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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 10 (January 2, 1939)

All Alone on Hauturu

All Alone on Hauturu.

There was a succession of Government custodians, and the Tourist Dept. took over the charge of the sanctuary. Once there was a pitiful tragedy. A friend of mine, in the Tourist Department of those days, Robert Hunter-Blair, and his newly-made wife were the only people on the island. The husband was taken ill and died in a few hours. The young widow, a frail Scottish lass, waited vainly for assistance, then she contrived heroically to give her dead burial alongside the house, and remained in her solitude for some days until the Government steamer chanced to call on her round of lighthouses and State sanctuaries. It was as in the old Scots ballad, “He Slew My Knight”:

I sewed his sheet, making my mane;
I watched the corpse, myself alane;
I watched his body night and day;
No living creature came that way.

page 19

I took his body on my back,
And whiles I gaed and whiles I sat;
I digged a grave and laid him in,
And happ'd him with the sod sae green.

On Kapiti Island, too, a one-time custodian, J. L. Bennett, is buried. He lies beside his wife in a beautiful nook on the eastern shore. The bell-bird and the tui that they loved make music all day long over their sleeping heads.