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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

West Coast Branch Expedition

West Coast Branch Expedition.

The narrative would be incomplete without a brief reference to this. The invaders, under Niho and Takerei, passed down the coast from Cape Farewell by land, scaling the otherwise almost impassable cliffs by means of ladders, which they made of climbing-plants. The numerous rivers—some of great volume—were crossed by means of rafts and of the canoes found on their banks. The local tribes were massacred wherever found, save such as were able to find refuge in the dense forests. Thus the country was conquered as far as page 17 Hokitika. Among the prisoners taken was Tuhuru, chief of the Poutini-Ngaitahu, who on the return of more peaceful times "was ransomed for a greenstone mere called Kai-kanohi (Bat the eye), which is still in the possession of the tribe. Later a party of more adventurous spirits continued the journey down the west coast, and, crossing by the Haast Pass, or one in that neighbourhood, surprised and massacred the natives settled at Hawea, One boy, Rangitapu by name, who still lives, an old man, at Port Molyneux, escaped, and warned his father, the chief at Wanaka, and he and his family fled down the Waitaki, The invaders, making rafts of Phormium stems with the help of their prisoners, floated down the great and rapid river Matau, or Molyneux, whose volume is said to equal that of the Nile, and thus passed right through Otago. Their appearance on the south coast, near the mouth of the Mataura, led to a hurried assemblage of fighting-men, headed by Tuhawaiki, from all quarters, including, it is said, white whalers and sealers from Foveaux Strait; and this ended in the defeat and almost total destruction of the invaders, The remnant were made slaves, one chief being kept a prisoner for many years. The tale has only been preserved in an obscure form. Since this invasion Maoris have never inhabited the interior of Otago, There is evidence that at one time a large population lived at or regularly visited Lakes Te Anau, Manapouri, Wakatipu, Hawea, and Wanaka, At the two former lakes numerous objects of greenstone have been found, and recently a great number have been ploughed up at Lake Wakatipu.