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REPORT of an EXAMINATION of, Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume I, Issue 6, 16 April 1842
REPORT of an EXAMINATION of
the SHORES and LANDS adjacent at Massacre Bat, Tasman's Gulf, and also at Wanganui, on the Webtern Coast of tbe Middle Island, New Zealand. 1842. By Mb. Tuckett. [Concluded from our last."] The River Takaka flows parallel to the line of 'the mountain range, at about a mile distant from its foot, generally skirting the forest on the west. The land between the river and the western range of mountain is for the most part covered with fern. The Takaka empties itself into Massacre Bay, at Rangiata Cliffs, about three miles W.N. W. of the mouth of the Motupippi. Approaching the^oast these two rivers approximate, but a mile inland tbe valley is not less than five miles in width, east and west, contracting at the extremity to two miles, and in length, nearly south, ten miles. About two miles within shore is unwooded, being covered with grasses, fern, and bushes ; the remainder all forest, in which theTotara and other pines are abundant, as also the arborescent fern, and a variety of the palm called the cabbage tree, which, though perhaps of little value in themselves, attest the richness of the soil and the genial temperature of the climate : in fact, this valley is shut in on all s^des, but that towards the coast or N.N.E., from the winds, and has therefore the climate of a much higner latitude. I gained a curious rocky mound intermediate betwixt the two rivers, about two miles inland from which I obtained a view or the entire valley, and estimate the extent of available land at 20,000 acres. Rangiata cliffs consist chiefly of limestone : they extend nearly two miles, with an interval of half a mile without rock on the face. From hence blocks of red and white marble are constantly detached, lying on the beach beneath. There occurs in the face of the cliff a lofty rock of soft sandstone or grit, in which, at different heights, are" veins of a coal shale. This rock is identical with that which prevails at Nelson Haven; there, for the most part, below the 6ea; here It is not extensive, for in less than a hundred yards further the limestone appears again. I entered the Takaka river, and ascended it about four miles, until our progress was impeded by a rapid, which the boat would not pass. Up to this point it is still and deep, on an average above twelve feet in depth .and upwards of two hundred in width. The quantity of water discharged is such, that, within a furlong of the coast, nearly at flood tide, its water is not in the least perceptible degree Saline. The western bank is generally from six to nine feet above the level of the water, the eastern less than three ; yet on this latter exclusively are the native plantations, and these excel any which. l haveseen elsewhere. Above the rapid the river appeared again tranquil and deep. On the bank which causes the rapid I found some specimens of coal, so hard, that they had worn round as the stone pebbles, but, when broken, the surface was most lustrous, and the quality superior. The best coal, I was informed, is up the valley, on the west side of Takaka. As it is a mighty river, tbe valley may appropriately share the name. At its mouth, by the inner cliff, several beds of coal are visible betwixt high and low water marks, having the same dip and direction as, but not equal in quality to, that at the Motupippi, nor could it be worked with the same advantage. In this I was disappointed, intending, had. I found good coal here, that the schooner should have entered the river and shipped them. There is another valley, or rather basin, immediately beyond Rangiata, not so extensive, but equal in quality to that of the Takaka, containing perhaps 7,000 acres, chiefly forest land. Thence to the Oure're' there is a frontage of about twelve miles, having an average depth of about three miles of nice sloping fern land. Thus I estimate the distance from the Rangiata Cliff to the mouth of the Oure're' at fifteen miles. There are two small pahs, at one or both of which Emanu occasionally resides, and is regarded as their chief : one is called Te-porra-porra, and the other Tukarua. -The natives kindled fires to attract us as we j -went along, but a heavy swell from the northeast running on the shore, with much serf, deterred me from attempting to land. At the Oure're', Rolfe, known at Nelson as , the owner of the Eliza, is building two vessels, "oßttVof about 12 and the other about 80 tons : The former will soon be completed, and loaded for Port Nelson. - He has the assistance of two other white men, and the goodwill and support of the natives, vho' here are anxious for us to settle**: ' •"JfigK i»\em, and his enterprise and execulu-u are alike creditable. The OureYe" is 1 ulao Ti large river, < which flows through a fine I vni!iyi butths river is subject to sudden floods,
rising, they say, not unfrequently twenty feet, inundating the forest and carrying down the forest trees : thus Rolfe obtains timber for shipbuilding, without the trouble of felling or removing it. Subject to this disadvantage, there is doubtless a tract of 10,000 acres on its banks. Treno, a native chief, has built two or three houses here. The same chief has a pah called Ta Mattai, about four miles N.E. of the Oure're', and Toupata, about seven miles further to the east. Intermediate between Toupata and Ta Mattai is Pakouwou, a small settlemeut belonging to Te-waukau (alias Go-ashore). From thence is a track to Wanganui, Te-waukau's principal residence. About four miles and a half through the forest, over an easy ascent, and you reach the sea on the other side, which flows six or seven miles within the coast here, along a narrow chasm, in places less than twenty feet from rock to rock. About half way to Wanganui the frith opens, and, at high water, presents an inland sea of nearly three miles in width, and about ten in length, from the eastern to the western extremity. On this track, about forty minuted' walk from Pakouwou, in the bed of a stream, is bared a deep vein of good coal, at an elevation of at least 200 feet above the level of the sea, with less apparent dip, and varying in direction from the usual course, here about W.S.W., extending, I have little doubt, through the entire range of hills, back to the Oure're'. This coal has only been recently discovered, and it is hence that Rolfe now obtains coals for his forge, having previously brought it from Wanganui. I attach more importance to this coal than to the lower beds, especially if my conjecture should be verified of its being continuous from the Oure're to this spot : it would be more easily worked, and the Our^re would afford a tolerable port for loading colliers of 100 tons burden. Pakouwou is only accessible, even to a boat ; at high water. The land along shore is good as far as Toupata, but the frontage of level land on an average does not exceed one mile in breadth. Beyond Toupata the land soon terminates in mere sand hills. On the north-western coast, between Cape Farewell and Wanganui, the natives of the pahs have land in cultivation, at which Ireno was then potato digging. A message was sent to him, but I proceeded to Wanganui before his arrival. At Wanganui the coal field is very extensive : there are four beds visible — the upper one, at high water-mark about eighteen inches in depth, half of which is of inferior quality — two intermediate thin beds of excellent coal follow — and a fourth of equal quality, at low water-mark apparently about ten inches thick. Beneath is a stratum of iron clay, tolerably rich, encrusted on the surface with highly oxidized iron ore, giving it a clinker-like appearance. This shell would not be readily fusible, but the bulk of the stratum would be eminently so. Above the coal the soft sandstone or grit rises in lofty cliffs. The coal is apparent chiefly in the western half of the firth. There is no limestone to be seen at Wanganui. The timber is generally small, but there are some admirable coves for ship-building: there are also a few detached spots worth cultivating, but no district, and the cuffs and shore are so steep that one can only pass from one spot to another in a boat, or over the mud when the tide is out. The entrance to the firth is less than half a mile in breadth; without is a shifting bar, which is heaped up by a north-westerly gale and partially dispersed by a south-easterly one. I saw it at low water, with a gale blowing from the north-west. There was a tremendous surf, apparently without a passage ; still there was then some feet of water on it, and the rise of the tide at the harbour's mouth is evidently often as much as eighteen feet. Once in, a hundred vessels might lie secure. Te-waukau and Ku t'Ekia are the principal, resident chiefs of Wanganui. Epoti and Etaha, who used to reside at Roukawa, to the southwest of Wanganui, and were principal men, have left this district for the Orowrra, about twenty days' journey, by land, to the southwest, on the coast. Te-waukau says that they would return if the white people would come and live at Wanganui. He objects to our sending vessels for coal, and states that they received no payment for loading the Jewess ; but, if the whites would settle at Wanganui, then "they might send the coals away. He conducted me on my return to Pakawou, on the 27th of March, and the same evening I returned to Tato, to the schooner. She arrived on the 22d, and had lost the spars for our boring' frame, having been obliged to cut them adrift in a heavy sea. During my absence the natives had been induced by the chief Ekkawau to refuse water, coal, or stone, for the schooner, unless purchased from them in small quantities, at a most exorbitant price. I landed at the pah and discussed the matter with them, reproaching them with their meanness and fickleness. 1 took some pains to ascertain the population of the bay and its vicinity, and the following are the results of my inquiry : — Raukawa . . 30 men, women, and children. Wanganui . . 16 do. do. do. Toupata- . . 30 Pakouwou . . 8 Ta Mattai . . 20 * Oure*r£ ... — only occasional residents from other pahs. Tukarua . . 10 Te porraporra 10 Tata ... 30 Tukkapou . .} 20 Toupou .. .i 174 ' 46 *» _____ 128 Total bn^tlw shores of Mai- *,. sacre Bay.
REPORT of an EXAMINATION of, Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume I, Issue 6, 16 April 1842
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