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White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885

The Arrival

The Arrival.

"To return to the John Wickliffe: She made land off Stewart Island, and from this to Taiaroa Head her course was close to shore. Off the Molyneux Harbour two guns were fired to attract any whaleboat happening to be thereabout. There was no reply, and after waiting some time Captain Daly cautiously pursued his way through these unknown seas, with but little better chart than that of Captain Cook. He anxiously scanned every point to find out the entrance to the Heads. Guns were fired again, and the vessel lay-to, and soon to the intense relief of all two little boats shot out from the steep bluff. One contained Mr. Kettle and a Maori crew; the other the pilot, Richard Driver, and his crew, also Maoris.

"As previously stated, the anchor was not dropped within the Heads until the following morning, the 22nd. During the unavoidable delay the Maoris proved most acceptable visitors and made friends with all on board. A little incident raised them greatly in estimation. The waters were teeming with barracouta, and several passengers who had brought out the most approved tackle began to fish with much patience but no success. After watching these operations for some time with good-humoured contempt, the Maoris split up an old cask stave in pieces, which they armed with a flax string, hook, and bit of red rag, and soon caught a boat load. Driver, the pilot, died at Purakanui in 1897, aged 85. He enjoyed the reputation of spinning the toughest of tough yarns, and on this occasion he was amply able to supply his listeners with many such indigestible morsels. Born at Bristol in 1812, he went to sea as a boy of 14 in the Governor Ready, a vessel which carried convicts to Hobart Town, and soldiers to Sydney. Thence he went to America, and after a due amount of whaling and adventure found himself about 1838 in New Zealand. The adventurous aspect of his life ceased in 1847, upon receiving from Governor Grey the respectable appointment of pilot to the Otago settlement.

"Most of the young and unencumbered men left the old vessel without delay, and with stout hearts and heavy knapsacks made their toilsome way to Dunedin through the surveyors' track. The weather was serene and warm for a time, so that the taste of their new life was all that could be depicted by a Defoe. Captain Cargill and his friends came up by boat and pitched their tents on the beach line. Captain Cargill's tent was a very conspicuous affair, giving life to the beach, its bell shape and scarlet bindings marking him out as leader of the camp. The women and children remained on board for some weeks, and were then pulled up to Dunedin with their belongings by boat-loads, and there they entered the shelters prepared for them by their male relatives.

"While this was proceeding word was received that the Philip Laing had arrived at Port Chalmers. She was boarded by Pilotpage 84 Driver, whose boat, manned by a fine native crew, was the admiration of all, as it swiftly pulled alongside the weather-beaten vessel. A thousand hurrahs rent the air, and with sails again bellying in the breeze, the Philip Laing sailed swiftly to her anchorage. All were in a state of bustle and excitement, each chattering to his neighbour, and struck with the magnificent amphitheatre of wooded hills around.