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The Early Journals of Henry Williams

Appendix IV — The Herald

page 487

Appendix IV
The Herald

So many errors have been made by various writers in telling the story of this little schooner of 55 tons that it seems necessary to give an accurate account of her voyages—as accurate as the diaries and letters of those who built her, used her and sailed in her can make it.

The vessel was built on the authority of the Rev. Samuel Marsden in order to distribute stores from trading vessels from New South Wales, to obtain stores from Sydney, and to enable the missionaries to sail outside the Bay of Islands for the double purpose of securing food supplies and of taking the Gospel to the various tribes along the coast to the River Thames or elsewhere1. She was not meant, as has sometimes been said, to be a means of communication between Sydney and New Zealand, although she was used for that purpose.

The plans were drawn unwillingly by William Hall, who considered the vessel to be an unnecessary extravagance. It was estimated that the building would take four months, but this proved to be very optimistic. The keel was laid on 31 August 18242, and the vessel was not launched until 24 January 18263. Trees had to be selected from the forests at Kawakawa, felled, dragged to the river, and transported by rafts to Paihia for pit-sawing, while some use was made of timber from the wrecked Brampton. The work was hindered by troubles with the Maoris, who were generally friendly, but on occasion were upset by the actions of pakeha workmen unaware of Maori customs. The Rev. Henry Williams, who had studied boat-building in England, superintended the work, which was done by European and Maori carpenters, assisted by William Hall and by Gilbert Mair, a young Scot who had recently arrived in New Zealand.

An excellent account of the building and launching of the Herald is given in Carleton, pp43–53. Her voyages may be summarised as follows:

  • Maiden Voyage, 1826

  • 16 February. Left Paihia for Sydney (Port Jackson), carrying a crew of three Maori men and three boys, two English seamen, W. T. Fairburn as supercargo, William Puckey as mate, Gilbert Mair as captain, and Henry Williams. As passengers there were also on page 488 board Mr and Mrs Puckey and their daughter, a sick carpenter and a native chief. The purpose of the voyage was to complete her fittings and to obtain a cargo of stores4.

  • 7 March. Arrived at Sydney5.

  • 30 May. Arrived at Paihia6.

  • Second Voyage, 1826

  • 20 June. Left Paihia on first voyage to Tauranga for pork and potatoes. Messrs. Henry Williams, C. Davis, Clarke, Shepherd. Rangituke and Te Koki on board7.

  • 3 July. Arrived at Paihia with full load of potatoes.8

  • Third Voyage, 1826

  • 19 September. Left Paihia on first voyage to Hokianga, for potatoes. Returned empty, as the sea was too rough to enable them to enter Hokianga Harbour.9

  • Fourth Voyage, 1826

  • 12 October. Left Paihia on second voyage to Hokianga, “under the pilotage of a person well acquainted with the harbour”.10

  • 15 October. Arrived at Hokianga.11

  • [?] 24 October. Left Hokianga for Paihia.12

  • Fifth Voyage, 1826

  • 28 November. Left Paihia on second voyage to Tauranga, for potatoes. Henry Williams and R. Davis on board. Landed on White Island.13

  • 2 December. Arrived at Tauranga.14

  • 12 December. Arrived at Paihia with light cargo.15

page 489
  • Sixth Voyage, 1826–7

  • 28 December. Left Paihia on second voyage to Sydney, for stores.16

  • 17 January. Reported at Sydney.17

  • 15 March. Arrived at Paihia.18

  • Seventh Voyage, 1827

  • 26 March. Left Paihia on third voyage to Tauranga, R. Davis and Shepherd on board for the purpose of purchasing cargo.19

  • 7 April. Arrived Paihia with full cargo of potatoes and some flax.20

  • Eighth Voyage, 1827

  • 23 July. Left Paihia on third voyage to Sydney with R. Davis on board. Davis was given the task of enquiring about the possibility of a grant of land for a New Zealand settlement in New South Wales, and to see some portions of Scripture through the Press.21

  • 15 August. Arrived in Sydney.22

  • 20 September. Left Sydney.23

  • 8 October. Arrived at Paihia with cargo of stores. Davis and Stack on board.24

  • Ninth Voyage, 1827–8

  • 19 November. Left Paihia on fourth voyage to Sydney, for stores.25

  • 4 December. Arrived Sydney.26

  • 19 January. Arrived Paihia, with Yate on board.27

  • Tenth Voyage, 1828

  • 4 April. Left Paihia on fourth voyage to Bay of Plenty. Sailed secretly with a party of Rotorua natives whose lives were threatened by the page 490 Ngapuhi. After landing the Rotorua Maoris at Maketu, the Herald sailed on to Whakatane, from thence to Ohiwa and Opotiki, and on her return called in at Tauranga.28

  • 18 April. Arrived at Paihia.29

  • Eleventh Voyage, 1828

  • 3 May. Left Paihia on third voyage to Hokianga.30

  • 6 May. Wrecked at Hokianga Heads.31

On all her voyages, except the second to Hokianga. Gilbert Mair was the captain, but Henry Williams, when on board, reserved to himself the privilege “to have her conducted as I wish”.32

1 H.W. to C.M.S., 9 July 1824.

2 Marsden's Lieutenants, p234.

3 Carleton, vol. I, p44.

4 Carleton, vol. I, p52.

5 W.W. to C.M.S., 1 April 1826.

6 W.W., Journal, 31 May 1826.

7 W.W., Journal, 20 June 1826.

8 W.W., Journal, 3 July 1826; H.W. to Marsden, 4 July 1826.

9 W.W., Journal, 24 September, 12 October 1826; H.W. to Marsden, 16 October 1826.

10 W.W., Journal, 12 October 1826.

11 W.W., Journal, 16 October 1826.

12 W.W., Journal, 24 October 1826.

13 W.W., Journal, 28 November 1826: H.W. to C.M.S., 13 December 1826.

14 H.W. to C.M.S., 13 December 1826.

15 H.W. to C.M.S., 13 December 1826.

16 H.W., Journal, 28 December 1826.

17 H.W. to C.M.S., 17 January 1827.

18 H.W., Journal, 15 March 1827.

19 H.W., Journal, 26 March 1827; 7 April 1827.

20 H.W., Journal, 26 March 1827; 7 April 1827.

21 H.W., Journal, 23 July 1827; W.W., Journal, 11 July 1827.

22 Memoir of Richard Davis, p95.

23 The Australian.

24 H.W., Journal, 9 October 1827.

25 H.W., Journal, 19 November 1827.

26 The Australian.

27 H.W., Journal, 19 January 1828.

28 H.W., Journal, 4 April 1828, et seq.

29 H.W., Journal, 4 April 1828, et seq.

30 Mrs H.W., Journal, 11 May 1828; H.W., Journal, 8 May 1828.

31 Mrs H.W., Journal, 11 May 1828; H.W., Journal, 8 May 1828.

32 Carleton, p52.