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Voices from Auckland, New Zealand.

Bay of Plenty

Bay of Plenty.

Rounding Cape Colville the first place we come to is Haratounga, a snug little harbour except in easterly winds; the land is good, and occupied by about 50 Natives from the East Cape, who grow potatoes and wheat. A few miles farther on is the small harbour of Wangapo, suited for vessels of 20 to 30 tons; the land here is very hilly and broken, and covered with abundance of kauri and other trees of very great lengths and easily accessible, well suited for masts and spars. At the entrance to the river are the Mercury Islands; the larger one has a fine harbour for vessels of any size, where no page 35wind can hurt them. Passing round Opito Point, you enter Mercury Bay, in the south-east corner of which is a river where vessels of from 300 to 400 tons may come to anchor in a blue mud bottom; the bay is fringed with some very good land, backed by hills covered with magnificent kauri forests; there is some good land on the river, little of which is cultivated; the annual produce is about 200 bushels of wheat, with some maize, potatoes, and kauri gum. There are about 20 natives here and some sawyers at work cutting timber. The Government have purchased a few patches, but no land of any extent; a few miles farther, between the Shoe and Slipper Islands, we come to the River Tairua, where vessels of 20 to 30 tons can enter in fine weather; there are no natives here, and very little land fit for cultivation, but the kauri forests are very convenient.

Whangamata, about 10 miles farther, is a small harbour for coasters, about 20 natives reside, but the land being light there is not much cultivation, but some well sheltered valleys; the district would suit well for a cattle or sheep run.

Kati Kati, the north-west entrance of Tauranga, is very much encumbered with shoals; a great part of the harbour is dry at low water, and all round there is very fine land sloping down to the water's edge lying waste, although the natives wish to sell; this will make a very pretty settlement, sheltered from north-west and west winds, with plenty of wood and water; from here you can walk over to McCaskill's on the Thames in a day, leading over quartz reefs and flint, and to all appearance a district that will some day turn out plenty of gold; it is well suited for cattle runs. Tauranga, 14 miles from Kati Kati, is the best harbour on the east coast; on rounding the mount, you can anchor in six fathoms, or run up the river by Te Papa Mission Station, where Archdeacon Brown, Messrs. Baker & Clark are engaged in erecting a Native College and Training Establishment, very much required in this district; there are about 30 Europeans and 20 Natives resident, they produce about 10,000 bushels in the season. There are three stores to supply such goods as the natives require, no hotel, but the traveller need not fear for entertainment. Standing at Te Papa you have a sheet of water 20 miles in length by about 5 in breadth, surrounded on all sides by a rich undulating country, sloping gradually to the water side, the wooded hills about 20 miles distant, and in the south-east corner there are a few patches of native cultivation. The distance from Te Ponui, one day's journey, you reach Matarmata on Thames; from this crossing, the head of the Paiko, two days will take you to Auckland, or from Te Papa in two days you reach Roturūa, and then by way of page 36Waikato to Auckland in a week; proceeding southward from Black's stores opposite, Te Papa on the east side of the harbour, four hours will take you to Maketu at low water, along a fine hard sandy beach, either walking or riding is a very pleasant journey.

Maketu, 14 miles from Tauranga, is a harbour for vessels of 20 tons; the natives, numbering about 200, are under the Rev. Thomas Chapman. There is only one other European trader here. Government purchased here lately 60 acres, 10 of which Mr. Chapman got; there is a tract of 10,000 acres of good land, between the rivers Kaituna and Waihi, running back to the Hiapo ranges, which the natives wish to sell, as they feel inclined to go back to Roturua; the journey to Roturua is two days.

Mataka, 20 miles from Maketu; for small vessels it has five to seven feet at high water one and a half miles inside, the river for small vessels, seven to eight feet high water; the entrance rocky and dangerous to strangers, but well liked by those acquainted with it. A valley running 3 miles, with a breadth, in some places, of 20 miles, level and smooth, rich alluvial soil; for agricultural purposes it is unsurpassed. The natives are reduced, numbering now only about 200; before the late war they had 12 small vessels, they are now wrecked or rotten; the produce of the district is wheat and potatoes; they have about 300 cattle and 200 horses of inferior breed; there are three European stores, Ohiwa, 7 miles from Whakatane, has 15 feet high water, a safe har-bour, and plenty of room inside until you get 4 or 5 miles up the river; the land is broken and good; there are about 50 natives and 3 traders. Opotiki, 9 miles from Ohiwa, is a shifting bar harbour, has four to six feet high water; there is here a very fine valley of alluvial deposit, growing a large quantity of wheat; no cattle, but plenty of inferior bred horses; natives about 800, and 10 or 12 traders; neither missionary, schoolmaster, nor any attempt to keep the natives from falling back into barbarism. Government have purchased a large block on the west side of the river.

Tunupahore and Pa Kowi, 16 miles from Opotiki, with about 300 natives. The ranges come so close down that a small quantity of land is left for cultivation; the produce is wheat, maize, and kumeras. From this place to Cape Runaway the potatoe will not grow to be profitable; from here to Kaha the annual produce may be 5,000 bushels wheat and 3,000 maize. At Te Kaha the natives are building a flour mill to cost them £600, which they have ready in hand. They have fitted out some shore whaling parties, of two and three boats each, but this season they have been page 37unsuccessful. Taking this bay from 1846, there is a decrease in the natives of about one half, and those that remain are falling back into their ancient barbarous habits, most miserably neglected by their protectors, the Missionaries or the Government.

The Immigration from Europe under the Free Land Order system, has added greatly to the European population and to the Revenue.