The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84
Through the King Country with the Camera. — A Photographer's Diary
Through the King Country with the Camera.
A Photographer's Diary.
On April 15 I left Port Chalmers for a photographic trip in the North Island, which it was hoped might include the "King Country," though how the latter was to be done I had but the vaguest idea; but on calling at the Government Buildings, Wellington, on April 20, and interviewing some high officials, was told I had better attempt to enter the mysterious King Country from the North by Te Awamutu, the present terminus of the Central railway, as unless I could come across Mr Rochfort, C.E., the engineer of the railway, I could scarcely expect to get in by way of the Wanganui River. This was a matter of regret, as I had heard from Wanganui citizens and others of the scenic beauties of that river.
April 21.—Having, among other things, to "do" the Manawatu Gorge, left Wellington for the Wairarapa district, and stopping at Featherston en route, secured some telling pictures of the Wairarapa Valley and Lake : then on to Masterton.
April 22—Made the best of my time with the camera before the coach started at 12.45 through the Forty Mile Bush to Woodville.
April 23.—Woodville (we are now in the Provincial District of Napier) is at present small as far as number of buildings is concerned; but there is much bustle observable, and a general air of going-to-bc-something-very-goon perv ades the place. Two factors contribute to this. First, its position as a centre from which three lines of coaches connect with three lines of railway—namely, to Tahoraite, whence the rail is completed to Napier; second to Palmerston North, from which New Plymouth can now be reached without a break; and lastly to Masterton, thence by rail over the Rimutaka range to W ellington—my own route—of course reversed. The second factor is the increase of settlement and the very lively land speculation one hears of on all sides. A drive of four miles brought me to the much-talked-of Manawatu Gorge. In its winding course of over three miles it certainly presents some beautiful pictures, and the camera was by no means idle, but on returning to the hotel I found I could not "gush" sufficiently to satisfy the ideas of the residents. To one who had photographed the Otira and Bealey Gorges, to say nothing of minor ones, such as the Moonlight, it was somewhat of a joke to find the Manawatu regarded as one of the finest specimens of New Zealand gorge scenery. Still it will be highly interesting to railway travellers, for the line—the survey now complete—will pass through its entire length.
April 24.—If I could have been content now to push on northwards, it would have been well for me; but I "hankered inter" some views of the Forty-mile Bush; and at the close of to-day's work, seeing a lovely little glade open on the side of the road, stopped my trap, and went in to prospect. A huge dead tree huug over a perpendicular gully, thick undergrowth concealing the depth. To walk along this seemed the best way of securing a view of the charming nook below. However, it began to tremble in a very suggestive manner, and turning round to return, I stumbled, and page 8 the exertion of recovering myself broke the trunk, and I fell headlouginto the gully. In my downward course I had time to wonder how far I should fall, when a piece of the tree, as big as myself, struck my leg just as the bottom was reached. The noise of the fall had brought the driver of the trap to the scene, aud, after a time of semi-unconsciousness, with his help I managed to crawl to the vehicle.
April 25.—This morning found myself almost unable to move, and my prospects of making the longed-for trip through the King Country seemed exceedingly shadowy.
April 30.—Have been assiduously cared for these six days by all at Mr Murphy's hostelry, but determined to-day to cast away the Crutches that I have hitherto been glad of, and make another stage of the journey. So by coach and rail to Wanganui.
May 1.—Had only intended to pass through Wanganui to New Plymouth, taking steamer there for Manukau, but I was destined to reach Auckland by a more enticing route, and to carry out my pet scheme in a way I had scarcely dreamed of. This morning at breakfast at the "Rutland" I heard a gentleman at table addressed by the waiter as "Mr Rochfort." I took an opportunity of introducing myself and explaining the object I had in view, when he at once said, "I am going up the Wanganui River and through the King Country to Auckland in two days; you had better come with me." My delighted acceptance of this offer may be imagined; and it was at once arranged that I should join the rendezvous at Upokongaro, about seven miles up the river.
May 2.—Though there are Maori kaingas all around, Upokongaro is a white settlement, and boasts a church, with a three-sided spire something like a bayonet, and a little theatre, where performs, from time to time I understand, one of the cleverest little amateur dramatic companies in the Colony. They were billed to play "The Palace of Truth," and so two of our party remained an extra night in Upokongaro to see the play, making a short cut across by land, and joining us next, morning.
May 5.—We made a start soon after 1 o'clork in a large canoe, which had been supplied by Major Kemp a few days before to bring the Premier and party down the river. It was manned by eight stalwart Maoris, and our Full number was six—namely, our leader, Mr Rochfort; Mr P—, an artist; this photographer, and three men who were to be employed on the railway works at Taumaranui; and so we went pulling, paddling, and poling, up the Wanganui River. The pair of oars we had were only used in the lower part of the river before the rapids were reached. Each man has his paddle and also his pole. These latter are made of manuka, shod with metal, and are from 10ft to 12ft long. After making about 12 miles we pulled ashore; tents were pitched, fires were lighted, a hearty meal discussed, and we pakehas were soon rolled snugly in our blankets inside the tents, and the Maoris ditto round the fire outside.
May 6.—Making an early start we stopped at the native kainga Pa rekino. Here is a fine whare-puni, which the camera duly carried off. A whare puni (literally "buried house," because its floor is generally below the surface, with earth heaped round three walls to make it perfectly wind-tight) is a place of assembly, where affairs of State are discussed, and which serves as a lodging for all visitors. I made several studies here, notably of a very fine woman named Ngakura, but was a good deal hindered by the timidity of the Natives at the sight of the camera, which they called "taipo" (devil). Starting again soon after noon we made Atene (Athens), our stopping place for the night. We found this village almost deserted, the inhabitants having gone down in a body to one of the large Native page 9 meetings which are held so frequently, and which constitute, now fighting is out of fashion, the great excitement of Maori life. However, wo were soon well housed in the most respectable-looking whare in the village.
May 7.—Secured several views of Atene, which is grandly situated on a tongue of land round which the river doubles back, giving the opportunity to lighten the canoe's load by all the non-workers, who could by an easy walk overtake the canoe after two or three miles of poling. Frequent chances of this kind presented themselves on the way, but the chief Ngatai, the boss Maori, pitying the lameness of Tanga Whaka-ahua (literally "the man who makes the likenesses"), would insist upon him keeping his seat. Early this afternoon we reached Koroniti (Corinth,). (It will strike the reader that there is a strong flavour of the "journeyings of St. Paul" in the nomenclature on this river.) Here secured an interior of the whare-puni, some general views of the village, and a number of characteristic groupings and single figures—making of the grandly-carved whare-puni a most appropriate background.
May 8.—A few miles after starting the beautiful scenery of Karatea (Galatia) and the glorious weather together tempted me to ask a short halt. But a little further on and we reach Ranana (London), where is an unusually handsome ware-puni, known as "Horowhenui." It is Major Kemp's Council Hall, being, as was proudly explained by a fine-looking Maori who acted as cicerone, "All same Parliament!" It need not be said that a view of this building was secured. We made a rough measurement, and found it about 66ft long by 28ft wide, and to the top of the ridge some 20ft high, and is said to have cost over £2000. In the afternoon we crossed the river to a place about half a mile above Ranana, to secure a view of the island of Moutoa. This spot is truly a noteworthy one, for it is here that a large body of rebel Natives coming down the river to destroy Wanganui were met by a number of friendlies, and, though the issue was for some time doubtful, eventually beaten with great slaughter. This event is commemorated by a monument in Market square, Wanganui, with the following inscription : "Erected to the memory of those brave men who fell at Moutoa on the 14th of May, 1864, in defence of law and order against fanaticism and barbarism."
May 9.—To-day being wet, we made but a very poor day's work, only reaching Hiroharama (Jerusalem), about three miles above Ranana. A bimonthly post runs to and from this place, and we hastened to avail ourselves of this the last opportunity of communicating with our friends until we should emerge from the northern boundary of the King Country, an uncertain number of weeks hence. Here Mr Rochfort left us, only to rejoin us at Taumaranui, the end of the canoeing part of the trip. He is about to select road-lines from different points on the river to the railway, which will run about 25 miles to the eastward of the Wanganui, and does not touch that river till the above-mentioned Native town of Taumaranui is reached. Hiroharama is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic mission. The Catholics were active here in earlier days, but withdrew during the troublous times only to return about two years ago. There are three priests—Fathers Soulas, Melu, and Le Pretre; and Sister Mary Joseph and six other sisters, all being of the different degrees of the Regular Order of Mary, the same order as is now labouring in the Coral Islands of the South Seas, and from whom I received such kindly attention at Apia, Samoa, and at Nukualofa, Tonga, on the Wairarapa trip last year. A site has been secured for a church at Peterehema (Bethlehem), close by, and it is now a-building. The fathers claim that, whereas two years ago the Natives were sunk in drunkenness and all kinds of vice, now drunkenness is almost unknown, and the general morality of the people has greatly page 10 improved. We noticed very little drinking going on throughout the whole journey; but thought this was explained by the difficulty in getting the waipiro, until we discovered that sly-grog shanties were not unknown institutions, though there did not seem to be very keen competition in the business, as prices were well maintained, and yielded at least "a living profit." We understood that the tariff ranged from 10s a bottle for rum to 14s for pale brandy. But all this refers mainly to places higher up the river, while we are still at Hiroharama. The religious zeal of the people is a fact that came under our notice, for in several of the villages where we "put up" the bell regularly summoned them to morning and evening prayers, conducted by one of themselves. The perfect beat kept by everyone in the congregation, and the musical cadence in the responses, at once strike the auditor. As soon as the priests learned our arrival in the village, they insisted upon our coming up to the presbytery, and even turned eut of their own beds to accommodate us; while Sister Mary Joseph at once exercised her widely-known skill as a leech upon the lame member of the party, whose anxiety to secure a particularly telling group had caused another twist to his unfortunate limb. We spent two most agreeable days at the presbytery, Sister Mary Joseph relating many anecdotes of her early-day experiences among the Maoris. She told us that when she landed in New Zealand she was quite unacquainted with English, and had to depend upon some half-castes for instruction. These precious rascals taught her all the coarsest expressions in the language as polite English; So that when she at length discovered this, for a long time she dare scarcely open her lips before English-speaking people.
May 11.—Our crew haring had a whole holiday yesterday, were evidently in no paddling or poling humour to-day. Indeed, the chief Ngatai confessed that he was "too full," so we made but a short day's work, and only reached Pipiriki. While "taking" a rather striking erection—the tomb of the chief Kaioroto, I was disturbed by a very singular sound, or mixture of sounds—very aggravated mewings and howl'-ings. Going towards the noise, I found a tangi in full swing. Our stalwart bowman, Patu, clad in a blanket, was standing in a penitential attitude with bowed head, snivelling incessantly; while an old crone was seated within a few yards of him gesticulating and howling in a most distressing manner. This, we learnt, was merely a ceremony of welcome to Patu by his mother after a somewhat prolonged absence. We had a considerable experience of this kind of thing as we got higher up the river. Indeed, on approaching a village, we would cautiously inquire of Patu if he would "make a cry" here, so that we might know what to expect. The above affair was a comparatively simple one, being merely a duet. But afterwards we had the privilege of listening to trios and quartettes with powerful choruses; but our joy was limited, as the effect on us was to produce prostration of spirits, accompanied by what a certain little girl-friend described as "a pain behind her pinafore." The earlier part of the tangi is, however, interesting, when a large party of visitors reaches a village. The guests halt at a little distance, and arrange a chaplet of leaves round their heads, then solemnly enter the village in Indian file. The hosts are sitting on the ground wailing, with the best howlers of the place in the front row. As soon as the visitors reach the proper distance they halt, and stand as Patu did in a dejected attitude, the howling begins, and we generally fly. Once, however, one of us before retreating fired a Parthian shot (with the camera), and surreptitiously "took" the ceremony. It should be said that the time the howling is maintained before the rubbing of noses begins seems to be regulated by custom, and varies with the degree of friendship, the length of absence, or some other more occult reason.page 11
May 12.—To-day we passed the junction with the River Manganui-a-te-ao. This is the scene of the second stoppage of Mr Rochfort in his explorations for the railway route. On the first occasion he was merely turned back, and was allowed to find his own way to Wanganui again; but this time he was conveyed down as a prisoner by canoe to Upokongaro. He was, however, treated with the distinction due to an important State prisoner, seven distinguished chiefs being told off to paddle him down. At the same time a letter was sent, declaring that should he return he would be turned back again, but his Native attendants would be killed; whilst, if he returned a third time, he would be killed. He did try it again, aud was duly forced back, guns being fired over his head; aud, again, a fourth time did he adventure, this time reaching Taumaranui, where he was once more stopped, and to get to Kihikihi had to make a detour of 150 miles by way of Lake Taupo. After this, opposition was overcome, and Mr Rochfort had the satisfaction of "getting through" the King Country, and completing his work of survey for the whole of the Central railway from Marton to Te Awamutu, about 220 miles.
This afternoon we pitched our tent in the village of Ti Eke. There was a girl here—her name "Orini"—with an almost classical face, who, after some little coquetry, was induced to become a subject for the camera. Coy as she was at first, when she found that the taipo did her no harm she was ready to be "posed" to any extent; till, in fact, the available stock of plates ran out. In the evening we spent an hour or more in the whare-puni—first at vespers; then at a grand horero (there had been a tangi fore this) in honour of the Maori portion of their visitors. Speeches were made by the prominent men of the place, and replies by the chiefs of the paddlers. Then gradually the talk subsided, the fair Orini, after a final smoke, made her night toilette, and, wrapping herself in her blanket, quietly turned in between her own husband and the next woman's husband, and we withdrew to our tent.
May 13.—Our crew are evidently getting into the swing of it, as they even showed no sign of stopping at Utapu, which we understood was to be the end of this day's work, but gallantly poled us on to Tukipo, about a mile beyond, which meant three-quarters of an hour's "overtime." By-and-bye Ngatai explained the reason of this movement. Utapu, it seems, is just a nest of the rankest Hauhauism, aud our chief, who, once an unmitigated rebel himself, is now most refreshingly loyal, and might almost stand "a show" for election as a Sunday-school superintendent, thought it well to steer clear of his old associates, and so to keep us, his special charge, out of all possibility of danger. Here lives that old irreconcilable, the chief Taumata, who is believed to have in his whata enough theodolites and other apparatus to stock an instrument-dealer's shop as extensive as Mr A. H. Ross' in the Octagon—the spoils of the various survey parties he has raided, after the manner of the Rhenish barons of olden time. This is the worthy who declared, on the occasion of the imprisonment of Mr Rochfort, that "if he had been taken on his land, he would have cut all his belongings into small pieces and made slaves of the whole party!" Clearly a fellow of some grit! Just the sort of man Mr Carlyle would have glorified. As might have been imagined, the reputation of this village and of its chieftain proved irresistible to this photographer, and the camera was soon shouldered and the path (and a villainous path it was) to Utapu taken, On the way a fine view presented itself, which only wanted "life." This seemed to be furnished by a Native, with a most deliciously cannibal-like face, who turned up at the moment. A polite request—conveyed by signs—that he should form an item in the picture was resented in a manner that made the camera tremble to the bottom of its tripod. The expression which page 12 that savage put on (if he were not Taumata himself, he was certainly ugly enough to be that tory of Maori tones) let the photographer know plainly enough that instead of his making a life-like picture of him his tattooship would amazingly enjoy the making of a death-like picture of Tangata Whaka-ahua! Snugly seated at home, as I am just now I cannot help wishing that I could truthfully chronicle even a trifling assault on the part of the Utapu malcontents. It would certainly have given a zest to this article, and oh, wouldn't it have "sold" the photographic series—"the Maori at home." But it cannot be, for the simulo reason that, unfortunately, no assault was committed. Not a nut, woman, or child attempted to "go for" the Taipo. In fact, leaving out of consideration the verbal compliments, couched in the choicest Maori Billingsgate, that were showered upon us by the villagers—for the population, pigs and dogs included, had turned out en manse on our approach—our reception might almost have been regarded as flattering, were it not for the following little circumstance:—Two matrons, one of whom had a child slung upon her hack—the little dear quite innocent of such appliances as soap and pocket-handkerchiefs; and the other, who was beyond a doubt as she would wish to be did she truly love her Maori lord—were involuntarily posing themselves for a picture, aud Tanyata, already in imagination seeing a print of an effective incident in the window of No. 41 Princes street, slipped his head under his black cloth, when the ladies, intuitively divining the situation, and simultaneously turning round, solemnly assumed a posture of "flexure and low-bending" [shade of Shakespeare, pardon!] certainly not suggestive of respect, but rather of the most withering contempt for Pakehas in general, and for this Pakeha and his camera in particular. Hitherto, when we were unable to secure a whare all to ourselves, we had pitched our tent, even in the middle of a village. But this evening, to save that trouble, we accepted the offer of the friendly people of Tukipo (their behaviour a strong contrast to that of their Hauhau neighbours) and "turned in" among them all in the whare-puni, and a wretched night we had of it. In addition to our five "whites" and our seven "browns," there were,! suppose, about 20 others—men, women, and children; and as the building was by no means large, with no ventilation whatever, the door and little window carefully closed and two charcoal fires burning in holes in the earthen floor, while nearly everybody smoked, and several of our hosts gave audible proof of their possession of colds in the head and complaints of the chest, it may be imagined that the atmosphere, towards the small hours, was not laden with the odours of Araby. Ugh ! Earlier in the evening I brought out a small portfolio of views I had put into my swag at Wanganui, thinking they might interest some of the chiefs on the way. I was soon surrounded by an admiring group, who were especially delighted with the "Camera in the Coral Islands" series, saying they "were all same Maori," the younger men seizing the pictures of the buxom girls of Samoa and Tonga and kissing them with great ardour. Light in their whare-punis is usually supplied by a piece of charcoal floating in a tin dish of pork fat—a slush lamp, in fact; but in our honour, and to enable the pictures to be seen to advantage, a couple of paraffin candles were brought, fixed in the sockets of bayonets, whose points were readily driven into any part of the floor. The sight of these old and rusty arms set us speculating as to how they found their way hither, and we did not feel like asking any questions on the subject of our dusky hosts.
May 14.—The river scenery is now gradually changing in character, the banks becoming much higher amd far more precipitous, ranging from 400ft to 500ft—or even more, for many miles together. Lower down the page 13 stream the villages had been numerous, though always built on a high bank, as the river often rises 30ft or 40ft; but now we are passing through a country where the banks are so high and steep that there is scarcely space for a, whare. Indeed, we had to keep a sharp look out towards camping time for room enough to pitch our tent, and our canoe has to be forced up all day long by "poling" against the perpendicular walls, as it is here too deep for the poles to work effectively upon the bottom. Our crew were certainly now working with a will. With one accord they throw the whole weight of their bodies upon their poles, thus impelling the canoe up—almost making it climb—rapids of an extent and rush that cause one to hold one's breath when, half-way through, the canoe stops for a moment. But, ere sternway can be gathered, Patu's nether garments are off; he is up to his waist in water, and—the rest all hanging on to their poles like grim death—he, with one grand effort, lifts the bow of our craft and we are through it. But after all, this is one of the lesser rapids; when we come to a bad one, it is not one roan, but the whole crew that tumble overboard, and almost carry the canoe through the boiling surge.
May 15.—As we slowly mount (for that seems a suitable word) the river we have full opportunity of enjoying the glorious bush, with which Nature, with so lavish a hand, has clothed the banks of the Wanganui. There are tree ferns, grand in size and glorious in quantity, and New Zealand's evergreens, in every variety of tint, contrast with the deciduous trees, mostly willows, planted for scores of miles, by the pious care of the Rev. Mr Taylor (an Episcopal missionary, I believe) of years a gone. But beautiful as all this, three days of the very same kind of scenery and it does become somewhat monotonous, especially when one is cramped up in a canoe the while. Partridges have been known to pall upon the appetite, and it is with a feeling of relief that we note the banks gradually lowering and a wider expanse of country coming into view. To-day we had to tackle the Tareipoukiere rapid—the worst on the river. I might here say that some days ago we exchanged our large canoe for two smaller ones; and now, in order to negotiate this "teaser," the canoe loads are carried above the rapid on the shoulders of our men, and the crows, "double-banked," pole, haul, and push each craft separately up a veritable mill-sluice.
May 17.—Our landing place was Tawhata, where we found the venerable Ngatiawa chief Topine te Mamaku, who is the uncle of our chief Ngatai, He is certainly an ancient party, though scarcely a hundred years old, we think, as we bad repeatedly heard he was. We had the question of his age put to the old man, and after an animated discussion with the seniors of the place we learnt that upon comparing notes they had calculated he must be a hundred and sixty! Though we are now in the middle of winter, old Topine eschews whares and contents himself with a calico tent, in front whereof, upon request, he at once posed himself for a portrait, his only garment, a blanket loosely wound round his waist, leaving the upper part of his shrivelled frame quite bare. This evening I longed to be an artist in very truth, and not a mere "machine-man" (as photographers were dubbed by a certain painter I met years ago on Lake Wakatipu) in order that I might secure a group exhibiting the most delicious Rembrandt effects. Old Topine was seated at the door of his tent, a good-looking Maori boy was lolling at his feet; a winsome damsel at his side; while round the fire was a circle of his admirers and gossips. At the racy anecdotes, which evidently formed the staple of the talk, the venerable chief would cackle his delight, and ever and anon he would give, in cracked and quavering tones, reminiscences page 14 of his own earlier life, and—" the fitful firelight" glinting on his cut and carven face—his bleared eyes would light up for a moment as the recollection of perhaps some warlike deed suddenly passed across his mind The politeness of old Topine in the matter of a "sitting" did not extend to all at this place, for on the camera being planted opposite a whare where was a specially villainous-looking scoundrel and his vahine they at once covered their faces with their clothes, thinking they had thus circumvented the photographer. He, however, turned the laugh against them when the bystanders learned that he had "taken" the group muffled just as they were, and would exhibit it through New Zealand as a specimen of Maori good manners. We had a hearty laugh to-day at H——, one of our party, who, while watching a good-looking lass preparing dinner, suddenly exclaimed, reflectively, "That girl, now, is too good to scrape spuds !" Our merriment was not lessened when he gravely asked if we knew what the ceremony was like when a white man married a Maori. We referred him to Ngatai, who said it was very simple. Man and maiden would attend some evening in the Whare-puni, when the tribe were well represented. They would mutually declare their liking, and the chief would say, "Kapai ! ki te moe !" and—that was all ! H——was evidently relieved, and seemed to think the custom decidedly preferable to that other ceremony which begins with "Dearly beloved," and ends with "amazement."
Should a korero be particularly animated, it is even betting that the subject is "the land," some endless squabble, perhaps, between various claimants; but we found almost everywhere on our way up the river, and afterwards on the land journey, that there were three subjects of absorbing interest, and all of them allied—namely, "the train," "the road," and "Rakepata." The first, of course, is the Central railway; the second, the lines of road to be made from various points on the Wanganui River to the line as feeders; and the third is the name of the engineer of the line. It may be well to explain to Southern readers that "Rakepata" is not the Maori's translation of "Rochfort," but represents phonetically the nearest approach to his pronunciation of the word. Thus, if a Maori were to address the present Nativo Minister (Mr Ballance) he would write—as he would speak—"Kia te Paranihi, Minita Maori "; and so the names of the villages on the lower part of the rivers—Ateue, Koroniti, Hiroharama, &c.—follow the same rule.
May 18.—This is the fourteenth day, and we are all getting aweary of the canoe journey, and we do our best to urge on our crews to "wire in" and get us to Taumaranui to-morrow. We have had much broken weather lately, and to sit in a cramping position in a canoe for perhaps nine hours a day and to reach a camping-place at night wet and shivering) and then to pitch a wet tent, making a fire and then cooking a meal all in the wet, and then to turn in thankful if one's blankets are not wet too, altogether is not a perfect realisation of the idea of a "prolonged picnic" that some of my friends have imagined a New Zealand landscape-photographer's up-country trips to be. "It seems to me," said one of them the other day, in an aggrieved tone, "that your avocation is Just a succession of holidays !" When this gentleman reads the above he will learn that "they don't know everything down in Judee !" Ngatai is certainly a firstrate fellow, and a grand assistant to me, for when I "spot" a view that I really cannot pass, in spite of our anxiety not to lose a minute of daylight, and calling his attention, pointing to the place where I wish to land, simply saying "Taipo" he gives the necessary orders, the canoe's nose is pushed into the bank, I am landed, photographic traps are put ashore, and in a few minutes the camera is built up, the view is captured, and we are off again. To-day I secured the page 15 gloriously beautiful waterfall Kakahi, a little above Tawhata; and later in the day the still more beautiful Paparoa Fall, a mile or two below Whenuatere.
May 19.—Wet again, and we do not wonder that, after poling until midday, our men jib upon it and announce their intention to camp upon a most convenient flat at Omaka Beach. The "colour" has been found here, and great expectations have been raised as to the probability of a small prospecting party from Wanganui that has just, after long wrangling, been permitted to try the country, making a payable find. We have made such good progress lately that we have overtaken more than one party of Natives who had started days before us, so that we now numbered five canoes. In less than half an hour Omaka Beach, before without a sign of life, presented quite a bustling appearance, seven tents were reared, besides a sort of "gunyah" (there is a Maori word for this, but I have forgotten it), put together by a man with hermit-like proclivities, and eight camp fires were soon in full blaze, Walking through the extemporised village, and giving the usual salutation, we were politely invited into one of the tents by a buxom lass and her half-caste brother. They both had a smattering of English, and we got on very well, especially when I introduced the portfolio. I learned that the name of the comely lassie was Matarene, and she soon consented to have her portrait taken when we should reach Taumaranui, "all same Samoan"; and was very delighted to learn that in that case she would be presented with two of the pictures she so much admired. As some of the company were devout Roman Catholics, the bell rang out at 5 o'clock, and all of that faith assembled in one of the tents for vespers.
May 20.—Weather better this morning—the sixteenth of our trip—and our spirits ditto, for we made a timely start and a few hours should bring us to the end of the water part of our journey. A little time before reaching our goal we met several canoes going down the stream, and as our men and they were "weel acquent," they must needs have a short tangi in the middle of the river. Fancy our men jumping overboard to indulge in nose-rubbing when up to their middles in water ! Several more rapids successfully ascended, and we reach the junction of the rivers, and bearing to the left, leave the Wanganui and enter the Ongaruhe, and in a few minutes have done with our canoes, for which we are most devoutly thankful. We had been taught by our chief Ngatai to expect something superior in the kainya line, for he had, when examining the photographs, put his finger on a picture of the Empire Hotel, Christchurch, giving us to understand that that was a moderately fair specimen of the buildings in Taumaranui. We were, however, unable to see the chief's home through his spectacles; and thought it to be a collection of more than usually dilapidated whares, rather more abounding in dirt and in a more pronounced flea-ey condition than the average. However, it was to be our home for something like 10 days, or longer if our leader should not turn up, so we determined to make the best of it, and were really not badly off, for Mr P and self had allotted to us the best and newest whare in the place. The owner, who was rather proud of his house, could not at first see why he should turn out of it for the Pakehas; but friend Ngatai intervened, and he eventually evacuated the premises with a passable imitation of a good grace. It soon became the fashion of the inhabitants of the place, especially the younger people, to gather round our whare in the evening, perhaps giving us a specimen of their kuni-kuni, or dance, or perhaps taking a lesson in the polka from one of us. When we had "turned in" we often had a levee on a small scale inside; but as when page 16 we were both duly tucked up there only remained something like two square yards of space, out of which room had to be found for our fire (for we hail early adopted this Maori fashion), we had to intimate to our friends that we really could not entertain an unlimited number of them at one time; and as our doorway was not quite three feet high, by just about half that width, it was comparatively easy to avoid a large influx without being so rude as actually to "sport our oak" in their faces.
May 22.—To-day carried the camera up the hills that rise a little beyond the village, and was rewarded with some delicious views of the surrounding country. Away to our right spread the valley of the Ongaruhe, and the, to us, most interesting district—the northern portion of the mysterious King Country, through the heart of which the rest of our way would lead us. Then right before us we could trace the Wanganui River winding down the way we had come. Just at our feet lay Taumaranui, and it was easy to see that it occupies a most commanding situation, and is likely to be "some punkins" by-and-bye. Just at the point of the junction of the rivers, on an extensive level, raised the right height above the water, with the railway close at hand, and with Lake Taupo, too, only 25 miles away, and easy to reach, it need not be wondered at that the astute chief Ngatai has already laid out in his mind a large township, and has done a good (imaginary) business in corner sections. He has, too, commenced a series of "improvements," and while we were there one of the most ruinous whares which stood in the public square was found to be on fire, and soon vanished, and we heard it whispered that several other accidental fires might be expected, until a fine large space should be opened in front of the whare-punis; for Taumaranui boasts two of these public edifices, each rejoicing in a fine-sounding name, one being Hikurangi, and the other Ngapuaiwha. Thus it will be seen that there is somewhat of an inversion of the law obtaining in some places we wot of that only bad times produce fires, as these little affairs are to be precursors of quite a "boom," it would seem. But then there are no insurance offices here, and perhaps that makes a difference. But we are on the hill above the town of the future, and climbing a little higher into the small bush that overlooks the Upper Wanganui on our left, are almost startled to see suddenly burst upon us, though 25 miles away, through a frame of trees the grand snowy mass of Ruapehu (8878ft), and the beautiful cone of the volcano Ngaruahoe (7376ft) : and here is a good opportunity to air a little newly-acquired erudition. It seems that Ngaruahoe is the proper name of the burning mountain generally known as Tongariro, while the real Tongariro is a third or fourth-rate hill, more innocent of fire than the New South Wales contingent. Turning still more to the left, we see the horizon bounded by the hills about Lake Taupo. And now having swept the whole of the grand panorama below and around us, and photographed from every point of vantage, we will go down the hill again and see if dinner is ready. We have no cause to suspect the motives of any of the good people of Taumaranui, but it is not possible quite to forget that the place is associated with a little "difficulty" that occurred only four years ago—and that was the Moffatt murder. Moffatt had been on good terms with the Maoris, but had lost their confidence, and was told that he would be welcome among them no more. He disregarded this, however, and made his way into the interior. He was warned again and again and eventually one night a meeting was held in one of the whare-punis written of above. The matter was solemnly debated, the result that seven men were told off to shoot him should lie Persist in his determination to pass through the King Country. He had reached page 17 the river about four miles above Taumaranui, and some well-wishers urged him to go back in vain, for he crossed the river, and the men appointed to kill htm met him and killed him there. No doubt we have shaken hands with these very men; indeed, the ringleader is, we have reason to believe, in full view just now as we sit at dinner.
May 24.—We pakehas did not forget who's birthday this was, for the health of her most gracious Majesty the Queen was duly proposed at dinner to-day, greeted with a chorus of "God bless her," and drunk in pannikins of tea,
May 29—We have now been ten days here; have photographed everything and everybody; have read every book and every paper obtainable, except a copy of "Bradshaw," and have even mastered that with the exception of the list of post towns through the Colony, and are wearying for the sight of our leader. Surely nothing has happened to him; for what, then, might not happen to us ? While thus indulging in the dolefuls, a young half-caste riding into the village brought to me a curiously-folded billa, with this superscription : "Sir Capitain, Taumaranui." As I looked up with a puzzled air, for my native modesty forbade the idea that such a gorgeous double title could apply to me, the man assured me that it was all right—that it was from his sister, Matarene, who had gone visiting at the next village—Matahanea (Moffatt's last sleeping-place, to wit)—and that she did not know my name. Thus assured, but humbling myself with recollection of the eastern apologut—"A blind man once addressed a slave as Effendi (my lord). The slave carried his head higher ever after."—I opened the note. It ran as follows :—"Matahanea, 27th Mei 1885. Der Sir, Pleas give to me to likenest, one pound canille, one paki maati. Ki ea rawa i a koe taku reta.—Ni Matahena," I thought this a very good attempt at an English letter, though when it came to the conclusion, she had to drop into Maori. I understand that this part just means, " Please favour with an answer." Still, I considered it rather cool that she should break her engagement; and yet, ask for the "consideration," and demand candles and matches in addition. Though I sent, not the articles asked for, but a moving appeal to her to keep her appointment, it did not move her, and I saw Matarena no more.
May 30.—During the whole of our stay at Taumaranui thus far the weather has been very broken, but a frost last night heralded a really fine New Zealand winter day—and what in weather is finer ? Thus cheered by the bracing atmosphere, we were further delighted by our leader suddenly appearing at midday. He had thoroughly attained all his objects, and declared that he should be ready to push on the next day but one. The steersman of one of our canoes was named Taitua, and we had found that, on the strength of his being a considerable landed proprietor, he has pretensions to chieftainship—is disposed, in fact, to set himself up in some measure in opposition to the chief of the place, Ngatai. We had done some business with the man, having purchased mats and so on from him. This afternoon he called me on one side, and solemnly presented me with a greenstone pendant. This was an article I had greatly desired, but could not persuade anyone to sell. It was the right colour too, not the bright green, but the cloudy, which the Maori esteems far above the other; and it had the further advantage of being Maori cut, and not the work of a pakeha lapidary. I thereupon, having got a little assistance from the linguists of the party, made a formal entry in my pocket-book to this effect:—"Na Taitua homai tenei pounamu ki a au, he mea aroha.—Alfred H. Burton." Which means that "Taitua gave me this greenstone as a present in token of his love page 18 to me." This I mouthed with the best Maori accent I could manage, to a goodly crowd now assembed, who were pleased to grunt approval, and to call out "kapai," which was repeated when I further made a little speech (duly translated to them) declaring that I greatly valued the present, that I should carry it with me hundreds of miles southwards to Dunedin, that I should for ever keep it as a reminder of my visit to the King Country, and that Taitua in turn might by-and-bye look out for a little present of some of the work of Tangata Whaka-ahua.
May 31.—The youth of the place were in high feather to-day, for they were introduced to the two most popular English games—cricket and football. Mr Stout had sent up as a present a set of cricketing materials, and Mr Rochfort had added a football. In the former game the young Maori neophytes were "put on" to bowl, and it may be imagined that they were not always "dead on" the wicket, and as the ground was not exactly a "Lord's" or an "Oval," but was "bumpy" to a degree that would simply have maddened a Collinson or a Secretan, a new terror was added to life; and in all that village the only safe place for a non-player was indoors,
June 1.—To-day we began the second stage of our journey-—that by land. What with horsemen and packhorses—six of each—we formed rather an imposing cavalcade as we filed out of the village at 11 o'clock, bidding good-bye and cordially shaking hands with all—now, as ever before, judiciously ignoring the antecedents of the tattooed and truculent-looking fellows who crowded to see the last of us.
In Taumaranui—a little opposition at first once overcome—I and my camera had got along so well that I almost forgot where I was—now in the very centre of Maoridom—and having been struck with a fine whare-puni at the village of Ta Ringamotn, with some capital "specimens" of both sexes grouped round, I asked our leader if he could give me "just 10 minutes"—hesitatingly, for I knew the value of time and that we had a very long ride still before us. He assented, and the photographic "fixins" were speedily off the pack horse, the camera was put together, and I was proceeding to focus when I became conscious that something was wrong. An ancient beldame, with excited mien, her eyes flashing fury, set upon Mr Rochfort, and, flinging her arms about like a modern Cassandra, and pouring forth her words with a volubility worthy of Mrs Moriarty, inflicted upon our leader an infuriated harangue lasting a quarter of an hour. Mr Rochfort listened with that imperturbability that has so frequently stood him in good stead, and, turning to the rest of us, quietly "boiled down" the old girl's speech as follows:—"What is the pakeha up to now ? What new trick is he trying upon the guileless Maori ? Tins makes the third of his little dodges. First, there was the Petition (this referred to some land-selling arrangement); second, the Railway; and now, thirdly, this Photographing business. The Maori has already put up with far too much, and lie'll be ' hardly-evered ' if he will stand any more ! So, there, now !" Seeing that the "group" was out of the question, I took advantage of the noise the old lady was making—for she had "broken out in a fresh place"—and of the admiring interest in her "gift of the gab" shown by all the rest of the villagers, slipt on one side, secured two lovely little landscapes, "working in" a raupo swamp most characteristically in one of them; then packed up my traps again with a martyr-like air of resignation, and we went our way. What with a later start from Taumaranui than was intended, and the delay at Ta Ringamotu, we had, with Banquo, to "become a borrower of the night for a dark hour or twain"; so that when we reached Waimiha, our stopping place, we found everyone had page 19 gone to bed. The dogs, however, soon gave notice of our arrival, and half the village cut their night's rest in two and came out to welcome us. Soon a fire was made, and the women prepared us the most appetising Maori meal we had eaten on the trip. In some villages, after a special dish of food had been placed before us, some villainous-looking scoundrel, whose morning toilette had not included a very thorough ablution, would coolly walk up and, thrusting his hand into our dish, turn over the food until he found a morsel to his taste, and as he ate it would turn upon us a look intended to convey that he thought that one man was as good as another—"and better!" This was not appetising, and unless one were very hungry would end in "I pass!" On the other hand, in other places, the instinctive politeness of the people would have made such an act impossible. And of this latter class were the people of Waimiha. Mr Catlin, whose travels among and works upon the North American Indians created such a sensation in England some (I leave this blank purposely) years ago, describes very graphically the characteristics of the many tribes among whom he had lived and worked (for he was an artist. There were no "machine men" in those remote days, ye ken). One tribe he especially distinguishes as the "gentlemanly Mandans." Well, here I think, at Waimiha have we found the Maori representatives of Catlin's Mandans. The principal personage in the place is Kaho Tapune, a lady who is fair, fat, and say 40 (with a discount of five-and-twenty per cent, off the last "line"), and tall into the bargain. Her husband is in physical contrast to his mate. He would pass as a model husband even from a pakeha standpoint, for he is full of those lover-like attentions which white ladies of mature age appreciate so highly, and often, alas, look for in vain from their spouses. He will, without remark, quietly bring a mat and place it over the shoulders of his wife if he thinks the weather has become colder; and as for the Maori custom of the men eating alone, leaving to the wives the scraps, that is, by Ngaparu, "a custom more honoured in the breach than the observance." (One must indulge in a hackneyed quotation now and then; it helps to "white out" the article—if one may be allowed to "talk printer.")
June 2.—Before the ladies left us last night it had been ascertained that they would not object to "sit" on the morrow. So, before starting on the day's ride I took the portraits of Kahu Topune in full Maori fig, with koromai and mere, as a chieftess of her rank ought to be represented. Then her husband. After, a young woman named Amohaere, who was still attractive; and an old one, Ramarihi, who doubtless had been. Then a fine stout young warrior, named Hurinui, presented himself, was duly taken, and for very shame sake I felt bound to declare that I could detain the expedition no longer. Some three miles on, and we reach the railway survey camp at Ohinemoa. After a brief conference with the officer-in-charge, our leader announces to us that he fears we cannot get further than this camp to-day. He does not realise how unnecessary is any apology for this announcement as far as one member of the party is concerned. Nearly 30 miles yesterday on a Maori horse with no "paces"—at least no civilised paces—to one who had not been in the saddle for years, and who never had the ambition to "witch the world with noble horsemanship," but whose deeds in that line are rather akin to those of that other knight who was besides "a linen draper bold," gave to the chance of a rest till to-morrow all the charm of a reprieve. While seated by the camp kitchen fire my eye is caught by a batch of new "Graphics," and I am at once "buried," ouly to be dug up to partake of a meal, at recollection of which I smack my lips even now. Oh, that cook ! But has not his page 20 fame gone forth into all the camps? For myself, I say, may his shadow (and it is a long one, for he is a stalwart ex-Armed Constabulary man) never be less! The packhorses and their attendants had been sent on so we horsemen found ourselves just swagless. However, our hosts' going "one better" than St. Martin, divided—not their cloaks, but-their blankets with us, and we slept soundly therein until we were roused out, as per arrangement, long before daylight on.
June 3.—Early as it was the breakfast was ready—[oh ! that curry! bless the cook once more !]—and we were soou in the saddle, for the word bad gone forth, " We must reach Te Kuiti to-night, mind ye." When our leader told us that we should, early in the day's ride, find the bush track "rather rough," we at once braced ourselves up for something quite out of the common, and truly that two hours' ride through the forest was "a caution." Now, I confess I begin to appreciate my Maori steed, for no pakeha horse, surely, could have carried his rider over a track almost as steep and winding as the tower stairs of Christchurch Cathedral. Then, to relieve the monotony, we would plunge through a clayey slough, as clinging as a poor relation, and nearly as deep as a Colonial bookmaker. Here, be it known, my mates can relieve their horses and secure their own safety by dismounting at all "pinches," but my accident in the "Forty-mile" perforce glues me to the saddle—that is, at least, as long as I can "stick," for it is with some astonishment, and as much devout thankfulness, that I find I am still "there" when we reach the summit of the dividing range, and are informed that we are now just above the middle of what will be the longest tunnel in the Central railroad, which is to pierce the hill we have just climbed many hundreds of feet below us. A brief "wind," and down again on the other side we go, our experiences in descent being a fitting complement to those in ascent. I find that my hasty notes, pencilled at the time, say : "We passed by a diabolical road through a celestial bush." And that's so. In common fairness, as a sort of Colonial Dr Syntax, in perpetual pursuit of the picturesque, I must say that—though it is undeniable that as far as mountains and lakes are concerned the South can give "points" to the North—we cannot "play them even" on bush. No; there they lick us, and we had better admit it. For hours we ride along—now through valley, now over little ridges, each one as we top it giving us extended views of new country, where not a sign testifies to human presence, save the "ranging-rods of the railway survey; but the climax—both æsthetic and utilitarian—is reached when we emerge from another magnificent bush, and the beauteous valley of Waiteti gradually unfolds itself before us; for here the soil, I learn, is every bit as good as the scenery is lovely. We have made such good progress to-day that we reach our stopping-placc, Te Kuiti, by 3 o'clock, in time for the camera to do some useful work. This place was formerly the headquarters of King Tawhiao, and here is the most elaborately-carved whare-puni we have yet seen. It was built expressly for the dingy monarch, and is quite a show-place, a fee of half-a-crown being exacted for admission.
June 4.—Rambling out this morning early into the Maori graveyard, in the course of my "meditations among the tombs," I came across one erected to the memory of some chief, no doubt, of super-excellent ferocity, that seized my fancy so much so that I felt I could not leave it behind—that is, unless I had its "counterfeit presentment" to console me; so as the light was still "non-actinic," it was arranged that our leader and my other friend, the artist, should push on towards civilisation, while the packhorse train and self should follow on in due course.page 21
page 22 and though even among those present there might be men who had "assisted" in more than the "French sense," I felt that such as these were questions of State, and that my business was just to take photographs, and to leave such weighty matters alone. Rewi was dressed in a suit of grey dittos, with a shawl round his shoulders. The other chiefs had, more or less, adopted European costume. Another sign of the times ! For it is evident that the true Maori dress is doomed, and that the korowai and even the blanket must soon give place to shirt and pants all over the country. Having such noted personages as sitters, of course I was "at it" as long as light would serve. The usual Maori hospitality—that is, when they are hospitably disposed—shown and we pakehas were comfortably housed in a building that exhibited the advance of ideas in the Maori mind. The walls were of raupo, but there were glazed windows, and the door was nearly high enough for a middle-sized man to enter without stooping. There was a chimney and fireplace, as in the whare-komiti; but I noticed that in the latter building the good old Maori custom of a fire in a hole in the centre of the floor was preferred to the chimney. An iron bedstead—the only one—was apportioned to me, but as there was nothing between my bones and the laced iron bands under me except a blanket, I somewhat sympathised with the countryman in London in the last century, who, treated to a "ride" in a Sedan chair without a bottom, declared that "if it were not for the honour of the thing, he would as lief walk" The Maori game of poi (ball) has been brought before the public lately iu connection with some utterances of the great Maori prophet Te Whiti, and here for the first time we saw the girls playing poi. The ball is is made of raupo, moderately soft, and is attached to a string. It is rather a "fetching" thing to see a pretty Maori lass—an adept in—throw the bail about in all directions, now striking her hands, now her bosom; now jerking it Over one shoulder, now over the other, then upon her lap, and all to the sound of music; .same music being beaten out of a tin baking dish. There was to-night some hint of a haka, but as the girls after a few steps—pretty fairly suggestive of what the complete business might have been—did not seem to get into the spirit of the thing, we wisely sought our blankets, and prepared ourselves for a good day's work and ride to-morrow, the last before we should cross the Aukati line and get back among "oor ain folk."
Aye, and since too murders have been performed
Too terrible for the ear;
June 5.—Leaving Taotiui's whare-komiti at Haerehuka, we pushed on without further stoppage, and in the course of a few hours, first three-rail fences, amd then ploughed fields, with glimpses of farms and farmhouse, greeted our gladdened eyes. The last few miles we did at a gallop; and so much had I improved in my horsemanship that a spin into Kihikihi as fast as my horse could go won for me encomiums from the dare-devil Maori guide, Henaki, who was the only other one "in at the death" when we drew rein at the Star Hotel, in Kihikihi. How I enjoyed my first square meal, and how I luxuriated in an English bed, need not be told. These two comforts can only be adequately described by an adjective which we had used as a test word of Maori pronunciation all through our journeyings with most laughable results in the various attempts made by men, women, and children—and that word is "scrumptious." Should any of my readers ever travel in the heart of Maoriland, let them try it if they desire a little fun.
June 6.—Kihikihi is a European township (this is information for Southern readers only) despite its ultra-Maori name. It boasts three hotels, stores in abundance, and, above all, it is on the telegraph-line. But there is a special interest attaching to it, for it is in view (as the camera can prove if called as a witness) of the battlefield of Orakau.page 23
Here the combined Waikatos and Ngatimaniapotos made their grand final stand under the fighting chief Rewi, on which occasion he declared that he would never surrender, adding emphatically in his native tongue" ake ! ake ! ake !" which very freely translated may mean that "he would see the Pakeha Sir Joseph Portered first." He now enjoys a fine house opposite the Star Hotel, provided by a considerate Government, together with a pension of £210 a year. Ahem !
One result of my little journeyings through the King Country has been to beget the suspicion that, after all, the great Native difficulty question has been used very much as a bogey; that, in fact, had it not been for certain interests involved in its continuance, it would have been solved long ere now. However this may be, it is the opinion of all whose opinion is entitled to respect with whom I have come in contact, that the Maori difficulty is now as "dead as the Doges," and that it is only by the grossest mismanagement that any further trouble can ever arise. The only place where any mischief can be brewed is Parihaka, and such can only be local and temporary, cut off as this district is from the rest of Maoridom by the railway. Besides, any rising at all, even there, is directly opposed to "Parihaka Tikanga"; or, in other words, the policy of Te Whiti. That astute old pseudo-prophet knows the weakness of his countrymen and recognises also the strength of the pakeha. The knowing ones I met in Kihikihi ridiculed the idea of the old fox being such a fool as to embroil himself with the Government. As a specimen of the stuff with which he amuses his followers, I was told that he recently promulgated as a truth his discovery (after a course of Old Testament reading, I suppose) that "Abraham had actually landed at Patea, and, before leaving again, set up his son there in business." [In the "old clo' ' line I wonder ?] This, of course, proves, beyond cavil, the illustrious descent of the Maori race. It is the opinion, I gathered, of my informants, that for some time to come alarmist articles may be expected to appear in Northern newspapers, but that experts will be able in every case to trace them to the inspiration of jealousy or land-jobbing. My work being now done—having carried my camera through the whole length of the King Country—naturally I wanted to get back to my beloved Dunedin, but I felt that I must stay a little longer and secure some "subjects" in Whatiwhatihoe, the present location of the Court of the Maori King. Accordingly I drove over to Alexandra, which is within a mile of the regal village. My companion was that very Mr Hursthouse who was chained up in Te Kumi, so I had the great advantage of the corroboration from hi.s own lips of the account of that business I had already learned. During the journey I asked him if he were any relation to the Mr Hursthouse whose name I had been familiar with as a lecturer and writer upon New Zealand more than a quarter of a century ago. He said, yes, he was, and that same relationship had nearly brought him into trouble in Canterbury some years back. He went on to relate the anecdote. (It may be premised that Mr Hursthouse is a gentleman "more than common tall," and of almost burly presence.) A cock-sparrow of a man came up to him anil said, "Pray, are you any kin to that (First Lord—hem !) scoundrel who wrote that (First Lord, again !) book ? He pleaded guilty to the soft impeachment, when his interlocutor went on to say, "Then I have a great mind to smash you !" Mr H. good humouredly asked why ? when the irate Zaccheus said. "Why ! didn't he induce me to come out to this (First lord, again !) country, where I have been burnt out, and nearly drowned three times !" To which Mr Hursthouse replied, "Well, it seems to me that you are a wonderfully lucky fellow !" "How's that? How's that ?" excitedly asked the other. "Because, if you had remained in the page 24 Old Country you might not have escaped hanging three times, you know! Carne ! Let's have a drink !" The bellicose little man's features relaxed and peace was concluded on this basis. Within 200 or 300 yards of Alexandra may be seen to this day remains of the fortifications raised more than 60 years ago to resist the conquering progress of the chief Hongi. It will be remembered that that worthy, early in the twenties, visited England, and was duly introduced at Court. As a suitable present the king, George IV, of blessed memory, gave him a number of muskets. Hongi, on his return, armed his followers with them, and made a grand triumphal progress through the country; aud this place—a pah situated at the junction of the Waipa river and a creek whose name has escaped me—was the scene of one of his exploits. Of course, in spite of the entrenchments and the valour of the defenders, muskets carried the day. What those entrenchments must have been originally, the ruins of the triple line of earthworks still remaining after the destructive influence of more than 60 years of wind and weather, give something like a faint idea.
June 7.—On our way to Whatiwhatihoe we called at Wahanui's. This gentleman made a public appearance in an entirely new character a few weeks ago, when he assisted the Premier in the arduous duty of cutting the first sod of the ('entrai railway, near Te Awamutu, Wahanui is popularly supposed to be rather a Maori Machiavelli; and though he lives—like Rewi—in a house provided by a paternal Government, and enjoys, I believe, a pension, he is very jealous of the maintenance of his mana among his own people. Hence, he felt constrained to refuse the offer of a seat in the Legislative Council. But I must not be led into politics: out came the camera, and soon portraits of Wahanui himself, his wife, his son, and all his following were added to my series. At Whatiwhatihoe we interviewed Tawhiao, who was clad in the earlier part of the day, more Maori, in a blanket, but in the afternoon appeared in a pot hat and a suit of solemn black. We had to lament a falling off from our ideal of the manners which should distinguish the ladies of a Court, lor, truth to tell, the conduct on the part of the women we found so objectionable in the Hauhau village of Utapu—the salutation de derrière—was repeated here under the very shadow of the throne,
June 10.—Now I think I may fairly consider my work to be done; so, with a calm joy I take a ticket at Te Awamatu for Auckland, and on June 17 I reach Dunedin again, after just nine weeks' absence, to receive the congratulations of my friends upon the realization of a dream of years [What a small ambition suffices some minds!] in the photographic illustration of "The Maori at Horae."
Alfred H. Burton.
Printed at the "Daily Times" Office, High and Dowling Streets, Dunedin.