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Early Wellington

Arrival of the “George Fife.”

Arrival of the “George Fife.”

The “George Fife,” 460 tons, commanded by Capt. George Pyke, sailed from Gravesend in June, 1842, for Wellington and Nelson. She arrived in October with 19 married couples, 3 single men, 2 single women, 6 children under fourteen, 13 under seven, and 4 under one. Dr. Philip Williams was surgeon superintendent.

The passenger list contained the following names:—

Name Age No. of Children
Aldred, Miss
Balharty, David and Mary 3
Barnett, Reuben and Eliza
Bolton, Edward 27
Broadbent, Wm. and Honorah
Buckland, Mr. and Mrs.
Burnett, Alex and Jane 1
Champney, Mr.
Christian, Miss
Clifford, Mr.
Coster, Mr. and Mrs
Coster, Chas. 18
Dillon, Hon. C. A.
Donald, Mr. and Family
Firth, Jas. and Hannah 1
Fitzgerald, Mr. and Mrs.
Fox, Mr. and Mrs.
Godfrey, Henry
Haigh, Mr.
Hammond, Mat. and Sarah 1
Hammond, Richard and Amelia 2page 114
Harris, David and Caroline 1
Hirst, Sydney and Mary 2
Jones, Francis and Rosa 5
Kearsley, James
Kinniburg, Dav. and Jane 5
Ledgard, Danl. and Ann
Lewis, Wm. and Emma
Martin, Alice 18
May, Mr.
Remnant, Jas. and Hannah
Reynolds, Ed. and Harriet 4
Rhodes, Israel and Martha
Riddle, Geo. and Marion 2
Secker, Dinah 23
Thairlwall, Mr.
Vavasour, Mr.
Webster, Mr.
White, Mr.
Arrived December 29th. 1842
(N.Z. Journal 27th May, 1843, p. 127.)

Mr. Swainson was at this time worried by “Dog's Ear” (Taringa-kuri), and other natives. He had hired three sections, of 100 acres each, of untouched forest-land on the banks of the Hutt (Fig. 40), and fondly made plans for laying this out in patches of cultivation, and sheltered by belts of timber. He built a substantial farmhouse for his family and another for his labourers, and had cleared about two acres in which a fine crop of wheat for seed was just coming to perfection. Taringa Kuri: who had established himself close to the house, at first promised to cut only what Mr. Swainson pointed out to him, and pretended only to want one crop in return for his trouble.

But, notwithstanding repeated mediations of Mr. Spain, or of Mr. Clarke, junior, the deceitful chief had cleared all the wood indiscriminately off a large tract of ground. Belt after belt, clump after clump, fell beneath the merciless axes of his followers, and the native clearing at length reached to within a few yards of Mr. Swainson's house and the little patch of wheat. They now openly laughed at their victim, and told him to “look out” for as the dry weather came on, they should set fire to the fallen wood.

Mr. Swainson approached the Police Magistrate and Crown Prosecutor for an indictment and an injunction, without avail. However, the clearing was burned off without damage to his wheat and his thatched roofs; potatoes were planted; a Pa was built on the river bank; and in October (1841), the natives were living there permanently, and encroaching still further on a large portion of the valley, in any part of which they forbade white men from settling. The clearings of the Ngatirangatahi, Rauparaha's especial servants, extended nearly a mile along the banks, and they carefully stopped every white man who began to clear or saw even in parts that had never before been occupied.

Notwithstanding the worries occasioned by the natives, the Christmas festival was celebrated with “right merrie” sports in Wellington. A cricket match between two clubs which had practised for some months, quoits, swings and other diversions, were numerously attended on Te Aro Flat; and, to the credit of the community be it spoken, not a single case of drunkenness or disorderly conduct disfigured the pleasant associations of the day.

The past season was reckoned rather an inclement one in New Zealand; but barley was cut in the beginning of December on the banks of the Hutt, which weighed 74 pounds to the bushel.

At the Show of the Horticultural Society on the 27th December, 1842, prizes were given for every class of vegetable, for wheat, barley, oats, ryegrass, turnips and pot-herbs, and for strawberries, cherries, gooseberries and black currants. Flowers were judged, page 115 and there were three prizes for cottagers' gardens on the Hutt and near the town.