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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

Early Agriculture

Early Agriculture.

The natives were keenly interested in agricultural work although it does not appear that the Ahuriri natives over developed as farmers in the way that the Wairoa and Gisborne natives did. Mr Colenso reports that when the first cow arrived in the bay 120 native canoes put out to welcome it. ("Ruahine" No. A, Page 65). The horse was another object of great curiosity to the native mind On February 9, 1817. (Journals) Mr Colenso notes: "At Ahuriri met natives bringing horse from Rotorna for a chief, the first seen in those parts." The following year he notes: "The horse is a curse to the natives : the greatest hindrance to their good. They till less ground, catch less fish and become more lazy and careless." In the 1851 report (letters) to page 22 the Society lie say or "Never until this year have the tribes been in possession of so much ivor.dly riches, especially wheat and money. Last autumn they had a fine crop of wheat which they most impatiently disposed of for horses, to which purpose also by far the greater number of those who had received a share of money for their alienated lands have wilfully squandered it, giving as much as £40 and even £60 for a horse. Upwards of 50 horses have been brought into this neighbourhood dining the last six months, some of which have already died. One native has been killed and several more or less injured by falling from their horses. I almost fear to state the hundreds of bushes's of wheat which they raised and sold last autumn lest it should be thought improbable, especially when the short time which has elapsed since I first procured them seed wheat from Auckland and the great distance many of them have to bring it 'to market is considered, These remarks remind us of the natives' traffic in motor ears to-day. So keen was the desire for horses that the native teacher Renata, who seemed to have quarrelled with Colenso, turned horse-dealer and brought some beasts to Ahuriri in 1950, to the great joy of this native community. (Journals. December 10th, 1850).