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The Diary of James Brogden, August 1871 – December 1872

12 February 1872

12 February 1872

page 64

Next morning we rose early;- breakfasted on pig’s food, which we scarcely touched; - hunted up our stupid guide; - got our horses together and attempted to saddle and bridle them; - when we found that our tether-ropes had vanished, - our bridles had been spirited away, and our girths had walked off; -and the straps for our valises gone! “What have we left?” It seemed as if we had to keep a look out on our horses tails. “Thieves!” “Thieves!” we exclaimed. “Quick to horse” – At last we got away by the help of flax (Oh blessed flax!), smiling charmingly on our devastations, - passing thro’ a narrow winding valley of rough grass at the bottom and fern above. So we came to the foot of Lake Rotoiti, skirting it by a narrow path, and looking down at periods into its deep blue waters, clear as crystal. At about 4 o’Clock we came to the only place where food could be obtained for the horses at the foot of the . We called and made our arrangements, and then rode on, past the house and fruit garden of one of the Missionaries, to the top of a shelving rock over-looking Lake Tarawara. Here we dismounted, gave our horses and to the guide to take back the 3 miles for their food, - which was fun indeed, being only scrub (coro mica / veronica nitipora, &c &c) with a little grass and then we took a canoe which the natives had, to cross the Lake as far as Kariri (Galilee). We forgot how time and days were going. This day had been believed to be Saturday and only later in the evening be discovered the fact of its being Sunday. We peacefully reached Kariri – were page 65 met by the whole Hapu, and by the Chief “Aparo” in particular, who is in the Police force (Native). We had some of the nicest young women to welcome us that we had yet seen in N.Z. – quite a different tribe to the last, - very superior and honest. They brought us some cooked fish, something like white bait, which we feasted on in the cause. Night came on and we anxiously awaited the arrival of our guide with the tent, intending to have rested at the Roto Mahara Springs for the night. Being disappointed in this, our good host “Aparo” gave up his Whare to us and cooked for us, and an interpreter was sent after us by order, so we made ourselves very happy. After meals, the natives came in and we sat down as we could, dressed with shawl and shirt alone. We then formed the young women in a circle, and got them to sing and give us a “Hucha”, their eyes flashing fire and all extremely excited. No one can ever forget the impression produced by this performance; - while one sings, their arms, heads, eyes, and bodies all move simultaneously, and in the midst all join in a chorus in which a sort of guttural sigh is introduced as an accompaniment. Their songs are generally very correct in expression, but are not, of course, according to our English ideas, very correct in expression, and such conventionalities as we impose are dispensed with. We sang our share and thus contributed to the general mirth of the evening, - after which we gave the men some tobacco and a portion of our grog; - and with the oil of our sardines and a little biscuit made them a feast. Afterwards we retired to rest, four of us in a small room, Dunny and I to lie page 66 on the raised beds of boards, and Llewellyn and Chamberlain on the floor. We each felt our hip bones on our the hard boards, but got up cheery next morning in hope of proceeding on our journey.