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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

Earlier Communications

Earlier Communications.

The port of Napier in the early days was at Onepoto where various traders had their stores. Gough Island, now covered with merchant offices, had a native pa or village. Small vessels were dragged over the mud flats to Onepoto and loaded. Napier was still separated from the country by the impenetrable swamp, and a small 4 ton boat, "The Sailor's Bride" which used to ply between the port and Waipureku (East Clive) was the only means of access page 46 to the south. Waipureku was then a bustling place of trade. For some time the settlers had a difficulty in getting their wool to port. Goods were got up by the Tuki Tuki in native canoes, but the natives were extortionate, and at la.st a punt was built. The natives charged £5 a load from the port to Waipukurau, and in one case it is recorded that they struck when they got to Ratoatara for another 30s. The trip took three days. At last Mr Alexander solved the difficulty by starting a bullock team. ("Herald, June 13th, 1868.) Another help to the transport of goods was provided by Burton's boating service. He temlered steamers arriving and took passengers to poraite (Mr Alexander's) and Maraetara (Mr Carter's). In June 1857, when Mr Stafford, then Premier visited the farm, he put up at Mr Alexander's. Burton also had a large punt at Mohuka and a whale boat at Wairoa. His boats went up to Patangata. Starting from Munn's Hotel they got through the swamp by poling to Tarena's Bridge, then into Tareha's creek to the source of the Waitangi, then they were dragged two or three chains over a bed of mud. After that it was plain sailing till the entrance of the Ngaruroro was reached where shingle often lodged. Thence to Waipureku was easy, but the ascent of the Tuki Tuki was difficult owing to the rapidity of the river and the snags. ("Herald, August 24th, 1874). A scheme for improving the water-way from Napier to the mouth of the Ngaruroro was discussed at this time. The road to Te Aute was only begun in 1857, but Waipukurau had a Board of Guardians (for roads) even at that early qate.

The produce of the district was woo' and mutton, pigs and flax. In October 1858 the Salopian, a schooner of 50 page 47 tons cleared for Auckland with 100 sheep, and in addition the Esther, Shepherdess and Sea Serpent plied regularly to Wellington. In 1858 the first wool ship loaded at the port. Even in those days a little steamer, the Wonga Wonga of 100 tons, plied along the coast. Her first trip to Napier in August 1857". brought Mr E. W. Stafford, then Premier of the colony, Mr A. Domett, Commissioner of Crown Lands, Messrs Donald McLean and G. S. Cooper. Native Laud Cinchase Commissioners, and Mr James Wood, the founder of the "Hawke's Bay Herald." The "Herald's" premises wore originally at the port but were soon removed to their present site. From 1857, the files or the "Hawke's Hay Herald" form a record of the history of the growth and development of the town and province.