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THE AWAROA. (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)

It is now some ten years since Waiuku became a place of native trade, and the channel of traffic between the Waikato and Onehunga. Prior to that lime, produce, after having been brought up the Avraroa, was pikaued across by tlio natives to the Waiuku creek. The canoes were then dragged across, launched reloaded, and they proceeded to Onehuuga, where they disposed of their produco and bought supplies. Returning, they dragged their canoes across from Waiuku to Purapura again, and once more in the Awaroa they paddled to their homes on the Waikato. Sir George G-rcy, in his former governorship, in order to save some of this vast labour, and having au idea of the local advantages of Waiuku for a place of trade, laid on a cutter, the ' Maori,' which plied between Onehunga, carrying produco und passenger^. Prays also appeared on the road, and the currying trade was thus started. The ' Maori' was unfortunately lost, but Sir. E. Constable opportunely laid on the ' Jenny Lind,' m Inch was followed by tho ' Defiance ' and the 'Seabell;' other changes took place, and at present two cutters, the ' Betsy ' and ' Liz/?y are the regular traders. The road from Waiuku to the landing-place from the Awaroa at Puru is 2^ miles in length. It is naturally a firm road, and the Provincial Government have made on it some necessary cuttings and bridges, bo, from Pura-pura to Onehunga the carrying accommodation is almost as perfect as present circumstances require. But in the prosenoe of thoso conveniences one great and serious inconvenience has been allowed to remain, and that is tho unimproved condition of the Awaroa. On a surveyed line, the distance from Waiuku Creek to tho Waikato is only 5-Jj miles ; but, owing to the windings of the Awaroa the distance from the landing-place at Pura-pura to the Waikato by the creek may be 3 miles. Fallen timber, from time immemorial, ,has accumulated in the creek. A few of the worst of tho logs have been notched out sufficiently only to allow canoes to be dragged through, and these logs thus remain very serious obstructions. The resistance, too, which these logs present to the flow of the tide is such that Mr. James Stewart, C. E., who surveyed the creek last year, calculated that tho tide would rise a foot higher than it now does were the logs removed. The creek, from about four miles above its entrance into the Waikato, passes mostly through bush ; from the bu&h upwards to the landing-place, a distance of about one mile by the creek, three-fourths of a milo by straight line, it runs through open swamp. Where the creek enters the bush Mr. Stowart registered a tidal rise of eighteen inches, with fifteen inches of water remaining in the creek, and therefore, according to his calculation, there would be at this part — were tho logs bolow removed — a tidal rise of two feet six inches and a total depth of water of three feet nine inches. The fall from the landing-place to tho bush, by Mr. Stewarts levels, was three feet six inches, which would give an average elevation over that throe-quarters of a mile of one foot nine inches, and allowing two feet for the elevation of tho banks, an average cutting to the depth of seven feet would give a depth of water of three feet three inches at. the landing-place, which depth tho rise of tide would probably increase by another foot. In this three-quarters of a mile the creek is narrow, crooked, and full of obstacles. In faqt it is thero that the greatest difficulties in bringing up loaded canoes are cvpei'ienccd. The , cutting of a new channel for tho creek iv this part, would not only bo tho best, but also in tho end the cheapest work. Tho clearing out of the old channel, and tho placing of locks thereon, would probably be nearly as expensive as a new channel, while the kooping of a man in charge of these locks would be a permanent charge ever after. Another consideration in favor of a new channel is, that it would enable the adjacont rich swamp lands to be drained, while locks would back up the water and make the lands irreclaimable for crops. or pasture as long as the locks were allowed to remain. The .lands on the eastern bank of the Awaroa are all Government property, on the western bank thoy are all native property. The fact that the land on both sides does not belong to the Government hns long beon held as a difficulty in having the Awaroa improved. During tho late unsettled times it was by no moans clear that the natives would consent to any improvement, from fear that such improvement might prove a road for the big guns of the troops. That feeling has now passed away. There were, also stingy pakehas who objected to any improvement because it would enhance the value of the native land on the western bank of the creek. • This race of pakehas is, however, now nearly extinct, and their feeble opposition will not hinder the work. , On Tuesday, the 24th,' the tribe of the Ngatitiat^'"had' ,a meeting at their settlement, near this' village df Waiuku, where tho improvement of tho Awaroa wasdiso.ussed. aud raofc with a Hearty "*si»pjport from the leading men of tjaeir .tribe,,, Tquvpa^.Tipene,; Haehe,' Ihaia,r,and otu.e?B,( sppkej in favor of its being opened. . One old native gave some opposition wMch'.only excited merriment from ,the general tribe. Tiio argumonts in favour of its being opened* wero'.-i that the Great South Kon,d had, f beeni opened' and*that the 'evils' to $h& natives' which hud been prophwied from 'thit'wk

iliitd n.ove» come (to pass. That if' the Governor iwaate'cb'toHalce hit big.gunn. ilito thofWaikato' he f 'could already.- do so, either <by> the ' Great i South' ORoad; ,or with Steamers - byI Waikafco HdadSi' and ! that,' ' therefore, the Awaroa being" kept' slmt would not" prevent him. " That if these t,wo xo&As inlo the Waikato were not, liqw ! open, there might exist, 'some show,of'avg}unent ( fQr keeping the Awaroa as it is, and that wore tho ,Awaroa not now opened its closure would so operate upon trade as to prevent the increase of the European settlers, and probably cause 'some of the present settlers to leave. The improvements 1 contemplated by their leading men, wore the improvement or divergence of tho present channel, and th,e blearing of twd good roads, one' ou each side, dow^i to the Waikato 1 , ( and they ' are willing, to give for public use what land or theirs may bo rpquired for those purposes. They are anx'jpvis, also, that their young, men should be employed along with tho Europeans in doing the work. So far the result of Tuesday's meeting has been more favourable than ,the most sanguine advocates for tho opening of tho Awaroa anticipated, and it is to bo hoped that tho present opportunity will not be lost through any slackness oh the part of either Government. Last year, Mr. Sewell, on behalf of, his Excellency's Government, ofl'oied £500 towards tho work, provided the Provincial Council voted an equal sum, but they pleaded want of funds, and tho sum was not voted. It is to be hoped that plea will not be, urged in reply to the petition presented this session. The sale of no block of land, before or since, put so much money into the Provincial chest as that of tho Waiukn block. The high prices it brought woro in a great measure attributable to the peculiar adaptability of the locality for a place of trade and channel of traffic. This fact alone imposed an obligation upon tho Government to improve that channel of traffic. Yet what has been done ? However, we will not now utter accusations. The time has probably arrived when tho Awaroa is to be opened ; when the creek on which days have been spent by loadtd canoes in making the ascent may be navigated in an hour-and-a-half j and when the Waikato will be placed within an easy hour's ride from Waiuku. The winter season is now approaching, when much of the work required cannot be attempted, but the clearing of the bush on the banks can be gone into at once. In fact, winter is as good a time as any foy bush falling, and the plans for the full completion of the work could in the meantime be got ready for entering upon early next summer.

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Bibliographic details

THE AWAROA. (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.), Daily Southern Cross, Volume XIX, Issue 1773, 27 March 1863

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1,422

THE AWAROA. (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.) Daily Southern Cross, Volume XIX, Issue 1773, 27 March 1863

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