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The Great Journey: an expedition to explore the interior of the Middle Island, New Zealand, 1846-8


November 1st. At Okaritu. Showery. 2nd. Day finer. I went with the natives spearing eels on the mud flat. 3rd. Made another start and reached our shed and burdens again.

4th. Proceeded about four miles along a rocky and shingly beach, and came to a large mountain rapid running over a large granite bed. The place is called Waihau1, and I found it so flooded as to defy my crossing2, and there being no means of ascending, or any shelter to await its falling, I was obliged, though

1 Waiho.

2 Although at this stage Brunner was not far from the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, he evidently did not learn of their existence.

page 62 very reluctantly, to return to our shed at Totara. 5th and 6th. At Totara.

7th. Made a resolute start to cross, if possible, over the Waihau, which, with great difficulty and at the risk of our lives, we accomplished. It was at this place that the wekas had been caught I had feasted on at Taramakau: they resort here, dogs being unable to cross the river after them. Slept at a native wari here. Fine. 8th. At Waihau.

9th. Again making southing, and reached a stream called Waikukupa, deep and not fordable, but of no other note. Passed on to another stream called Miroroa, where we camped for the night, having spent much of the day constructing a raft to cross the Waikukupa. About eight miles of travelling over sand and rocks.

10th. Proceeded onwards, and rounded a headland named Kohaihai1, a low rocky point; and managed, after difficult walking, to reach a river called Waiweka1, where we constructed a raft ready for crossing in the morning.

11th. Crossed the river, which is a very dangerous stream flowing from the mountains over a rocky bed, and proceeded to another small stream, which we crossed, when the rain compelled us to erect a shelter. 12th. Rain.

13th. The weather permitting us to proceed, we came along the base of a low range of cliffs called the Parapara, and on to the Utumoa, a small headland, the terminus of the cliffs, when a short sandy beach brought us to the mouth of a small stream called Matukituki, where we stopped for the night. From

1 Bluff.

1 2 Cook river. It is curious that Brunner does not refer to the Karangarua, which also would have been difficult to cross.

page 63 Kohaihai headland to this point is about sixteen miles. Bearing, S.W.

14th. After proceeding about three miles along a rocky beach we came to a small point called Makawiho1, on rounding which we crossed the Waitaki2, a mountain stream, and proceeded onwards to a small potato garden at Porangirangi3, where we put up for the night and the morrow. Distance about nine miles. Sunday, 15th. Natives read service.

16th. Proceeded about six miles, and arrived at Parika4, the residence of Tuarope. We passed a small stream called Hunuakura, of no note or value. At Parika we received the welcome of strangers in a bountiful supply of fern-root, preserved wekas, and fish. There is nothing remarkable here, it being only a summer residence on account of the eels in the river.

The natives attach a great value to their greenstone meris5, or battle-axes of former times, so much so, that they are buried with their owners. After remaining in the ground some five or six years they are dug up, and given to the nearest relation of the deceased. The natives have also safe hiding-places for them, in order that, if surprised and conquered, as in former times, their enemies might not find them among their spoil. I saw one belonging to Te Raipo, which has descended from time unknown, and which they say Enihu made war on their tribe to obtain, but could not find it, the meri being hidden at the bottom of a deep pool of water.

There are only 97 natives, adults and children, living on the West Coast north of lat. 44, all of whom

1 Makawhio Point.

2 Mahitahi river.

3 Near Bruce Bay.

4 Paringa.

5 Meres.

page 64 profess some form of Christianity: 29 of them are members of the Church, and 68 Wesleyans.

17th. At Parika, eel catching for our onward progress.

18th. A shower of rain formed, in our united opinions, a sufficient excuse for remaining here another day. We managed to dry enough eels to last a week. There are no provisions to be found here saving the kakote.

19th. After travelling about three miles we came to a headland called Titihaia1, where I slipped, or was rather washed from a rock by the sea, which crushed my foot between the rocks, and severely strained my right ancle. I was also hurt in several places by the sharp edges of the granite, which gave me much pain. Finding I could not clamber the rocks among which I fell, I was obliged to suffer myself to be led towards Parika, which my lameness and the tide prevented us reaching that evening.

20th. With much pain I crawled to Parika, where I bound up my leg, and repeatedly bathed it in cold water, which served to deaden the pain, and dressed the other scratches with weka oil.

22st, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th. Continual rain. 25th. Day somewhat better, but my ancle still refused to support my frame. 26th. Paeturi and Tipiha requested leave to return to Taramakau, leaving Te Raipo with me, to which proposition I was compelled to agree.

1 Tititira Head.