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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

Native Neighbours

Native Neighbours.

We have already referred to the fact that Mr Colenso was dependent on the Maoris for labour both in working his land, erecting buildings of any sort and s) on. The missionary committee at Paihia had allowed him £70 for the necessary work of completing the mission station, but he found the expenditure far exceeded this estimate. Apparently the committee thought that he should not have exceeded his allowance, and he appealed to the Home authorities for relief as the business had put him in debt. (Letters, June 18th and December 31st, 1846). It may be interesting to know what the cost of building in those days was. Mr Colenso's account shows that ho spent £85 on page 16 timber in the Bay of Islands, paid the chiefs £48 for erecting the house, £23 for other supplies at Ahuriri, £30 to natives for other work done and £10 for medicines, total £250. He explains that he had to do with a hard people in an out-of-the-way place. Kurupo kept the whole price of the timber so that the other chiefs got none. The large quantity of tools included is accounted for by the fact that in addition to his house he had erected eleven chapels and that eight others were in course of erection. It may be mentioned that Bishop Selwyn visited the mission in January 1846 (Letters June 18th, 1846), and that on that occasion he confirmed 130 natives. Colenso records that there were 240 in the district. I find that the native population of Ahuriri at this time was estimated at 5000. ("N.Z. Spectator," September 6th, 1845).