A Dark Chapter from New Zealand History
Brief Description of Poverty Bay
Brief Description of Poverty Bay.
Turanga, or Poverty Bay, lies between the East Cape and the Mahia Peninsula. North and south, the district consists of hills, and a circlet of hills bounds the interior; the hills are partly occupied as sheep runs.
The central portion of the district consists of a fertile plain, which stretches for about 25 miles inland, and averages from six to eight miles in breadth. The plain is traversed by several rivers, navigable for a few miles by small craft, and is diversified by clumps of forest in all directions.
The plain and adjacent valleys are richly clothed with grasses. Fruit groves abound, and wild honey is found in every forest. All descriptions of vegetables and fruits the production of temperate zones thrive to perfection, and require little culture; exotics are reared in gardens with little trouble or expense.
The climate resembles those of Hawke's Bay and Nelson, but is sensibly warmer at all seasons; rain is more equally distributed than in Napier. All parts of the plain are accessible by dray to the coast; vessels of moderate draught can enter the principal rivers, and the roadstead is safe for large shipping in all weathers.
Turanganui, the village capital, is situated at the bottom of a deep bay, from which the district derives its English appellation, on the south bank of the Waimataha river. It contains several stores, a handsome hotel, fine court-house, post-office, etc. On the northern side of the Wai-mataha, opposite Turanganui, two redoubts are placed, named respectively Wilson's and Hirini's redoubts. The population of Poverty Bay in 1867 consisted of about 500 Maoris and 150 Europeans of all ages. Matewhero was situated about five miles from the sea, in the heart of the district. Many people resided there in houses surrounded with gardens and orchards.