Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
An oak which Harris planted at Tapatahi (Opou) in 1837 to celebrate the birth of his son Henry is, to-day, the oldest and the largest English tree in Poverty Bay. In the 1890's, a heavy gale caused the butt to split open. Many years afterwards Willie Clark filled the aperture with cement, as he feared that rot might set in. The treatment has, so far, proved a success. Te Waha-o-Rerekohu (“The Mouth of Rerekohu”) a pohutukawa tree standing in the schoolgrounds at Te Araroa, has the distinction of being the most expansive native tree in the Dominion. Maori tradition states that it was planted circa 1700 A.D. by Rerekohu, an ancestor of Hati te Houkamau.
In Exploration in New Zealand, McClymont, at page 25, states: “On the East Coast, Harris established himself at Poverty Bay in 1831; in the same year, Captain Kent settled at Ngaruawahia, on the Waikato. They, with several others, left little record of their activities and few missionaries deigned to note their existence.” In Harris's case, this sweeping statement does not correspond with the facts. A number of valuable letters from his pen appear on Sir Donald McLean's file, which is preserved in the Alexander Turnbull Library. Important evidence given by him is recorded in the minutes of the P.B. Crown Grants Commission (1869). Moreover, frequent references to his activities may be found in W. L. Williams's East Coast (N.Z.) Historical Records. If his home had not been destroyed by the rebels in 1868, it is certain that much more information concerning his activities would have survived. Not only did Bishop W. Williams hold services at his whaling station, but he joined with him in purchasing the “Pouparae” block.