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THE WANGANUI RIVER.

Successful- Steam Excursion to Pipiriki.

Maiden Trip of the Wairere to the

Up-River Settlements.

Hitherto, an excursion up the Wanganui Bivor has been intimately associated with canoeing and camping-out, very pleasurable, no doubt, from somo points of view to those who have plenty of time at their disposal, but not al all in oomonance with the

latter day requirement* of travellers and tourists, it being estimated that even with smart " polers," having a thorough knowledge of the river, twenty-five miles per day was very good work, and even presuming that only fifty or sixty miles were negotiated, the journey was very arduoui. All that has been ohangod now, thankß to the energy and enterprisa of Messrs A. Hatrick find Co., for, with their smart little steamer, the Wairere, the trip may -be undertaken with the full knowledge that the tourist is travelling in one of the best of modernbuilt boats, designed of shallow draught for the special purpose of negotiating the many r&pids, and of a. speed eqnal to anything of the kind in the colonies, while the successf nl carrying out of tho snagging operations hai removed any danger that might have been anticipated from many obstructions. After her late successful public trial, the owners decided that the maiden trip of the Wairere to the up-river settlements should take place on Friday last, id being arranged that »be should go as far as Pipiriki, a'distanoc- of 65i miles, and return the next day. Up till within a few days previous, the river had beon very low, but continuous rain brought down a considerable freshet, the comequence being that no fears were apprehonded on the score of there being insufficient watflr on tho rapids. Tho morning was a lovely one, Riving every promiie of a typical Hew Zealand summer's day, and there was quite a bustle and exoitement at Betts's wharf amongst the interested spectators congregated in the vicinity, eagerly watching the storing of cargo (of which taore was about seven tons for different places;, and also the taking in of necessary provisions to oater for the wants of the inner-man. By 7.20 we are fairly under way, run quiokly up the stretch past Aramoho, and by 8.10 aro - speeding away from Kennedy 1 ! (Upokongaro). There is time then to look round, and amongst tho party wo notice the Hon. Dr Grace, M.L.0., Mrs Grace, Master Graoe, and Mrs Tilley, Ber. Father Souks, Sister Mary Joseph and five children placed in her charge, Mr and Mrs John Bennie, and Messrs A. Hatriok, Cumin, H. M. Middows, 0. Chavannes, H, Harper, B. Hibbard, A. Peters, Anderson, and Comyni, and it may be here mentionod that on the return journey we bring down Messrs J. Oowie, Holmes, Betts, and two others. Captain Marshall is at the wheel, Mr Bees is engineer, and the crew, as we later on find out, are smart and oipable in every way. While thus engaged, the Wairere has been steaming ahead, and at 8.40 we are at Kaiwhaika, passing Aramanoa, and noting that as we near the

quarries the river is winding a good deal, the banks being precipitous and in many places hoavily wooded. Before we reach Baorikia, at 9.15, we seem to have touched every point of the compass, and then having discharged some cargo, by-and-bye rounding a very sharp bend we teaoh. Maramaratofcara ; another semi- circular sweep, and we speed post Eanhinihi, then Mshitihiti, our course here for tome distance being fairly straight. Passing Kapaka, we reach Parikino, 24 miles from Wanganui, at 10.40, noting by the way, tne extremely neat and comfortable appearance of this modern-built native settlement, while tho different cultivations look thriving, and the Maoris, as they line the banks, aro somewhat enthusiastic in expressions of approval with their shouts of " Kapai to Wairere !" A little further on, at 11 o'olock, we negotiate Wakaraawaka, the first of many rapids, and there » not a little suppressed excitement on board as to how tho boat will acquit herself. Some of ua are disappointed at the ease with which we glide along, and this is intensified whon

wo tako a surreptitious glance at Captain Marshal], for he stands at the wheel, giving it now and again a few quick turns, and, judging by his imperturbable manner, one could hardly imagine we were in a dangerous shallow. Straight as an arrow we push ahead, then shooting past the island of Te Bewa, we leave this splendid stretch of water, and, taking a beautiful ourve round, are soon in sight of the next rapid, Te Rimu, which we negotiate safely at 11.40. The sinuous windings of the river are very noticeable here, the boat answering every question asked her in the most satisfactory way, and threading out way carefully through the Upokopuito rapid (just above which is the Pitangi creek), we are round

again, and in quick succession negotiate three more rapids, namely, Hohuhore, Eahikatoa, and Hutitini, near this latter being a small island of the, same name. We next come to Otawa, above which we speed through the Pokai Torongu rapid, oatohing the first glimpie of Atene

(Athens), 32 miles froai town, and pass the native settlement al 12,10, thoroughly enjoying the scenery and surroundings, and noting how beautiful the country looks. Another symmetrical curve, and almost bo-

fore we are aware of it we are over the

Otubi rapid, above which is the Mangapapapapa creek; then the Ahuahoa and

Orumaire rapid?, above which are several creeks on both sides of the river, all assisting, too, with large contributions towards forming the obstructions we are so safely and expeditiously negotiating. We are in a fairly straight reach here, and passing Mangotopifcopi, near which is a pretty waterfall, we come to Opohe, the moat dangerous rapid we have yet come across, the current running particularly strong, but, like the rest, it is scon left behind, and so are three other*, very oloso together, namely, Te Arero, Kotawa, and Otukopiti. At Z.SO we pass Koriuiti (Corinth), 40 miles having thus been negotiated in about six hours, and irresistibly are we fosoinated by the magnificence of the scenery, but just as we are composing ourselves for a poetic description it is quietly whispered that we are approaching some of the worst rapids on the river. We hurry for'ard, and, swinging past the Hopeaiki, come in sight of the Kawokawa rapid ; then, passing two creeks, one on either side, and shooting through Matawero, we negotiate fiuapirau (Nos. 1 and 2) and just above here, at 2.10 bring up alongside the snagging party's barge, a tenement similar in appearance to the pictures of Noah's Ark— that is, externally — but closer inspection proves that the party are faring far better than our Jhoded-out progenitor is

presumed to have done. Some business having been transacted, our lines are cast off, and about 4J miles past Korinitiwe are in the midst of turmoil and trouble, the teething waters betokening that we are negotiating two of the most difficult and dangerous rapids on the trip. This is Matahiwi, the dangors of navigation being made considerably worse by obstructions in

the shape of a large eel-weir (pafcuna) cunningly devised by the Maoris for trapping the buconlent bnt slippery fish from which

it takes its name. Several abortive attempts at last result in success, and at 2.45 we are safely in deep water again, but it has taken a full head of steam (1201bs pressure) to accomplish it, and with racehorse speed we fly past Karatoa (Galatea) at 3 o'clook,and near Parangarahau catch a glimpse of the remains of the luckless steamer Tuhua. As might be expected, there is some oonsiderablo conversation anent that memorable iv reck, andsoveral "frosty"etories are tersely told, for amongst our party were some of

those who were in the boat when she filled and sank.

Steaming round another very acute curve, we pass Otuwerewerekiwi (a sweet thing in Maori names, by the way), then Kawana Creek, the Kaiwnaka and Orongotea rapids, i and reach Banana(London), fifty miles from Wanganui, at 3.40. The settlement here includes some 2000 acres under cultivation, under the management of Major Kemp, and in the distance can be descried a largo and fine looking wharepuni (council chamber). Three rapids in succession then engage attention— Ngahuina, Wakam&taku, and Moutoa. Just bslow the latter is Moutoa Island, so celebrated in tho early days (1864) for the fight which took place between 100 warriors of the resident tribes and 130 of the fanatical Hauhans. It is intereiting to recall the fact that after a fierce and sanguinary' struggle the former were victorious, and on an adjacent hill are buried the rei'i ■ na of those who were •laughtered in thu bitter struggle for supremacy. A little further, on the left bank of the river, is the Waitotara track, near Xawhitanui, and above, passing another lovely waterfall, are the the Haumoana,

"Kaureroa, and Kukupae rapids, the current . here being very strong. In a charming little bend in the river wo come toHiriiharama (Jerusalem) SOimilef, and at 4.55 we make fait oar lines for tne purpose of landing the Bit. Father Soulat, - Siiter Mary Joseph and her five" little'^- ■ ohwges, the opportunity being likewiie taken to still further lighten the boat by discharging some more freight. We are »ir»y again at 5.10, and from here to ihe end oE - our journey experience the grandest and - most majestio pieces of sceneryyet met with. On both sides of the river, the banks rise to a tremendous height, fearfully prft- ( cipitous, and clothed with verdure of every gradation of green-hued tints, the divenu^j^* of the gigantio trees brought into bold^p^ lief by countless shrubs, both great and small, bnt dwarfed by tho prominence of - the thousands of ferns (particularly noticeable being the graceful pitau), some of them very high and with immense umbrella,shaped fronds, and then here and there the' convolvulus just bursting into blosiom, the whole making up a picture of veritable fairy land, caloulntaoT to quicken the dullest of intellects into awe and reverence. We quickly pats the Parakioto Blook, then several small creeks, and after sue- . cossfully negotiating the Waimarino, the Otauira, Te Pnba, Hangataunoka, Makoe> tahi, and Mataogawa rapids, we make fast at Pipiriki; at 6.30, the trip up of 66} miles, including all stoppage!, having taken m just eleven houri. It may be of interest to mow that we have negotiated no leu than thirty-four rapids on the up-trip, and a corresponding nnmber of bendf, twist*, curves, and so forth, and that at Pipiriki we are lomething over fifty feet above the town level of the river. A considerable number of the Maoris come down to the sandy beach and welcome us in true native fashion, while there is also a good sprinkling of Europeans, some of them belonging to the party now making the road to Karioi, and we have to answer countless queries as to the perils and dangors through whioh we are supposed to have passed, hut everybody makes so light of them that the Maori* particularly grow large-eyed with wonder, and, although they say but little, it can be ° seen that they aro making np for it by thinking considerably. We note lever*! Maori whores, and not a few European habitations, also the large itore pi Mr G. Manson. . "- * ri While some of the party are making what arrangements they enn for spending; the night in the settlement, the. very obutt«oru steward of the Wairere ii severely taxed to supply the deficiency caused by hunger, and very soon that, for the time being) i»appeased,the edibles vanishing very quiokly, assisted by copious libatiom from the enp which cheers, etcetera, etcetera. Some of - the party put up at the accommodation . house, where there are tix very good tedi, and, no doubt, when the wants of touriiU and travellers aro better understood, there will be considerable improvements effected, but, at present, beyond the sleeping apartmenU.theaccommodationis somewtiattirade. Mr Anderson hospitably entertained tome of the party, while the reit slept on bijard. Whon we stale that they slept on fciard, we do so advisedly, for as a matter.ofifaofcthere was but little chance nntil " the ife# sma' 'ours ayant the twall." There 'Hacf, been some considerable rain juit *fter atrival, the night was very close, and under -£ any circumstances wooing the drowsy "god ' was not attended with compicuooi luccem, and therefore the hilarity that pervaded the , after-oabin wa>, so to speak, keenly appre- '■ ciated, that is, in some quarters, but osr- , - ;- tainly no happier or more sociable party could have been got together, Amongst ' the visitors wat a well-known reiidenfrol' Karioi, and when it leaked out that heAus' - likely to solioit the suffrages of th«_ I S?ai- -j totara electors (when occasion offered) lie was subjected to tome pertinent queries h ' to his politioal (and other views), while ibi ' quaintness of ,bji Replies and the J nianf A sallies of wit he»pwinrm him and returned ; with double-^Mled force, jwere proTooatweT of much fun.- _ ■ - /^ 0> . Everybody is np betimes in thefflorniiu;,' :L f and at 7*20 we start on the return trip;"'^ calling in at Jerusalem, and taking onboard^ abont 15 bales' of wool. While thu-U.pro- ~" eeeding we go ashore, and have. » look? round the village which taken g«neMH/is : : most clean aad creditable, . and raflMfctufc ? highly on the natives, there being notice. •: able here and'there various oulKvations/V proving that they are teiided^ with 'care,'.?'. The principal objeot of iuterts£ however,\ is the new Roman Catholic Church, which.'- ' forms such •> conspiouous landmark, and '- which is now in courie of completion >by •' the Eeverend Father Soulai. The edifioe'j;; has a most taking appearance, and will « seat about tbroo hundred. It h»s"a T BpireC about 60ft high, and a start hai now baMfe. mode with the painting tpd dooorationfc „' The Reverend Father Braxtnier, Patriots College, Wellington), "is ..ypfc"^ sociated with the Reverend Father 1 Soulai in canning out the work, and hii liuSden^' and courtesy in showing* us over"*the;s Church is very much appreciated.^ The*"^ natives are loud ih praise of the steamer! • and the record sne had nrnde on the Tot "' trip, and they scan with eager oiirtoiityf, every matter of derail oonneoted°'tlierV^ with. • ," vi &,'&% "4 By nine o'clock we are »giin afloat, and ifji 9.35 pass Banana, previous to whioh the ; Kawharoa rapid is negotiated, atemfiritfc>' thus giving better facilities to working fea'; steamer in these treacherous shallows'.'- The/ Eaiwhaka and Matahiwi rapids aietreated^ in tho lame manner, it being an'tbioluta ' treat to note the fearleis and skilful ; 'fta£l* ncr in whioh our gallant skipper nayigitei - his vessel with an amount ottang-frbid, and^ yet withal with suoh care, that flaUsiriribJ spontaneous complimentary rtmarks which. , must have made his ears tingle' againr 1 , At?.; 10.35 we etop at Buapirau on r baiineu{ matters conneoted with the snagging party,* and after we have been 1 ashore. gathering ,- fruit, ferns, and so forth, some of us indulge : in shooting practice, the targets aimed at being somewhat original, particularly •/ ohapeau placed on a itiok' stuck in" the* ground, and much, to the owner's evident surprise he finds after two of the marksmen - have had a shot at it that it is abiolufely '' riddled with pellets. He places that chape»n on his bead presently, and the snbiequent proceedings, as regards shootfog.inlareitlum- / butlittlo. #. > We leave again at 12.16/ and fifteen minutes later pass Koriniti, the steamer > travelling with • extraordinary rapidity,' ' while the trip is most enjoyable and ex- J hilarating, v we seem to absolutely fly past "•- placos that on tho np-trip have taken considerable time, patience, and perseverance.''' At 1.10 we slip past Atene, it being a treat, to watch the boat as she, travels round';: some very awkward bends, and snobU some y of the rapids in the vioinitr. After orbiting Te Rimu rapid (1.40) and rounding another ~' bend, we enter a long stretob, and Parikino is passed at 2.10 j then taming sharply ' round we steam through some more tprtnous windings, the water being considerably agitated by the lightning-like revolutions of the paddle-wheels and the speed at , which we aro proceeding. Baorikia is reached at 3 p.m. amidst; a hoavy shower of rain, and about fifteen v ., minutes later we pass the quarries at X*> whaika. Jnst here, one of the most . pleasant incidents of the whole trip taker ? place, for Captain Marshall is called into <~ the forward cabin, and in a very terse and ,''' happy little speech, his health v proposed by, ) Dr Grace, who takes the opportunity of re- ,' -' f erring to the very pleuant trip we _hi.vo, \ all enjoyed, and then, in felioitons terms) ' he compliments Captain Marshall on the' ; conspicuous ability he hasshown.throughouti in the art of navigation, paying him tha ; " deserved compliment, in passing, of having ' stuck to his post at the wheel for eleven '■■ hours without any cessation. He then rofers to the secenery, and maintains that ■■ it cannot be excelled, and as regards : the. -. Wairere, he coinplimenUinoat heartily Mr ■' Hatrick for his pluok and enterprise in building the steamer, for her excellent ~_ passenger accommodation, for the manner in which she has answered > every requirement, and particularly for the speed at> - tamed. We drink the health ' of both ' gentlemen in bumpers, endorsing most cordially everything that has fallen from the lips of the genial and companionable " •• doctor. By this time we are all feeling sorry that the trip is coming to an end, for ' '■ at 3.45 we shoot post Kennedy's, aad then ' \. 5 as we come down tho stretch from Aromoho ~? to town, we find that our progress is~-y"i watched with interest by the crowd along-! the river bank, and eventually we berth at ' Betls's wharf at 4.35 pjn., having thoroughly " enjoyed from start to finish & trip in every - ,' way aisociated with the most pronounced" i and unqualified sucoess. l'be journey down oooupies nine hours altogether, or de- - ducting three hours detention, the actual ' - : timo is six hours nnder easy steam j a moife'< creditable performance. . ~ With regard to some of the obstruction* 1 " -■ ' ; on tho river, it may be stated that nntil -i snch time as three lots of eel-weirs are >, i lifted, and tho groins, as proposed, put in,

th» shallow places, it trill be quite impossible for any steamer to run regularly, for although owing to the freshet there was an average of from 8 feet to 8 feet 6 inobea is most placet, still that cannot always be expected. The groin work is txpeet«d to be finished by the endof February, •nd it it hoped that this necessary work will be pushed on with all celerity, while the ■nagging party were instructed on Saturday to afonoe remove the eel-weir from the Matnhiwi rapid one of the moit dangerous places on the river. In tho interim the the steamer will be lengthened IS feet to [ire m lighter draft aft. The necessary platos and frames have already been oablcd for, and on their arrival the work (which rig expected to take about three weeks) will bo proceedod with. A barge will be at once constructed to carry any cargo in excess of what the steamer csn carry. Until February the Wairere will run as often as practicable, and judging by the freight carried on her maiden trip, both going up and coming down, there can bo no hesitancy in predicting that there will be plenty of trade. This will be placed beyond the shadow of a doubt when the road from Pipinki to Karioi it constructed. The distance altogether is 36 miles, 17 miles of this being through fairly level country, and it is now being pushed on with all reasonable despatch to allow Mr Peter's coaches to run through. The tnp of the Wairere to Pipiriki has demonstrated conclusively that the steamer fulfils most Ktiifactorily what was required of her, and Mr Hatrick well deserves the many compliments showered on him when the boat returned.

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Bibliographic details

THE WANGANUI RIVER., Wanganui Herald, Volume XXV, Issue 7600, 21 December 1891

Word Count
3,310

THE WANGANUI RIVER. Wanganui Herald, Volume XXV, Issue 7600, 21 December 1891

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