Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Jubilee History of Nelson: From 1842 to 1892.

Chapter VI

page 71

Chapter VI.

A Visit to the Motueka Pa.—Redundancy of Labour.—Cottier Farming Mr. Tuckett, Acting Agent.—His troubles with the Labourers. Succeeded by Mr. Fox.—Piece-work Introduced.—Encouragement to Small Settlers.—Attempts to Explore route to Wairau.—Heaphy's Exploration to the South-west,—A Bachelor's Ball.—Second Visit of Bishop Selwyn.—Opening of Waimea Church.—New Year's Day, 1844.—Anniversary of Benefit, Society.—Eesignation of Mr. Tuckett.—Anniversary Day.—Stoppage of Work by the Company General Distress.—Reminiscences by some Old Settlers.—Growth and Progress of the Place.—Visit of Governor Fitzroy.—Resignation of Magistrates.—Mr. Donald Sinclair appointed Police Magistrate. Laying of Foundation Stone of Brick School near the Eel Pond. Mr. Matthew Campbell.—Visit of Bishop Pompallier and Father O'Reilly.—Things begin to Improve.—The German Settlements.

The following interesting description of a visit to the Motueka Pa in the early days, is supplied by Mr. Moriey, who made the trip overland, and who has also written a very entertaining description of the journey, which the limited space at the writer's disposal compels him regret fully to omit. After describing the adventures of their party on the road over to Motueka, Mr. Morley goes on to say: "Next day we went to see the natives at the Pa. and to witness a tribal meeting, to see them cry, and make a korero. First, I may observe at that time there were many Maoris residing at Motueka in these Pas, and a very fine and intelligent looking race of men and women they were, mostly well made, of good stature, many of them with handsome cast of European features, and there was a fair sprinkling of children. The Pas consisted of many whares, and the whole was enclosed with strong stakes or palisades sunk in the ground, and made of stout timber, well lashed together with supple-jack and flax. Some of the native women had very small and finely shaped feet and ankles—the envy of their white sisters, and the admiration of their white brothers. ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ We observed that some of the men were elaborately tattooed all over the face with very intricate scroll patterns, the details of which were very puzzling to us, but we were informed they were tribal and hereditary marks of distinction denoting family ancestors. A few women were also tattooed about the lips, and had other marks about their persons, which is a custom they inflict on themselves on the death of a relative or friend. Many of the old warriors were dressed native fashion in well made flax mats, with carved green stone ornaments, and usually carried a heavy mere of greenstone or a tomahawk, and some of the Maoris had firearms and bowie page 72knives. They also had a kind of axe made of very hard wood, and beautifully carved spears and pointed sticks—all these were weapons of warfare. The native visitors followed closely on our arrival, but did not come close to the Pa at first, but remained at some distance and formed into line. The Motueka natives also extended in line facing their visitors with a chief in front of them brandishing a tomahawk, who gave the first cry of welcome. Then began the real native cry from both parties, making a very peculiar hideous noise, all crying together in the same monotonous tone, not easy to describe. As soon as they began to cry each party moved very slowly towards the other, only a few inches at a time, so that a cry of great consequence would last 10 or twelve hours or more. In this particular cry there were at least 200 natives engaged, and it occupied all day. Very soon after it began copious tears flowed from both eyes and noses of both men and women. Towards evening they were close together and finished the ceremony by rubbing noses. Then came the feast. In former times it would have been a cannibal feast; now they are content with more humble fare—such as roast pig, birds preserved native fashion in their own fat, dried fish, kumara (sweet potato), native greens, fish oil, indian corn, and potatoes. We took some food with them, and arranged to come again to the korero. We accordingly went next day early, but did not understand what it was about; we, however, observed by their gesticulations that they were easily excited, because sometimes they threw off their mats, shook their spears or other weapons, and trembled all over like a leaf. They behaved very kindly to us."

Mr. Morley then goes on to relate how an old friend, John Barleycorn, was fascinated by a Maori, and declared his intention of getting married by the missionary. Nothing would turn him from his purpose, and so his friends had to leave him to his fate When last seen he was fondly rubbing noses in approved native fashion with his dusky sweetheart.

The redundancy of labour in the settlement was still severely felt. The Gibbon Wakefield theory had so far proved a failure, that capital had not been attracted in sufficient propor tion to balance the labour element, and there was a large number of men and families solely dependent upon such employment as the Company could give them.

Captain Wakefield had endeavored to establish cottier farming, but with no conspicuous success. A few families were settled in the Eiwaka Valley, Motueka, and Waimea. Seed wheat and potatoes were supplied gratis; easy terms were agreed upon for the acquisition of land, and employment given in road-making in the neighborhood of the land. The time not occupied in work of this kind was devoted to the cultivation of the land. At page 73Motueka, the chief occupation was sawing timber for the Nelson market. "There was a fine extent of unappropriated bush, that any one was free to enter to fell trees, and saw timber without let or hindrance. This gave occupation to a considerable number, as it was work at which novices soon acquire a fair proficiency." —(Pratt's Colonial Experiences.)

The office of agent of the Company was, upon the death of the lamented Captain Wakefield, filled, temporarily, by the appointment of Mr. Tuckett, the Chief Surveyor to the expedition.

Mr Tuckett had not the nerve for such a post. He had been distinctly instructed that all men employed by the Company were to work under actual and constant inspection. But the men declined any such supervision. They would work when and how they pleased. Mr. Vallé, who was acting as Inspector of Works, was ignominiously ducked in a deep ditch—and poor Mr. Tuckett was reduced to despair.

In his misery, he addressed himself to Mr Greaves, a local solicitor, imploring him to take the burden of the agency on his own shoulders. "The arrangements," wrote Mr. Tuckett, "which I had made to carry into effect the instructions of the New Zealand Company's principal agent, Colonel Wakefield, in reference to the future direction and inspection of the labours of the men employed on public works, and which, for that purpose, were placed under the direction of Mr. Vallé, having been frustrated thro' violence and combination on the part of the men, and no attempt having been made by the civil authorities or Proprietors of the Settlement to bring the offenders to justice, or to protect the Company or their own servants from future injury and insult. I have determined to have no further communication with the men employed on the public works and the decree of the men being that they will not have any time-keepers or inspectors over them, I see no alternative but to let them pursue their own course, avowedly as well as actually, as has hitherto always been their practice. If you are of opinion that the men can yet be brought to a sense and performance of their duties, and are willing to make the essay, I will gladly resign my trust into your hands, and do now tender the same to you for your acceptance, and whether you accept or decline the same, with liberty to communicate the subject of this letter to the other Proprietors of the Settlement, that you may in concert, if it appears necesssry, adopt measures for the public welfare."

Mr Tuckett did not hold office very long, and was succeeded by Mr William Fox (now Sir William Fox, K.C.M.G). He initiated a system of piecework on the roads, but limiting the quantity to be executed each week to what was considered an average week's work by day work, paying the same wages, but allowing page 74the men to do the work in as short a time as they liked. This would leave each man some time to devote to cultivating his land—and the Company would get as much work done, and for the same price, as by day labour.

The system answered very well. There was not only a marked increase in the amount of work executed each week—but it materially assisted many families of the working-class to become permanent settlers. The harder and longer a man worked each day, the sooner would his alloted task be finished, and the more time he would have in each week for improving his section. A skilled hand could get through his portion in two and a-half to three days. The allowance was twenty-four cubic yards of ditching, including the pitching the earth, and forming the road a chain wide, but leaving a clear space of seven feet between the made road and ditch on either side. The price was 9d per cubic yard, or 18s. for the week's work.

This system was intended to directly encourage settlement— but the pay was considered so good at the time, that several left their ordinary occupations to engage in this work.

"Blacksmiths left their anvils, town carriers their teams, and, in a few instances, shopkeepers their counters, and returned to their usual employment for the remainder of the week."— (Pratt.)

When the agent discovered that some were taking the employment without having taken land, or intending to take any, he ordered that all such should be no longer employed. The taking and cultivating land was made a condition of obtaining piece work on the roads.

A clerk was despatched to visit all engaged on the works, and take down the quantity of land owned, or in cultivation; or the quantity and situation of any land a workman was willing to occupy and cultivate.

Mr Fox was cast in a firmer and more determined mould than Mr Tuckett. Summary dismissal was the penalty for breach of his regulations.

On November 28th, Mr Tuckett, and a party consisting of Messrs Parkinson, Drake, Macdonald, Newcome, Tytler, and Kerr, started to explore a route to the Wairau up the Maitai, crossing the Maungatapu to the Pelorus, and thence by the way of the Kaituna Valley. They returned on December 3rd, having gone no further than the Pelorus.

Mr Tuckett made another attempt a few days after to get to the Wairau via Kaituna. This time he went by water to the Pelorus—the "Oyerri," as it was then called—but had not proceeded far up the river when he was terrified by the appearance of four canoes. Mr Tuckett's party fled. Whether the canoes were filled with friendly or hostile natives he did not know, but they appeared to be pursuing him. So "I allowed myself," says page 75Mr Tuckett, "to act on the suggestion and impulse of the fear of them, and accordingly with more discretion than valour we pulled out of the "Oyerri," against the tide, with the greatest possible celerity; which was greatly promoted by frequent declarations that we were sharply pursued and likely to be overtaken."

Mr Tuckett evidently did not intend to make any more attempts to get to the Wairau. In a postscript to the letter he adds, "Until we can resort to the Wairau either with the consent of the natives or the support of the Government, I am of opinion that it is a waste of time and expenditure to attempt it."

Just after this a person named Williams came in and reported the discovery of a tract of available land on Queen Charlotte Sound, having a visible frontage of ten miles, and a greater depth. Mr Tuckett was not going to be caught with any such nonsense; Heaphy's chart proved there could be no such land; there was therefore no hope. "Mr Davidson is the only assistant on whose judgment I should depend, and he is employed on a reality; Brunner has an admirable adaptation to fictions, but he is likewise employed in actual survey. If you wish it, I have not the least objection to proceed thither, having no fear of the natives of the Sound." The italics are Mr Tuckett's.

In November Mr Charles Heaphy (Major Heaphy, V.C.) and Mr J. S. Spooner started on an exploring tour to the South-west. The natives of Motueka, and others who had formerly inhabited the interior of this island, reported that there existed grassy plains about four days' journey from Nelson, and situated between the Roto-iti Lake and the West Coast. Through these plains a river was reported to flow, and to join the sea near Cape Foulwind. They started on 8th November, taking with them three men and twenty-three days' provisions with plenty of powder and shot, as they knew they would have to depend greatly on their gun for support. They encamped on the evening of the 11th, at the edge of the great wood in the Wairau Pass Valley. They were detained the following day by rain. On the 13th there was heavy rain and snow. In the evening they proceeded about three miles "into the great wood," when they halted, their feet being benumbed with walking through the snow, and one party being seriously indisposed.

On the 14th they managed to struggle S. by W. about nine miles through deep moss and thick underwood, which made their progress slow and fatiguing. On the following day, following the same course through much thick jungle, they emerged upon some swampy ground on their right, and from the side of a steep hill saw Lake Roto-iti before them, filling up the whole of the gorge to southward. "On our right," says the report, "an open valley extended to the W.N.W., apparently covered with grass, agreeing with the native description. After having been in the wood for upwards of two days, the sight of this valley was particularly page 76pleasing; and the change of temperature from that of winter to warm, sunny weather was equally pleasurable. We named the valley that of the "Fox" river; the Eoto-iti, Lake Arthur; and a sharp snowy peak to the south, Mount Cotterell, being the one most probably ascended by that gentleman in his expedition.

Having descended the hill, they followed the valley, and found a river ran through it from the western end of the lake. The soil is described as not being good, being very stony and covered with high grass and spear plant, with patches of high manuka. Still descending the valley, they found the pasturage gradually improving and the width of the valley increasing. The soil was also much better, but not fit for agriculture, except about the wooded lands on the table flats.

They ascended a mountain, which they named Mount Sykes, from which a magnificent view was obtained. The valley appeared to continue about seven miles further, when the river seemed to enter a gorge of the mountains and flow to the S.W. "North of us we could see the hills above Nelson and the Motueka, to the east the Wairau Pass and Lake Arthur, to the south five steep wooded ridges and above the snowy range, and to the west the great range extending from Separation Point to the gorge of the "Fox."

It is worthy of note that the first European name given to the river was the "Fox," which was changed to the "Buller."

The Maori name was then as now the "Kawa-tiri." The tributaries flowing into the main river were named after the gentlemen who were massacred at the Wairau. Thus the "Howard" now derives its name from the plucky but unfortunate ex-gunner of the "Rhadamanthus," who, as Company's storekeeper, came out with Captain Wakefield, and perished with his old commander at the Wairau.

On the evening of the 16th, the explorers met Mr. Boyes and two men who had been sent by Mr. Tuckett to explore in the same direction, and who had penetrated through the woods by compass from the Motueka survey station. They joined company, and next day followed the valley to where the river entered a steep gorge and turned sharply to the S.W. "The scenery," says the report, "in the Devil's Grip, the name given to the defile, is very picturesque, but nothing more can be said in its praise. At each bend of the river we were in expectation of seeing the valley expand, but were as often disappointed." In the bed of the stream, beside which they dined, they found pieces of coal similar to that from Massacre Bay. And so for two or three days they continued their way down the river to below the junction of the Eoto-roa river, and despairing of the ravine widening, some of the party ascended a lofty mountain and discerned the river winding to the S.W. for about twelve miles, bounded with rugged mountains. Being persuaded that this page 77defile could lead them to no level land, for some distance, and that any good land which might surround the "Fox" at the Coast would be quite out of reach from Nelson, they thought it unnecessary to proceed further. They were prevented following the river to the Coast from want of provisions, which had run very short, and on their return journey they had to depend almost entirely upon the gun. It took them five days to get back to Nelson, where they arrived on the 23rd December. The report of Messrs. Heaphy and Spooner concludes as follows:—"The valley of the Fox is about eleven miles in length, and averages a mile and a-half in breadth. In it there may be about 11,000 acres of pasture land. It offers a fair locality for a stock station within three or four days walk of Nelson, and would depasture about 15,000 sheep at present. In the event of stock being put upon it the pasture would rapidly improve, and were the seed of artificial grasses scattered about it would become soon an excellent piece of pasture land. The land generally which we have seen is quite unfit for agriculture, and where the soil is of a better description it is at too great a distance from the town for profitable cultivation."

Those who know the Lake run, now the property of Mr. John Kerr, will recognise how accurately its capabilities were estimated by these early explorers.

The first Bachelors' ball was given in November in Mr. Kerr's barn at Waimea West, which had been beautifully decorated for the occasion. The bachelors responsible for the entertainment were Dr. Monro, Messrs. Duppa, J. Tytler, G. Tytler, E. W. Stafford, R. K. Newcome, and A. Domett. Dancing was, as usual, kept up to a late hour, about thirty-five couples joining in the amusement.

On December 8, Bishop Selwyn again visited Nelson, and held confirmation on the following Sunday. He left again on the 13th.

The Church at Waimea was used for public worship for the first time on the 24th December. The Eev. C. L. Reay officiated. This was the first Church raised in the Company's settlements for the United Church of England and Ireland. An acre was fenced in, of which two-thirds were intended to be consecrated as a burial ground. The reading desk was given by Mr. Beit, and the font by the Rev. Mr Reay.

On New Year's Day, 1844, harvest was commenced at Waimea by Mr. Kerr, and the day following by the Messrs. Tytler. The crops generally were satisfactory, and although, in some instances, there was a deficiency of straw, the wheat was fine and heavy.

On this day, the Nelson Benefit Society held its first anniversary. Ninety members assembled at the Carpenters' Arms, and went in procession to the Church, where an appropriate page 78sermon was preached by the Rev. C. L. Reay. At 3 o'clock there was a dinner, provided by Mr. Harley, of a most excellent description, to which 110 sat down.

On 6th January, 1844, Mr. Tuckett, who came out with the original expedition, in the character of Chief Surveyor, resigned his office. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and wars and rumors of wars, and the almost universal carrying of arms, filled him with disgust. He saw ho near prospect of being able to complete the, surveys—on the contrary, the obstacles appeared to be increasing—and were, in his opinion, only likely to removed by a demonstration of superior armed force. In his agreement with the Directors he had been specially exempted from bearing arms, training men to the use of them, or taking part with them. This brought upon him, from some, an imputation of cowardice. In his letter of resignation he says: "We are now arrived at a state of affairs in which most men consider it expedient to go about armed." Then, referring to the terms of his agreement, he adds, "I cannot in this respect act any longer both with my own approbation and that of others. This was the hindrance on the late excursion up the Pelorus. My companions objected to proceed because we were not an armed party, and I should have declined proceeding with an armed party." There is much quiet dignity in the concluding words of the letter of the conscientious Friend. He says: "There is no longer any dispensation to slay and utterly exterminate the heathen, or I believe I could draw the sword with enthusiasm, and the consciousness of the penalty makes me a coward in the estimation of those who regard war as lawful."

Mr. Tuckett was in all respects an honourable and conscientious man—an excellent surveyor—but a poor administrator—he found himself placed in circumstances in which, owing to his religious convictions, he was misunderstood—and in which, also, his own conscience was daily offended. The work he had come out to do could only be completed by more armed display, and he would have none of it. Therefore he resigned.

February 1st, 1844—the second anniversary of the Settlement —was celebrated as before, although there was not so much spirit and excitement. The horse racing consisted of a sweep stakes of 10s. 6d., with £5 added, for horses of all ages; heats. The entries were Duppa's Dr. Syntax and Quilp, Rogers' Old Stock, Spooner's Dandy, and Ellerms' Captain. The stakes were small, but the sport was just as good as if the race had been for hundreds, Quilp won the money. There was also a pony race between Mr. Empson's Billy and Dr. Renwick's Phillidor, which, after a good race, was won by Billy. The race between cart horses must have been amusing; it resulted in a victory for Beeswing. There were also aquatic sports, rowing' matches, sailing matches, sculling matches, and canoe races.

page 79

Just as the Nelson people were fairly recovering from the shock of the Wairau massacre, and progress was once more being made, another blow fell upon them, the result of which it was, for a long time, not easy to see.

The arrival of an English mail—not a frequent occurrence in those days—brought the intelligence that the New Zealand Company had suspended operations. The Union Bank undertook to find enough money to pay the wages of the Company's men for the current week, after which nine-tenths of the wage earning population would be left without an employer at any price. Just at this juncture too the usual trading vessels failed to arrive.

And now the times were bad indeed. Some of the brave old settlers who went through it all still survive, and have kindly sent the writer some notes of their experiences. To touch them up, or alter them in any way, would be to spoil them, and they are, therefore, produced here verbatim.

Mr Duncan of Eiwaka, who came out in the "Fifeshire," and was only a young lad in 1844, says:—" We and many others went over to Riwaka; there they built two rows of houses, with posts and mud, and thatched with toi-toi. Shortly after this the Wairau massacre occurred, when everyone in the place thought we should all be killed. All the men kept watch every night; they were all armed with guns; some at the old pa entrance, and some at the new pa eutrance, to see that no fresh arrivals came in. Soon after this Mr Stephens started to survey Eiwaka, and roads and ditches were formed on both sides of the Riwaka river, and right across the plain to the Motueka river. There was one store called the Company's Store, where all the people got their provisions. The sugar was as black as tar. Then came the smash, the Company broke, and what little was in the store was divided amongst all hands. The people did not know what to do; they had neither money nor food. Money, however, was no good in Riwaka, as there was nothing to buy, Some of the people had a little flour, and made flour gruel to make it spin out. Some gathered southistles and boiled them; others dug up the potatoes they had planted, and peeled them to eat, and planted the skins. I have seen the shoots of the potatoes planted. How long this state of things lasted I cannot tell, but I know we lived on potatoes a good while, and when we got bread we did not like it. Then people began to dig and sow small patches of wheat, and then food began to be more plentiful. But clothes were very scarce. I remember my mother made me a suit of clothes out of a three-bushel sack, trousers and all. I was quite proud of them, and many others were dressed in the same manner."

Mrs Duncan, who came out in the "Fifeshire," says:— "When we came first to Riwaka everything was in a state of nature. Landing at the old pah we had to wade through the page 80tide and over the mud-flats, carrying all our belongings on our backs; but all the party were in good health, and we made light of our difficulty. "We commenced to break up some ground for gardens, also for planting of potatoes and sowing wheat. It was hard and slow work, as everything had to be done by hand, A small store was opened at Ferris's Creek by a Mrs Turner. One day my husband and myself went there to get some flour. We had to waje through the Eiwaka river and cross the mud-flats. Carrying home with each of us a load on our backs, we stuck in the mud, and had a struggle to get out, but we saved the flour. The New Zealand Company promised the settlers here two years' work, but that promise was not kept. It was then we had hard times indeed—no work and no money. For some time we had nothing to eat but potatoes—morning, noon, and night—and we were very thankful to have them even. Our neighbours were all in the same straits, and often we thought we would have to give up in despair. Fortunately for us we had a heifer, which calved at this time, and we considered the milk with the potatoes a royal feast. Mr S. Stephens gave the settlers as much work as he possibly could, and though the wages were very low—2/6 per day—we were very glad to get it. Times then began to mend. We all had a few head of cattle running on the waste land in the Valley, and we found a market for our surplus produce, and now at the advanced age of eighty years, when I look over the beautiful district of Riwaka and think what it was when I came here, nearly forty-nine years ago, I am thankful to God for the wondrous way we were preserved and brought through all our trials and troubles; and now truly our lines have fallen to us in pleasant places."

Mrs Cresswell of Stoke also gives some particulars which will illustrate the hardships of the time. She says, "We did pretty well until the Company broke; then it was a time of privations. I can mind the time when we only had one large loaf in the house in five weeks. We could not get bread or tea or sugar for weeks, and if it had not been for potatoes we should have Starved. My father could get very little work. There were more poor folks than rich ones. Our neighbours of course were as much in want as ourselves. We were all then what they called squatters. The land belonged to some one, but we did not know who, and so we lived for a while, but it was hard times ihen. I think we were nearly as well off as those that had more money, for there was but one bakehouse, and it was first come first served. I have waited more than an hour some times and not got any. Wage?, too, were very low, and for a long time after; and when we were married, in 1846, my husband was working for Mr Martin of Stoke for two shillings a day."

"It was," says Mr Thomas Hewitson, "a very trying time page 81when the Company ceased to employ labour. Food was so scarce that the seed potatoes were dug up, but found to be uneatable. I remember my father carrying 25lbs. of flour on his back from Richmond, andd I kept the family in fish and in meat by killing wild pigs. I wore no boots for years, and we grew up like wild people. The night my father, mother, and I landed at the western entrance to the Moutere, we waded about a mile through the mud-fiat, and then crawled under a raupo whare about three feet high, and slept. Next day four of the Company's men helped us to carry our goods up the valley. As the sun set we had just reached the edge of the bush having toiled all day through the high fern and manuka, and the men could go no further for fear of being be-nighted, and they left our things. We dragged them down the hill as well as we could, tied a stick across two trees, hung a sheet over it, and lay there. We had no fire nor means of making any, so we walked some miles up the valley to the surveyors' camp, and got some coals in a tin, which we kept alive with some difficulty with fern-sticks, and carried all the way back. That fire I cm tell you we did not let out again. Later on we got a gun, and then we could light a fire with the powder and a rag." This family resided then at the Moutere.

Mr Wm. Wadsworth, of Wai-iti, thus graphically describes his first trip from Nelson to Wakefield in February, 1843, and also the hardships he endured some time afterwards:—" About the beginning of February we removed with a number of other families to Wakefield. A man named Garnet, with a drag and team of bullocks belonging to the Company, started with the luggage and provisions, reaching Destruction Hill the first night. My father and I and Mr Young started the next morning. The three of us walked until we got to a swamp about Stoke, where a big ditch was cut across the road. The men jumped over, but I was not so lucky, but landed in the ditch, where I had to stop until my father came back and pulled me out. Then we jogged on to Richmond, where we had some refreshments at Mr T. Kite's. I saw no other house on the road except a small building they told me belonged to Mr Snow, the tailor, until we reached the Wairoa river; but soon after we missed the dray and could not find our way, so we re-crossed the river and went to Mr Duppa's to enquire the road. It came on to rain heavily, and the river rose so rapidly we had great difficulty in crossing it. We found our way to Maddok's Bush, and persevered until we came to Mr McRae's, the fourth house we had seen since leaving Nelson They very kindly gave us some bread, butter, and milk, and also directed us to the Government camp." Mr Wadsworth goes on to describe the difficulty experienced in getting up provisions, the raupo whares erected as residences, and the arrival of the wives and children of the men; all hands being busy at work—the men road-making, and the women cooking, page 82&c., and everyone healthy and contented; and then goes on to say, "This happy state of thing was soon marred by hearing of the sad massacre at the Wairau. We were terribly scared, especially the women and children. The men set a watch by night for fear the Maoris would come upon us unawares. By degrees things got quiet again, and we lived on pretty jolly until such time as the Company began to break, when hard times commenced indeed. We had to live as best we could for some time. Our provisions were chiefly potatoes and salt, relieved occasionally by fish or pigeons. For years I never saw or heard of any butchers—only when a neighbour killed a pig Mutton was out of the question; and I never saw a joint of beef for several years except from a bullock that died from tutu, or from a beast that was killed to save it from dying "

Mr. Alfred Saunders, M.H.R, writes as follows:—" Never before nor since did I see men and women endure so much real privation, with so little complaint, or work so hard, or live upon so little. Until the growing potatoes were fit for food the struggle was a very stern one, and, like Mrs. Garfield, many a mother went hungry to bed to feed her children. But with such improvidence, both on the part of the Company and its employees, the painful lesson must have come some time, and it greatly improved in many ways those who went through it. It could hardly be said that the privations of the many were, in any case, aggravated by the luxuries of the few. The very few that were really well off felt their responsibilities too close to be set aside by any indulgence. In hundreds of cases the very poor helped those who were poorer still. Many a careless spendthrift learned that it is not safe to live always from hand to mouth; and, better still, we all learned either to see or to feel that many a neighbour, whose generosity had never before been tried, was all there when he was really wanted. Now many of the most esteemed settlers, who have since been loved and trusted by their neighbours in Nelson, are the men and women who first proved what they were made of in those days of trial It was well for Nelson that the Truck Act was not in force in those days, as, even after the severest struggle was over, coin was not abundant, and many a ' bloated capitalist,' who had grown more potatoes than he required for his own family, was guilty of sending half a ton to his less fortunate neighbour, on the understanding that he ' could work it out when convenient.'"

Amongst those who gave freely to their neighbours out of their own modest store was Mr. Best, of Appleby. A loaf of bread was something precious in those days—only those who have experienced the want of it know what it is to be without. There is one story told of Mr. Best during these troubles which will bear repeating, and has the merit of being true. Coming into town one day, when his little hoard of flour was getting page 83very low, and things generally were at their worst, he met Mr. Alfred Fell, for whom he entertained a very high regard. Mr. Fell was looking very dejected, and Mr. Best asked him what was the matter? Well, Mr. Best, he said, the fact is we have not a particle of flour in the house, and I don't where to get any. I'll get you a bit, said Mr. Best, so cheer up. There were no formed roads, or conveyances in those days—but Mr. Best was not to be beaten. Next day he put a bag of flour on his back, and carried it through the swampy, muddy road from Appleby to Nelson. Shooting it down at the door of Mr. Fell's business premises, he said, "There! give me five minutes rest and a glass of liquor, and I'll carry it up to the house for you." Which he did.

Notwithstanding all the difficulties through which the young settlement "passed, and with the shadow of troubles yet to come, seemingly visible—the growth and progress of the place were remarkable. The population of the Town in 1844 was 1460, and of the country 1576, making a total of 3037. Sheep of excellent breeds had been imported from Australia, and there were now 5782, and 918 cattle, besides other stock. Including the road-making in the town, over fifty-four miles of roads had been made. These extended to Wakefield in one direction, and beyond Wakapuaka in another. There had also been some road-making at Riwaka, Motueka, and the Moutere. The amount of land in cultivation was 1262 acres—mostly in cereals and potatoes. There was a bank, a flour mill, three sawmills, and a rope walk. The Immigration Depot, on the Church Hill as we now call it, was a large wooden building—this had been altered and made very convenient for the purposes of the members of the Church of England. The Wesleyans had a commodious brick Church in Bridge street, close to the Haven road, which had been opened by the Rev. Mr. Aldred on the 6th October, 1843. There were in addition to the two clergymen of the Church of England, the Wesleyan and the Lutheran ministers. There were five schools, and a Literary and Scientific Institute with a circulating library of 600 volumes, and an Agricultural and Horticultural Society.

Governor Fitzroy visited Nelson in February, 1844, and remained a few days. He reprimanded the Magistrates who signed the warrant for the arrest of Rauparaha and Rangihaeta, and intimated that in his estimation our countrymen had brought the calamity on themselves by their illegal conduct, and he gave little hope that there would be any judicial enquiry into the matter. His Excellency also intimated his intention of leaving the names of those Magistrates out of the next list. The result was that they all resigned, as did also Mr. McDonald to show his sympathy with them. Mr. G. White, who had been acting as Police Magistrate since Mr. Thompson's death, also page 84resigned, and the Governor appointed Mr. Donald Sinclair to the post.

The effect of the Governor's visit was to leave in the minds of one section of the public feelings of bitter disgust and illsuppressed indignation. But there was another large and influential section who, keenly as their sympathies had been aroused by the shocking tragedy, yet felt, upon a calm review of the facts, that his Excellency, was, on the whole, acting for the best.

On Wednesday, 21st February, 1844, the foundation stone of the Nelson Sunday and Day School was laid by Mr. William Fox, on a section of land presented by the Government, situateiu Bridge street, near the Eel Pond. There the building still stands in what is now the Queen's Gardens, partly used as a Sunday School and partly as the Nelson School of Mines. The Jate Mr. Matthew Campbell was a moving spirit in the erection of this building and to the day of his death took the warmest interest in the schools that from time to time were carried on under its roof. It was, indeed, only one of many schools erected in various parts of the settlement for the primary education of children through the philanthropic exertions of Mr. Campbell.

In May, the Roman Catholics had a visit, for the first time, from their clergy. Bishop Pompallier came accompanied by the Rev. J. J. P. O Reilly, an Angustinian Monk, who was acting as Priest at Wellington. High Mass Was celebrated in a house in Bridge street, formerly occupied by Mr. Otterson, who placed it at the Bishop's disposal. The Bishop preached to the natives in their own language, and Father O'Reilly to the Europeans in English.

The year was one of great privations, borne with patient heroism; and, in most cases, with the unflinching determination to persevere despite all difficulties. As people began to find a market for their produce, the times began to mend. The clouds began to roll by.

Out of evil good sometimes comes. When the working classes in the settlement were thus suddenly deprived of the employment given to them by the New Zealand Company, they were reduced to great misery and want. That misery and want compelled them to resort to the cultivation of the land for the purpose of obtaining subsistence. In many cases they were mere squatters. In the case of those who did pay, the amount was small. A short period saw them relieved from distress— and from that time may be dated the real progress of the settlement.

The Colonization Scheme of the New Zealand Company became known in Germany through the agency of Mr John N. Beit of Hamburgh, who during a visit to London in 1842 had heard of the settlement at Nelson. He made some proposals to Messrs.

page 85

De Chapeaurouge & Co., an old established firm of Hamburgh merchants, and they entered into negotiations with the Company, resulting in their becoming the purchasers of five allotments, and the North German Missionary Society bought another. The "St. Paul" was chartered, and emigrants procured from all parts of Germany, upon the same terms as those offered by the Company to the British emigrants, viz., to find them work for three days a week, and three days a week they could work on land they could get from the Company. Four missionaries were sent out by the Society, and they with a number of the emigrants took up suburban sections in the Moutere Valley. Mr Beit was the leader of the expedition. He did not get on well with his countrymen, who complained of his love of domineering, and inability to act in a conciliatory spirit.

Reverses of a severe kind shortly overtook these first German settlers. They began cultivating the land and building dwellings, but a heavy flood swept away most of their improve ments. Shortly after the N.Z. Company stopped giving work, and then these unfortunate settlers returned to Nelson.

In the meantime a second expedition was being started by Messrs. De Chapeaurouge & Co. Count Rantzau, a German nobleman, interested himself in it, and bought four allotments of land, and three others were purchased by Mr G. De Chapeau rouge. The "Skiold" was chartered, and several families—in all abut 200 souls—were sent out by her. This expedition, and the management of the lands, were entrusted to the brothers Kelling. The vessel arrived on 1st September, 1844.

The Company had altogether ceased to employ emigrants,. and when some of those who came out by the "St. Paul" met the newcomers, and told the story of hardships and sufferings, they were greatly discouraged. But whereas the first expedition included emigrants from all parts of Germany, those by the "Skiold" came from Mecklenburgh. This acted as a bond of unity. Nevertheless, shortly after about half of the second expedition, and nearly all of the first, left for Australia. Those who remained did not suffer so much comparatively as other labourers in the Kelson Settlement. They took up land from the Company and other land agents, and work could always be obtained from the Messrs. Kelling, who had started the farm in Waimea East known as "Ranzau." By degrees they were able to acquire suburban sections from the Company, who had by arrangement laid off the lands intended for these emigrants in one block.

When some considerable time afterwards the N.Z. Company made arrangements with their land purchasers for a re-selection of suburban and rural land where it could be found, the Rev. J. W. C. Heine, who came out in the "St. Pauli," and who had been appointed Pastor of the Settlement by the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, took advantage of the proposals, and page 86selected the Mission lands at the Moutere, and shortly after removed there, being followed by several German families. The spot where they settled is called "Sarau." These settlers availed themselves from time to time of the assisted immigration scheme, and brought out many of their friends and relatives; and thus the settlement of Germans at the Moutere, numbering about 350, was formed. Both at the Moutere and at Waimea East neat churches and commodious parsonage houses and schools were erected, the Rev. Mr. Meyer taking pastoral charge of the latter. This gentleman left after a time, and Mr. Heine, being well stricken in years, resigned, and the two places, and the Lutheran Church in Nelson, were placed under the sole charge of the Rev. J. Theil.

In 1869, Mr Fedor Kelling was appointed German Consul. His duties after a time became nearly nominal, and he resigned. His services to his countrymen were acknowledged by the Emperor William I., who bestowed upon him the cross of the Order of the Crown.

page break
Nelson, 1845.

Nelson, 1845.