Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

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

"Utu" For The Land

"Utu" For The Land.

After the Wellington transaction was settled, Wakefield left a person in charge of the Company's interests, and then went voyaging in the Tory to make further purchases. He had what the Irish call "a way wid him," and by the time he had finished his shopping he had acquired on behalf of the Company an area that would leave the modern land shark envious. From Wellington he went to Kapiti Island, Taranaki, and then on to Kaipara and Hokianga. At the last-mentioned place he inspected Herd's Point, the land purchased by the master of the Rosanna, but found it too small to be suitable for a settlement.

By the time Wakefield called a halt he had "purchased" for the Company all the land from Aotea Harbour, in the North Island, to Hokitika, on the west coast, and from Whareame, in the North Island, to the Hurunui River, in the South Island, on the east coast. It is recorded that the goods given by the Company's agent for this vast territory were valued at £8,983, and comprised a strange list of articles, a list of which is worth giving—300 red blankets, 200 muskets, 16 single-barrelled guns, 8 double-barrelled guns, 2 tierces of tobacco, 148 iron pots, 6 cases of soap, 15 fowling-pieces, 81 kegs of gunpowder, 2 casks of ball cartridges, 200 cartouche boxes, 300 tomahawks, 2 cases of pipes, 10 gross of pipes, 72 spades, 100 steel axes, 20 axes, 46 adzes, 3,200 fish-hooks, 24 bullet moulds, 1,500 flints, 276 shirts, 92 jackets, 92 pairs of trousers, 60 red nightcaps, 300 yards cotton duck, 300 yards of check, 200 yards of print, 480 pocket handkerchiefs, 72 writing slates, 600 pencils, 204 looking-glasses, 276 pocket knives, 204 pairs of scissors, 12 pairs of shoes, 12 hats, 6lb beads, 12 hair umbrellas, 100 yards ribbon, 144 Jews' harps, 36 razors, 180 dressing combs, 72 hoes, 2 suits superfine clothes, 36 shaving boxes, 12 shaving brushes, 12 sticks sealing-wax, 11 quires cartridge paper, 12 flushing coats, 24 combs.

page 15

Before he left England Wakefield, not knowing where the Company's settlement would be located, had arranged that the emigrants who were to sail in August should rendezvous at Port Hardy, in Cook Strait, in January, 1840. Off the Kaipara the Tory got aground, and was so much injured that she had to be hove-down and the ballast unloaded. In order to be at Port Hardy to meet the emigrants Wakefield went overland to the Bay of Islands, and chartered a small vessel to take him down to the rendezvous.

The last information available of the historic Tory is that, commanded by her chief mate, Richard Lowry, she sailed for Sydney from Port Nicholson on April 19th, 1840, and on arrival there was repaired and overhauled in the Darling Harbour. She was then laid on to convey a cargo of China tea to England, but was totally wrecked in the September following while voyaging between Singapore and China.

There has always been a difference of opinion as to the proper date upon which to celebrate the anniversary of the foundation of the colony. In the North we keep January 29th, the day Hobson landed at the Bay of Islands. The opponents of this date adhere to the 22nd of January, the day the first of the New Zealand Company's settlers landed at Wellington. It is pointed out that not a single colonist accompanied Hobson when he arrived. "It is the colonists that make the colony," said one champion of January 22nd, referring to the landing at Wellington, "surely it is the landing of these, rather than a few officials at the Bay of Islands at a later date, which makes the birth of a nation." So we see that the dispute is really a matter between an official landing and the actual landing of the first party that set out from the Old Land with the definite intention of establishing a settlement in New Zealand.

When it started out to found a settlement in Maoriland the New Zealand Company did not do the thing by halves, and the management seems to have been most excellent all the way through. There was none of the rather haphazard sort of thing we read about in such a settlement as that of the Albertlanders, which was inaugurated some twenty years later. The New Zealand Company pushed on with energy, and during 1839 chartered and dispatched ten vessels with over eleven hundred settlers.

It was the Tory's party that blazed the trail, and the next incident in the history of the infant settlement was the arrival of the second ship, the Cuba (Captain Newcombe), which brought out the surveying party in charge of Captain William M. Smith, R.A., chief surveyor to the Company. A small vessel of only 273 tons, the Cuba, though advertised as a fast-sailing barque, was not a fast craft, and she had a long and rather adventurous voyage. Leaving Gravesend on July 31st, 1839, she called at Plymouth, which was left on August 8th, and on August 31st she called in at Praya, in the Cape Verde Islands. A gale sprang up, and the ship had to put to sea for four days, during which she very nearly went on the rocks. However she weathered the storm, and, picking up a party she had left on shore, continued her voyage. Unfortunately, the people who had been ashore brought yellow fever aboard, and two of the thirty passengers died.

As nothing definite was known as to the location of the settlement when the Cuba left England, she had to first of all find Colonel Wakefield. After an unexpectedly long voyage, due to losing the S.E. trade winds after leaving Cape Verde Islands and unfavourable weather, New Zealand was sighted at Kaipara on December 23rd, where it was expected some page 16 tidings of Wakefield would be obtained. It was found impossible to enter the harbour, after two attempts, on account of the shoals not being properly surveyed and laid down in the chart, the ship's boat sent to sound the entrance proceeding only a short distance into the bay. Thence the Cuba made for Port Hardy, and entered on the 26th, where four days were occupied in procuring wood and water. Discovering no inhabitants on the Island, the Cuba proceeded to Kapiti Island, and here it was learned that Port Nicholson had been fixed upon for the principal settlement. Piloted into Port Nicholson by a well-known whaler, Captain George Young, who boarded her off Knpiti Island, a noted whaling station from a very early date, it was on January 4th, 1840, that the Cuba dropped anchor there, 149 days out from Plymouth, or 157 from Gravesend.

The Tory was away North, and those of her party who had not sailed in her were at other parts of the coast, but Wakefield had foreseen that he might be absent when the Cuba turned up, and he had left in charge of the Company's affairs a man named Smith, whom he had brought over from To Awaiti specially for that purpose. Smith knew the Maoris and their ways well, and when the Cuba arrived he was living in a where at the Ngauranga pa.

There seems to have been nothing definite left in the way of instructions as to where the surveyors were to begin their work on the future location of the settlement town. This "town" figures much in the early history of the Company. Each settler was to get so much farming land and one town acre. It is said there were so many one-acre lots to provide for in the small area of land that was eventually selected for the site of Wellington that some of the space originally intended for streets had to be appropriated, and that is given as the explanation of the exceeding narrowness of many of the Wellington thoroughfares.

Not having definite instructions, the surveyors would no doubt use their own judgment, and it is not surprising that they started work in the Hutt Valley, but before doing so they ran out a small jetty off Petone Beach in order that the expected settlers might land more conveniently.