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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

A Great Traveller

A Great Traveller.

In the course of his work Mr Colenso necessarily became a great traveller, frequently visiting the Wairarapa, and even Patea and Taupo in the course of his district visitations. In February, 1845, Mr Colenso paid his first visit to Patea which he afterwards described in the printed paper already mentioned. The journals deal largely with the details of his interminable wanderings. His charge apparently extended from Waikari in the north to Port Nicholson in the south, including Taupe ("Ruahine" Note C, p. 69), and he was continually journeying from Waitangi to Wellington—always' of course, on foot. The records of these journeys arc not on the whole interesting reading, but they give a very strong impression of the wonderful energy of the man and the arduous physical toil which he cheerfully encountered. Travelling in those days by beach and the rough forest carrying pack was a difficult and laborious task. The traveller frequently went short of food, he was often benighted in the bush and at best had the doubtful accommodation of a native hut. I have not considered it necessary, in view of the details given in the "Ruahine" paper to quote from the record of these journeys. Nor were the natives always friendly to the missionary. They were already feeling the adverse influence of the trader and the page 19 settler, with whom Mr Colenso as a result frequently found himself in conflict. His first visit to the Wairarapa took place in March, 1845. On this journey he called at Mr Barton's station which had recently been pillaged by the natives. He advised the magistrates to demand compensation in pigs and potatoes, but the magistrates were anxious to improve the occasion by securing a grant of land. Mr Barton declared that in that case he would be no better off. (Journals, March 19th, 1845). Mr Colenso, in his letter to the society, speaks of tins visit as a heart-breaking journey," and "mourns the Nero-like spirit of the settlers to the natives" (Letters, June 15th, 1846).

In July of the same year Mr and Mrs Co'euso walked from Waitangi to Gisborne, Mrs Colenso, who was expecting the birth of her second son, wishing to be near a white woman. They left left Waitangi on July 25th and reached Turanga on August 6th. (See Journals). The days' stopping places (emitting the two Sundays when the travellers rested) were Tangoio, Moeangiangi, Waikari, Mohaka, Poututu, Wairoa, Wakaki, and two nights were spent in the forest before reaching Mr Williams' residence.