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The Diary of James Brogden, August 1871 – December 1872

2 March 1872

2 March 1872

During ourmy stay in Wellington, forwhile Negociating with the Government, I started with the Engineers to investigate the route over some high mountains called the Rimutaka Range, some 5500 feet high, and which form a most beautiful object of view from Wellington Harbour, more especially when covered with snow. The Road skirts along the foot of the steep hills bordering the Lake-like Harbour, until it comes to a place called “The Hutt”. A few years ago, this road was very little above the level of the water, but an earthquake raised the land about 4 feet and the old caves worn by the Waves are now seen above the level at which the water at the present time could have affected them. The Hutt Valley is really the bed of a river, for with the heavy rainfall and the melting snow from the ranges, immense bodies of water at times rush page 84 down, almost swamping for the time, the whole district. The timber in the Valley having been cleared burned, and the land cleared, the course of the River has become changed, for the flow brings down immense quantities of debris which raises the river bed above the former level of the land, and thus the first flood breaks away to the lower level leaving the bridges on the old river bed as at first erected. It is not therefore infrequently the case in New Zealand that you must drive through a river to get at the Bridge. The Hutt Bridge over the Hutt River had been washed away, and the Piles carried down by the enormous Rata, Kaikata, Black and White Birch and other Trees which are floated down from the Wairaropa. We looked over the Mongaroa valley, climbing a hill near the Saw Mill, and reached Pukeriti at night, which is quite in the thick bush, and a favorite place for Pigeon shooting. These wild and native birds are not easily scared, indeed most of the New Zealand birds are comparatively tame, and if you remain quiet the Wood hen or Weka will come up and examine you with considerable curiosity.