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The Old Whaling Days


Mention is made of the arrival of the Currency Lass while the pa was being attacked. This schooner sailed from Sydney on the 26th December, 1831, and returned after her visit to the garrison, on 13th February, 1832, with 17 tons of flax. In Sydney at that time was H.M.S. Zebra, intending to proceed to Tahiti. It is more than probable, as the Zebra sailed on 1st March for Tahiti viâ Cook Strait, and the Currency Lass sailed again for New Zealand three days later, that Captain Buckell informed Captain G. L. A. Macmurdo of the position of things in Taranaki, and that that officer decided to call in and investigate it.

From the ninth to the fourteenth the Zebra was in the vicinity of Cape Egmont. On the former date she reported boarding a schooner, on the twelfth she “sent a boat on board a Sch. in the Bay,” and on the fourteenth she “observed a Brig on the larboard quarter standing in for the land.” Unfortunately, beyond their mere mention, no information is given of the names of these vessels—a strange page 59 but very common practice of Navy logs of that date. The vessels here referred to were apparently trading for flax with settlements on the coast, or with the natives at Taranaki, and it shows us that they must have been very numerous. Everything was found to be quiet there.

On 15th March the Zebra sailed for Kapiti, where she cast anchor on the morning of the sixteenth. There she found that Te Rauparaha and his fighting men were away south finding use for the munitions of war, gained through their industry in the flax trade, by attacking the Banks Peninsula natives. The seventeenth was spent in watering the vessel, and at noon on Sunday, the eighteenth, the anchor was weighed and the vessel taken through Cook Strait. She arrived at Tahiti on 9th April.