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The Diary of James Brogden, August 1871 – December 1872

11 February 1872

11 February 1872

Next morning we rose at 5, and commenced a day of real adventure. Proceeding on our way to Kati Kati, we rode up by the river some distance, and then crossed by canoe our horses swimming behind. Our guide shewed us his Whare, and introduced us to his Wife and children. The land over which we passed was good at first starting, but after a long ride up a steep spur it became rugged and covered with bush. The recent rains, moreover, had made the track very page 56 bad for travelling. Sometimes we had to lead our horses, and sometimes to drive them; - one would kick, - another would rush into the bush, where it appeared as if among the trees and roots and undergrowth it would break its legs, - and the third would not move at all! In some parts of our Journey were places 8 feet high, which had to be climbed with our horses, or from which he had to slip down or jump down. Poor Dunny was several times stuck fast in the mud, but appeared to enjoy his misfortunes rather than otherwise. At last we got thro’ the track and from the top of the range looked across a long valley or plain, - and then ascending a higher range we sighted Kati Kati on the Coast. In our descent we came to a Maori Pah, had some talk with the natives who were fine example of “tatto”inmates, looked at their mats for which they asked too muchand rode along the beach towards our destination. We then found to our cost that our the first view of Tauranga Harbour from the height had conveyed a wrong impression of the extent of it, and of the position of the Town of Tauranga. It was 5 o’clock when we arrived at Kati Kati, where we got some tea in a wretched house. They had nothing for us to eat, but sent out for some meat chops, and altho’ they were not good, hunger helped Dunny to make a good meal, but I could not touch them. The woman was indeed a character and most unaccommodating. She refused us the boat belonging to her husband, and we after procured a large whale boat for continuing our journey to [gap — reason: missing].

The voyagers were one man the boatman and a passenger, Dunny and myself. It was calm when we started, but as night soon came on we [gap — reason: unclear] were soon fast on the Mangrove Flats. The boatman got out and pulled, while we pushed with our oars, and thus got page 57 clear of the banks and set sail. Then to our great discomfort it began to rain, and soon afterwards to blow a gale. We put Dunny half under the back seat and covered him up as well as we could. We did not know where we were being driven to. I had the helm, and held the sheet while the others were keeping a look out. At last we saw the shore again, and determined to stay until day dawn; - but as it rained so hard, we took down sail and started to row, and continued rowing from 11.30 to 4.30 in the morning before we arrived at what with wind and tide dead against us, it seemed almost a miracle that we were not carried out to sea. We routed up our host, took 3 helps of grog each thoroughly done up – then to warm beds, - and in the morning nothing worse then stiffness! We fell in at with Llewellyn and Chamberlain who had gone up the Waikito and thro’ by Cambridge. In their journey overland thro’ a district considered hardly safe, they were nearly stopped by the natives and robbed; the women ran after the horses, and the men prepared to follow, but they effected their escape and got away in great haste.