OVERLAND FROM TARANAKI TO WELLINGTON.
(BY A CORRESPONDENT.) [Continued]. As I stated before, our quarters at Opunake were much more comfortable than we could have expected ; and next morning, after breakfasting with our kind hosts, we started for Oio at an early hour. The weather was again wet and threatening, but as do rain had fallen during the night, we found the river which had stopped our progress the evening before—the Waiaua— much lpwer, aiid we and our Maori escort crossed without difficulty. The track lay more inland than on the previous clay, and was quite as muddy and heavy. We wem up and down several steep and deep cuttings with rapid streams ab (he bottom, and passed a Maori village named Panehu. The 'country,' as usual, was flat, and the soil rich, with occasional patches of small bush. As we went along, the weather improved, and by the time we reached Oio (half-past 9). the morning was tolerably fine. Here we found a Maori village of n<> great extent, but boasting of one galvanised iron erection, dignified by the name of an hotel, the residence and property of our .Maori1 guard, where we changed horses. Into this '• hotel" we were invited to partake of breakfast, and entered accordingly. We found a table covered with a cloth which appeared to have done duty siniiithe line of coaches started. On it was placed a three-legged iron pot full uf potatoes, and a tin dish of fried pork. Pannikins, tin plates, knives and forks were provided, and on tin floor stood a kettle of tea. We all partook oE the viands, more, I am afrai>t. to avoid giving ofFehce than induced thereto by their appetizing appearance. Breakfast over, a Maori came round and collected h each as its prioe. Going out, we passed a sort of bar, behind which stood a nativ. with a wounded arm. wiping a glass as an intimation that waipero was attainable. .This native was shot, as I learned, in some engagement with General Cameron's troops. and is under the impression that his wound was inflicted by the Generals own hand, and as the honor of being struck by such a distinguished warrior, appeared to afford him some consolation for the loss of his limb, I thought it a pity to attempt d( s troying his illusion. All the Maoris whom wt saw both at Oio and other places were exceedingly civil and friendly, and not in the least obtrusive. 'Both men and women, seemed generally superior to the usual' average of those natives found in thi vicinity of the large'towns. I/confess thai certain' id eas regarding ferocifcv and savagery associated in. my mind with Hau Haus. were promptly dispelled by coming into contact with them. The Maori whom 1 have spokeu of as the guard, as already mentioned, resides at Oio. His name i* ttoani Piaino, and he is a chief much looked up to by his own people, and possessing influence on the West Coast. Formerly, he was a rebel, and fought gallanth igainst us. I say gallantly, for Hau Hau and enemy though he was, his deeds deserve the title. He it was who led tht celebrated night attack on General Uameron's camp at Niikumaru. in 1885, breaking right through the IBbh Regiment, and fighting his way close up to the Gene rat's tent, necessitating the very stron«esi efforts of the British troops ,to repel him. Some people say that'the General got ». fright on that occasion which he never got over ; bub Hoani fancied that he was not properly supported by his own people, and made a resolution which he kept, never t<> fisht again. At present his influe"ce isemployed on our side ; under hia auspices the road is kept open and safe, and hi? friendship is well worbh motivating. Han Hau or not, it is impossible to deny him the credit of being a very fine fellow. Bui [ have been keeping the coach waiting Half-an-hour after arrival at Oio, we starter! as^ain with fresh horses. Hoaui came no farther, and, another Maori took his plac* on:the box -one who in former years hao carried the mail, had been captured b\ Titoko Waru, and on several occasion >ed mit for execution, escaping ab last by som\ extraordinary fluke. He pointed out places of int-rest along the road and related various': anecdotes, usualb commencing,, "When I was a Hau Hau' After leaving Oio, the track was somewhat better. It led across a flat country, intersected by numerous streams, with here and there a small patch of bush and a Maori kainga, and backed up in the distance by the interior forest, and across the Waimatt plain—a large tract of splendid agricultu ral land. Imagination fails to conceive oi a more magnificent country for settlement and it was,impossible to avoid . a feeling; of deep regret that it should be lying waste and useless, while .in the teeming countries of the old world millions are elbowing each other fiercely for room to stand on. W« passed within aboub six miles of that spot of ill-omened memory. Te . Ngutu-o-te Manu, the situation of which was pointed out by the Maori, and had from an elevation a distant view of Camp Waihi, the frontier post held by the Constabulary ; went down a long, winding cutting' to the Waingongoro, which we crossed on a punt, and up a steep ascent on the other side. This stream is the boundary for the Maoris, none of , f 'whom;, are ; allowed to Across without a pass. We arrived at Hawera, twenty,; miles from Oio, about two o'clock. Here we had dinner at a new accommodation house; erected by Mr.-Shephard. and changedhorses. ftawera is the first European settlement with, the line, and is truly a lovely spot. It stands upon a gentle ascent sloping away towards the hush at 5 or 6 miles distance. Aloucjtheedgeofami wifchin this bush once stood,a number of Maori villages destroyed during the war, and now . tenantless ami in ruins. The redoubt of Turo Turo Mokai, celebrated for the surprise and slaughter of Ross and eighteen of his men, is to be seen about a mile and ahalf away. I conversed with one of the three survivors who held an angle of the work until help came from Waihi. Settlement seems in active progress at Hawera. There are some twenty or thirty houses erected, and people seem busy fencing and improving their ground. The most prominent object in the township is a block house on a low hill commanding the whole settlement. A Telegraph and Post Office is in course of erection. It.is almost superfluous to sty that the soil is magnificent, and there is little doubt that in a bhort time a prosperous agricultural district will be formed Even as it is, a more pleasant and pretty little township than Haw«.ra is not to be found in New Zealand. It was nearly 3 o'clock when we started again for Patea, 18 miles distant. The road was very heavy, being cub up with drays, and our progress was rather slow. We had to descend to the beach to cross the Tangahoe at. the mouth, a feat only capable of accomplishment at low water; and truly the jolting over rocks in making the crossing was enough to have shaken any ordinary coach, tojuuees. Ascending the opposite bank, we found ourselves close to the Manawapoiy redoubt, a spot celebrated in our military annals, a short distance from
which we passed a new settler, with his family and belongings, heading for Hawera. We passedsome parties of men ab work on the road, and crossed a broken bridge in a manner which displayed great skill on the part of the driver. New houses, fences, and signs of progress were now visible In numerous places. The road (which is all formed after a fashion in this quarter) is certainly not what one might have expected from the money and labor bestowed on it, and the vaunting accounts laid before Parliameit. We floundered on, however, and some time' after dark, reached Patea, or more properly Carlyle, the remains of the old township of Patea standing near the mouth of the river, some distance away. The street was a sea of mud, through which I waded into the public house where the coach stopped, known, I believe, as Casey's. I was too tired to be very fastidious, but certainly the accommodation here was of the worst description. The cooking was wretched, but to do the cook justice, he graced his fare by sitting down to table with the guests, and taking a leading part in the conversation, while the housemaid presided. My travelling ■:ompanicn and f, on our arrival, had been shown to a room for our joint occupation. '>ut on our betakiug ourselves to it, we became aware that some unlicensed sleeper was already in possession. He refused to move, and we had to seek freßh quarters. We passed the night as well as we could, and also managed to swallow the breakfast provided for us next morning, when w left Casey's hotel, or rather canteen, I earnestly wishing that I might never b<compelled to visit ib again. The coach by which we had travelled now returned, and we went on by another which came from Wariga'rmi the evening previous. Before she coach started, I walked round the town ihip a little. It seems a tolerably flourishing one; there are several stores, tw<i public houses. Court House, Telegraph Office, Post Office, &c. The buildings art mostly good and substantial, and the plaet has the appearance of going ahead. In line weather, I believe it would look extremely well. We started at half-past 3, having received a. considerable accessiot
r,o the number of our passengers, crossin: nhe Patea river l>y a pnnt. and finding tin road heavy and miry as before. The country we passed through, was the usual ricb fern land, signs of settlement being visible here and there. The Whenuakuru was crossed by a punt, and some smaller streams oh rough bridges We passed througl Wairoa, where there is a considerable neighborhood, a public house, a store, an^ ;i redoubt, and on through rich level agricultural country to the banks of the Waitotara. This ia a large stream, and itf valley is of considerable extent, and ran beauty. On an eminence on the oppo3iti hank could be seen the far-famed Wereroa re dpubt.and I much regretted notbeingable ti visit it. Descending from the terrace by a long side cutting, we reached Kells' Hotel 20 miles from Patea,' where we had diunei and changed horses. Crossing the river In a punt, we ascended to the table land agaii and on to Nukumaru, passing, within 101 yards of Titoko Waru's celebrated pa a' Pauranga Ika, now only a series of earthei -nounds. The country is peculiarly favor able for military operations, and it seem singular that the place was not investei m all sides. The view from this spo is beautiful, several lakes adding to th< picturesque appearance of the landscape The moat direct route to Wan^anui is by Woodall's redoubt, but the absence of i bridge over the Kai Iwi, which the Inspec tor or Engineer of the district roaus has been bundling at for some months, compels the coach to make a detour by the mouth of the river. This involves travelling over a mile or two of sand hummocks, where tin pulling is frightful, and descending a dan ferous bank on to the beach, in order t> cross the Kai Iwi. This can only he accom plished at low water, and the coach his fre liiently to wait for hours before a cro?sim can he effected. . We were fortunate in hir.ting the tide, but were obliged to walk U| a most execrable hill on the other side reaching on .the top. O'rlanlon's publichouse, a very uninviting hostelry, form in •i small island in a sea rf mud and tilth. For the next rwe miles the road was in ; most disgraceful state. It lay in a lane b<e'.ween hedges, and the horses plunged an< floundered through it. generally iu> to thei hellies, and the coach axle deep. Of-courst progress was slosv under such circumstances, and nisjht was falling when w< •vot on to a little firmer ground in tht neighbourhood f>f Westmtre. Butinrea'itv we found nothing to. call good road until w< >^>t into Victoria Avenue. I was much rejoiced when I found myself at. last in really comfortable quarters at the Rutland Hotel under the fostering care of Host Chavannes and I made the most of my opportunity It is worthy of notice'that, during all tti' journey from New Plymouth to Wangantii. ilong most fiith'cult and trying roads, not s> single ntisadventure occurred, no horseeven doing 25 mile stages—offered to "jib.' nor did a strap or buckle of the harness break, ergo, ifc may fairly be assumed thai horses, coaches, and harness are good, and the drivers up to their work.
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OVERLAND FROM TARANAKI TO WELLINGTON., Evening Post, Volume VII, Issue 131, 11 July 1871
OVERLAND FROM TARANAKI TO WELLINGTON. Evening Post, Volume VII, Issue 131, 11 July 1871
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