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Early Wellington

Natives at the Hutt

page 126

Natives at the Hutt.

About this time (1843), the road was finished a mile above the gorge of the Hutt, so that one could ride thither on horseback: and a bridge was nearly completed by the Company over the river just above Mr. Molesworth's large barn and threshing machine. In various spots on the lower valley, settlers were daily being driven off land, which they attempted to occupy, by the natives living near Mr. Swainson's curtailed farm.

The Pas there had become the rendezvous for all the immediate followers of Rauparaha and Rangihaeata and for all the worst characters from many of the tribes. These fugitives and reprobates, living almost without chiefs or subordination, were contented while they could grow potatoes for the market of the town, with a good road along which to carry them; but seemed resolved to prevent the white people from entering into competition with them in this pursuit. They were not to be made friends of. Missionaries, settlers and sawyers were alike laughed at and scorned. Mr. Clarke, Junr., was on one occasion threatened and driven away for attempting to interfere; and they seemed to taint the air in the very path of settlement and civilisation.