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


June 1st. Fine. The rain that fell last night prevents us from moving onwards. 2nd. We made a start this morning, and found the river so cold, that, after proceeding a short way, we left Epike and wife behind, as they were cramped with the cold. Came to within a short distance of the wood, and camped. Very cold, and no fire. 3rd. After waiting some time for the coming up of Epike, we proceeded, and reached our page 98 former sleeping-place at the junction of a small stream from the hills.

4th. This morning Epike and wife arrived, having been all night on the hills. They had lost their way, and had had neither sleep nor food since we left them. Made a short distance and camped.

5th. We reached the Roturoa lake soon after midday, and found the canoe there safe. Slept at our station amongst the manuka. 6th. Launched our canoe and crossed the lake.

7th. This morning we were obliged to erect a shelter against the rain. We had two sheds made of black birch, one of which fell down on my lame side while I was lying by the fire, and hurt me much.

8th. A fresh in the lake had floated our canoe half across before it was seen. Ekehu's wife volunteered to swim for it, which she did, and paddled it back to the shore. After hauling it up safe, we went forwards, and camped on the Puhawini range, but passed a very rainy night, which soaked everything, and kept us sitting up and shivering.

9th. Reached the river Puhawini, or Howard, and built a shelter which we much needed. 10th. Rain and snow, and a fresh in the river.

11th. Walked about a mile to our former station, where we had erected a wari. Searched the country around for food, but found none, and the river too deep to wade.

12th. Reached our old quarters where I, with Mr Fox, left our flour, and stopped there, the Rotuiti river preventing progress. I saw six sheep here, and the tracks of a large flock, which much astonished me, as there was no station here when I formerly passed this way. A slight fall of snow all day.

13th. This morning we with much difficulty crossed page 99 the Rotuiti. Saw some hundreds of sheep feeding on the grass here, but no recent shoe or foot-marks; so, having no provisions, I was afraid of exploring for the station or road, but made the best of my way towards the hill which I had formerly twice travelled over, and consequently knew the track. Fine night.

14th. Reached the junction of the Mokipiko and Maipo rivers, where we slept. Ekehu caught twenty fine wekas during the day—so we can all once more enjoy a full meal.

15th. Reached the old survey station on the Mokipiko, and found it fallen down. Ekehu and his wife much wanted to stop here, as Epike and wife were behind, but the rain coming on, I told Ekehu I should push forward and endeavour to spend the night at Fraser's, or at all events on the other side of the Motueka. When I mentioned tea, sugar, and bread, the woman agreed to follow me; so I pushed ahead to prevent hearing the grumbling of Ekehu about sore feet, which, after dark, were sorely pricked by the ground-thorn. We reached Fraser's about ten o'clock at night, whom we found in bed, but he soon arose, and gave me a hearty welcome, and the luxury of a taste of good tobacco.