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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.



Maize was extensively grown in Poverty Bay and on the East Coast in the early 1830's. The earliest variety is stated to have been a dark reddish-purple sort named Gentleman of Virginia. This cereal can be grown on the best land in Poverty Bay for a number of seasons in succession without any appreciable drop in yield. The order of popularity in 1948 was: American hybrids, Horsetooth, Marigold and Ninety Days. Close on 4,000 acres are cropped each season.

Wheat (according to the Harris Memoirs) was introduced into Poverty Bay in January, 1840, by Te Waaka Perohuka (a chief who lived near Kaupapa). Shortly afterwards, Andrew Arthur procured a bushel from Wellington. The first large crop was grown in 1846 at Matawhero for Robert Espie by William Tarr, who had settled in the district with his wife and some children in 1845. He died in 1875; his widow (Granny Tarr) was in her 96th year when she died in 1908. In 1850 Poverty Bay's exports of wheat ran into 10,502 bushels.

Upon the advice of the Home Government, which intimated that no British colonists had ever received compensation in respect of losses caused by disturbances enacted by savage neighbours, Poverty Bay settlers who suffered heavily during the East Coast War and the Te Kooti revolt were not assisted financially.