go with the hope of arresting further ingress.
“The best laid plans of mice and men gang oft agree,” and never was the quotation more aptly verified than in our case, for no sooner was the anchor dropped, than it was discovered that it had not been shackled to the chain, the whole of which, however, was paid out, and served in some degree to check our drifting. It was night, and only here and there could a star be seen to cheer us. The looming headland looked down dark and threatening from above. Around us the surging, seething billows rushed madly on, to dash themselves to foam against the rocks beyond; while, through the rigging, the breeze seemed to sigh and moan a funeral dirge to our ill-fated ship.
"Hope had fled, and grim despair had taken possession of us all, for there was no chance of extraneous aid, and the coastal steamers which now ply so frequently between our ports, and run up and down the coast, were not then in existence, when, as is often the case just about midnight, the wind suddenly veered round to an exactly opposite quarter, and speedily drifted us away from the land into comparative safety. Then arose sincere and hearty thanksgivings for deliverance in the hour of peril to Him who rules not only the winds and waves, but also the destiny of His creatures.
With the appearance of day, the only spar we had on board was fixed so as to steer the vessel, and under sail we set out for the nearest, or any, port that could be found. On the 27th day of March, 1850, we made the heads of Akaroa Harbour, into which the owners had determined to enter, but the wind proved unfavourable for so unmanageable a rudder, and, in an almost starving condition, we were compelled to lie to for almost a week, before a fair wind arose for taking us in.
On the 2nd day of April we entered the heads at about 7 a.m., and to our great delight saw a boat coming down the harbour towards us. The occupants soon boarded us, and amongst them was an old sea captain, who, knowing the harbour, had come to pilot us up to the anchorage, not forgetting to bring with him some eatables, consisting of new bread, butter, and watercress, which were portioned out, and devoured with voracious eagerness.
It should have been stated that, on the day previous to our entering the heads, a boat with one of the officers and a crew of volunteers from amongst the passengers had proceeded down the harbour, and reported our arrival and condition, which was no doubt the cause of the boat with supplies coming to meet us.
We let go anchor at one o'clock the same day, and in an hour afterwards many of us landed, thankful enough to be on terra firma again after our long and perilous voyage. Here and there might then have been seen small groups of the new arrivals wending their way to seek new friends amongst the strangers, astonished to find, instead of the traditional cannibal of New Zealand, Europeans, like themselves, representatives of England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Savoy, and Germany, who proffered a most hearty welcome, and seemed right pleased to see us, while a few Maoris, to all appearance tame and civilized, joined in the cordial reception accorded to us by all.
Fortunately, among our passengers was a young man who could speak French fluently, and this proved of great service to us. Eventually a kind of patois was established, which enabled us to deal with our new friends, and such was their kindness and hospitality, that after twenty-seven years sojourn in this colony, we still look back with feelings of the keenest gratitude and pleasure to the welcome we received at their hands.
We partook of tea on the day of our landing at Bruce's Hotel. The table was well furnished, and the cooking excellent. As may easily be imagined, we did ample justice to the substantial repast set before us, and enjoyed it as only those can who, for a long time, have neither tasted fresh meat, nor, indeed, a proper meal. For this, our first meal in our new country, we each paid two shillings and sixpence.
As night came on, we returned to the ship, and this daily routine was kept up for about a fortnight, during which we, each day, wandered farther away in the different valleys, becoming at the end of this period so enamoured of the place, that no less than forty of the passengers agreed to remain.
Akaroa was then in all its pristine beauty, so enchanting in its climate, and so picturesque in its scenery, that one could not resist the fascination and the feeling that it was all that could be desired, but we soon found the beauties of the place could not alone satisfy the wants of man, for, owing to the sudden influx of population caused by our arrival, provisions became scarce, and the serious question arose as to whether we had acted wisely in determining to remain.
The ship being yet in the harbour, we had still an opportunity of escape, when news reached us of the arrival at Wellington by the Lady Nugent of the agent for the Canterbury Association, tidings which filled us with a vague hope of better things to come, and so, reluctant to leave a spot which had strangely insinuated itself into our affections, we finally decided to remain.
On the 15th of May, 1850, the Monarch, having had a new rudder made and fixed, sailed away without us for her original destination, Auckland.
During her stay in harbour, four of her crew were drowned from a small boat, when returning to the ship from ashore, where they had been having a spree, all being more or less intoxicated.
We were now left to our own resources, and to shape our course in the best way we could. But, before taking leave of the vessel for good and all, it may be well to add a few particulars about the live stock we were enabled to successfully bring out with us. But few were landed alive out of the original stock. The deer, pheasants (save one brace), partridges, and hares given by Lord Braybrooke died on the passage out. We landed, however, one pure bred bull, two ditto heifers, one pure bred mare, and a brace of pheasants, all belonging to Mr. Smith.
As Canterbury was not known in those days, the mare was sent on to Nelson, and was one amongst the first, it not the first, that won a prize in the Colony, the bull and the heifers remained in Akaroa and the pheasants were let loose in Pigeon Bay. We also brought out vegetable, tree, and farm seeds of all kinds, kindly given us by Lord Mansfield's gardener. It may also be of interest to mention that Mr. Bruce was our pilot into Akaroa, and Big William the first Native on board.
There is always, in narratives of this kind, a certain delicacy in mentioning the names of others, but to some extent it is necessary to do so. Only a few, however, need be mentioned. Some soon removed to other parts of the country, while others turned their thoughts and best attention towards what seemed to each most desirable, and which they thought would best farther their own interests, as well as those of their adopted land.
Among those who settled down may be mentioned the Haylocks, Pavitts, Farrs, Vogans, Parkers, Rule, Green, and Hilleur. After a while the Haylocks decided to erect a flour mill, to be driven by water power. This was accomplished, and the building was named after the street in which it was erected; the ”Grehan Mill.”
The Pavitts built the first saw mill in Canterbury at Robinson's Bay, where they had purchased land. Both these mills were of much service to Akaroa, and their erection may be regarded as a great achievement under the then existing circumstances, for there was no foundry in those days, and only one man, a whitesmith, who knew anything of ironwork.
Nothing daunted, however, by the many and great obstacles, the mills were completed, and, though some parts were of somewhat rude construction, the desired end was attained. Mr. S. C. Farr acted as engineer to this primitive saw mill, and, afterwards, was engaged for the second mill of the same kind in the province, named the “Cumberland Saw Mills,” situated in Duvauchelle's Bay.
My self-imposed narrative now draws to a close, scenes changed, circumstances altered, some rested from their labours and passed on to fairer regions; a few remain, who are with us still, while others, faithful to the old spot, though removed some little distance from it, like to occasionally visit us. Some have done little to mark their course, and, when they pass away, will be forgotten, but there are others who have left their mark upon the rocks of time, not soon to be erased, Their aim has been usefulness; they have been, in every sense of the word , good colonists,"
The Monarch brought some Pheasants, which were turned out at Pigeon Bay, but went over to Port Levy. They did not do well at first, failing to increase much, till some Chinese pheasants were added to their ranks, after which they soon became numerous. Besides the Pheasants, some cattle were brought out by Mr. Smith.
There were fifty-two passengers on board; most were bound to Auckland, at which port the Monarch intended to call first, but forty of these were so delighted with the appearance of Akaroa, which they resolved to remain here. At this time little progress had been made since the first settlement by the French. The English were few and far between, though, of course, a good many whalers, French and American, visited the harbour.
Mr. Watson was the Resident Magistrate, and Messrs. Farr and family, Parker and family, Pavitt and family, two Vogans, Haylock and family, Rule, Green, and Hilleur, were amongst the principal passengers by the Monarch.
Amongst the earlier settlers were Messrs. Bruce, P. Wood, Reed, McKinnon, and others. The two latter squatted on the land afterwards purchased by the Rev. W. Aylmer.
Messrs. Farr, Pavitt, Haylock, and their families, with the two Vogans, settled within the township of Akaroa. Mr. Pavitt, sen,, and his family went to Robinson's Bay, where Mr. Saxton now lives, the elder sons going sawing in the bush. The houses were of the most primitive description, the block-houses being then gradually falling into decay.
Bruce's Hotel had by far the most imposing appearance. Bruce kept it beautifully clean, having it washed down every morning as if it was a ship. He was an old sailor, formerly the owner of a cutter which traded from the south. On Mr. Bruce's first trip here, Captain Smith, late of the Wairarapa, was on board, and a Maori woman. The vessel, when lying inside the heads in calm weather, with all sails set, was suddenly capsized in a squall. The Maori woman, who was down below at the time, was drowned, but the rest succeeded in getting in a boat belonging to the vessel; and Bruce was so struck with the appearance of the place that he determined on settling here, and started the hotel which now bears his name.
Paddy Wood, another "old identity," kept an hotel where Mr. Garwood's store now stands. These two publicans were continually quarrelling, but this was nearly entirely owing to Wood's fault, who was very rough and disputatious. Bruce was a most affable man, and many a tale is told of his kindness and generosity.
Where the private part of Bruce's Hotel now stands, there was originally a store, built by Messrs. Ellis and Turner. These two men, like the publicans, could not agree, so after a lengthy series of quarrels they determined to separate, and divide the property. Here, however, a difficulty arose with regard to who should have the building. At last they hit upon the most original plan of dividing it, and cut it fair down the centre with a cross-cut saw, each party boarding up his own end.
Another store stood where the iron gate near Mr. Garwood's shop is at present situated. This was built by a man named Duvauchelle, and was afterwards used as a lock-up, and at the end of its career in that capacity became a hospital. It now forma the older portion of Mrs. Watkins' store.
The late Dr. Watkins' dwelling-house was then situated on the beach, and was also near Garwood and Co.'s store. It was moved in pieces up to its present position.
Mr. Waeckerle had a flour mill close to where the Chinamen's house now is. A good deal of wheat was grown, principally by the natives.
The first Willow, supposed to be a slip from the one overhanging Napoleon's grave at St. Helena, was planted in German Bay by Monsieur de Belligny. It is from this tree that all those that beautify Akaroa, and the borders of the Avon in Christchurch, originally sprang. This same gentleman also planted the first walnut trees, which have so increased and multiplied. The first Willow was cut down by Mr. Lucas, who appears to have been utterly devoid of sentiment, and, when reproached with his Vandalism, said that he did not see any difference between one Willow tree and another!
The Canterbury settlement was first started in 1848, by an association in England, composed of men of influential position, who were deeply impressed with the necessity of a thorough reform in the management of the colonies.
Their object was to establish a model colony, in which all the elements of a good and right state of society should be perfectly organised from the first. Unity of religious creed being deemed essential, the settlement was to be entirely composed of members of the Church of England; religion and the highest class of education were to be amply provided for, and everything was to be ordered and arranged so as to attract men of station and character, and a high class of emigrants generally, to embark their fortunes in the under- taking.
The scheme was carried out by men whose hearts were in the work, among whose numbers the names of John Robert Godley and Lord Lyttelton are conspicuous. In their hands the enterprise lost nothing of the high character that was first impressed upon it, although many modifications of the original plan were found desirable, and judiciously carried into effect.
The principle of religious exclusiveness was necessarily soon abandoned, and the first ideas of the projectors may have been imperfectly realised in other respects, but it is only just to acknowledge the debt of gratitude that Canterbury owes to its founders, as even the measure of success that crowned their efforts is appreciable in the tone and spirit of its people at the present time.
The first party of emigrants, numbering 791, left England on September 7th, 1850, in four ships, and arrived at the port, now called Lyttelton, almost together, in December of the same year. Mr. Godley, the agent of the Association, was already in New Zealand, and considerable preparations had been made at the Port for the immigrants' reception.
When the Canterbury Pilgrims (as they were called) first viewed their new country from the summit of the volcanic hills that skirt the seaboard, they saw before them a bare expanse of plains, stretching from thirty to sixty miles to the foot of the dividing ranges (the backbone of the country), broken only by a few patches of timber, and with no other sign of civilisation than the solitary homestead of the Messrs. Deans, who had settled there some years before. The only approach to the level land was over the mountains, about 1,200 feet in height, or round by sea to Sumner, and thence by the Heathcote River to Christchurch, as the chief town was named.
Those who can look back from the Canterbury of today to the time when they commenced to spread over the country, to bring their new land under the plough and spade, must feel astonishment as well as pride at the really wonderful results that little more than thirty years have produced. Looking over the Plains now from the Port hills, the eye is delighted with the beautiful panorama spread out before it.
The whole face of nature has been changed. In place of the once bare Plains, with nothing to mark the distance or break the monotonous expanse of level grass land, the spectator sees before him a timbered country, with well- grown forest trees, smiling homesteads, well cultivated fields, and cheerful hedgerows stretching far and wide in every direction; here and there a river glistening in the sun, and the city of Christchurch, only six miles distant, almost concealed amidst the trees.
The first settlers that arrived here under the Canterbury Association were Dr. Watkins, the late Mr. D'Oyley, Mr. Matson (manager for Captain Muter), the late Mr. Dicken, the late Mr. Funnell, and Mr. Hammond, of German Bay.
The next arrival was that of the Rev. W. Aylmer and his family, who brought with him Mr. Moore, Mr. Morgan and his family, the late Mr. Augustus Porter (brother to Mr. John Porter), and Miss Catherine Edgeworth, now Mrs. Garvey. He was the first incumbent of Akaroa, but previous to his arrival two clergymen of the Church of England did temporary duty the Rev. Mr. Thomas and the Rev. Mr. Fenton (cousin of Mr H. H. Fenton).
On Mr. Aylmer's first arrival, the only building available was Commodore Lavaud's original house, containing four small rooms, and a round house built of clay, that used to stand at the back of the present Court House. This was close packing for ten people. Mr. Justin and Mr. K. Aylmer used to live in the round house.
Mr. and Mrs. Aylmer (William J. Aylmer (1802-1883), first vicar of Akaroa) and part of the family walked over from Pigeon Bay, but Mr. Justin Aylmer (1832-1885, son of William J. and Elizabeth Frances Aylmer) and ten others had the pleasure of coming in a cutter of 17 tons burden, named the Kaka, commanded by Captain Kane, now of Timaru.
The trip took no less than a week, the last night off the Akaroa Heads being very stormy and disagreeable, as, owing to the crowded state of the little craft, the hatches could not be kept on. So long was the delay in the vessel's arrival, that Mr. Bruce sent out a boat to look for the Kaka, and one of the crew of that boat was Mr. Gerald Fitzgerald, lately Resident Magistrate at Hokitika.
The first schoolmaster in Akaroa was Mr Wadsworth, who came out in the same ship with Mr. Garwood. He was a very capable man and much liked, but he soon left, and entered the civil service in Victoria, where he now holds a good position.
The first Church of England service was held in the French Magazine, which was also used as a Court House, and stood on the site of the present Court House, and the seats were borrowed from the Roman Catholic Chapel.
Shortly after this, Archdeacons Paul and Mathias paid a visit to Akaroa, for the purpose of holding a wholesale marriage and christening of the natives. The Maoris flocked in great numbers, apparently delighted at the idea. Many of the children had been baptised before by clergymen of various denominations, but they had it done over again to make all sure. Some of the ladies left long strings of their children outside the building whilst they went in to be married.
In these earlier days a brig named the Mountain Maid used to visit Akaroa and other New Zealand ports periodically. She came from Sydney, and was the property of Mr. Peacock, father of the Hon. John Peacock. The Mountain Maid was a perfect floating warehouse, from which the settlers drew their supplies. She had everything on board, "from a needle to an anchor," and her decks used to be crowded by busy purchasers whenever she arrived.
Sometime in the year 1852, Colonel Campbell was sent down by Sir George Grey as Commissioner, to enquire into all land claims. He had with him Mr. J. C. Boys, of Rangiora, as surveyor, and Mr J. Aylmer as assistant surveyor. Colonel Campbell did not make things at all pleasant for the Canterbury Association settlers. He was a disappointed man, having taken great interest in the foundation of the settlement when in London, and fully expecting to be appointed first agent, a post that was afterwards given to Mr. Godley. Mr. Robinson, the first Resident Magistrate, while putting forward certain claims of M. de Belligny (whose agent he was), produced deeds that were remarkably awkward for the Rev. W. Aylmer.
One of these claims plainly showed that fourteen acres of land on which Mr. Aylmer's house now stands once belonged to M. de Belligny. Mr. Robinson, when Mr. Godley first arrived, presented this deed to him, which Mr. Godley threw into his safe and would not look at, and afterwards sold this land as part of a fifty acre block to Mr. Aylmer.
When one says sold, one means that it was selected by Mr. Aylmer, with Mr. Godley's consent, for all land was bought in England at £3 per acre, and its locality was afterwards chosen with a right of exchange.
This fourteen acres of land was some that M. de Belligny had received compensation for, both in money and land. The reason for this was that it had been considered necessary to get the land back from M. de Belligny for the township. In the Association charter these words occur: "Save and except all lands purchased and exchanged with M. de Belligny." M. de Belligny had been away a long time before this.
Of course Mr. Aylmer, having built his house on the land, was placed in a very awkward position, and he went to Wellington in Mr Peacock's brig to see Sir George Grey. After hearing his case, the Government of the day consented to give him a Crown grant, and so the affair was settled
This was only one of the disputes that arose, war raging between Mr. Watson, the Resident Magistrate, and the Commissioner. Sir George Grey paid a visit to the Peninsula in this year (1852), and endeavoured to make peace, but with small success.
Mr. Watson told Sir George Grey that he had no animosity towards the Commissioner, so Sir George Grey suggested they should shake hands and make it up, upon which Mr. Watson said, " Begad, your Excellency, I'd sooner not," and he did not. Manners were then very primitive.
On this visit of Sir George's he had come in unexpectedly one night, having walked from Pigeon Bay. He went to bed at Bruce's Hotel, and Mr. Bruce thought this a fitting time to push some claims of his own; so he walked into Sir George's room, sat coolly down on the side of the bed, and poured his troubles into His Excellency's ears one does not know with what success.
Out of these disputes respecting land arose a duel. It took place between Mr C. B. Robinson, the first Resident Magistrate, whose second was Mr. Cooper, now Collector of Customs at Timaru, and Captain Muter, whose second was the late Mr. Crosbie Ward.
It was fought in a bush track in Holmes' Bay. Pistols were the weapons used. At the first shot Mr. Robinson fired in the air, but Captain Muter aimed at his opponent, though he did not hit him. Captain Muter was anxious for a second shot, but Mr. Robinson declared that if so, he would certainly do his best to shoot his adversary.
The seconds then interfered, being of opinion that wounded honour was fully satisfied, and the affair was brought to an end. Captain, now Colonel Muter, left Akaroa soon after and rejoined his regiment, and much distinguished himself during the Indian Mutiny.
The vessel in which he went Home from India was burnt at anchor, after her arrival in British waters, and in this fire Colonel Muter lost considerably. He afterwards edited an Anglo-Indian paper.
While on the subject of duelling, one may mention that a bloodless one was fought at the Head of the Bay in 1863. The weapons in this case were also pistols, and the combatants were the late Mr. Michael Brennan Hart and a Mr. Woodley, one of the Monarch's passengers. No life was lost, and there are great doubts as to what the pistols were loaded with.
The New Zealand Constitution was granted in the year 1852. For the Akaroa district two members were required for the Provincial Council. There were three candidates, the late Mr. Sefton Moorhouse, Mr. Robert Heaton Rhodes (Senior), and the Rev. W. Aylmer.
Before the polling booth was opened, Mr. Moorhouse drew the attention of the returning officer, Mr. Watson, to the fact that if an elector intended to vote for two members, he must do so at the same time, that is, he could not first vote for one and then go out, and afterwards vote for another.
This had a great effect on the election, as, owing to one of Messrs. Rhodes and Moorhouse's supporters voting for Mr. Rhodes first, and afterwards returning to vote for Mr. Moorhouse, the latter vote was objected to by Mr. W. Aylmer's agent, and the returning officer agreed with him. This made the number of votes between Messrs. Aylmer and Moorhouse exactly the same, and the returning officer giving his casting vote for Mr. Aylmer, he was elected in the second place, Mr. Rhodes having a majority over the others.
Mr. Moorhouse petitioned the Provincial Council to upset Mr. Aylmer's seat, and Messrs. Pollard and Calvert appeared in the case, one on either side. The result of the case was that Mr. Aylmer's election was declared valid.
To show how primitive the people of Akaroa were in these days, and the little amount of public money that was being spent, it may be mentioned that the whole of the inhabitants, headed by the Resident Magistrate and Parson, turned out to repair the road from Bruce's to Waeckerle's.
About this time a sad accident occurred. Two men (one of them the father of Mr. H. Magee) were going over the ranges at the back of Akaroa, when one missed the other. Magee's mate came back to Akaroa, but could give no account of Magee, so a search party was instituted. Magee was found lying dead at the foot of a precipice. Many rumours were current about this affair, the dead man being discovered in a remarkable position.
A LADY COLONIST'S EXPERIENCES
Mr. and Mrs. Peter Brown left Glasgow in October, 1839, in the ship Bengal Merchant, bound to Port Nicholson with immigrants, under the New Zealand Association. The Bengal Merchant was commanded by Captain Emery, and had on board about a hundred passengers. She was the first emigrant ship that ever left Scotland for New Zealand. The passage was a fine weather one, and the passengers were all well during the voyage. The events were few and far between, consisting of the birth of one child, a marriage, and the death by sunstroke of a boy.
No land was touched at till Port Hardy was reached, where a few hours' stoppage took place, and the Maoris were seen for the first time by the new colonists, who were astonished at their primitive costume, one red shirt being the only European clothing amongst the whole hapu.
Port Nicholson was reached early in February, 1840, and the new comers landed at the Petoni Beach. There were very few Europeans living in the place, only one lot of immigrants having landed previously, some fortnight before.
The immigrants were not by any means delighted at the appearance of their adopted home. There were no houses, those on shore living in tents or small makeshift whares of the most wretched description. Such a thing as sawn timber was unknown, and all the fittings of the ship were landed and made into three buildings, one for a hospital, and another for the company's stores, and a third for the ammunition.
There were a good many natives about, and they were of course utterly uncivilised, much shocking the new comers, who were frightened with their wild dances in honour of the arrival of the Pakehas.
There were no licenses at this time, and the consequence was, that everyone who could buy a gallon of grog started a small hotel on their own account. The natives were in consequence often much excited by the drink, and used to lose control over their actions.
Mrs. Brown and most of those who came by the Bengal Merchant went to the Hutt Valley, and took possession of some land close to the river. The river was an excellent one for washing clothes after the long voyage, and it can be imagined how gladly they seized the opportunity.
Whilst thus employed an adventure occurred. They were in the habit of drawing the water with a bucket and a rope attached to it. Unfortunately, one day the rope slipped from Mrs. Gilbert's hand, the bucket sinking to the bottom of the river. Seeing a Native paddling his canoe on the river, Mrs. Brown made signs to him to hook it up with his paddle. Instantly he threw off his mat, and, jumping into the river, he seized the bucket, refusing to give it up without "utu." Not being able to understand his language, they could not find out what he wanted. They offered him food, but he refused. Mrs. Brown then seized the bucket, and ran off with it, but, turning round, saw the Maori following her, quite naked, with his tomahawk raised in his hand. She threw the bucket from her, telling him she would tell "Wideawake," the Maori name for Colonel Wakefield. He kept the bucket in his hand, till at last they came to terms for a flannel shirt.
Being rather alarmed at this, they left this lonely place and came to live in Petoni. A few months afterwards the Maori made his appearance there, and laughing heartily at the story, told Mrs. Brown's husband how he had frightened her.
Mr. Hay (father of the present Pigeon Bay family), who was a passenger, also settled in Petoni, and so did Dr. Logan, the ship's doctor. The arrangements made by the Association for settling the new comers were exceedingly bad. They had been told on leaving Scotland that they were going to a land flowing with milk and honey, but discovered that there were neither of these commodities; in fact, the Bengal Merchant had on board the first cow ever landed in Wellington.
Those purchasing one hundred acres in England had been given a cabin passage, but when they asked for their land it could not be given to them, as it was not yet surveyed.
The British Government, too, objected to Crown grants being given till it had been shown that the natives had been paid five shillings an acre for the land. The consequence of this was that every one squatted where they liked, with the pleasant knowledge that they might be turned off at any moment.
The surveyors, amongst whom were Mr. Deans, who afterwards went to Riccarton, were commencing operations. They laid out the town first, and each purchaser of one hundred acres rural land got his town section of an acre, but for the rest of their purchase they had to wait till the claims of the natives had been adjusted. The result of this unsatisfactory state of things drove many away. For instance, Messrs. Hay and Sinclair left, and settled in Pigeon Bay, and others scattered far and wide.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown and the others who had squatted on the banks of the river Hutt, soon found out their mistake in going to live so near to that treacherous river.
On the 1st of Jane, 1840, Mrs. Brown's first son was born, and that same night heavy rain set in, and the following morning the river had overflowed its banks, and the flood was over two feet high inside the house. The bed in which Mrs. Brown was lying began to float, and as it was impossible to move her, it was proposed to suspend the mattress to the rafters of the house.
As this latter, however, was a very temporary erection, made of small scrub in its rough state, tied together with flax and daubed over with mud, Mrs. Brown objected, fearing the whole structure would give way and she would be drowned. Her entreaties were at last listened to, and she was left where she was.
Fortunately, when the tide turned the river began to fall gradually, so the suspension was never carried out. This flood destroyed many goods, and utterly disheartened the colonists. During that day and the following no fires could be kept alight to dry anything, and altogether misery was the order of the day.
At Petoni and the Hutt the people from each vessel were in the habit of making a separate settlement, as it were. Of these one was known as the Cornish Row, being at the Hutt. One of the people in these whares set his house on fire, and as they were all built very close together, the whole row was burnt, and one ship's immigrants left homeless.
To add to their discomfort, on that same night the colonists experienced their first earthquake. It was a very severe one, and terrified the new comers exceedingly, but luckily no one was hurt. In fact, the houses were of such a frail description, that if they had fallen bodily on any one, he or she would have been none the worse.
The only food was the Company's rations, eked out with an occasional piece of fresh pork from the natives. There were no vegetables but some wretched Maori potatoes and Maori cabbage.
Mr. Peter Brown was a baker, and soon after this he went to Petoni, where he was baking for a Mr. Duncan, a fellow passenger.
Shortly after this the settlement was shifted some seven miles round the beach, from Petoni to Thorndon, and the old huts were abandoned and more substantial buildings erected. The road from Petoni to Thorndon was very wild, there being a few Maori settlements scattered along it.
At one of these, named Wharepouri, Mrs. Brown had another Maori adventure. She was coming from town to Petoni rather late, and, when she came to Wharepouri, found the tide was in, and asked the Maoris to carry her across the creek. For some reason they would not do so, though she offered them all the cash she had. They kept asking her for more, and pointed out the night was fast approaching.
She told them her child was at Petoni, and she must go on, but they only mocked her. At last, finding all her entreaties useless, she leaped in herself, and, though the water was up to her waist, scrambled through. This dreadfully disgusted the Maoris, who by this action lost their "utu" altogether, and the whole pah came out and shrieked and yelled at her, telling her the " typo would seize her by the legs." It can be imagined what an uncomfortable walk home Mrs. Brown had in her wet clothes.
After three years, Mr. Brown got an offer from Mr. Connell to take charge of a bakery at Akaroa, where there were then a good many residents. He accepted the offer, and he and Mrs. Brown left Wellington in 1843, and sailed for Akaroa in the schooner Scotia.
On board the vessel were Mrs. Knight and child. Mrs. Knight was afterwards named Mrs. Webb, and settled in Laverick's Bay, and the child is the present Mr Knight, now residing at Laverick's.
The trip took a long time over a fortnight for a head wind forced the vessel to lay for a time in Cloudy Bay. However, all went well, und they landed at Akaroa in May, 1843, the first person to welcome them ashore being Mr Bruce, the proprietor of Bruce's Hotel.
Akaroa was then a dense bush down to the back of Bruce's Hotel, large pines and Totaras standing nearly to the water's edge, and Mrs. Brown was delighted at the extreme beauty of the place, which was then in its primeval loveliness. There were of course a few clearings here and there, where the French people had squatted, but they were small, as each family had only five acres allotted to them.
The great majority of the population were French and German, there being only some five or six families of English, Irish, and Scotch.
There were, however, three hotels at this early date. The principal was of course Bruce's Hotel, and there was another where Mr. C. Henning now lives, called the French Hotel, kept by a Mr François. The third one was at Green's Point, being the oldest established of them all. The town, however, growing towards German Bay, Mr. Green found he was out of the world at Green's Point, and built a new hotel on the site of the present Armstrong's Buildings; in fact, the existing buildings are the old hotel.
Amongst the hotelkeepers, the most celebrated person was Captain Bruce. He was a sailor man, having been the captain of a large merchant vessel called the Elizabeth, owned by Johnny Jones. He had a cutter of his own called The Brothers, which used to collect whalebone and oil on the coast between Akaroa and Dunedin.
One day, as he was coming into the Akaroa Heads, the cutter capsized in a squall, and left poor Captain Bruce destitute. He was, however, a man of resources, and soon started Bruce's Hotel, which he made a great success, his excessive geniality and knowledge of the sea attracting all the sailors from the whalers. He was a capital townsman, being the life and soul of the place, and might be seen almost any day with his glass in his hand, looking out seaward for the arrival of fresh vessels.
The whaling vessels used always to come in for supplies about Christmas time, and it was no uncommon thing to see a dozen in harbour together at that time, and, as will easily be imagined , a brisk trade was done with the residents for fresh provisions of all kinds.
During the rest of the year, however, the arrivals were few and far between, and there was often great scarcity of certain stores, and the arrival of a small vessel from Wellington, which was really the depot for everything from England, was quite an event.
There being no outside trade, with the exception of the occasional traffic with the whalers, the residents really depended on their gardens for their existence. There were no butchers, but everybody kept pigs, and when one person killed, it was divided all round, the compliment being returned.
There were also great herds of goats running on the hills. These were owned by a great many people, and used to be got in at intervals, when the different owners would mark the kids with their own mark, and some would be killed for the general use.
The pigs were an intolerable nuisance, as they were not kept shut up, but wandered where they liked, doing a great deal of damage. When Governor Grey visited the place in 1847, the inhabitants petitioned him to put a stop to this indiscriminate pig keeping in the streets. He granted the petition, ordaining that all pigs in the town of Akaroa should be kept in confinement.
Finding this was rather expensive, many of the residents took to the hills with their pigs and their cattle, where they could run them undisturbed, Mr. McKinnon and Mr. Lucas got Mrs. Brown to ask Governor Grey whether they might be allowed to squat on the hills, and he replied in the affirmative, saying they had better go there "and breed children and cattle as fast as they could." This permission was taken abundant advantage of.
At that time there was no settler on the south side of the harbour, though Mr. George Rhodes had stations at Long and Flea Bays, Mr. McKinnon went to Island Bay, and Mr. Lucas to Land's End, and, as they did well, many others were encouraged to follow them. Mr. Wright went to Wakamoa next, and Hempleman was living at Peraki on a whaling station, Job Price at Ikeraki, and Mr. Wood, better known as "Paddy Wood," at Oauhau. These latter were all whaling, and kept little stock for their own use. There were great droves of wild pigs on the hills, and in the whaling season these used to come down in hundreds to feed on the blubber.
Mr. Connell went to Nelson, and left Mr. and Mrs. Brown out of employment. Mr. Wood persuaded Mr. Brown to go as cook and baker to Oauhau, but they had no idea of how rough it was. They went round in a whale-boat. There was a great swell on outside, though the weather was fine in Akaroa. Not a word was spoken the whole way, and when they got in Mr. Wood said that he was never in a worse sea.
The place was terribly rough, and, as there was no firewood, the food had to be cooked with whales' blubber. They ran short of provisions, and the men got discontented, and the station was left a month before the usual time, much to the gratification of Mr. and Mrs, Brown, who spent a very wretched three months there.
Of course at this time there were no surveys and no Crown grants, and Hempleman asserted that nearly the whole of the Peninsula was his, so that any one lived rent free.
There were no very large Maori settlements; Little River and Taumutu were the principal pahs, but a good many were living in Pigeon Bay and Port Levy.
The Akaroa natives were at Tikao Bay and Onuku, and were very friendly with the Europeans. Tuhau was the leading chief, and one of his two wives is still living. Tikao was chief of the Tikao Bay Maoris, but a younger brother, also bearing the same name, is now in command.
It will thus be seen that year by year, though by slow degrees, the settlement of the Peninsula was proceeding, and population spreading from the town itself to the adjacent hills.
The French and Germans got Crown grants of the land they had been originally given, on their taking out letters of naturalisation, and thus a great many new subjects were gained to Her Majesty.
Bishop Selwyn used to come round periodically and visit the settlers and the Maoris.
The first Presbyterian service was held by the Rev. C. Fraser in Mrs. Brown's house, near where Mrs. Rhodes now lives, but it was long afterwards before they had the first resident minister, who was the Rev. Mr. Grant, who afterwards went to Christchurch, and, as many of our readers will remember, was subsequently lost in the Matoaka.
Probably the oldest living white resident on the Peninsula now lives at our Akaroa Hospital. He has been a fine-looking man. The features are marked, determined, and regular, and his high, broad forehead shows that his brains were of no mean order. There is a deep scar on the right brow, on which hangs a tale, of which more hereafter.
Age and hardship have made him a mere skeleton, but there is still great vitality apparent in his bright eyes, which kindle when he is spoken to of old times. He has been, as most of the readers of the Akaroa Mail know, residing at Mr McPhail's, at Island Bay, but recently an attack of illness rendered it necessary to bring him to Akaroa for medical aid.
Simpson is an old sailor, who was born in Berkshire just seventy years ago, according to his own account, though many fancy he is much older. He was early apprenticed to the owner of some vessels running in the West India trade, and he spent his time in the ordinary manner.
When he had completed his time, he shipped for Sydney in a large ship called the Mary Ann. This vessel was built for troops, and took out the 28th Regiment to New South Wales. Her commander, Captain Smith, is described by Simpson as a perfect brute, and dire were the quarrels that took place between him and the men. This gentleman was familiarly known as "Pirate Smith," and Simpson warmly asserts that he had as good a right to fly the death's head and cross bones flag as Captain Kidd ever had.
Arrived in Sydney, the crew struck and went ashore, refusing to go aboard the Mary Ann again. Brought up before the magistrates, the option was given them of sailing in the vessel or forfeiting their wages and clothes. They all preferred the latter alternative, and stopped in the Colony.
It was at a time when whaling was the principal occupation of sailors in these seas, and in Sydney Simpson soon fell in with Captain Hempleman, who, finding him a good hand in a whale-boat, engaged him to go with him for a trip in the brig Bee, as boat-steerer, with one and a half shares. This was in the beginning of 1835, about forty-seven years ago, so Simpson must have been about twenty-three years of age at the time.
Captain Hempleman had been in command of several big ships before this time, though quite a young man, but had left a large vessel, an English whaler, named the James Calvert, at the Sandwich Islands, owing to some dispute, and therefore had, much against his will, to accept the command of the brig Bee, a small and inconvenient vessel compared to those he was accustomed to.
Long and Wright were the names of the owners of the Bee, and they fitted her out for a cruise to New Zealand, where whales were then reported as especially plentiful.
One reason that Captain Hempleman accepted the command of the Bee was that he was permitted to take Mrs. Hempleman aboard. They would not allow her to be aboard the larger vessels, and he did not like leaving her ashore, so he took a short trip as mate in the ship Norwood, of Sydney, and then took command of the Bee, and, amongst other hands, shipped Billy Simpson, the hero of this memoir. Mrs. Hempleman, the first, who afterwards died at Peraki, was an English girl, who had come out as an immigrant to Sydney.
The voyage of the Bee to New Zealand, and what success they met with, has been previously recorded in these stories, and Simpson says the account is a most correct one. The place where the whaling was carried on, the name of which is not mentioned in the log, was Peraki, but Simpson is very indignant about it being said that they cut poles for the houses in Pigeon Bay, for he vows they never went there. On mature reflection, however, he says he remembers that Port Levy was then called Pigeon Bay, and that it was there the poles were cut.
The trip of the Bee was a very successful one, and Hempleman was so pleased with Peraki that he determined to return to it if possible. On his arrival in Sydney he was still more anxious to do this, from the fact that Messrs. Long and Wright raised the old objection to his carrying his wife aboard the vessel. He therefore persuaded a Sydney firm, named Clayton and Duke, to let him establish a whaling station on shore at Peraki.
He was to be visited at intervals by vessels, which would bring provisions and take the oil away that had been collected. It was just Christmas time in the year 1836 when the schooner Hannah set sail from Sydney with the first white men who had ever attempted to form a settlement on the then savage, wooded, and mountainous tract of country known as Banks Peninsula.
The Hannah had another shore whaling party to land in New Zealand, besides Hempleman's. The destination of the other was Poverty Bay, but the schooner went to Queen Charlotte's Sound. There they stopped for five or six weeks, and though the one party left them to go to the North, they had a good many additions to their ranks, many of the men forming connections with Maori women.
There were four boats' crews in the party, some thirty white men in all, Mrs. Hempleman being the only white woman. About a dozen Maoris accompanied them from Queen Charlotte's Sound. The Hannah went first to Akaroa, where she stopped two days, before proceeding to land the party at Peraki.
There were no whalers in these waters at the time, and the few Maori whares were deserted, for it was just after the massacre by Rauparaha, and he had laid all the plantations waste, destroyed the pas, and driven the few people who escaped death or slavery into the interior. As, therefore, there were no provisions to be got from the natives, or any object to be gained by stopping in the harbour, the Hannah sailed for Peraki the second morning after her arrival, and that same day landed the party at their future home.
It was fine autumn weather, and many aboard were pleased with the idea that it was St. Patrick's Day (being the 17th of March, 1836) when they landed. They soon got their things ashore, and commenced building their whares. They used to sleep in casks for some time, and they were much delayed by going after whales, before they had the trying works and their own houses put up.
Hempleman's house was of sawn timber, brought from Queen Charlotte's Sound. There was no time for planting. It was just arranged that one boat should be on the fishing ground at daybreak one morning, and another the next, and of course when whales were got they had to be tried out. Very few amongst the men knew anything about whaling at all. Captain Hempleman was a really good hand, but he was always drinking.
A sad accident, too, depressed them much. Mr. Beers, or Bean, was an excellent headsman, in fact, got most of the whales that were caught. One day his boat was upset in returning to the shore, and he and three of the hands were drowned. Two of these were Sydney natives, fine fellows, who knew their work, and could ill be spared in the little settlement. Beers, it is thought, might have escaped easily, as he was a good swimmer, but he had a heavy monkey jacket on at the time, and in swimming after the hands to get them to the boat, so that they could hold on, the coat became saturated with water and dragged him down. He was very deeply regretted indeed.
At this time Simpson heard from the Maoris a good many tales regarding Rauparaha's invasion, and he had previously been shipmates in the Bee with one of those who escaped. The account he gives of the matter, as related to him by the Maoris, is as follows:
Some time antecedent to these events, a Ngati Awa chief named Pahi had visited Europe. He was much impressed with the customs of civilised nations, especially with the fact that wars were usually made against people speaking a different language.
He brooded deeply over this idea, and when he returned, he formed the ambitious idea of doing away with the inter-tribal discords, and making the Maoris a strong, united people, capable of waging war on other places beyond New Zealand, and of repelling any foreigners.
In the North, amongst his own people, the idea was well received, but he then wished to go through the south, and for that purpose announced his intention of coming across the straits to Taiaroa, who was the leading chief of all these tribes, though he resided in Otago. He came across, but the old feeling of hatred to the Northern tribes was still strong, and when he got to Kaiapoi he was treacherously murdered by a Rangitira named Taugatahira.
The great Northern chief Rauparaha vowed revenge, and right royal "utu" he took for the assassination of his friend. Rauparaha induced the captain of a trading brig, named the Martha, to take himself and a number of his warriors to Akaroa. He had no money to give him, but he proffered a few of those preserved human heads which were then such a common article of traffic, being sold as curiosities for the museums of the old world, and he promised to fill the vessel with pigs and flax as "utu."
Directly the Maoris landed, however, they immediately began to massacre all the natives they could meet, and all the survivors fled to a strongly fortified pah at the end of that Peninsula running out between Duvauchelle's and Barry's Bays, now in the occupation of Mr Birdling. The position was a strong one, and it was several days before the attacking force gained an entrance to the pah, but when they did, a most horrible carnage ensued, many of those taken being killed in the most terrible manner.
The Maori who was with Simpson in the Bee told him that the conquerors seized many of the children, and, cutting their throats from ear to ear, eagerly drank the hot life blood as it flowed from the terrible wounds. They held high and hideous festival on the bodies of their dead foes, and Simpson says he has seen the huge copper in which they roasted several corpses at a time.
Bloody Jack was the Maori who held the command in defending the pah, He was not a chief, but his great fighting qualities had placed him at the head in this time of desperate danger. He and many others escaped after the last successful assault, and found a refuge in the bush.
Every plantation and whare that the merciless victors could find, they utterly destroyed, so that famine should be the lot of the wretched few who had escaped them.
When their horrible work was done they went aboard the brig, and one cannot help thinking that Captain Stewart, who was the commander of the vessel, was rightly served for aiding the Maoris by carrying them on their bloody errand, when, instead of flax and pigs, these savages brought aboard a number of their wretched victims.
He (Captain Stewart) remonstrated, but was warned that his fate would be a terrible one unless he obeyed Rauparaha in all things; and there is little doubt he would have been killed, had they not required his skill to take the vessel back to Kapiti , which was their destination.
The voyage must have been a fearful one for captain and crew, for the Maoris kept murdering their prisoners, and cooked their flesh in the ship's coppers, greatly to the horror of the sailors, who insisted on them being at once destroyed when the Maoris left the ship.
One terrible incident seems to stand out in bold relief. When the Martha came up the harbour, Rauparaha and his men hid themselves under the hatches, and told Captain Stewart to make signals to the shore that he wanted to trade, in the hope that some unsuspicious native might be lured aboard and become their victim.
The experiment succeeded only too well. A chief of importance seeing the signal, and thinking the Martha was an ordinary trading vessel, came on board with his daughter, and was instantly seized and bound. During the terrible time of the massacre ashore they were left in the hold of the vessel, but when these demons were once more clear of the land they loosed him and taunted him with the horrible and bestial tortures and indignities they were going to inflict on his daughter as well as himself.
Determined if possible to save the poor girl from the indescribably horrible fate in store for her, the gallant prisoner managed to snatch a tomahawk from one of their fiendish persecutors, and killing the miserable girl with a single blow, threw her body into the sea, and tried to leap after it. In this, however, he failed, for before he could take the spring he was seized by his captors, who, baulked of their proposed atrocities on his daughter, promised him a death of intense agony! Well they kept their hideous promise!
On their arrival at Kapiti, at the great feast at which they celebrated their successful raid, the wretched man was brought before them and tortured to death in a most hideous manner by having red-hot bars of iron thrust through his body. Terrible indeed had been Rauparaha's revenge!
Billy Simpson's narrative had the effect of causing a gentleman residing in Akaroa to write to the Akaroa Mail the following letter, which will be found very interesting:
THE ONAWE MASSACRE
Sir, I have read with great interest Mr. Simpson's account of the massacre at Akaroa, but I think there are several statements therein that require correction. It is stated by him that Te Pahi was murdered at Kaiapoi by a chief named Tangatihira, This is altogether wrong, as he was murdered at Akaroa by a chief named Te Mairanui; and that is why his brother Rauparaha took revenge on the Maoris here. The correct version of the affair, as far as I can learn, is as follows:
About the year 1827 Te Pahi, or, as he was sometimes called, Rakakura, went on a voyage to Sydney, and from thence to England, where he was presented to King George, who took a great interest in the sable chief, and made him some handsome presents when leaving for New Zealand. Te Pahi took great interest in all he saw when in England, and on his return described the country in glowing colours to the natives; also, the immense bodies of troops he had seen, and how they were dressed, armed, and drilled.
About a year after his return (this would be about the end of the year 1829), he made up his mind to make a friendly visit to the natives of this island, and for that purpose sailed in a large canoe, accompanied by Rauparaha and about fifty followers, all armed with guns, some of which he had brought out, and some he had purchased at Sydney. They called at most of the pahs along the coast, and were everywhere kindly received. They reached Akaroa about three weeks after their departure from the North. It is said by some that they walked overland from Cloudy Bay to Canterbury, but, from the nature of the country and the number of rivers which had to be crossed, this I don't think at all probable.
The principal chief here at the time was named Te Mairanui, but whether he lived at Onuku or at Wainui, where there was a large pah, I am unable to say. However, it appears he had in his possession a large block of splendid greenstone, which Te Pahi happened to see, and, after admiring it, asked the chief for permission to take it back with him to the North. This was indignantly refused by Te Mairanui, who said, "It belongs to the tribe, and we are going to make Mere Meres (greenstone clubs) out of it." Well," said Te Pahi, If you don't give it to me I will come and take it," and with that he left for the other pah, at which he was staying.
On telling Rauparaha about the greenstone being refused to him, he said, "Tell Te Mairanui that if he does not give it to you we will make a prisoner of him instead, and take him back with us." This message was duly delivered the next day, and still the greenstone was refused. Next morning, Te Pahi and six others went across to the pah, and, as usual, sat down.
Each had a loaded musket in his hand. Te Mairanui and his men had had a talk, and agreed amongst themselves, if he came again to demand the greenstone, that they would kill him; so when they saw them come with the guns they formed a plan, and they were rushed from behind, and all of them clubbed to death, their own guns being used to finish them. The Maoris then commenced to fire them off, the sound of which was plainly heard by Rauparaha and the others- Shortly afterwards a canoe came down, bringing word of the fate of Te Pahi and his men.
Rauparaha heard the news of the death of his brother's party, and was very "pouri," but did not attempt to be revenged at this time. He said to his men, "Tenei a na kino mahi tan ka hoki ki te kianga " (this is bad work; we will return home); so, having got his men all together, he departed, vowing vengeance at some future time. On his way back he called at most of the pahs where he had been well treated coming down, and laid them waste, killing great numbers of the natives, who were not prepared for a mob of well armed men like these.
The pah which offered the greatest resistance was at the Kaikorai, where the natives were well fortified on a small hill close to the sea. Rauparaha and his men attempted to take it, but were several times repulsed. He agreed to wait and starve them out, and, after doing this for a few days, he hit upon a plan worthy of a better cause. He said to two of his men, who were splendid swimmers, "I want you to go in the sea and pretend to be Kekenos (seals); swim along the beach until you get opposite the pah, then come in and flounder in the surf, and they will rush out to kill you. We will watch them, and as soon as they leave the pah we will rush in."
The plan succeeded only too well. The hungry natives in the early morning seeing, as they thought, two seals sporting in the surf, ran out in a body to take, them, as their provisions had been exhausted for three days. Rauparaha had his men scattered round, so that possession was gained almost at once. And now the guns began to tell, and these poor natives, wasted by hunger and continual watching, had not the strength to resist, so, after numbers of them were shot, the rest threw down their arms and surrendered. The men who were playing the seals paid the penalty of death, as they were caught before Rauparaha had time to relieve them.
From this place about forty prisoners and a lot of greenstone were taken.
They then left for the Straits, and on their arrival found the brig Elizabeth, Captain Stewart, loading spars. A bargain was struck with him: that for fifty tons of dressed flax he was to land Rauparaha and fifty fighting men at Wangaloa, Banks Peninsula, and bring them back to the island of Te Manu, in the Straits. The captain agreed to this, but it is said, whilst he was down below with Rauparaha, over one hundred natives came on board, and concealed themselves below until after the vessel was well outside.
The Peninsula was made in two days, and the brig beat up and anchored abreast of the pah. All the natives were out of sight under hatches, so that she was supposed to be a whaler, and as a good trade was generally to be done with them, some of the natives put off to her. It happened that in the first canoe which boarded her were Te Mairanui, his wife, and a daughter, twelve years of age. Rauparaha was watching from the cabin windows, and came up on deck and seized him, and, with the assistance of some others, handcuffed him and put him, with his wife and child, below.
A rush was then made for the ship's boats, and what canoes were alongside, and all made for the shore, where a terrible scene of carnage ensued. All the natives that could be seen were butchered in cold blood. The account of the fight on Massacre Island (Banks Peninsula) is, I believe, correct, as several of the victims were cooked and eaten ashore.
At dusk the natives came back on board, most of them bringing kits of human flesh with them, which were afterwards cooked on board, but I do not think it is true that any of the prisoners were killed on the brig and cooked, as stated by Mr. Simpson. Stewart, it appears, was in a terrible fright when he saw the way things were turning out, as he said he had no idea that there was going to be any bloodshed over the affair, but this is rather doubtful, as he must have known on what errand the natives were bound.
On the passage up to the island of Mana, between the Straits and Kapiti, the prisoner, Te Mairanui, was tied by a rope to the main-mast, so that he could walk about a little. His daughter was allowed to run about on deck, so he called her to him and said, " They are going to kill me and make a “taurereka “ (slave) of you, but that will never happen," and, picking her up, he knocked her brains out against the hatch combings.
After the arrival of the brig, Te Mairanui and the other prisoners were taken ashore. He was given two days to cry, and was then to be killed. The story of red-hot ramrods being run through his body is, I believe, incorrect. He met his death in the following horrible manner:
A straight tree about fifty feet high was chosen, and to the head of this a block and halyards were rigged up. One end was fastened to his heels, and, head downwards, he was run up and let go with a run, striking the ground with great force. Three times this was repeated, he was then hauled up clear of the ground and the veins of the neck opened, and the first to drink his blood was the widow of the murdered chief, Te Pahi. He was afterwards taken down, cooked, and eaten.
Shortly after this, Stewart interviewed Rauparaha about his cargo of flax, which was promised to him, but he was very insolent, and refused to give it to him. He was afterwards given one ton, and that was all the payment he ever got for his share in the bloody transaction. He loaded up with spars and sailed for Sydney.
The news of this horrible massacre had preceded him, and there was some talk of his being tried for his complicity in the affair; but, owing to the lax state of the laws in New South Wales in those days, it was allowed to blow over. Not caring to go back to New Zealand, Stewart cleared for a South American port, and was never afterwards heard of. It is supposed that the brig and all hands were lost.
It is supposed by some that the discoverer of Stewart's Island and the captain of the brig Elizabeth were one and the same person, but this is not so. The Captain Stewart, after whom the island was named, was a man very much respected, who gave up the sea and settled down in Poverty Bay, where he died in the year 1844, Yours, etc., ' G.J.B.
The collector of these histories has been fortunate indeed in procuring the autobiography of one of the most celebrated Peninsula veterans, and begs to thank the kind friend who took such pains to secure it for him. The true history that follows was sent in an autobiographical form, but it has been thought better to alter certain portions into the narrative style.
The subject of this number, James Robinson Clough, was a native of Bristol. How he came to drop his surname one cannot say, but he was universally known as Jimmy Robinson, or Rapahina, as the Maoris called him.
When a boy, he ran away from home and took to the sea, as is generally the case when a boy does run away. After several years in the East India trade, he found his way across to America, and there joined a New Bedford whaler called the Roslyn Castle, which was bound south. On board this vessel he stayed three years, and met with many an adventure.
Whales were much more plentiful in those days than they are now, so that at the end of this time the Roslyn Castle was a full ship. She had some remarkably good takes off the Solanders, and for over three weeks her fires were never out. During one of these chases our hero very nearly lost the number of his mess.
A large sperm whale, a cow with a calf, had been singled out, and the chief mate's boat, in which Robinson was pulling bow oar, was the first to make fast to her. As soon as she was struck, the whale sounded, and the line ran out fast, but she came up almost immediately, and went straight for the boat. Turning close to it, she gave one stroke with her flukes, cutting it clean in two, and killing the two midship oarsmen, tossing the others up in the air. They dropped close to the wreck, and managed to hold on to the oars and wreckage until picked up by the captain's boat.
This same whale was taken two days afterwards. It was known by the iron in it, and turned out a large number of barrels.
Calling in at Stewart's Island for wood and water, four fresh hands (Maoris) were engaged, who had been a trip before, and turned out good men at the oar.
After cruising about up the east coast of New Zealand, they ran into Akaroa, as their captain intended to recruit here for a month. It was blowing a gale of wind from the north-west when they made the Heads, and it was as much as they could do to work the ship up the harbour. Some of the squalls were terrific, and as they had her under pretty small canvas, it was no joke working her, where the tacks were so short. After getting about half way up, the wind was a good deal steadier and the harbour wider, and they dropped anchor abreast of the present town of Akaroa. This was in March, 1837.
There were three other vessels lying there at that time, two being French, and one a Sydney whaler. The skipper laid in a good stock of pork and potatoes, the Maoris being very willing to trade, taking principally tobacco and slops for their produce. The crew were allowed to go ashore a good deal, and here it was that our hero fell in love with a young Native woman, who proved as good and fond a wife to him as any of his own countrywomen could have been.
She was the daughter of a native chief named Iwikau, a chief of the Ngatirangiamoa, and was about twenty years of age. To quote his own words: "I was twenty-three myself at this time, so that we were about a match. As money was of very little use here in those days, I took all I had to draw from the ship in trade, and as we had been very lucky, my share amounted to over six hundred dollars.
Amongst my purchases was a five-oared whale-boat, which the skipper would not part with until after a lot of persuasion. I had a good stock of clothing, dungaree, coloured cotton, and tobacco, so that I was looked upon as a Rangatira Pakeha.
There was another white man living here at the time, known as "Holy Joe," but how he came to be called that I cannot imagine, as he was anything but what the name implied. I always looked upon him as a runaway from Van Diemen's Land, and such he afterwards told me he was.
At this time there were over a thousand Maoris living round Wangaroa Harbour, for that was the native name of it. There were also settlements in all the Bays, round as far as Port Cooper, so that there must have been about three thousand Maoris on the Peninsula, including those to the south of Akaroa.
Jimmy Robinson was present and helped to hoist the English standard in Akaroa. His own version of it, as told to our informant, was as follows:
"It was in the year 1840, in August. I had been up to the Head of the Bay getting a load of Pipis, of which the Maoris are very fond. I had in the boat with me my wife and her youngster, who was about a year old, and named Abner. “Holy Joe” was also with me, as I found him more useful in handling a whale-boat than the Maoris. We were beating down with a light south-west wind, when I noticed a ship come round the point with a fair wind. I said to Joe, “We shall get some tobacco at last,” as we had been out of it for some time.
We then stood towards her, but when we got a bit nearer we could see her ports, and that therefore she was a man-of- war. I said so to my mate, and he said, ' If she is, for God's sake let me get ashore.' I suppose his guilty conscience pricked him, or else he had not finished his time, and thought he might be recognised. To satisfy him I said I would land him, and paid her head off for the shore. I had not got far when I heard a blank shot fired and saw some signals run up, so I thought I was wanted as a pilot perhaps, so hauled on a wind again and ran alongside.
She had come to an anchor by this time a little above Green's Point, as it is now called. She turned out to be the British man-of-war Britomart, Captain Stanley, who came to the side and asked me to step on board, which I did. He asked me who the female was, and I told him, so he said, “Ask her to come on board.” I could hardly persuade her, but she came at last, and squatted down on deck with the young one in her arms. The captain ordered the steward to bring her something to eat, so she soon had a good spread of pies, cakes, and fruit in front of her, but she seemed so nervous that she could not eat them.
The captain asked me to come below, so I went down, and he asked me all about the place, how long I had been here, and how many vessels had called, and their names, and how many Maoris were living here. I gave him all the information I could about the place, so he told me that I must be sworn in as Her Majesty's interpreter, as he intended to take possession of the islands in Her Majesty's name, and wanted me to explain it to the natives.
I was given a bell and a small ensign to roll them up next morning, which I promised to do. We got what we wanted in the shape of tobacco, and something to whet our whistles as well, and went ashore. I sent word all round to the natives, and next morning there was a great muster on the sandy beach between the two townships.
Three or four of the ship's boats were ashore, and a party of them were sent with me to get a flag- staff. We had not far to look, as we soon found and cut down a kahikatea as straight as a die and forty feet long. A block and halyards were soon rigged on and a hole dug, and it was very soon up.
After all the natives were squatted down, and the chiefs set out by themselves on an old ensign, the captain commenced to read his errand here to the natives, all of which I had to interpret, but there was so much of it, I forget what it was all about, I know, however, that it ended up with God save the Queen, after which the British standard was run up and a discharge of musketry fired by the marines.
A salute was also fired with the big guns on board, over which the natives got in a great state of excitement. The captain invited myself and several of the chiefs on board, where he gave us a grand spread, and I was presented with a lieutenant's uniform, and each of the chiefs had a marine's coat given to him. Next morning the French vessel arrived, and landed her colonists, as is already known. The Maoris did not look upon their arrival with much favour, and, if it had not been for the presence of the ships, an attempt would have been made to drive them away.
After this several other white men took up their abode round Akaroa, so I thought I would shift my camp, and left for Ikeraki, taking all my possessions in the whale-boat, including my three youngsters. I stopped there for over four years, but part of that time I spent in Peraki, where there were always one or two whalers, from whom I got plenty of work, and made a good bit of money in the way of supplying them with vegetables and potatoes. On one occasion, during a drunken spree, while I was lying in my bunk, I was stabbed in the breast with a knife no less than sixteen times, and you can see the marks of them yet. (On exposing his chest, the marks could be distinctly traced.) I happened to have a thick monkey jacket on at the time, or I should have been killed. It was the whaler's cook who stabbed me, and the captain put him in irons and gave him bread and water for a month for it.
I made a good bit of money selling spars to the whalers. There were some nice silver pines growing in Peraki then, and I got as high as thirty dollars each for some of them.
Drinking rum and working in wet clothes brought on a bad touch of low fever, and for three weeks I was in bed. As a last resource, my wife, who was a powerful big woman, carried me over the hills as far as Wairewa (Little River), where there was a native doctor supposed to be very clever. Anyhow he cured me with native herbs, so as soon as I got better I left my wife and family for a bit, and went up as far as Kaiapoi, taking a couple of the Maoris with me as guides.
There were several large pahs in that district also, one up where Riccarton now is. I spent a month or two going about from one to the other, and then I returned and stayed a few years on the Peninsula again. During this period I lost my wife, so I made up my mind to go round and live on the Plains. I left my two girls with their friends, and took my three boys round in the boat, with the assistance of a couple of Maoris.
I went right up the river Avon, and can say that my boat was the first ever taken up that river by a white man. We stopped at a small pah near the mouth of the river for a couple of days, and then proceeded right up as far as Riccarton, which took three days, as the boat was heavy and the river ran with great force. Shortly after this I met Mr. John Deans, who had come to settle on the Plains, and took him up the river to the place where he is now living, and afterwards conveyed his family and goods the same way. I worked for him for a bit, helping him to put up his whare, and afterwards engaged with him as shepherd."
But he found this sort of life too dull and solitary, so left, and went north, where he engaged with Mr. Darby Caverhill, and managed his run for a bit.
It must be remembered this tale was related to my informant some years ago, when Mr, Deans was alive.
What is now known as Motanau was the place where they were living. He only stayed here about two years, and then went south again, and came across what is now known as the Alford Forest. Being struck with the fine timber here, he thought it would be a fine place to settle, so he purchased the section where his house now stands, and he did very well out of it. He lived all alone here, his eldest boy being married, and living on Mr. Acland's station, Mount Peel.
He happened to save Mr. Acland's life one time when he was crossing the Rangitata, and has been there ever since. His second son, George, he had not seen for some years. He went back to live with the Maoris on the Peninsula; and his youngest he lost the run of altogether. He sent him down to Christchurch about eight years ago, to get some tools and to get the horse shod, and he never heard a word from him since. He believed he got on the spree and sold the horse, and, being ashamed to come back, cleared off to sea.
Although living alone, Robinson's house was a picture of neatness. It was situated on the edge of the bush, about half way between McCrae's and Single Tree Point. There was a splendid garden of about two acres, filled with the choicest fruit trees, the sale of the produce of which brought him in a good bit of ready money.
Living so close to a public-house, most of it found its way there. When on the spree he would do almost anything for grog, and on one occasion, not having anything to raise the wind, he was seen there endeavouring to sell a large family Bible for a couple of nobblers. When away from drink he was a capital worker and a good bushman, and as there was always a good demand for fencing material, he sometimes did very well.
About 1872 his house was burnt down, and everything in it destroyed. What grieved him most was the loss of a little pet dog in the fire, and for days he kept looking for it round the bush, thinking it had escaped, but he saw nothing of it. Several of the neighbours lent him a hand, and a fresh house was put up and the garden renovated a bit, but most of his best apple trees had got killed.
He was persuaded to be a teetotaller for a bit, and tried it for a time, but he went to see the Ashburton races in 1873, and being so well known in the district, his acquaintances wished him to have a drink. He explained that he was a teetotaller, but he would have a drink with them, and put it away in a bottle, and this he did until he had several bottles of mixed spirits, which he took back with him, and then commenced to break bulk, and until all was finished there was no work done.
Drink and hard living now commenced to tell on this once iron constitution, and a paralytic stroke, from which he suffered, seemed to hasten his end. He went down to see Mrs. Deans, who kindly offered to get him into the Old Men's Home, but he would not hear of it, so after staying in the Christchurch Hospital for three weeks, and feeling better, he set out home again to the Alford Forest. But he seemed past work, and lived, one may say, on the charity of the neighbours.He left the public-house to proceed home one winter's evening, and was found dead about half way, with a half empty bottle of spirits beside him. It was supposed that he sat down to have a drink, and, falling asleep, was frozen to death.
Thus died penniless in 1874, James Robinson Clough, a man who, with the opportunities he had, should have been a second Rhodes. It may seem strange, but it is nevertheless true, that the end of the subject of this number and that of Walker, both men who were almost the first Europeans on the Peninsula, should have been so similar, both dying from the immediate effects of drink on the Canterbury Plains.
When living with his two sons, Abner and Robinson, he used to make them read the Bible aloud to him every evening. He was working for a good while in the employ of Mr. Justin Aylmer at Malvern and other places, and bore the reputation of being an excellent bushman. His favourite book was a translation of Herodotus, which he was constantly reading.
He told Mr. Aylmer that he had once resided in Sydney, where he had been employed in a store, fallen in love with his master's daughter, and married her. He was wild in those days, and having a dispute with his wife, cleared out one fine morning, and never saw or heard of her again.
Amongst the "Old Identities" of the Peninsula, one of the most remarkable was Jimmy Walker, or "One-eyed Jimmy," as he was often called, from the fact that one of his eyes was gone.
Our informant tells us that he believes his right name was Quinn, but no one ever called him anything else but Jimmy Walker, or One-eyed Jimmy. The way in which he first became known as Walker is rather curious.
When he first came to New Zealand he was a very strong and powerfully built man, standing over six feet. Being not only a sailor, but a sailor accustomed to boats, he soon learnt to manage the canoes, when he went to live amongst the Maoris. After a short time he became so expert that none of the natives could "hold a candle to him," as he used to say. The result was that the Maoris christened him "Waka," the Maori for a canoe; and as his Christian name was Jimmy, he gained the appellation of Jimmy Waka, or Walker, which stuck to him till the day of his death.
His first arrival in New Zealand was in the year 1839, when he landed in the Bay of Islands. He was then about eighteen years of age, and immediately after running away from his ship he went into the bush, where he followed the occupation of timber splitting for some time. He soon became very expert at this work, but as soon as he got a cheque he used to knock it down, as was the fashion in those days, in one of the neighbouring grog shanties, which were common enough even at that early period, being established principally for the benefit of the whalers who used to frequent the coast.
After a time he got tired of this life, and went over to Auckland. When he got there he was employed by Sir George Grey as a gardener. The great Pro-consul took quite a fancy to this stalwart, good- looking, good-natured young sailor, to whom work seemed only fun , but, alas, those good looks, which stirred the Governor's sympathy, were the cause of Jimmy's speedy departure.
Amongst Sir George's household was a very pretty Maori girl, whose susceptible heart softened at the sight of this handsome stranger, and she soon made known to Jimmy, in that unmistakeable way which is common to the sex, be they white, brown, or black, that she loved him. Nor was he slow to return her affection, and the result was that they neglected their work that they might be together.
Sir George remonstrated with him, but in vain; the greater the opposition the fiercer burned their love and, at last, finding all argument useless, he was dismissed. If they thought, however, that by dismissing Master Jimmy they were going to retain the girl, they were much mistaken, for he had no sooner left than his faithful dusky belle followed him. She persuaded him to leave the haunts of civilisation and come to live with her tribe, and the siren's voice prevailed, and Jimmy went with her, and spent some happy years amongst her Maori relatives.
He soon acquired the native tongue, and became quite a "Rangitira Nui" amongst them. Owing to his knowledge of the two tongues, he used to conduct the barter between the Sydney traders and the natives.
From them the hapu used to get supplies of slops, stores, grog, etc., and payment for these used to be generally made in kind.
Jimmy used always to have a number of natives in the bush employed at splitting posts and rails and shingles for this purpose, and others were employed in flax scraping for the same end.
Jimmy was very sharp at the trading, generally getting the best of the bargain.
After living in this way for eight years, the chief thought Jimmy was getting too bumptious and tried to take him down. A serious row ensued, and Jimmy was very nearly shot by the enraged Rangitira. However, he managed to escape with his life, though he left one of his eyes behind him in the scrimmage, and so gained another cognomen.
All his gear, however, was forfeited, and he left the pah without anything but the much damaged clothes he had on his back. It is not recorded what became of her who had left Sir George Grey's household for his sake, but Jimmy used to hint that the eight years of connubial felicity had somewhat chilled the first glow of their mutual passion, and that there were some things that he left behind him that he regretted even more than his dusky bride. However, as Jimmy used to say, "he was not long on the broad of his back," for a very short time after he engaged with Captain Ford, of the American whaler Eliza, with whom he remained two years.
During this time the vessel was coast whaling, and as they had good luck, she was a full ship at the end of that period, and sailed for New Bedford. Walker, however, had no fancy for leaving New Zealand, so he was paid off at Russell, in the Bay of Islands, and from thence he worked his way down the coast, stopping at Akaroa.
He lived here with the Maoris for some time, and afterwards went to reside at Little River, where he took out a bush license for splitting shingles and posts and rails. He frequently employed a number of Maoris at this work, in the old style, paying them with slops and other articles of trade. At intervals he went to Christchurch, where he invariably got drunk.
Shortly after the Otago diggings broke out he found his way to them. He had excellent luck at first, but with his habits money was of little use to him, for the faster he made it the quicker he spent it. At the end of a few years the neighbourhood in which he was working was pretty well exhausted, so he started on a prospecting tour into the little explored back country, accompanied by his mate.
They travelled to places that no white man had previously visited, and it was then that Jimmy had the adventure of his life. This was no less than catching a glimpse of a living specimen of the great apteryx, the huge Moa bird. One need hardly say that Jimmy's tale about his meeting with a live Moa was much doubted, but to the day of his death he always swore that it was a fact, with such earnestness as left no room to doubt that he himself thoroughly believed that he had seen that great bird, that is supposed to be extinct.
Whether he and his mate (who also affirmed the same thing) were suffering from some strange hallucination, or whether they really did see this wonderful creature, will probably ever remain a mystery, but there is still a wide stretch of unexplored country in the county known as the Fiords, and it is possible that in this almost inaccessible region a last specimen of the Moa may yet be found.
Our informant gives us the tale told to him by Jimmy in almost the same words that were used in relating it:
"We were camped," says he, "out in a deep gully a little above the creek which we had been prospecting for the last three days, getting the colour in most places. The hills all round us were mostly covered with tussocks, with here and there a little patch of bush in the gullies.
On this particular evening we had just knocked off work, and were putting things a bit straight after supper, when I was astonished to hear my mate sing out, “Good God, Jimmy! What’s that?” On turning round I could scarcely believe my eyes, for there, right in front of us, standing on the opposite side of the gully, was the Moa bird that I had so often heard of from the Maoris.
It was walking about, and as the sides of the gully were pretty steep, I should say the bird was not more than 150 yards from us, and a bit above the level of our camp. As soon as I saw it I knew at once what it was, so I told Bill, my mate, it was the Moa, and that the Maoris were awfully frightened of it.
At that he got very nervous and began to shake. The Moa, I should say, was about eight feet six inches or nine feet high, and from the knee downwards you would think he had a pair of officer's boots on, quite shiny and black. His feathers were a lightish grey colour, and his head he seemed to be able to turn round any way, as it would first look at us with one eye and then turn round and look with the other.
I must confess I felt a little bit scared myself, as we had no gun or anything, only a tomahawk, to protect ourselves with. However, after he had surveyed us he cleared out, taking immense strides as he went, and in the dusk of the evening he was soon lost to sight.
My mate got so excited over it that he wanted me to break up the camp and make tracks back. He could not sleep a wink the whole of the night, and roused me up at daybreak next morning. After some persuasion on my part I got him to consent to follow the trail a bit.
On getting over to where it had been standing, we found a pile of its dirt, and a little further on, where there was a small spring in the side of the hill, we noticed quite distinctly the track of its feet in the soft earth. I have a pretty big hand, and I spread it over the footmark, but could not span within three inches of it, from my thumb to my middle finger end, and from the depth it sunk in the soft earth, it must have been a good weight.
We followed on for about two miles, but could see no sign of it, but coming to a small flat, we noticed that the heart of several of the Cabbage trees had been pulled out, and part of them eaten, so that we were pretty sure it was done by the Moa, as there was no one else in the district but ourselves.
My mate was determined to leave the place, and as our tucker was nearly run out, I was compelled to go back with him. We had about eight ounces apiece for a little over two months' work, so we packed up and started back, arriving at Queenstown in about a week.
We told our tale there, and were of course called liars, and several other nice names. I got locked up over it, and this is how it happened. I had described the whole affair to three or four up-country hands, and when I had finished one of them I forget his name now called me a bloody liar. I hauled off and gave him a plug in the eye; then we had a regular set to, the finish of it being that several of us got locked up, and when called upon before the magistrate next morning, I told him the provocation I had got, and how the row commenced, so he let me off pretty light. He seemed to have some faith in my story, and got me and Bill to recount the whole of it to him.
Several of the storekeepers offered to fit out an expedition to try and capture the Moa. I offered my services to lead them to the place, and they also engaged an Arab, who was reckoned a dead shot to go with us, but he got his neck broke while breaking in a young horse, so that kept us for a bit. I had now run through all my money, and having a bit of a quarrel with those who were getting the thing ready for a start, I chucked it up."
This is the story just as he told it to our informant, and on venturing to doubt the veracity of his statement he flew into a most violent passion, and wanted to know what good it would do him to make up a bundle of lies. He seemed quite earnest over it, and really we cannot but believe there was some truth in it. He said he intended to have another go for it someday, as he reckoned if he could get it alive it would be as good as a pile to him. Several times he tried to get the Little River Maoris to go with him, but in vain.
In one of the bush fires at the River his whare was consumed. It stood on Mr White's ground, just after you commence the rise of the hill, about a quarter of a mile from the corner.
Like most of the old hands, Jimmy came to an untimely end. After leaving the River he struck south, and was found dead on the banks of the Rangitata, close to Sir Cracroft Wilson's station. A bottle of Hennessy was his only companion. It is needless to say it was empty,
Mr. and Mrs. Hahn, who used to live within a short distance of Jimmy Walker at Waikouaiti, and who knew him well, have forwarded us the following further particulars regarding that veteran.
It appears that some nineteen years ago he was splitting posts and rails at Johnny Jones' bush at Waikouaiti, having gone there from the Tuapeka diggings. Jimmy here dropped across a widow who was sister to a Mrs. Winsey. She had been married to an old skipper, who had given up "the briny," as he called it, and died in the happy possession of an oyster saloon in the classic neighbourhood of the Minories, in London.
When this unfortunate event occurred her sister wanted her to come out here, and she complied. She was a decent woman about forty, and, being fair, no doubt attracted Jimmy from the force of contrast with his former dusky companions.
Her relatives being old and feeble, she began to look out for a home, and, no doubt influenced by her former relation with the ocean, kept company with the Cyclopean Jimmy. She accepted him when he told her he had lots of money, in fact, had made his "pile," Of course she only married him for a home and his money, and she lived to bitterly repent her folly.
They were married in Waikouaiti, and kept up the "spree" for three days at Mrs. Winsey's house, which was situated on the edge of the Hawksbury Bush. After the great "spree" Jimmy's money was almost done. They lived with the Winseys for about three weeks, while Jimmy was building a hut in the Hawksbury Bush. He got permission to do so from the late John Jones, for whom he was working. The hut was built of split slabs and covered with calico.
He soon began to ill-treat his wife, and the Winseys, having got tired of Jimmy's company and the rows occasioned by the quarrelling of the two, told him he must take her away, so as soon as his hut was finished he moved into it. It was built a little way in the bush, on a small clearing a short distance from Hawksbury House.
When they got in the hut Mrs. Walker soon displayed her ability at housekeeping, for she arranged her half-tent, half-hut, in such a tasteful manner that it was the talk of all the people round that neighbourhood.
When Mrs. Walker was living with her sister, before she knew Jimmy, she had some cattle which she bought when she first came out. As soon as they were married Jimmy sold these and spent the money.
This was the first of their quarrels, which led to his thrashing her, the castigation no doubt reminding him of the system used in correcting Maori ladies. He became a perfect brute to his wife, thrashing her in the most unmerciful manner. He always performed this operation late at night, never striking her in the daytime.
All the men about there seemed to be afraid of him, and consequently he was let alone, though universally hated by his mates, Charlie Anderson, Billy Caton, Jack Pope, and a Swede. These four men used formerly to work in Okain's Bay, but went away from there to the Tuapeka diggings. Jimmy was considered a good bush man in those days, so his mates stuck to him.
Mrs. Walker frequently brought Jimmy up before the late Mr. Mellish, who was Magistrate there, and who used to caution Jimmy, who would promise to act better if he was let off, but never did. The Resident Magistrate eventually bound him over to keep the peace, but this was too much for Jimmy, who no doubt thought he could not trust himself, so cleared out again for the diggings.
Mrs. Walker still lived in the same place, and used to take in needlework. After a time Jimmy sent her a little money. Although frequent enquiries were made about him, after this he was not heard of. During this time Jimmy encountered the Moa.
Poor Mrs. Walker was found dead a few years after on the road through Hawksbury's paddock. She died of heart disease, brought on, it was said, by the ill-treatment and frights she had received from Walker. It was only after she was married that she suffered from heart disease.
Amongst the remarkable inhabitants of Akaroa, our worthy friend "Chips" may fairly be enumerated. He is a true Pakeha Maori, a race now fast disappearing from amongst us. He has a great reputation amongst the natives, for two reasons.
One is his great skill in building and mending boats and other vessels, he being a ship's carpenter by trade; and the other of his no less ability, according to them, of patching up human craft. As a doctor he has gained great fame, and no doubt the faith with which his prescriptions are taken tends in no small measure to their success.
"Chips" is not an old Peninsula resident, most of his life having been spent in the North Island. His whare is on Mr Checkley's ground, near Green's Point. The road, after leaving the cemetery gates, is very rough, part of it being a narrow track on the edge of a considerable precipice, and how "Chips" manages to get home safely in the dark nights of winter is a mystery.
On one occasion he did slip over, and fell a considerable distance, but was saved by clinging to the long grasses. The boat-shed where "Chips" works is only a few yards from the whare, but is on Government land, being within a chain of high water mark. It is a very primitive edifice, but is spacious, and well furnished with a great variety of the necessary tools. A visitor will generally find "Chips" at work here, and in no degree disinclined to enter into conversation. He is a very intelligent man, of fair education, and, as will be seen by his narrative, has seen a great deal of the world.
Adolph Friedrich Henrici (1816-1887), known familiarly as "Chips,” was born at Hamburg. His father, a respectable tradesman, wanted him to become a linen draper, but he had taken it into his head he would be a ship's carpenter, and, with the aid of a schoolfellow, he secretly visited an old ship's carpenter on Sundays, from whom he learnt the trade.
His father was still more displeased at an attachment he formed with a young girl in the neighbourhood, and there was a separation, "Chips" going his first sea trip in the year 1837, the ship being the Friendship, of Sunderland, and her destination New York.
The trip was uneventful, and he then went to India in the Francis Smith. From there they went to China with opium and other cargo, and got into great trouble because the captain's wife was aboard, the mandarins searching the vessel. The lady escaped by being put into another vessel, which luckily was not searched.
The laws were strict against the introduction of opium, but the authorities received bribes and winked at the trade. After many adventures in this trade, “Chips” went to England. From thence he paid a visit to his native town, but he did not stop long, proceeding to Bordeaux in an English vessel called the John and James. She loaded for Mauritius, but calling in at the Cape of Good Hope on her way, "Chips" left her to join the Thomas Sparks, Captain Sharp, bound for Wellington and Nelson, New Zealand, with emigrants. This was in 1843, and in January, 1844, the ship arrived safely in Wellington. Here "Chips” left the ship, and worked for a time in the Hutt Valley.
Getting tired of this, he went whaling at Table Cape, on the East Coast. There were three boat crews, no Maoris amongst them, a man named Dawsey, a half-caste Negro, being in command. They only got one whale in the season, but she yielded eight tons of oil. His great skill as a boat builder now became known, and he was offered a good sum to go to Poverty Bay to repair a little vessel. He went there, and remained some time, but a native chief living at Ahuriri, known to the English as Jacky Tighe, persuaded him to go to Hawke's Bay, where, he said, there were a number of boats to build.
He then went and lived at Pakawhai, on the Ngararora River, where he resided with the natives at a big pah and built many large boats. The Maoris thoroughly appreciated his skill, and a Rangitira named Tokamanu, who was afterwards one of their representatives, wanted to give his sister to “Chips" as a wife.
The Rev. Colenso, however, opposed this, and so enraged Tokomanu that he threatened to burn the church and return all the Maori Testaments. "Chips," however, who was not particularly enamoured of the lady, persuaded the enraged chieftain to listen to reason, and his sister was bestowed on another Maori.
About this time Bloody Jack came on a visit to Te Hapuka, a great Maori warrior living in the vicinity, who, though not of a high Maori lineage, had raised himself to be a "Rangitira Nui" by his bravery and skill in warfare.
Bloody Jack came across the straits from Akaroa in a big boat called the Mary Ann, which was the identical vessel for which he had sold the Peninsula to Hempleman. On leaving Ahuriri he presented the boat to his host, Te Hapuka.
Now, this gift was not such a very great one after all, for the native vessel had fallen into terrible disrepair, and was perfectly useless without it was skilfully mended, an operation involving special knowledge. But Te Hapuka had seen what "Chips" could do, and in his difficulty had turned to him.
He had of course heard all about Tokomanu's sister, and knew “Chips” had no wife, and, being a wily savage of an economical turn, he offered to provide “Chips” with a female companion if he mended the boat.
Three girls from Mohaka happened to be visiting at the pah, and he gave “Chips” his choice of the lot. Now this, to say the least of it, was a trifle arbitrary, for he had no right to either of them, and two were "tapu" to Maori chiefs. The third, who was the one “Chips” fancied most, was only "tapu" to a native of no pretensions as to blue blood, residing at Mohaka.
However, Te Hapuka didn't care whether he had a right to them or not; he wanted his boat mended, and “Chips” wanted someone to look after his whare and cook for him, so the bargain was concluded, “Chips” selecting the young lady who was betrothed to the Maori of "low degree." It will thus be seen that “Chips” gained his bride (his present wife) by repairing the boat for which Banks Peninsula was sold to Hempleman.
Now, the Maori to whom "Chips' " wife had been betrothed was exceedingly wroth, and so were all the rest of the family, but “Chips” did not care for this, being protected by the powerful Te Hapuka, and by and by these new relatives of his came to the conclusion that it was not a bad thing at all to have a Pakeha Maori for a near connection, and became reconciled to the match.
A new trouble, however, soon arose. Te Hapuka, directly his boat was mended, got tired of " Chips," and formed the plan of taking the wife he had given him away, because, having learned something of European cooking and behaviour from " Chips," he thought she would be a good wife to his (Te Hapuka's) son. “Chips” was kept in strict ignorance of this, but the father of Ene Mari Ropini, for such was her name, was spoken to. Now, he was perfectly satisfied with "Chips," who, in his opinion, had given "utu" enough for his daughter, and besides, he knew the girl was attached to "Chips,” and would suffer from a separation. He did not, however, dare to express his thoughts openly while Te Hapuka was near, so he dissembled, and pretended that he would acquiesce in the arrangement in a short time.
One day he went to "Chips," who was building a boat in the bush, and said to him, "If I were you I should build that boat bigger; you might have to go a voyage in it." “Chips” thought something was up, and took the hint, and built the boat fit for the sea instead of for the river, as at first intended.
Te Hapuka didn't like the evident friendship between “Chips” and his father-in-law, and the latter was so frightened that he used to go away and sleep in a fresh place every night, with a tomahawk by his side, being afraid that Hapuka might take a fancy to destroy him. An uncomfortable month or two passed in this way, and at last one evening Hapuka announced his intentions with regard to the girl to several of the Maoris, and fixed the following evening for the abduction. A friend of "Chips" worthy father-in- law told him what Hapuka had resolved on, and he at once went to “Chips” and said, "It is time for you and my daughter to be at Mohaka."
Thoroughly versed by this time in Maori warnings, and knowing the case was desperate, “Chips” got the boat ready for sea, though the weather was very bad. This fact was probably his salvation, for Te Hapuka never dreamt that the boat, which he looked upon as only fit for the river, could live in such a sea.
"Chips," his wife, and his faithful father-in-law and friend, passed a dreadful night, tomahawk in hand, fearing that every sound that they heard was the dreaded Te Hapuka, or some of his myrmidons, coming to tear them away from each other for ever. Great indeed was their relief when the grey dawn enabled them to steal down to the boat.
The sea was by this time moderating, and with hopeful hearts they committed themselves to the Ngararora, whose rapid current speedily carried them out to sea. The passage was an uneventful one, and they arrived at Mohaka in good spirits.
Te Hapuka was furious at first, and said he would take his warriors and burn down the Mohaka pah, and do all sorts of things, but remembering on reflection that the defences there were very strong, and that they were defended by a great many friends of the ”Chips” party, he thought it better to extend his patriarchal forgiveness.
"Chips” lived at Mohaka for many happy years. He had plenty of work, for the stations along the coast wanted whaleboats to ship off their wool to the small craft that used to come to fetch it, and the small vessels also wanted repairing. His family increased rapidly, and the pah as a whole was very prosperous.
The natives, however, had one fear they were on bad terms with the Urewera tribe, that lived further inland, in a wild and almost inaccessible country, and were afraid of being taken by surprise, borne of them used to sleep in a pass some distance from the pah every night, in order to give warning of their enemies' approach, and the pahs were strongly fortified.
A few white people were now living on the Mohaka, and when the news came of the Maori war in the North, and the Waikato tribe announced their intention of killing the Queen's Maoris and whites along that part of the East Coast, Government put up a substantial block-house at the mouth of the Mohaka, and sent some ammunition there, and a few troopers to defend it.
There were two pahs, both well fortified. As is the Maori custom, they were perched on the highest ground in the neighbourhood. One was on the edge of a cliff more than four hundred feet high, the other was on an eminence surrounded by comparatively level ground, and as they had plenty of guns, the natives deemed themselves impregnable.
The Waikatos, however, never came, the troops were withdrawn, and the block-house was left in charge of the Maoris, who buried most of the powder. The news of Te Kooti's return from the Chathams, and the massacre at Poverty Bay, reached them, but they never dreamed of his visiting their locality, and the fears of the Ureweras had died out, so that no precautions were taken.
In April, 1869, the Hero arrived with stores from Napier. “Chips” fetched her into the river, and she discharged her cargo (which consisted of stores of all kinds, including grog) on to the bank.
Now, the name of the chief of Mohaka was Paul Rurepu, who was a very great Rangitira indeed. A wife of his was ill at this time, so he determined to send her to Napier in the Hero for medical advice. She agreed to go, but insisted on "Chips' " wife (who was a great friend of hers) accompanying her.
The Hero did not intend to sail till the 12th of the month, but on the 8th “Chips” had a dream to the effect that if she did not leave the river the next day she never would. The pre-sentiment left by this dream was so strong that he persuaded the captain to go to sea the following day, against his will, which turned out to be a lucky job for him, and all the others aboard.
The natives had a plantation about two and a half miles up the river, and the great majority of the young men and women were working there at the time. Whilst working at this plantation they used to sleep in some whares there, only returning to the pah at intervals. More than sixty of them went to rest in these whares on the night of the 9th April.
They only woke to die, for at the first break of day some two hundred Hau Haus, led by the ferocious and pitiless Te Kooti, surrounded the whares and mercilessly shot down and tomahawked all. Out of sixty-five only two a man and a young girl escaped to tell the tale.
The sound of the firing was heard at the pas, and they knew that the Hau Haus were on them. "Chips’" brave old father-in-law came to him and said, "You must go and take your youngest boy with you, or his mother will go mad. It is better for you to go at all hazards, for they are sure to kill all the white men, but may spare the Maoris. I will remain here with the other children,"
"Chips" had considerable difficulty in persuading any one to accompany him in the boat, for the sea was very rough, and they were afraid of being drowned. At last one of his daughters, a white man who had been working for him, and two natives, got into the boat with him and his boy, and they got safe to sea. The white man was halt dead with fright, and pulled so badly that "Chips' " daughter gave him the baby boy to hold, and took the oar herself. After warning people on the coast, they reached Napier in safety and gave the alarm.
After killing all the people on the plantation, the Hau Haus divided into two parties, one going down each side of the river. Their progress was one of blood. A Mr. Leven, a white settler, and his wife and three children were first killed, the next victims were a Mr. Cooper and a lame shepherd. Seven whites were thus added to the list of murders, but the more they killed the more bloodthirsty they seemed to be.
Arriving at the smaller pah, the one situated at the brink of the precipice, they assailed it with the greatest fury. A number of men, by cutting boles for their toes in the clay and soft rock, scaled the height, the projecting palisading saving them from the guns of their foes. Once at the fence they soon made an impression on it, and the defenders of the pah being called upon to open the gates, and promised quarter, admitted the enemy.
They first demanded that all arms should be given up, and killed several men. Hatea, a native who worked for Chips, on being called on to give up his gun, refused, and Te Kooti immediately aimed at him, Hatea returning the compliment; both fired together, but unluckily Te Kooti escaped with a ball through his leg, while poor Hatea fell dead.
The Hau Haus next tried to fire the church, which was a Raupo building. Strange to say, on this occasion this inflammable material would not burn, and, after trying three times without avail, they called out that the church was bewitched by an unfortunate woman who was sitting near, and murdered her most barbarously with their tomahawks, literally chopping her to atoms in their mad frenzy.
The great majority now went down to the block-house, and burned and destroyed as they went. Finding the stores that Captain Campbell had landed from the Hero, they soon got at the grog, and before long many were in a state of beastly intoxication.
Night now descended on the horrible scene. There were four of "Chips' " children in the pah, the eldest, a girl of fifteen, having recently married a Maori. Their poor old grandfather, who had been such a good friend to "Chips," had been murdered, and they determined to endeavour to escape.
Slowly and cautiously they made a hole through the wall of the pah on to the side of the precipice, across which ran a narrow and difficult path. At length the work was accomplished, and one by one three of "Chips' '' children and two others, who were their friends, crept through the hole, and stood in safety outside the pah, the watchfulness of the Hau Haus being relaxed through their frequent potations.
It was only then that they discovered that the youngest one was not amongst them. Her heroic elder sister did not hesitate a moment. Telling the others to proceed, she returned to the scene of danger, and miraculously passing unharmed amid the drunken Hau Haus returned with the little one, and at last stood safe outside on the ledge of the precipice.
But her second passage had aroused some of the Hau Hau guards; the alarm was given, and two of them discovering the hole through which the brave children had escaped, rushed through in pursuit, after giving the alarm by firing their guns. They met with a speedy and terrible death. Not knowing the ledge, they stepped into the outer darkness, and falling down the precipice, were shattered on the rocks below.
Two other Hau Haus, either undeterred by, or unaware of their comrades' fate, gained the ledge in safety, and sped after the poor children. The spirits they had drunk, however, probably rendered their footing uncertain, and at a treacherous turn in the path they too slipped and fell, meeting the same well-deserved fate as their comrades.
Guarded, as it would appear by a special Providence, the children reached the bottom of the cliff in safety, and stood on the banks of the Mohaka. On the other side was comparative safety, so they made up their minds to swim it. One was nearly drowned, but eventually all landed in safety; some horses belonging to a neighbour were caught, and before dawn they were far on their way to Napier, and safe from the pursuit of the Hau Haus.
The Hau Haus never discovered the place where the powder was buried, which was a great disappointment, as this was their principal object. They remained in the neighbourhood for some time, the Government having no force to cope with them, and they retired by the path they came.
“Chips” went to live at Pakowhai again, and after a time was persuaded to go to Lake Taupo to build some boats by Mr Ormond, who was then superintendant. His daughter Anna had run away from home and come to Akaroa, and on a visit to her father she spoke in such high terms of the place that he determined to come and live here, so some six years ago he came. Both he and his wife are much respected by the Maoris, and much loved by their children.
THOMAS RICHARD MOORE, M.D.
(CONTRIBUTED BY THE REV. R. R. BRADLEY)
Here is the name of another celebrated old identity. Dr. Moore arrived in this Colony by the Sir George Pollock, about the year 1851, and bought land in Charteris Bay, where he settled, but not being up to the rough-and-tumble life of a colonist, he was finally obliged to sell out to the present owner, Mr. R. R. Bradley, the whole of his interest in that Bay.
He afterwards settled in Christchurch, and devoted himself to his profession, where he would undoubtedly have reached the height of his ambition, but death stepped in, and he died suddenly about twenty-two years since. He was a man of bright intellect, with which he adorned his profession to such a degree that if any case seemed hopeless, the cry was always, "Send for Dr. Moore, if he cannot do you good, no one can."
On his arrival in this country, and with the intention, as noted above, of turning farmer, he brought with him four celebrated cows, that have since left their stamp on many of the herds of cattle on the Peninsula, Mr. R. Rhodes, in particular, owes not a little to the bull Brother Phil for the improvement of his stock at Ahuriri and Kaituna.
The names of the imported cows were Flash, Duchess, Creamy, and Old Dunny (an Alderney). Mr. Rhodes purchased Flash at the doctor's sale, and also Brother Phil, and remnants of their stock could almost still be traced in Mr. T. H. Parkinson's herd.
About ten or twelve years ago, when a person had a beast to sell, and could only say that it had been bred from Dr. Moore's stock, it was thought quite enough to establish its quality. One person really did obtain possession of a female calf, the doctor being obliged to part with it instead of wages, but on the whole, like most wise breeders, he was very careful about parting with his female stock. The doctor's cattle eventually became a mixed lot, but such was the celebrity of the above-named imported cattle, that any cow that came from Charteris Bay must be good.
We have heard that the doctor, previous to leaving England, had practised successfully in Salisbury, of which city he had been mayor. His widow and family are still in the Colony.
FRENCH FARM AND THE SURVEY
About the years 1858 and 1859 a great many new settlers came to New Zealand, and of these not a few came to the Peninsula, more particularly the passengers by the barque Indiana and the ship Clontarf, most of whom settled in the various Bays of the Peninsula. Amongst these we may mention Messrs. G. J. Checkley, Joseph Bates, Kennedy, and S. and J. Hunt.
Some of these new settlers went to dairy farming, others to bush work. Few had much capital to start with, and most of them are now comparatively prosperous men, thanks to their energy, and the splendid timber, capital soil, and good climate of our Peninsula.
The timber was then to be found everywhere in very large quantities, and the climate was more humid in consequence. Its removal has largely increased the droughts in summer, and old settlers think that planting should be largely carried on, to mitigate the extreme heat of the sun, which now burns up the bare hills for several months in the year,
One gentleman, Mr. F. Moore, left the barque Indiana in Lyttelton, in the year 1858, with a very small capital, which he, like a good many more, speedily got rid of, not seeing at the moment what he was to do in New Zealand.
He came down to the Peninsula, and joined Mr. Tribe's gang in the French Farm Bay, cutting blocks for the old Government buildings, piles for the Lyttelton jetty, firewood, etc., at which employment he was occupied nearly two years.
Very jolly was the life led by these bush fellows in the old days. Many of them had been delicately nurtured and well brought up, but they turned to with a will, and found that they could do hard work as well as those to the manner born.
Their hard-won earnings were, however, in most cases speedily disposed of. They used to work like slaves for a month or two, and then go to Akaroa and knock it down in a few days. Mr. Gibbs kept the principal hotel, which was the one now known as Bruce's. He was a decent fellow, with a large corporation (stomach), and the boys all liked him, for he was of a very genial character.
Mr. Tribe rented the Government bush in French Farm, and employed a great many men. He was universally respected, but in spite of all his enterprise, he never (through a series of misfortunes) succeeded in making the fortune he thoroughly deserved.
At one time he was burnt out in Lyttelton, and afterwards took the Central Hotel in Christchurch. He eventually found his way to the West Coast diggings, when he was returned as a member for the General Assembly, and did much good for the community he represented, and was as generally beloved by the diggers as he had been on the Peninsula.
When Mr. Tribe gave up French Farm, Messrs. Keegan and Wilkin bought a spot of ground on the south side of Akaroa Harbour, on which Mr. Keegan is still living. Mr. Moore went over with them, and stopped for a year. At this time Mr, Townsend was traversing the Peninsula on the survey. He was joined by Mr. Moore, who stopped with him six months, and afterwards went with him up north.
At the time the big works were going on in French Farm, Mr. Shadbolt took the Head of the Bay Hotel, and succeeded in it most admirably. His predecessor was a Mr. John Anderson (a Russian Fin), and in his time there were high jinks at the Head of the Bay, for in those days timber was worth twenty-two shillings per hundred feet, and the sawyers made their money very easily, and spent it as freely as they got it.
A gentleman named Dickens resided in French Farm before Mr. Tribe came there. He was a dairy farmer, and a good deal of the land there belonged to him. One day, in the year 1857, he left the house without saying where he was going, taking his horse with him. When night came he did not return, but his dog came back, and a search was instituted, which lasted for many weeks. His horse was discovered tied up in the supplejacks, but no trace or tidings of the missing man himself have ever been discovered to the present day. The present proprietors of French Farm are relations of this gentleman, who was very much respected and regretted.
There were many narrow escapes in those days, particularly to those engaged in boating. On one occasion, at Christmas time, Mr. Townsend sent a boat's crew to Waikerakikari from Akaroa. It came on to blow fiercely from the south-west, and the crew had to put into Lucas' Bay, where they laid that night.
There was a keg of rum in the boat, and before midnight they were drinking it out of the heel of an old boot. Next morning they resolved to start, though it was still blowing very hard from the south-west. Jack Miller was the steer-oarsman, and he kept the men in good heart. In spite of the heavy seas and furious wind, they managed all right till they got near a reef that runs out near Waikerakikari shore. Here the sea was breaking furiously over the reef, and they had to wait for over two hours before Miller gave the word to pull across. When he did he said "Pull, and pull like hell, boys!" and so they did pull, and just as the boat cleared the reef the rowers saw the bare rocks staring up abaft.
It was a marvellous escape; another moment and the boat must have been dashed to pieces and all on board drowned, for no one could have swum in such a sea; and had it not been for the iron nerve and quick eye of Miller, none would have lived to tell the tale.
JOHN HENRY CATON
There is a very picturesque bay on Lake Forsyth named after the subject of this memoir, who was well known all over the Peninsula as a dealer in stock. He was a man of a great variety of trades, up to anything, and was much liked by many in the early days. He once kept the Canterbury Hotel, in Lyttelton, and afterwards (in conjunction with D. Taylor) purchased a run near Tamutu, at the head of Lake Ellesmere.
It is said he was born in Smith field, close to the celebrated market, and he used to boast that he had been connected with stock since his birth, for that reason. He went to Sydney in 1849, and came to Canterbury in '53. It was about 1860 that he purchased the run previously mentioned, and entered extensively into cattle dealing, a pursuit which made him known in every corner of the Peninsula, from which he drew no small portion of his supplies.
The great event in his life happened later. He arranged with Mr William Wilson, of Christchurch, familiarly known as "Cabbage Wilson," to enter into a speculation for buying a large number of cattle in Nelson and Marlborough, and taking them to Dunedin, where they were scarce. Mr. Wilson found the money, and the large drove was collected north and driven south, where they were disposed of at a large profit, the purchase money exceeding £2,000. His instructions were to bank this money in Dunedin, where he received it, but this he did not do.
He returned from Dunedin with the money in his pocket, in company with Mr. H. Prince, and when they arrived at the Waitaki, the boundary river between Otago and Canterbury, he tried to make an arrangement with one of the men that when they were crossing the river they should create a disturbance amongst the dogs, so that a stock whip might be used, and in the scuffle a carpet bag he carried, supposed to contain the money, might be lost overboard. The man in question agreed, and when they were crossing the river the plan was carried out, but, unluckily for Caton, a passenger rescued the carpet bag before it sank, so this plan failed.
They rested that night on the north side of the Waitaki , and Caton made an excuse to leave the camp to look after some horses in the river bed. He went away, and during his absence night came on. On his return he asked the tent keeper where was his carpet bag, about which he evinced great anxiety.
He afterwards called attention to the tent's being cut, and declared the carpet bag had been taken, and after a long search the carpet bag was found ripped open, and despoiled of its supposed contents of £2,000. Prince, being afraid he might be accused, gave notice to the police, and when Caton reached Rolleston, Detective H. Feast, Sergeant-major Pardie, and our friend Sergeant Willis, of Akaroa, were waiting for him. They searched him without result, but at the bottom of a pair of long boots, hung over a chair to dry, the £2,000 was found.
The trial created great interest, and he was eventually sentenced to four years' imprisonment at Lyttelton Gaol. After his release he went to Sydney, where he was drowned some time after in the river McLachlan He was a man of remarkable talents, and might have made quite a prominent figure in life had it not been for his unfortunate propensity. His name is quite a byword in the county. The latter event recorded took place about 1872.
THE CHIEF PAORA TAKI'S STORY
(CONTRIBUTED BY THE REV. J. W. STACK.)
You want to know when Te Wherowhero came here. I will tell you, for I was one of the first to see him.
Our interview came about in a strange manner. I was on my way from Port Levy to the Maori village at Pigeon B ay, which was situated close to where the steam wharf is now. I was accompanied by another Maori, named Hapakuku.
On nearing Mr Hay's house we became aware that our movements were being attentively watched by several Europeans. My companion grew rather nervous when he found this out, and wished to turn back. He was too familiar with the dark doings of our own people in former times, not to suspect the white men of some evil design against us. I laughed at his fears, for I had mixed enough with white people to know that we had nothing to apprehend from them. As we drew nearer I recognised the Akaroa policeman, who was a friend of mine, and then was able to assure my companion of our perfect safety under his protection.
When we got up to the Pakehas they all shook hands with us, and then the policeman asked us whether we knew anything about a boat that was then sailing up the harbour. We told him it was not a Maori boat, and that we had noticed it entering the Heads from the south as we descended the hill. The white men then talked together, when the policeman told us that one of his companions was the mate of a whaling ship anchored in Akaroa Harbour, that six of the crew had run off during the night with one of the boats, that they had come over in search of the deserters, and that if we would help to capture them we should be liberally rewarded.
They believed that the approaching boat contained the missing men. We consented to assist them, and were told to keep about on the beach, while they retired to a neighbouring settler's house, where we saw them watching the boat with a spy- glass through the half-open door. The boat made at first for the Maori pah, but the crew seemed to change their minds, and headed straight for where we stood, at the mouth of the creek. On their coming within hail, they asked if they could get any food on shore.
The settler who was with the policeman and mate when we first met came down, and told them they could get what they wanted at his house. Four of the men then jumped ashore, leaving two in charge of the boat. We all walked up to the house together. On entering the kitchen I did not see the policeman or his mate; they were hidden away in an inner room. When the meal was prepared, the men sat round the table, and ate as if they were very hungry.
Presently I was told to go to the beach and send up the other two, who were in charge of the boat. We all walked up to the house together. On my telling them my message, they seemed very glad, and jumped ashore without delay. I got into the boat and pushed off. As soon as I got clear of the beach, I hurrahed and danced about, to the evident astonishment of the two men, who stood for a while staring at me, and then went on, evidently never suspecting the cause of my shouts, which were so loud as to attract the notice of the people of the village, who ran out to see what all the noise was about, wondering what crazy fellow could be larking in such an idiotic manner as I appeared to be doing with the white men's boat.
They did not know that it was a preconcerted signal between the policeman and myself. I pulled the boat in to the village, where I got the Maoris to help me drag it up, and, after stowing away the oars and gear, I returned to the settler's house, where I found all the men still sitting round the table. As soon as I got in I stood with my back against the door, and a minute or two afterwards the bedroom door opened, and the policeman and mate walked into the kitchen.
It would have made you laugh to have seen the crestfallen expression on the faces of those men, who, with their legs under the table, could not stand up quickly, and could have no chance of escaping or successfully resisting, seven men standing behind the seats, and ready to pounce upon them if they ventured to move. They exchanged looks while quietly submitting to have their wrists manacled.
As soon as they were all fastened together, we started for Akaroa Harbour. It was a rough journey for the sailors, fastened as they were, for the path that led up the heavily timbered valley was very narrow and continually crossed by a narrow stream. On reaching the Head of the Bay we lighted a signal fire, and soon after a boat came from the whaler and took us all to Akaroa, where the deserters appeared before Mr. Robinson, the Magistrate, and were ordered by him to return to their ship.
The captain took Hapakuku and myself on board with him, where he gave us each a good suit of clothes as a reward for our services. We slept on board, and the next day after breakfast I went on deck, which was almost entirely covered with empty casks, as the mate was busy stowing the full ones at the bottom of the hold. Wanting to have a look round, I stood upon some casks near the bulwarks, and looked over the side. I had not been many minutes there before I saw something that quite startled me; I saw a large ship opposite Onuku, and coming up the harbour without any sails coming so fast that the water spouted from its bows like a wave recoiling from a rock-bound coast.
When I could get my breath I called out, "O, look year! look year! What da ? Water break all er same stone on er beats!" Several persons sprang to my side, amongst them the captain, who, as soon as he looked, said, "Steamer !"
That was the first steamer I ever saw. It was soon at the anchorage, and the whaler sent a boat on board, when I found that Sir George Grey, Te Wherowhero, and Te Horeta were on board. Sir George asked where all the Maoris were, and I told him at Port Levy. He said, "Go and tell them that I am here with Te Wherowhero."
I went off at once and returned the following day with twenty companions. We had an interview with the Governor, and then I went to Onuku, where Te Wherowhero had gone to confer with our people. We stayed all together in William's large house. I woke in the night and found our guest smoking. There was a large oil lamp burning, which gave a bright light. I saw him go out once, and noticed that his body was beautifully tattooed. His stay was very short, for the next day he and the Governor went away in their steamer, and we saw no more of Te Wherowhero.
STORY OF A SNAKE HUNT IN AKAROA HARBOUR BY MRS. TIKAO
(CONTRIBUTED BY THE REV. J. W. STACK.)
The impression sure to be produced by the heading of this story will be, that it is simply a hoax which no amount of testimony can substantiate, for it must seem incredible, in a country where such reptiles are unknown, that a snake hunt ever took place in the immediate vicinity of Akaroa . But the story will not appear so improbable when it is known that several attempts were made in the "early days," by visitors to these shores, to acclimatise snakes; and the presence of the reptile found and killed in these parts was doubtless due to the ill-judged zeal of one of those insane naturalists, who, regardless of all consequences, seemed determined to solve the question whether snakes could exist in New Zealand. Mrs. Tikao's story is as follows:
"We had often listened with eager interest to the stories told by our countrymen of their narrow escapes from being bitten by serpents; and the accounts they gave of the deadly effect of snake bite only served to deepen our hereditary aversion to all reptiles.
You can imagine the commotion and excitement caused by the reported discovery of a snake on the shores of the harbour. It was found by a coloured man named Jim, who lived a long time with the Maoris at Takapuneke, near the Red House. He was a sober, industrious man, and highly respected by us.
Having gone for some reason to O Tipua the promontory between Akaroa and German Bay he was startled by the discovery of unmistakable signs of a snake's presence. The spot where the discovery occurred was close to the cliff used by the men-of-war frequenting the harbour as a target. He hurried back at once to warn every one against going near the place. He told the Maoris not to approach the shell-fish found only at low water. There was no need to repeat the warning, for we were all too much alarmed to venture anywhere near Tipua, and already in imagination we saw the country swarming in venomous reptiles.
Jim told us that he used to track and kill snakes in his own country, but that it was so long ago, that he almost forgot how to proceed, but he promised to do his best to rid us of the dreaded pest, which had appeared in such an unaccountable manner in our neighbourhood.
There were two French men-of-war at anchor in the harbour at the time, and Jim applied to the captain of one of them for help, who supplied him with a musket and ammunition, and sent in one of the ship's boats to the spot where the indications which he first saw awakened his alarm.
Everyone was very much interested in the success of Jim's efforts, and the Maoris, seated in boats and canoes, watched his movements from a safe distance. On landing, he proceeded cautiously along the hill side, picking his steps through the tussock grass and scrub. At last we lost sight of him altogether, and he was so long hidden from our view that we began to be alarmed for his safety, many exclaiming that he had fallen a victim to his zeal for the general safety. The report of his gun, however, assured us of his escape, and not long afterwards we saw him approaching the beach with something like an eel, about a yard long, fastened to the end of a rod. He brought it down to the beach, and showed it to us. It was spotted black and white. Jim told us that it was necessary to burn it, in order to prevent its young ones coming out of its body and stocking the place, so a bonfire was made and the snake consumed.”
THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF MR. DICKEN
In the article entitled "French Farm and the Survey," brief mention is made of the mysterious disappearance of Mr Dicken, of French Farm, but merely a few words were given, and it is therefore with much pleasure that we are able to lay before our friends a clear and detailed account, that was furnished to our informant by Mr. Edwin Silk, who was, at the time Mr. Dicken disappeared, renting some land from him, in conjunction with Mr. Tribe.
It appears that in the summer of 1857 Mr. Dicken and Mr. Silk went out one morning to look after some stray cattle. They went over a lot of country in the neighbourhood of French Farm, and got home unsuccessful at about 4 p.m. Mr. Dicken then declared his intention of searching for the missing stock on the Barry's Bay fern hills. He accordingly went away on his pony, refusing the company of Mr. Silk, who offered to go with him. He had a collie slut following him.
When evening came, and Mr. Dicken did not come back, Messrs Tribe and Silk were both anxious, for the roads were very bad, and they feared he might have had a fall. They therefore got out the dingy, and pulled to the Head of the Bay Hotel, which was then kept by Anderson, in order to find out if anything had been seen of Mr. Dicken there. Finding on their arrival that he had not gone in that direction, they went to Barry's Bay. Mr. Tribe had brought a cornet that he was in the habit of playing with him, and when they got to the Barry's Bay hills he made them ring again, but to their mortification and dismay there was no response, and they had to return home.
Next morning they renewed their search in the flax and scrub that were on the edge of the bush that fringed the Barry's Bay fern hills. At last, in a pig track, they saw the marks of the pony's feet, and following the trail they came to the pony himself. He was tied to a flax bush, but so lightly that the least pull would have set him loose. There, however, he had evidently stayed since the previous night, and further observations showed Mr. Dicken’s own track leading into the bush. They followed it for a few chains, but it then became imperceptible, and though they again and again tried to see where it led, and Mr. Silk knew the print of the boots so thoroughly as to be able to identify their marks anywhere, they could find nothing to guide them.
Eventually they returned to French Farm and gave the alarm to Mr. Dicken's family, and to the people living at Akaroa. Search parties were organised, and every hill and gully was searched for a week, but without result. The search was most thorough. There was a big Totara tree in the bush, and each party on going in used to mark on this tree the direction in which they were searching, so every gully was scoured. Miss Dicken offered a reward of £500 for the body of her brother, alive or dead, but the men could not have searched better than they did for any reward.
The Maoris offered to come for a certain sum down, but they did not fancy having anything to do with a corpse, and rather shunned the search, their superstition being awakened by the whole matter.
What seemed most puzzling was that the dog did not come back, as it would if anything had happened to Mr. Dicken. At last the search was given up, and the Akaroa people went back, the understanding being that if the dog came back, or there were anything fresh happened , Messrs. Tribe and Silk should make a smoke at a certain point to let the Akaroa people know.
Just a fortnight after Mr. Dicken's disappearance, Mr. Silk was at the back of the house at French Farm, washing his clothes, when, looking round, what was his astonishment to see Mr. Dicken's slut crawling up to him. She was a mass of skin and bone, and must have been fasting during the whole of her absence, and she crawled up to him in that guilty way, which dogs have when they know they have done wrong. Her hair was matted and stained with red clay, and this struck him as most remarkable, as there was no red clay to be found in the neighbourhood of Barry's Bay, the nearest being some miles away.
Mr. Silk gave the signal agreed on, and three boatloads of men came over from Akaroa, and they took the slut to the place where the horse was found, and tried to make her show them the road her master had taken. All was useless, however, for she would not go anywhere, and eventually the second search had to be abandoned without any result, and the mystery has never been solved to this day.
Mr. Silk had a list of the things Mr. Dicken had with him, so that the body might be identified if it were ever found. One of these things was his pipe. It was a clay, and a triangular piece had been broken out of the bowl, so that it would hold very little tobacco. Only the day before his disappearance Mr. Silk had said to him, "I had better give you another pipe," but he was a small smoker, and replied, "No, the pipe holds enough for me." Mr. Silk could also identify his knife and the pattern of the nails in his boots, which was peculiar. Some day perhaps this knowledge may help to solve the mystery. The slut became the property of Mr. Thomas Brough, and was eventually killed for biting one of his children.
Among the more remarkable men who from time to time have led isolated lives on the Peninsula, one called Harry Head may be mentioned, who, some fifteen years ago, took up his residence in Waikerakikari.
Previous to his arrival this Bay had been quite untenanted, as it was covered by dense bush, and almost inaccessible both from land and sea. It appears that it was for these very reasons that Head selected it for his abiding place. He chose a Government section in the valley near the beach, and put up a shanty, which he roofed with tree ferns. Here he lived all by himself, and friends who visited him on rare occasions used to find him industriously occupied in the bush or his garden, in a very primitive garment, consisting of a sack in which holes had been cut for his head and arms.
At certain intervals he used to tire of this Robinson Crusoe kind of existence, and visit the residents of the neighbouring Bays in very scanty clothing. In his habits he was almost a wild man, and it is said he had lived long amongst the North American Indians. Instead of riding with an ordinary bridle, he preferred the Indian fashion of a string turned round the horse's lower jaw. This string used to be composed of coloured strands, Indian fashion.
He was credited with the power of long abstinence from food. He has been known several times to start to walk from Akaroa to Christchurch with nothing but a little sugar in his pockets, his only clothing being some home-made trousers and a blanket, which on grand occasions he used to encircle at the waist with a gaudy parti-coloured cord and tassels.
Harry Head was a great lover of music, and used to play simple melodies by ear on the piano, when occasion offered. Strange to say, however, the instrument he loved most was the drum, which he used to aver, was capable of great expression, as well as power. He was also an excellent performer on the banjo. Once on a time he had almost resolved to abjure his solitary and wandering existence for domestic felicity, but the mother and friends of the young lady on whom he had placed his affections strongly objected to him, and he had to return to his solitary whare in Waikerakikari. He appeared to be a man who had read and thought much, and was considered of a genial temperament by those who knew him intimately.
He was the first man who took stock into Waikerakikari. He purchased a number of calves, and got a gentleman to assist him in driving them there, a difficult task indeed in those times, when there was no track and a dense bush all the way. A start was effected at six one morning, and his companion had to go about two miles out of the road to satisfy Head, by seeing a group of Nikau palms.
At last, after a lot of trouble, they arrived at their destination, and it being most sultry weather, the dwelling house was found to be a very suitable one, and fit for the Astronomer Royal, being open to the stars of heaven. The whare in which his visitors slept was composed of weather-boards, was about eight feet square, and was a regular old curiosity shop, being filled with all sorts of knickknacks and curios he used to pick up on his visits to Christchurch and other places.
One of his strangest notions was, that with properly manufactured appliances human beings would be able to fly. He gave much attention to this hobby, and even ventilated the subject in public in the old country, after leaving the Peninsula.
He once paid a visit to the West Coast, and on his return walked back over the ranges at the rate of some fifty miles a day. This, however, seemed to entirely cure him of any desire for future rambles on foot, for it was his last pedestrian feat.
He eventually returned to England, and astonished his friends there by his remarkable costume and strange style, and no doubt they were heartily glad when he announced his intention of proceeding to his old home in America. He is now, to the best of our informant's belief, located at Dakota, where his primitive habits appear to have enabled him to withstand the effects of the terrible seasons, which have been so fatal to other Europeans. Before leaving he sold his property to the Messrs. Masefield, and his old clearing is now the site of the sawmills erected at Waikerakikari by the energetic Mr. John Smith.
From Mr. W. Masefield we further learn that Head's real name was Alexander, and that he was the son of a bookseller, who had him well educated. He was an excellent mathematician, and a fair Greek scholar, besides understanding a good deal of botany. The latter was much cultivated by him during his sojourn on the Peninsula, and he was constantly in correspondence with Dr. Haast.
From his youth he had strange fancies, and, when young, slept a night at Stonehenge, on what is known as the vertical monument, in the hope that mysterious dreams would come to him from the forgotten past. The dead Druids, however, made no sign, and a cold was the only result.
He was born at Chippenham, in Wiltshire, and, on leaving England, went to America, and joined a party to the Rocky Mountains. He had a great admiration for the North American Indians.
He afterwards went to Vancouver Island, and thence worked his passage Home in a lumber ship, which made the longest passage on record. After a brief spell at Home he came out to Australia, and was at the diggings for some time. He walked over a great part of Australia, and applied to join the Burke and Willis expedition, but was too late. He there formed an acquaintance with Baron Von Muller, with whom he used to correspond upon botanical subjects.
After a time he came across to New Zealand, and walked over the North Island, and then came across to Nelson, and from there continued his pedestrian expedition to Christchurch. He was one of the first men to cross the range. He afterwards came to the Peninsula, to Le Bon's Bay, and saw Mr. Cuff there, and wanted to get some land, but Mr. Cuff told him it was all his.
He then went Home again, and after a short stay came again to New Zealand, and was at the Otago diggings, being one of the first at Gabriel's Gully, and did well there. He had, however, been so charmed with the Peninsula, that it was not long before he came back to it to get some land and settle,
He bought a piece of land where Mr. Lelievre's house now stands, at Fisherman's Bay. He sold it after some time to Mr. Lelievre, and bought a place in Paua Bay. He had a whare there, and locked it up one day to go to Christchurch. When he got to Christchurch, however, he made up his mind to go to England, and when he came back to his whare, long after, he found the place was broken open, and his things gone. He then sold the land to Mr. Narbey, and went on to Mr. Townsend's survey party, and helped to cut the present line from Barry's Bay to Little River. He then bought land in Waikerakikari .
He was a splendid hand in the bush. Unlike an ordinary mortal, it was his practice to go in a bee- line from one place to another, utterly regardless of tracks. He never lost his way, and used to accomplish long distances in a wonderfully brief period.
He once started to carry a tub from Barry's Bay to Waikerakikari, through the bush. He had it on his head, and it struck against the branches of a tree, hitting him so smartly on the head that he remained unconscious for many hours. When he left the Peninsula he had fully £500 in his possession, and when he reached England he increased his capital by lecturing on philosophical subjects. With a very powerful and acute mind, but of exceedingly erratic temperament, Harry Head narrowly missed being a great man.
THE LOSS OF THE CREST
The well-known ketch Crest, Captain Ellis, left Akaroa one Sunday evening in October, 1868, loaded with telegraph poles, for a port to the north of Kaiapoi. She had on board Captain W, A. Ellis, master and part owner; J. B. Barker, part owner; Edward Cunningham, seaman; and Mr. W. Belcher, of the firm of Belcher & Fairweather, Kaiapoi, who was passenger and charterer.
The weather was fine when the vessel started, and no one dreamed that anything had gone wrong till the following day about noon, when Mr. J. B. Barker arrived in Akaroa, and stated that the vessel was wrecked, and that he was the only person who had escaped. He stated that he had managed to land in Flea Bay in the dingy, and that he had told the Messrs. Rhodes, who resided there, of the catastrophe.
This news was, of course, looked upon as final, every one thinking that the rest of the persons aboard the ill-fated Crest had come to an untimely end. Later in the day, however, the startling news was brought that two of the Rhodes had gone out in anything but a safe boat, to view the locality in which the vessel had been reported to be lost, and had rescued Cunningham from a rock to which he had swum after Mr. Barker had left the vessel.
Cunningham informed the Messrs. Rhodes that Captain Ellis and Mr. Belcher were still alive and aboard the craft, and several attempts were made by the Messrs. Rhodes to rescue them, but they were totally unavailing, as the wreck had drifted into a cave, over a considerable distance of kelp- covered shallow reefs, upon which even in the calmest weather the sea broke fearfully. Cunningham stated that Ellis could have escaped as he did, by swimming, but refused to leave Belcher, who could not swim.
As can be imagined, this news created a great deal of excitement in Akaroa, and boats manned by volunteers were at once despatched to the scene of the wreck, in the hope of saving the unfortunate castaways. The weather remained moderate, and for three days every plan that could be thought of was tried to rescue the unfortunates, but without avail.
The vessel in the meantime had broken up, and Ellis and BeIcher had got upon a ledge of rock within the cave. It was thought that Ellis had received some injury, and was incapable of swimming in consequence, but of course nothing certain on this point can ever be known.
Those who proceeded to the locality in the hope of rescuing the unfortunate sufferers cannot reproach themselves with leaving any means untried. Ropes were drifted over the kelp into the cave, and Ellis upon one occasion managed to get a hold, but the strands parted, and the temporary communication was destroyed. A coloured man named Dominique, a celebrated swimmer, spared no pains in his endeavours, but he tried his utmost unavailingly.
Captain Schenkel, of the Prince Alfred, was unremitting in his attempts, and devised many schemes to save the castaways, but they were all frustrated by the unrelenting ocean, which appeared determined to prevent either the entrance of the rescuers, or the exit of the unwilling explorers from the gloomy cavern.
The poor fellows were plainly to be seen, and their cries could be heard by those who were risking their own lives in the attempt to save them. They had rigged two pieces of rope from the roof of the cave, to which they fastened a board, and when the tide began to flow, they had to sit on this board to prevent themselves being washed away. At high water the mouth of the cave was covered with the surging water, the scene being described by the eye-witnesses as terrible in the extreme.
For three days this fearful suspense continued, but on the boats going out on the fourth morning, the cave was discovered to be vacant, No doubt weakened by continuous suffering, thoroughly exhausted, and unable to hold on any longer, they must have been washed away during; the night.
Words cannot portray, nor imaginations conceive, what these poor fellows must have suffered before succumbing. Without food or water, buffeted by the waves, to see help so near and yet of no avail it is dreadful, even at this length of time, to contemplate their terrible sufferings. The sympathies of every one in Akaroa were strained to the utmost by the fearful suspense, and never before or since has Green's Point been watched with such intensity as for the appearance of boats with news regarding the calamity. Our informant states that he hopes never again to feel the fearful anxiety which he experienced during the time the attempts at rescue were being made.
Captain Ellis was well known throughout the district, and was universally respected. A tablet to his memory is to be seen in St. Peter's Church, Akaroa. It was placed there by the Oddfellows, of which society he was a member. Mr. Belcher, as before stated, was a resident in Kaiapoi, where he was much esteemed. The calamity threw a gloom over the whole Peninsula.
The tablet erected in St. Peter's Church to the memory of Captain Ellis bears the following inscription:
"This tablet is erected by the Oddfellows, M.U., of this district, to the memory of Captain William Ellis, aged 43 years, who perished through the wreck of the ketch Crest, near the north head of this harbour, on October 29, 1868."