Voices from Auckland, New Zealand.
Topography — of the — Province of Auckland
Province of Auckland.
From Chapman's New Zealand Almanack.*
The Area of the Province of Auckland is 17,000,000 acres; its length is 364 statute miles, greatest breadth 198 miles. A characteristic feature of the province is the very great extent of sea-board it possesses, afforded by numerous deep water harbours and navigable creeks, of great importance in relation to the future wealth of the country and its capability of supporting a vast population. North of the City of Auckland the traveller cannot place himself where he will be twelve miles removed from a navigable creek or the sea.
In this province there are the following first class Ports, all navigable for ships of the largest burthen:—Auckland with its numerous tributary havens, one of the most spacious harbours in the world; Coromandel, in the Frith of Thames; Mahurangi; Swansea, in the Island of Kawau.; Nagle Harbour, Great Barrier Island; Wangarei; Bay of Islands; Wangaroa; Monganui; Hokianga; Kaipara; Manukau; and many others of lesser depth of water, both on the east coast and on the west.
The traveller on sailing from the North Cape towards the Thames sees such a confused mass of hills that he wonders where the level land can be. But there is much good inland surface, and the volcanic plains and lower lands of the Bay of Islands, of Wangarei, and Auckland, contain very rich land adapted to profitable cultivation, while behind the broken coast country the valleys of Kaitaia, Monganui, Wairua, Wangarei, Waipu, Pakiri, Matakana, and Mahurangi, are both spacious and fertile; and even amongst the hills of the coast smaller valleys and hollows wind inland as at Wangaroa, Warinaki, Ngunguru, Ruakaka, Mangawhia, and Omaha, each fertile and available for settlement, and every one with its small port or haven.
Proceeding from the North Cape around Hohora is the Muriwhena Block of Government land, comprising 86,885 acres, and further south is that of Warimaru, of 16,000 acres, on the Raugaunu, with a harbour accessible to large vessels. The Awanui streams flow through one of the most fertile valleys in New Zealand into this harbour, and are navigable by boats for 10 miles up; at Kaitaia in the valley of the Awanui is a Mission Station, a beautiful spot with half-a-dozen farms where there might be a hundred; the Government block of Ahipara, between Kaitaia and the west coast, is of good surface and great fertility.
The Victoria Valley contains some fine land, well wooded, in possession of the natives, who evince a disposition to sell if they can thereby secure the settlement of Europeans in their vicinity. There are several settlers in the Oruru, a rich valley; a vessel of 20 or 30 tons can enter the river.
The Harbour of Monganui lies on the south-east side of Doubtless Bay, a favourite resort of whaling vessels. It is a port of entry. The Oruaite and Kohomaru Valleys, that lead into the Harbour are fertile, and have been chosen as the seat of a special settlement. Very early potato crops, and the luxuriant bearing of the sweet pea, indicate the mildness of the winter there, and the shortness of its duration.
Five miles to the west of Monganui is Taipa, a small settlement at the ford over the River, which runs from the Oruru Valley into Doubtless Bay, near its outlet. Twenty miles further west is Kaitaia, a missionary station, where there is a very pretty church, and a good many Europeans. This is a lovely place with rich soil. Ten miles to the west of Kaitaia is Ahipara, on the west coast, a place being rapidly located with Europeans; a very pretty country and rich lands. A very neat church, capable of holding 150 persons, has been recently erected at Monganui. Monganui has four stores, where every description of article can be obtained. There is also a very comfortable hotel. There are also here a Post-office, Custom House and Queen's Warehouse, Resident Magistrate's Court, and a Gaol.
Monganui is visited every season, which commences about Christmas and ends about the following April, by about 30 whaling vessels, which come in for the purpose of procuring supplies of potatoes, onions, fresh meat, wood and water. Sometimes as many as 10 or 12 are here together, vessels of from 200 to 500 tons. Imports are principally tobacco and fish oil.
About 12 miles by land to southward of Monganui is the page 22Harbour of Wangaroa, with a narrow entrance, but deep water anchorage. To the south-west, from head of the Harbour, the Kaio Creek extends into one of the finest Kauri timber districts in New Zealand. Timber cutting here forms employment to a few settlers but might afford the means of wealth to hundreds.
The Government block of Matawherohia contains about 3,200 acres, all of wooded land, but rather remote from the water.
The Taruri and surrounding minor blocks extend over about 7,000 acres, the chief part of which is fine open fern land, interspersed with patches of forest. The soil is volcanic, and appears very fertile.
An overland mail leaves Monganui for Wangaroa Taraire and Russell Bay of Islands every alternate Tuesday, and returns on the following Saturday. On the Monday following the mailman leaves for Kaitaia and Ahipara, and returns on the following Thursday. Mails are sent to Auckland by sailing vessels on every opportunity, seldom more than a week elapses between the mails.
Bay of Islands.
At the Bay of Islands a great quantity of land will revert to the Government. The chief part of this will be in the vicinity of navigable creeks. It will be of various qualities, embracing probably much poor ground, fit only for grazing over, or for timber cutting, together with some very choice soil and surface.
Around the Omapere Lake, 10 miles from the Kerikeri, there is some very beautiful land, partly in possession of the Government, some the purchase of which is in negociation. From Omapere to Kaikohe, midway between the Bay and Hokianga, is splendid land; and again from Kaikohe to the Mangakahia mountain is a very fine district. There are well grounded expectations that this will shortly be in the hands of the Government, and when that is the case, some of the most fertile and beautiful districts in New Zealand will at once become productive. The soil is chiefly of a decomposing volcanic ash, and the surface undulating or level about the bases of extinct crater hills, as in the Auckland country.
The cultivation about the Waimate Village, at the Bay, and especially the farm at Pakaraka, the residence of the Venerable Archdeacon Williams, gives evidence of the fertility of the soil and the suitability of the climate for the produc-page 23tion of European grasses. A large extent of the volcanic hill land about Pakaraka has been surface sown very successfully by the Messieurs Williams; cattle are enclosed on a large area of fern land, portions of which are judiciously burnt off from time to time, and grass seed scattered at fitting periods of the year. The fern becomes broken and weak under the feet of the cattle, and the young shoots are eaten down. Sheep are now to be seen depasturing on European grasses produced in this way at Pakaraka. The settlement of Russell, or Kororarika Beach, consists of about 50 houses, with Office for Customs, Post, Magistrate, and Pilots Departments. There is a Protestant and a Roman Catholic Church, a School, several Hotels, a Mill, and two commodious Jetties or Wharfs. In the summer season whaling ships, chiefly American, come into the Bay for supplies, giving oil or bone in exchange. There are two good wholesale stores for their supply; but with all its natural resources, the vicinity of Russell does not yet afford a sufficiency of agricultural produce for the wants of the shipping, and potatoes and butter have to be brought from Auckland. The traders of the place for a long time obtained from the natives potatoes and other produce for the shipping, but the number of the natives has much declined, and with the diminution of the natives, supply in European enterprise has made up the deficiency. Up the Kawa Kawa River small farming might be profitably conducted with a certainty of finding a market for produce either alongside the shipping or at the stores in the settlement. No settlement in New Zealand so much requires an accession of European population as the Bay district, and no locality offers more natural advantages to the settler.
The Bay district sends a considerable quantity of wool, fat sheep and cattle to the Auckland Market. Two clipper vessels are regular traders between the ports. The geological formation of the Bay is as follows: on the coast to the east of the Kawa Kawa and Keri Keri Rivers, chiefly clay slate; about the Waitangi entrance and higher up the valley are large horizontal masses of an old eruptive rock, over which in one place that stream flows in a beautiful waterfall. About the Waimate Village and the Omapere Lake are numerous volcanic hills with extinct craters, their bases being composed of scoria and loam, and loose volcanic ash, as in the country about Auckland, of which it is the counterpart in availability for agricultural use. These formations appear to stand thus:—The clay slate—the rock decomposing into a fertile mould but surface broken, so that not more than one-twentieth of the land will repay cultivation; the soil rushes down from page 24the steep hill and accumulates in the hollows where breadth is of course limited. Eruptive rock—where the fiery action has been complete and has reduced the earth to a porous cinder, a principle of great fertility seems to prevail, but where, as in many places, the heat has not been sufficient entirely to calcine the tertiary rock, and portions of unaltered clay rock are found mixed up with fragments of turf and cinder, fertility is very local, the principle only to be developed by working and fallowing. Volcanic districts—decomposed scoria ashes and the red marl resulting from volcanic dust,—very fertile. The subsoil about the Waimate farms does not appear to have been brought to the surface by deep ploughing;—probably from the expense of labour, but as a material for rich mould it appears inexhaustible.
From the Bay of Islands to Wangarei Harbour, a distance of about 10 miles, the coast is rugged and of a broken hilly character, with bold high headlands. As the coast is followed further south than Wangarei there occurs more fine land, and about Waranaki and Ngunguru Rivers there are some valuable localities for the agriculturist. The Ngunguru River has some splendid forests on its bank, and is eminently adapted for the site of sawing and squaring stations. Wangarei is a fast rising and promising settlement in the County of Marsden, about 60 miles north of Auckland. The harbour has a fine entrance under Busby Head, in which vessels of a heavier tonnage can safely anchor, and the river is navigable for 14 miles for vessels of 100 tons. At the head of the navigation lies the settlement of Wangarei, where the principal residents of the district have located themselves in a somewhat straggling manner. Not only the upper settlement, but all those now being formed along the river, bid fair to become some of the most prosperous in the province. The great natural advantages of large tracts of alluvial soil with water carriage available at every point largely contribute to this. The climate is one of the healthiest of the many healthy districts in New Zealand, warmer in summer and more bracing in winter than in Auckland. Out of a population of 650 scattered throughout the district only three deaths were last year recorded. Not more than a dozen Europeans have been buried in the settlement since its first formation. Against three deaths the Registrar's returns show 20 births during 1859. These page 25returns include the respective settlements of Maungapai, Maungataperi and Otaiki, Porirua, the Heads and Wangarei. These different settlements are alike prosperous, and although each has its distinctive characteristics, yet all are equally affording fresh evidence of the telling fact, that a strong arm and a stout heart have been the best capital the majority of colonists in this quarter have started with. The comfortable clean-looking, homesteads, with their patches of wheat, potatoes, and pasture, which stud and enliven the northern shores of the harbour, show their owners to be men of energy and perseverance. They are chiefly immigrants from Nova Scotia who as a class, may, without any undue preference, be said to have proved among the best adapted for this Colony of any who have yet reached our shores. Their chief settlement is at Waipu, about eight miles south of the Heads, where they have literally made the wilderness blossom as the rose; and their location and success there is perhaps the most marked event in the history of the colonization of this province.
At the entrance of the harbour, immediately under the rocky crested hill of Mania, lie the various houses of the settlers. Here also are situated the Custom House and Post Office, and the house of Mr. Aubrey, resident magistrate. A government ferry boat is at all times at the service of the public. Vessels entering or leaving the river anchor here, to get their custom house clearances. A school kept by Mr. A. H. Rowlands, is attended by a large number of children. The Rev. Mr. McLeod of Waipu preaches in the school-room once every month. A mail is made up every Thursday for Waipu; and mails for Auckland and the up-river settlements are forwarded by every vessel.
Limestone island lies about eight miles from the Heads, and opposite its northern end is a point of very fine level land, on which the future township will most probably be built. The river is deep close in shore, where vessels of heavy tonnage could readily discharge and load their cargoes. At this island branches off the Maungapai River, leading to the settlements of the same name, where several families numbering in all about 200 souls have settled within the last two years, and this season some 30 to 40 acres of wheat will be laid under the sickle, and about 20 or 30 acres of potatoes will yield their increase. A Presbyterian church is about to be erected; a few stores are already put up, and a Post Office established. The Otaki river branches off about a mile farther up, in a southerly direction, and capable of bearing vessels of 20 tons into the heart of as fine a country as any in New Zealand, for nearly 15 or 20 miles.page 26
Wangarei settlement lies at a distance of about two miles farther up, and forms the chief centre of the business of the district. Roads branch off in every direction, to Maungataupiri and Wairoa, a tributary of Kaipara, Mangapai, Otaiku, Wangaruru, and the Bay of Islands. The cutter Petrel, and schooners Maires and Kate, sail regularly to Auckland. The two first were built in the river, and are known as two of the finest vessels on the coast. The Petrel has run regularly for four years, and generally makes the trip once a week; she is the property of the native chief Tirarau, of Kaipara; mails to and from Auckland are forwarded by every vessel.
An episcopal church was built last autumn; as yet no clergyman has been appointed. A Presbyterian clergyman is expected to arrive shortly, for whom a church is to be built, on a commanding and convenient spot in the present township. Throughout the whole district water is abundant, and it contains many first-rate sites for saw mills. Some hot springs and seltzer springs are also to be found, and there are one or two considerable and beautifully situated waterfalls, which with some very romantic and interesting limestone caves well repay a visit. The climate and fine sheltered position of the settlement make it peculiarly adapted for fruit; and for years that from Wangarei has been greatly sought after in the Auckland market, to which large quantities of peaches, plums, apples, figs, melons, &c., are annually sent in their season. The other exports comprise, potatoes, maize, wheat, wool, gum, bacon, pork, fowls, eggs, butter, fat cattle, sheep and pigs. Firewood is abundant, and great quantities are shipped to Auckland. A cattle market is held on the first Wednesday of every month at Mr. Rust's sale yards adjoining, and he has recently erected a very commodious hotel,—excellently conducted.
Mr. Rust is the agent of the New Zealand Insurance Company, and Registrar of Births, Marriages, and Deaths for the District. Sir S. Osborne Gibbs, a member of the Legislative Assembly, and a Justice of the Peace, has a neat residence in the neighbourhood of the township; Dr. Parston has also fixed his abode close to it. There are several stores in the settlement, all well supplied. Wangarei also possesses its baker, its blacksmith, shoemakers, and carpenters. The population of the various settlements may be set down at about 630 to 650 in all, exclusive of Waipu and other outlying districts.
The land at the Otaiha Creek with a limestone subsoil is very fertile, and the western portion of Maungo Tapiri and Maunga Karamea are covered with the chocolate-colored page 27soil that elsewhere, at Epsom and West Auckland, is so productive. The Maunu block between Otaika and the settlement, is yet in the hands of the natives, but by whom-soever it may ultimately be possessed, it must, with its large extent of fertile soil, become very productive; and the country between the head waters of Wangarei and the Kaipara streams is rich and valuable, but still native land. The Wairūa district to the north is a fine one, and likely soon to become Government land. About 200 European settlers are now located on what is termed Mair's Claim and its vicinity, at the head of the N.W. branch of the harbour; the locality is a beautiful one, but from the high rate of labour and other causes, farming has not made much progress; the settlers have gardens and orchards and abundance of cattle, but do not as yet export potatoes or corn. In the Waipu plain, to the south of Wangarei, is settled a community of Highlanders—immigrants from Nova Scotia. This is a select settlement, as is termed—one in which the right of purchase of land is confined to certain individuals who have, previously to their emigration, intimated to the government their desire to settle together for purposes of mutual assistance and support, then the success of the scheme appears to be complete. With means in starting below the average, the settlers at Waipu have, by sterling industry, formed around them productive farms and a thriving settlement. There are 70 families located in the various branches of the Waipu river—distance to Wangarei 12 miles; to Auckland 60. The Mail goes weekly, Thursday, to and from Wangarei; from thence by sailing vessel to Auckland.
Mangawai—a bar harbour, available with smooth water, for vessels under 50 tons—lies about 10 miles south of Wangarei. Here there is much bad land and some good, but the best land is conveniently situated, and from there being easy communication across to Kaipara on the water side, the place is a favorite one, and will become important as an outlet of the produce of the Kaipara country about Otamatea and Kaiwaka. There is also abundance of room for cattle in the back country—a great desideratum in a new settlement. This is the nearest harbour on the east coast to the head of the Otamatea and the Oruawharo, the two most navigable of the Kaipara rivers, where the township of Kaiwaka is situated amongst very fine fertile land.
About Wangarei the geological formation is a tertiary limestone resting on clay slate, interrupted by igneous or volcanic rocks of two distinct periods. The tertiary form presents in some places a white calcareous sandstone, that in some places page 28about the north head of Mangawhai harbour appears to be fit for architectural purposes. To the south of Mangawhai the open country of Pakiri extends as far as Point Rodney, where a wall of mountain stretches in a south-west direction almost across the island. Pakiri is chiefly an open district, available for grazing, but with good fertile wooded lands on its southern portion under the mountain range. As at Mangawhai the open country, with convenient bridle paths, extends across the island to Kaipara where on the Orua-wharo there is much good land. The river at Pakiri has a very shallow bar, and is only navigable for rafts and boats, but in the prevailing western winds, vessels can lie and load outside within a quarter of a mile of the beach, and in smooth water. There are some timber cutting stations and a steam saw mill at Pakiri, but the place is only in the commencement of its settlement. There are about 12,000 acres of land belonging to Government and available for settlers at Pakiri, and the Orūawharo block adjoining it to the west, is in negociation for purchase from the natives.
Hokianga on the west coast, is a noble river, navigable for large ships for 18 miles; and vessels of 600 tons can go up 25 miles and load with spars or native produce. There are no roads in the district, but nature has allowed the original native tracks to remain; the nearest one, being to the Bay of Island, is 18 miles, by which a mail is carried fortnightly by the natives. The trade of the district is the celebrated Admiralty spars, gum, wheat, maize, bacon, and potatoes. The character of the district is rugged and very hilly, and about 3000 natives, all quiet, peaceable, and very industrious.
The Kaipara Estuary is an inland sea, into which the rivers Wairoa, Otamatea, Oruawharo, Hotea and Kaipara emerge, flowing respectively from the north, east, south-east, and southward. There is a clear channel, with 51/2 fathoms low water at the entrance of the harbour, and deep water inside the heads, with sheltered space for any number of vessels to lie in at anchor. The Wairoa river is navigable for about 20 miles for vessels of large tonnage; and above that for 30 miles more for coasters. From near Mangawhare, about 40 miles from the Heads, the banks become clothed with page 29forest until near the source of the stream, which extends in all its windings for about 100 miles. The river is deep and smooth, with the forest rising at once from its margin. Sawing and timber-squaring stations are interspersed along its course, and a very large extent of available land lies in the vicinity of Wairoa river and its branch, the Monganui, along valleys towards the Tangihua range, and in the direction of the east coast.
The harbour and creeks of Kaipara cannot have less than 300 miles of water-board. Along this extent of frontage there is a great extent of poor land, and much that will for a long time be only serviceable for timber-cutting and cattle-grazing purposes. About the entrance of the harbour the cliffs are of a similar geological character—tertiary clay rock—to those near Auckland; but, instead of having a surface covering of rich volcanic soil, exhibit only a white clay, with a thin soil and stunted vegetation. In the hollows, where the soil has accumulated from the washing of the hill sides, the ground is more fertile, but there is not much that is attractive about the lower part of the estuary. Up the arms of the harbour the case is different, and there is much good land on each river.
The best site for a settlement appears to be about Toka Toka, on the Wairoa, and thence, to the eastward, upon the Monganui branch. Up the Arohawa and the Otamatea there is good land; and a fine country extends from the Oruawharo towards the Hotea, and eastward, to Pakiri, on the opposite coast, forming an excellent and extensive cattle country, with some good valleys for cultivation.
There is very hilly and broken land about Kaipara, but the district is so extensive that good land also abounds, and water communication is everywhere available.
Kaipara should be settled, not by occasionally arriving and casual immigrants, but by a body of settlers locating themselves at once at Toka Toka, or some other good situation, and affording to each other the advantages of society and mutual support. Their first supplies should be drawn from Sydney, and arrangements could easily be made to send back the vessel laden with timber from some of the existing stations on the Wairoa. The eventual increase of cattle might be driven overland to Auckland, but for other produce the Australian market should be depended on. There are easy means of communication with Auckland by boating, up the rivers, and by bridle-paths; but the conveyance of produce except by sea is not to be thought of. Kaipara, however, as a district, is quite sufficiently large and attractive to be the seat of an important settlement, independent of the capital.page 30
|Toka Toka and Wakahara||6,809|
There are also large blocks, amounting to perhaps 207,000 acres, in the hands of private individuals, These, although not available to the immigrant holding a land order, nor frequently to be purchased at auction sales, must yet be taken into account, in reference to the eligibility of the district for general settlement, as they would very soon become improved and producing lands, if a population were located at Kaipara and labour became plentiful.
The character of the land at Kaipara is so variable—as it is, in fact, in all parts of New Zealand—and tracts of bad and good land so intermixed, even over small areas, that no one should think of buying land, however apparently attractive, from a map, or without previous inspection.
The valley of the River Thames has a creek or sea frontage of 170 miles, and its soil is fertile, with an ample sufficiency of wood and fresh water. Boats may ascend round the river for about 60 miles; and the Piako—the smaller river of the valley—for about 30 miles. The Thames Valley may be said to average 14 miles in width, and to be about 60 miles long. In the lower part are large swampy levels, covered with Toitoi grass, flax, raupo, and Kaikatea timber. The experience of the cultivation of the swamp at Nelson shows that this kind of land, if properly drained, yields splendid crops, and is perhaps the most profitable ground for the capitalist to settle upon. Higher up the valley, near the junction of the Waitoa and Piako, the country consists of low fern hills, with wood in the hollows; and in the upper valley, indigenous grass characterizes the surface. Mr. S. Martin, M.D., not inaptly termed this country the great Glen of New Zealand. With the cultivation and settlement of the Thames Valley, the harbour of Coromandel will become important—it being the nearest shipping anchorage to the plains of the Waiho and Piako rivers. At present this harbour and its adjacent coast is occupied by a few boat builders and saw millers, with a native trader located here and there along its extent—good settlers these, developing the resources of the place, but scarcely to be termed agriculturists, nor bearing the proportion of one to a hundred of what the place would support. The natives have, as yet, sold very little land in this district, but with their fast decreasing numbers, the land must shortly fall into the hands of the Europeans.
The Coromandel gold district extends from Cabbage Bay to Mc. Caskill's Creek on the Thames, and from the Waipauga stream at Coromandel to the Wamgamarow of Mercury Bay.
The Islands of the Thames Gulf, Waiheki, Ponui, Motutapu, Motuihi, and Rangitoto, stretching along its western shore, form a beautifully sheltered sound for about 20 miles page 32in length, from near the northern end of which Auckland harbour runs in to the westward with a smooth and sheltered entrance in all weathers. During the existence of the Auckland settlement, about twenty years, no wreck has occurred near the harbour, or if any small vessel has run ashore it has been got off again.
Waiheki Island with about 20,000 acres is chiefly useful on account of the timber with which it is covered, and which is brought up for fuel to Auckland. The more fertile parts of the Island become grass covered where cattle tread down the fern, but very little cultivation is carried on save by the natives, although there are good flats and valleys in it with fertile soil. The Government possesses about 11,000 acres of land on Waiheki, and private individuals hold about 5000 more. There are a few boat building establishments on this island, for which its timbered coast renders it a convenient locality.
Motutapu and Motuiki are fertile in hill and in hollow, with a surface enriched with volcanic scatterings from some adjacent crater, probably that of Rangitoto.
Ponui and Motutapu are respectively the property of two sheep farmers, who, especially in the case of the latter, are improving the pasture by surface sowing and systematic cultivation. Motutapu will soon become entirely grass covered. Mangitoto, the island that immediately shelters the entrance of Auckland harbour, is entirely of volcanic origin, with uniformly sloping sides inclining from the central crater to the sea.
The Islands, Terataroa and Pukatua, are of a character similar to Waiheki. Rakino is of a similar surface and fertility to Motutapu, and is being brought into cultivation. Brown's Island is an extinct crater, surrounded by scoria streams and volcanic soil, on the latter of which fine grass, surface sown, is taking the place of fern.
The country about Auckland to the southward and eastward, and around the pensioner villages of Onehunga, Panmure, and Otahuhu, is cultivated chiefly in small paddocks of rich artificial grasses. Areas of from 5 to 50 acres are enclosed with post, and rail, and quickset, or with scoria walls, and present an emerald green appearance during the greater part of the year, while farms varying from 50 to 1000 acres, lying on the great south road or in the east Tamaki, page 33and are cultivated with grass, potatoes, and occasionally grain. The main lines of road from Auckland to the pensioner villages are excellent, the scoria forming a capital material for "metalling."
Fortnightly, monthly, and quarterly auctions, and markets for fat cattle and farm produce are held at Newmarket near Auckland, at Otahuhu, and other places, and are attended by the farmers of the respective districts and by the butchers and dealers from Auckland.
The Auckland district is a mere neck of land, connecting the border country to the north with the great mass of the islands southward. From Auckland to Onehunga, the port on the western harbour of Manukau, is only a distance of six miles—at this place the breadth of the harbour. The Whahū, a creek of the Waitemata harbour, approaches to within the distance of a mile and a quarter of the Manukau harbour, close to its shipping channel. It is estimated that a tramway to cross the portage would cost £12,850.
A wharf 1600 feet long extends from the principal street of the City of Auckland towards the channel of the harbour, and ships from 500 to 1500 tons and upwards can lie alongside two or three at a time, and discharge cargo into drays.
The pensioner villages are at short stages from Auckland. Onehunga, the most important, is six miles distant, and is at the termination of the road to the Manukau harbour. Panmure is situated where the Tamaki inlet intersects the eastern road, 8 miles from Auckland. It has good water communication, besides easy road access. Otahuhu is on the natural portage between the head of the Manukau and the head of the Tamaki.
Howick is about 16 miles distant, and lies on the shore of the Thames Gulf, or rather of the Waiku sound. It is pleasantly situated, and with the cultivation of the Tauranga and Mungemungeroa valleys behind, it will grow into importance.
All the land about these settlements, and for a distance, in most directions, of 20 miles from Auckland, has long since been sold and granted, but much of it may be leased for terms of years with purchasing clauses.
To the westward of Auckland, about 20 miles distant, is the Waitakiri district, containing 28,000 acres of Government land. This country is densely wooded, with broken surface, but very rich soil; roads are now being made into it. It is a rough place, but the soil will grow anything, and it lies within a sturdy day's walk of Auckland.
About the upper part of Waitemata harbour the Kauri forests afford a useful extent of timber, and give employment page 34to large parties of sawyers. The mill of Messrs. Henderson and Mc. Farlane, with both water and steam power, is capable of cutting 100,000 feet per week, and large vessels occasionally leave Auckland loaded with timber from this mill alone.
Great quantities of bricks are made about Auckland, but the materials are not the best, the clay wants a greater admixture of silica; however, near Papakura beds of silicean earth abound.
Limestone exists in abundance about Mahurangi and Matakana, near Auckland, but oyster shells are generally burnt in preference to lime.
The great interior naturally of Auckland, is the Waikato district; the river of that name rises at the base of the Tongariro, active volcano, flows through the Taupo lake, and descends by a course of 180 miles in length to the sea about 45 miles from Auckland. About half way down its course it receives the Waipa. The triangle of land between the two rivers is one of the most fair and fertile districts in New Zealand. Along the course of both streams there is much good land, but for the greater part in the hands of the natives, suitable for grain or grass, presenting eligible localities for settlement, with the facility of water carriage for the transport of produce; in all an area estimated at 570,000 acres.
At Mangatawhiri, where the great south road strikes the Waikato, the scenery is strikingly beautiful and will repay the trouble of a journey from Auckland. Native villages are more frequent on the Waipa than on the Waikato, and towards Otawhao the houses of European settlers are met with, and carts and ploughs may be seen at work together with native owned flour mills, driven by water power.
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.
* To be had of Mr. G. Street, 30, Cornhill.