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Pioneering the Pumice

Chapter III: My Predecessors and My Neighbours

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Chapter III: My Predecessors and My Neighbours

They helped everyone his neighbour”—Isaiah xli. 6.

I can conscientiously say that I have always done my very best to lend truth to our leading text, and in retrospect it is a great satisfaction to have done so.

But, anyhow, a pioneer cannot help benefiting others. The fact of his presence with the added facilities thereby induced is a benefit to all; and, as he cannot take his roads and bridges, his fences, his buildings and other improvements with him, they are left behind to the great advantage of his successors.

As far as I can ascertain the first European pioneer in this area was Major St. George. When I arrived the remains of his modest dwelling could still be seen on the banks of the Waikato on my block about four miles up the river from my homestead. It seems that he had no title, simply squatting there with the consent of the Maoris. He was killed in the Te Kooti wars at a place called Porero near Tokaanu and his flock dispersed.

Messrs. Brown, of Tauranga, then put sheep on the country, also without title, but they were not successful the country not being suitable for the support of sheep in the winter without preparatory improvement.

Then came Messrs. Ross and Rankin, who bought five hundred acres freehold, now part of Reporoa soldier settlement, page 35 and also eight thousand four hundred acres some three miles away on the Kaingaroa Plains.

The title of this five hundred acres is quite interesting. It issued on 17th February, 1885, to a highly adventurous and speculative gentleman — Mr. Thomas Morrin. Indeed much of the country round the Waiotapu district first appears in his name. Why, I cannot say, though in some areas it seems that he acted as agent for Mr. W. Smellie Grahame. Ten days after obtaining his title, Mr. Morrin conveyed the land to Te Waru, a distinguished old Maori, formerly lieutenant to Te Kooti: but I imagine the land was Te Waru's all the time. The next transaction in the title is a transfer to one H. F. Fisher, described as “of Auckland, gentleman.” Later Te Waru placed a caveat on the title, reciting that he had not executed any transfer to Fisher or anyone else. I am informed that not long after Waru's death a gentleman appeared with conscience money for compensation: but the opportunity for recompense had passed.

The names of Messrs. Ross and Rankin do not appear on the title, but they erected a house with timber bought from Mr. Duncan Steele and carted out by Rangi Douglas, and they effected some other improvements on the five hundred acres. It seems that Ross and Rankin came to grief and Mr. Ned Douglas occupied the place until Mr. Butcher's appearance.

The history of the eight thousand four hundred acres is also interesting and illustrates what great sums can be made by those who emulate Solomon's lilies — “They toil not; neither do they spin” — but the poor hard-working man is never arrayed like one of these. The register shows that the title issued to a native, Niheta Kaipara. After passing through the hands of several well-known men — C. H. Osmond, E. T. Dufaur and H. W. Mitchell — the land was, in January, 1891, acquired by Colin Ross, described as “of Melbourne, farmer.” However, he seems to have displayed more ability as a financier than as a page 36 farmer. He effected no improvement and raised no crops on the land, but he raised £3,250 on the title. He must have forgotten to pay the interest, for the next dealing recorded is a sale under conduct of the Registrar of the Supreme Court in August, 1892, when the mortgagee bought the security in for £25. Whether Mr. Ross paid up the £3,225 under the personal covenant is not shown! The mortgagee nursed the land until May, 1899, when he sold the eight thousand four hundred acres to a syndicate for £100. Later damages to the amount of £1,000 were awarded in respect of misrepresentation of this £100 block! Cash not being forthcoming, a mortgage was executed over the land to secure the £1,000. Again the payment of interest would appear to have been overlooked, for the mortgagee sold for £1,200. Now the ill tides turn and fortune begins to flow. Our £1,200 speculator sells to a resident of Christchurch for the exact sum of £2,535 6s., and in 1911 it was sold to another resident of the modern Durovernum for a sum even more exact — 3,169 2s. 6d.: and yet again in less than a year to a syndicate for £5,282! Marvellous money is now manufactured without the help of Major Douglas by a further resale at £10,563 15s. only eight months later. This company went into liquidation in March, 1924, and in December of the same year found a way of escape in a sale to a new company at £11,064 — shillings and pence being despised on this occasion. So that our £100 property had increased to £11,064 and not a hand's turn done on it and no further actions for misrepresentation recorded on the title!

About contemporaneously with these enterprises of Messrs. Ross and Rankin “The Bungalow” was erected by Mr. Frank Boyd Scott. This pioneer habitation was first built of timber about 1884 and burned down in 1894. Friendly Maoris came to the rescue and re-erected the premises in two buildings constructed of raupo. The larger of these in 1896 followed the fate page 37 of the first Bungalow and was consumed by fire. Mrs. Scott was a Maori woman named Ramarihi, though I hardly think she was in any way related to the hero of the Ramayana. These good folk provided meals and accommodation and riding horses for travellers and tourists desirous of seeing the Waiotapu sights. These had been opened up by a native named Aporo Apiata after the Tarawera eruption (1886). The Bungalow, I may add, was situated on the little flat on the right hand side round the first sharp bend of the road as one rises the hill just past the junction of the Galatea Road. This hill is still called The Bungalow Hill.

Mr. Scott took a great interest in the development of the oil resources of Kerosene Creek, but nothing came of his efforts.

To return to our muttons: Mr. H. R. Butcher — the first permanent white settler between Rotorua and Taupo — bought the five hundred acres in June, 1896, at thirty-two shillings and sixpence per acre. Te Waru did not support his caveat but he used to appear every now and again to claim possession, and Mr. Butcher would good-naturedly give him a bag of flour to go away. The surrounding country was owned by the Estate of William Smellie Grahame, who died on 19th October, 1894, and Mr. Butcher bought a trifle of forty-eight thousand acres of it at two shillings and threepence per acre. The eight thousand four hundred acres we have been discussing now marched with Mr. Butcher's holding, and it was offered to him for £100, but he refused to buy. Instead he began expending large sums on improvements and stocking.

Perhaps I ought to mention that at the time of his purchase there was no road to Rotorua and indeed no access except by trespassing over Maori land. These Maoris at one time became very troublesome, but finally were brought to reason. Mr. Butcher named his purchase Strathmore (though he, like my humble self, was a mere Sassenach).

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I would here remark the high proportion of Scotsmen among the pioneer immigrants to New Zealand. With the natural modesty of their race these good men and true have ascribed this fact to the conspicuous courage of their nation. When I have ventured to suggest as the real reason a great keenness to get away from Scotland my humble idea has not always met with the acceptance and applause to which I considered it entitled!

Reverting to Strathmore: Mr. Butcher placed in charge of it, first Mr. Robert Turpin, and then his third son Mr. William G. Butcher. Another son, Mr. Charles E. Butcher, occupied and farmed a part of the estate. The Messrs. Butcher, besides occupying the homestead originally erected by Messrs. Ross and Rankin, had established another homestead some three or four miles to the north and connected by a rather precarious road across soft swamp country only recently unwatered. They had erected bridges, made roads, put up fences, and, mainly by cleaning out the natural creeks, had run the surface water off thousands of acres. They had also made use of fire in clearing the scrub and swamp growth. These operations produced a considerable quantity of rough feed upon which they depastured about two thousand sheep, three hundred cattle and a great number of horses. They had established a wonderful orchard producing prodigious crops of the finest flavoured fruits. When the new road from Rotorua to Taupo via Waitopu was undertaken it was a wonderful improvement for Mr. Butcher and it also induced the establishment of the Waiotapu Hotel which was built in 1896 by Messrs. Steele Bros., of Rotorua, to the order of Mr. John Falloona at a total cost of £371 4s. One got more for his money in those days! Here for many years an excellent establishment was conducted by Mr. and Mrs. Falloona. It is of interest to remember that Mr. Falloona was one of those who escaped from the Tarawera eruption by taking refuge in page 39 Sophia's whare at Wairoa. The licence was brought from a place in the east coast, named Omio. The site, which was off the main road and close to “The Sights,” comprised seven acres leased from the Government for thirty-six years from 1st July, 1897, at a rental commencing at £12 and rising to £48 per annum. About 1903 the house was sold to Messrs. Hancock, and Mr. de Beere placed in charge. Notwithstanding his wonderfully appropriate name he did not prove a permanent success. About a year later Mr. William Hickey was installed and remained there, except for a brief sojourn at Howick, until the end. He was a great humorist and was locally known as the Lord Mayor of Waiotapu.

Mr. Hickey also leased some land from Mr. Butcher and conducted a farm in connection with the hotel. He has now given up the hotel and devotes himself exclusively to farming, at which he has proved more than ordinarily successful. The lease of the hotel site contained an option of renewal, but unfortunately the house was destroyed by fire in the very early morning of 22nd January, 1931, and the licence removed to a new location fronting the main Rotorua-Taupo Road in the township of Waiotapu. This “township” was originally laid out by the Waiariki (Rotorua) Maori Land Board, but no building had ever been erected on it.

The only other settler prior to my coming to the district was Mr. Robert Turpin (already mentioned). He had developed a carrying business between Rotorua and Taupo and bought two hundred and fifty acres at Orangikereru about half-way between. On this he erected a house and effected some improvements for the resting of his teams and generally for the purposes of his business. “Bob” Turpin was credited with some extraordinary feats of wagoning before there was a road in the area. At the time of my arrival this holding had been abandoned.

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In the year 1899 a native school had been established at a place then called Wharepapa about twenty-four miles from Rotorua on the main Taupo Road, and now re-named Wharepaina. But it also had been closed. The first teacher was Mr. Frederick R. Wykes.

By this it will be seen that at the time of my purchase in 1907 the only occupied building between my country and Rotorua were the dwellings of Messrs. W. G. and C. E. Butcher and the Waiotapu Hotel. There were also derelict buildings at Mr. Turpin's property, and the Wharepapa School. Between Broadlands and Taupo were the Forty-mile Stables and Wairakei Hotel.

On the country which I bought no kind of improvement or settlement had been attempted but the owners derived a small revenue from grazing rights and flax royalties. Messrs. Gallagher, Rickett and Crowther had the grazing and ran considerable numbers of cattle on the country.

So much for the Waiotapu district. In other parts of the pumice country some attempts had been made at farming.

The first European to reside in the pumice area was a trader named Cabbage, engaged in exchanging goods for flax. This man established himself on Mokoia Island in Lake Rotorua in 1829. He was attacked by the Maoris and murdered and his goods stolen. Then came the missionaries. The Rev. Williams and Chapman first visited Rotorua in 1831, and in September, 1835, a mission station was established at Koutu, near by, under the charge of Mr. Chapman and Mr. Morgan. Within a year this station was sacked and burned by the Ngatihaua under Waharoa: but the intrepid missionaries returned and founded a new station at the Ngae in May, 1839. The first farmer was the Hon. Wm. Kelly, M.L.C., who worked the land now known as Sherriff's farm. Then there was Mr. Henry Kirk at the Ngae who killed meat for the residents. At Ngongotaha Mr. John page 41 McKenzie worked what is now Mr. J. E. Martin's farm. Here he milked cows for the town supply. Next to him was Mr. Richard Griffiths, now of Arawa House.

The first settlers, however, who attempted systematic farming on recognized lines were Messrs. H. M. and J. E. Martin, at Ngongotaha. Their success is well known. Another very early settler was Mr. Dalbeth, who farmed “Springfield.”

The earliest post office was established at the Ngae, Mr. Dansey being in charge. Afterwards both post office and postmaster were moved into Rotorua.

At the time of my arrival Mr. Wood was successfully improving and grazing about ten thousand acres: and, around Rerewhakaitu, Captain Mair and Mr. John Falloona were making good progress in the production of wool and mutton.

At Galatea, Mr. Troutbeck had been stockfarming on a block of twenty-two thousand acres which he bought from the natives about 1869. He raised great numbers of excellent horses. On Mr. Troutbeck's death in 1892, Mr. James Grant took over the management, until in 1914 he retired on to an independent holding of three thousand five hundred acres of his own. Adjoining this was another area of the same extent worked by Mr. R. H. Abbot, and afterwards by Captain Heays. Other very early settlers were the two Messrs. Wylie and Mr. A. R. Turnbull. The brothers Thomas and Joseph Wylie were both native schoolteachers from about 1890, and they both took up land from the Government on the west side of the Rangitaiki River. In 1906 Mr. Joseph Wylie sold out to Mr. Turnbull, who had formerly farmed some six thousand acres at Matahina: and Mr. Thomas sold to Mr. Grant. The oldest resident now living at Galatea is Mr. W. Bird, who arrived in 1886. At first the wool was carted out to the rail-head at Tarukenga in bullock wagons over country where neither road nor bridge existed. The wagons simply plunged over or through whatever came in page 42 their way. Mr. H. Benn, who had been a cadet on Galatea Station, erected a fine house at Okareta, and there lavishly entertained.

At Wairakei, Mr. Robert Graham had established his well-known hostelry and tourist resort, but had not done any farming except for the supply of his own house. He acquired his land so long ago as July, 1881.

At Taupo there were no white residents prior to the Te Kooti war. It will be remembered that the small force guarding the Napier-Taupo Road was annihilated at Opepe on 7th June, 1869. The incident was formerly called a “massacre” and now is called an “engagement”: but it was a surprise, giving the soldiers no chance of putting up a fight. From one reliable source I learned that MacAulay was the only survivor and that he made his way across the plains to Fort Galatea stark naked. From another equally dependable source I learned that there were two escapees: MacAulay had a companion named Bidois travelling in the same undress uniform. In a history I have read, there were five escapees and MacAulay is not mentioned among them. Take your choice. It does not matter now.

After this a considerable force was stationed at Opepe, but the men gradually drifted away leaving MacAulay, the Crowthers, the Rickits, the Gallaghers, and the Nobles in possession of the town of Taupo. MacAulay ran the coaches; Crowther kept the stables; Rickit had a store; Gallagher and Noble kept hotels; and they did not want their reign to be disturbed by newcomers. However, the attractions of the place have been too much for them. There are now hundreds of houses and the percentage of increase in population between the last two censuses was much higher in Taupo than in any other town in New Zealand. The “New Iniquities” have completely submerged the “Old Identities.” At the time of my arrival no attempt at farming had been made in or about Taupo, but large numbers of page 43 sheep were depastured around the Lake and on Mount Tongariro, mostly held on half shares between Mr. Butcher and the Maoris. It would appear that folk realized that the best returns were gained by shearing and milking the tourist, and consequently as tourists increased so sheep and cattle diminished.

The first butcher at Taupo during my time was a foreigner named George Wehringo. He also made the first attempt at farming in that locality. He would drive in his buggy down to Broadlands, buy a beast, kill it there and cart the carcase home for the delectation of his customers; but I am told that as long ago as from 1883 to 1896, Mr. Joseph Crowther conducted a butchery at Taupo. The first hotel was the Taupo Hotel, owned by Mr. T. B. Noble. This was opened in 1876, and closed when the licence was removed (by stages) to the Spa. Not long after the Taupo Hotel, the Lake Hotel was opened by Mr. Joseph Gallagher. The well-known Terraces Hotel was conducted — when I first stayed there in 1898 — by Messrs. McKinley and Ross. It was said that they, though resident partners, never spoke to one another. Then there was Joshua's Spa, for many years without a licence. Other notabilities of the olden time were Rev. H. J. Fletcher (a very learned man, especially in Maori lore), Mr. Prinn (a chemist), and Mr. Robert Adams. The first schoolmaster was Mr. C. E. O. H. Tobin. The progress of Taupo is well illustrated by the fact that in 1902 there were nineteen names on the roll: now there are one hundred and eighty.

At Runanga was Mr. Crawford with sixty-six thousand acres of impossible problems on his back. He made a brave battle and died fighting — though a deeply disappointed man. He was filled with enthusiastic ideas. As soon as he heard I had bought Broadlands he rushed in to suggest that I should join him in taking up all the land between the Waikato and the Rangitaiki rivers — about five hundred thousand acres. He pointed out that page 44 two fences, one at each end, would enclose the lot. I suggested that, on that theory, if we bought the whole of the North Island we should not want any fence at all.

On the opposite side of the Taupo-Napier Road were the Taharua and Loch Inver stations, both first held by a Mr. Cox. At the time of my arrival the former was owned by Mr. Henry Smith with Mr. Kirk as manager. The place carried about two thousand five hundred merino sheep, and was moderately successful. Mr. Smith sold to Mr. J. D. Macfarlane, who spent big money on a new homestead, felling bush, and sowing grass. He worked the capacity up to seven thousand sheep and five hundred cattle, but it has now deteriorated very seriously. I used to engage the Maori shearers for Taharua and they were greatly attracted by the abundance of eels and brown trout there. Loch Inver was leased from the Maoris by Messrs. Lane and Carswell. It carried about twelve thousand Cheviot sheep. When the lease expired the old holding of seventy-five thousand acres was cut into three, and Mr. Carswell was badly served in that he did not secure the renewal. Since his day the country has carried nothing. The homestead on Loch Inver is claimed to be the highest inhabited house in New Zealand. It was formerly the hotel at the Mohaka River so it has had a considerable rise in the world. A little further down the road was the Te Haroto Station, another Maori leasehold held by Mr. Anderson. It comprised one hundred and twenty-five thousand acres of very rough country, and carried twenty-five thousand merino sheep. When the lease fell in the Maoris resumed possession, and there is little or no stock on the country now.

All my predecessors had taken up picked areas of land — either swamp or bush — deemed to be superior to the vast expanse of just ordinary pumice soil. I think it will not be denied that I was the first to take up and methodically develop a large holding of country, constituting a fair sample of the millions of acres page 45 lying waste in the heart of the North Island, and one twentieth of the total habitable, and cultivable area of New Zealand. All folk — even the Maoris — derided me: but, ere long, they were exclaiming: “By gorry that ferrow make the grass grow anywhere!”

As showing the straits to which a pioneer may be reduced I may perhaps here repeat a story told of one of the earliest settlers on the pumice. This good honest Scotsman, who would sooner starve than dodge his debts, had met with a major disaster soon after his start. He was so reduced that he felt he could afford to eat only porridge: and later he developed the idea that he would save time by cooking a kerosene tin full on Sundays. This would last the week. However, one Saturday he found his reserves had grown a beautiful green beard and he felt he could not swallow the stuff. Then he produced a bottle of whisky long preserved for some special necessity. Carefully drawing the cork he poured out a tot saying: “Old man eat your porridge and you shall have this drink of the real stuff.” Thus encouraged he got through his meal. Then he poured the whisky back into the bottle, saying: “Beat you that time old man”!!!

These constituted all the settlers within thirty-five miles of me when I took up my country. Others following on — and perhaps induced by my developments — were Messrs. Wilfred Stead and Edgar Watt, who bought twenty thousand acres of “Strathmore.” They also leased considerable areas, mostly swamp from the Maoris, and named their station Reporoa, which means “the long swamp.” They spent large sums on improvements, and finally sold to the Government for soldier settlement.

Among those on not quite so large a scale were: Mr. Richard Handcock, who took up three thousand acres; Mr. James Carswell, who took up two thousand acres at Wharepaina; Mr. W. J. Parsons, who took up the country now known as Guthrie and page 46 Ngakuru; and the Messrs. Lowry, father and son, who bought Mr. Turpin's two hundred and fifty acres at Orangi-kereru. These last were the absolute pioneers of dairying in the district, actually despatching their cream by horse-traction to the factory thirty-five miles away! Unfortunately, like many another enterprise in advance of its time, this effort failed.

The advent of the Reporoa soldier settlers in 1920 may be said to have terminated the pioneering period.

Perhaps it will be interesting to make mention of one or two local celebrities not strictly settlers or farmers.

In the earliest days of development the coach drivers were very important people and most of them were very obliging and helpful to the settlers.

One of the first drivers — if not actually the first — on the Broadlands route was Dick Mays. It was said that the more he was stimulated the better he drove — but, one day he dropped a woman passenger overboard and did not notice his loss until reaching Waiotapu. He was much annoyed at having to go back to retrieve the lady.

The earliest driver in my time was good old Jim Duncan. His coach was as reliable as a town clock. Jim knew every point on the road and the time he ought to be at that point — and he was there.

He also knew the depths of the principal holes and how to get across them without capsizing. Jim was wonderful at executing commissions. One would say: “Jim, bring me a pound of ‘Neckwarmer’ tea”; another: “Jim, bring me two tins of ‘Anchor’ tobacco”; or “Jim, what about a pound of ‘Capstan’ butter,” and so on. Whatever it was it came to hand all right on the return trip. As may be guessed, Jim was Scotch and came from Southland. He was much concerned about me and used to say: “I am very sorry for you Mr. Vaile. You are wasting your time and money. Fancy trying to grow turnips — especially page 47 swedes — in there. The only part of New Zealand in which good swedes can be grown is Southland.” But it came to pass that my first show exhibit consisted of five swedes each measuring a yard in circumference and weighing twenty-five pounds. These boxed up made a sizeable, and rather awkward package. When the coach appeared I said:

“Take this box Jim?”


I made no move and our friend found a little difficulty in putting it up.

“Can't you give me a hand?”

“Easy,” I said, “but if you can't lift five turnips grown in this country you are not fit to drive the coach.”

After we had done about half-a-mile Jim turned round and said:

“Is it true, Mr. Vaile, that there are only five turnips in that box?”

“Quite true, Jim.”

“Are they a fair sample of the crop?”

“Oh! no, Jim,” I replied, “I picked the smallest so as not to break down your crimson coach.”

Another curious circumstance about the carriage of these exhibits was that the railway folk quoted first two shillings, and then two shillings and sixpence for carriage to Auckland. Afterwards they demanded a pound. This I refused to pay, and defied them to execute their threat to put the goods off the train as I held their receipt for the two shillings and sixpence. And yet people wonder why the railways don't pay.

Jim had a ready wit. Going in one day there were two tourist ladies on the box-seat. In a valley was a series of curious little mounds. One lady asked: “Oh, driver what are those funny little mounds?” Now, if Jim had truthfully answered “I don't know,” he would have been classed as an ignorant page 48 person unfitted to guide tourists. So, rising to the occasion, he replied: “During the Maori War a battle was fought there and those are the graves of the soldiers.” And he also knew the name of the English general, the numbers slain on both sides, and all about it. To Jim is also ascribed the story of the horse grazing on Mount Tarawera, which was blown clear across to Wairoa, and landed in a tree. The fact was that our enterprising coachie was strolling round waiting for his passengers when he came across the dried skeleton of a brumby. With inspired energy he dragged it up to the top of the tree and then spun his yarn which took on wonderfully. All Rotorua rushed it, and for years the first desire of many tourists was to see this marvel of nature's forces.

After Jim came a big lump of a chap curiously miscalled “Sonny.” He was ruling the road when motors came in and he seemed to experience no great difficulty in changing over from the reins to the wheel — and there were some rough, heavy and greasy roads to be tackled.

Another interesting class, now entirely disappeared, was the hawkers. Chief of these was Joe Habib — a Persian or Syrian — “or something o' the kind.” He would blow in with his pair of horses and little caravan containing a wonderful variety of goods. Somehow he knew by instinct when I had paid out on a big contract. In he came and would fascinate the Maori ladies with his colourful and glittering goods. Of course this was in direct competition with my own warehouse, but I never turned him off — that would have been very bad manners in the eyes of the Maoris. And by the time Joe had collected his book debts I doubt not that the Maori had beaten the Pakeha. But are the Syrians and the Hindus Pakehas? That is a great question with the Maoris.

When I arrived in the district flaxmilling was an important industry. There were abundant supplies on Strathmore, and page 49 considerable quantities were drawn from Broadlands also. The great obstacle to success was the transport of the dressed fibre to market.

Every Saturday night was the time for dancing. Very early on Sunday mornings was the time for war. A free fight was then usually in full swing.

The more or less Civil Service troubled us not at all in the early days — neither did they facilitate our operations. But after the War we managed to capture an independent postmistress. This was effected in part by myself and others subsidizing the office. This young lady retired and was replaced by a mere male. He again put in his resignation and we decided to advertise for a returned soldier. In due course he arrived, but unfortunately an old friend looked in to see him the next day, which happened to be a Saturday. So off they went to “enjoy the good things of physical life.” This led to their misjudging the position of a corner in Taupo and effecting a capsize. Sunday was given furiously to rain and when the revellers got back to the settlement on Monday morning the river was up over the bridge. Anticipating events a party of settlers was there to guide the new postmaster in. He was assured there was no real danger, but he had better remove his boots and roll up his pants. After lengthy efforts he succeeded with one leg and was persuaded that the other didn't matter. He entered the raging waters and struggled valiantly to near the centre of the submerged bridge. There his feet must have got chilled, for he turned round to rush back to safety. However his sense of direction was not perfect and he stepped over the edge of the bridge into the surging river whence he was rescued by the settlers. Subsequently this chap became our best postmaster partly because, whenever he misjudged his capacity, his capable wife took over the business.

Now we have a well-run post office and telephone bureau page 50 (with several private lines connected), and are frequently visited by officers of the Agricultural, Lands, and Public Works Departments. Indeed there is a branch office of the Public Works Department in Taupo! And I think it likely that we shall soon have a branch bank there — just to refuse loans.

In a developing district the residents and also the class of residents are always changing, but one thing always remains — hard work. The New Zealand farmer is one of the hardest working and most intelligent of his kind in the world: and, compared with other workers in New Zealand, he toils twice as hard and that for less than half the rewards. Here follows a slightly adapted epitaph which would be very appropriate for his tomb:

Here lies a poor cocky who always was tired,
He worked on a farm where help was not hired;
The last words he said was: “Dear friends I am going
Where milking's not done, nor ploughing, nor sowing;
For where there's no sea and likewise no soil,
The cocky won't sweat and won't do no toil.
In heaven loud anthems for ever are ringing,
But, as I've no voice, I can't join in the singing.
Don't mourn for me now, don't mourn for me never,
I'm going to do nothing for ever and ever.