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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.

Prices of Goods in 1839

Prices of Goods in 1839

An interesting feature of a land claim which Captain George Thomas Clayton (then of the Bay of Islands) presented on 10 December, 1840, was that he went to the trouble to set out the prices of the goods which he had used, on 17 December, 1839, to barter for a property, which was described as of 1,201 acres “in Poverty Bay, bounded by the native landmarks specified in the deed of purchase, and lying adjacent to and on the north side of that which Cooper, Holt and Rhodes subsequently bought at Karaua.” The vendor's name was given as Ko Pera Huka [Perohuka] and it was sold “in the name of and on behalf of the tribe.”

The goods which formed the consideration were valued at £341/9/- and included:. 500 lbs. of powder at 2/- per lb.; 40 iron pots at 10/-; 12 pairs of trousers at 5/-; 12 shirts at 5/-; 5 red shirts at 7/-; 4 pieces of print at 40/-; 20 handkerchiefs at 2/-; 56 lbs. of pig lead at 1/-; 9 gross of pipes at 12/-; 20 pairs of superior blankets at 60/-; 20 wood axes at 7/-; 20 hoes at 7/-; 20 spades at 7/-; 560 lbs. of tobacco at 5/-; 10 muskets at 25/-; one superior d.b. piece at £12; and sundry other property subsequently tendered.

Clayton indicated on his claim that he had erected several buildings for the curing of bacon, the preparing of pork and the collection of corn [maize] and that he had put down a quantity of land in grasses on which cattle were feeding. [There is no earlier reference to the sowing of grass in Poverty Bay.] The improvements (exclusive of cattle) had cost him “upwards of £1,100.” On 30 May, 1845, Francis Hodgkinson, who was about to pay a visit to England, notified the Colonial Secretary of New South Wales that he had taken over Clayton's interests and inquired when the claim was likely to be heard. Hodgkinson, in page 143 turn, sold to one Campbell [probably, Captain Alex. Campbell]. On 21 April, 1874, the Poverty Bay Standard stated:

“Those of the tribe who had not been consulted, and who had not derived any monetary benefit from the original transaction, subscribed £330 which was paid to Campbell [in 1851], and he then carried out a promise to cancel the sale to himself in favour of the natives. Subsequently, the land went through the Native Land Court and Rapata Whakapuhia, who had not subscribed to the fund to redeem the land, sold it to Major Westrup for £150….”

Clayton also submitted a claim (gazetted on 27 January, 1844) in respect of one acre more or less which, he stated, he had bought on 10 January, 1840. The land was described as being situated in Poverty Bay “upon the river Werawera [Whero-whero]” and as “being surrounded by a mudflat.” It was, he added, known to Europeans as “Morgan's Island.” Perohuka was given as the vendor, and the improvements were described as “large native buildings for stores and outhouses for receiving and curing meat, etc.” When the claim was renewed on 28 August, 1872, the islet was referred to as “Morgan's Land.” No early resident of the name “Morgan” has been traced; he might have worked at Harris's whaling station. An islet is shown in the Wherowhero Lagoon on the survey plan for 1880, but it does not appear on the 1870 plan. What became known as “Zinker's Island” could, therefore, not have been “Morgan's Island,” which, it would seem, disappeared before 1870.