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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 11 (January 1, 1939)

New Zealand'S Lighthouse Service

page 41

New Zealand'S Lighthouse Service.

(Continued from page 27 ) steamer, bound north, and rejoin his ship in due course. He “deserted” many times, once at Westport, when he was away several weeks, but he found the Matai at last, looking so sleek that he had obviously suffered no hardship in his travels.

An Auckland adventure of this remarkable cat still puzzles the water-front.
“Blackie,” the “Matai's” adventurous travelling cat.

“Blackie,” the “Matai's” adventurous travelling cat.

“Blackie” walked ashore without leave in Auckland, but rejoined in Wellington ten days later. It happened that during this interval there had been no vessels making this trip. How did “Blackie” get to Wellington? There are people prepared to take their oath that “Blackie” was seen wandering around the Auckland railway yard, so one simply assumes that this very intelligent cat knew all about the Limited!

They were swapping “mean man” stories aboard the Rotorua express the other day. Presently the man in the corner said: “I was travelling from Lyttelton to Wellington awhile ago. In the smoke-room after dinner a well-dressed stranger asked me for a ‘fill.’ I handed him my brand new pouch. Later, feeling inclined for a whiff myself, I ventured to remind this chap that he had not returned my pouch. He had the nerve to tell me he had given it back ‘long ago.’ A barefaced lie, of course. But I couldn't prove it. The pouch was full of New Zealand toasted tobacco. I smoke nothing else. There's no tobacco like Cut Plug No. 10. And as I couldn't get any on the boat, I had perforce to wait for my next smoke till I got ashore. Doesn't always pay to be too obliging does it?” The tobacco mentioned by this passenger is one of the five famous toasted brands, the other four being Riverhead Gold, Desert Gold, Cavendish, and Navy Cut No. 3.*

Hurdle Jumping Excelled.

A variation in the Matai's corkscrew wallowing during the early hours of her trip down the West Coast to Kaipara indicated that we were at last making for a sheltered harbour. The sand dunes were still a hazy blur on the horizon when the Matai commenced to do a couple of extra knots, running for the coast on the long rollers of a following sea. It resembled hurdle jumping on the large scale, and when I remarked that this seemed like crossing the bar, the surprising answer came that we were actually on the Kaipara Bar, nearly seven miles out to sea. The explanation is that a great sand drift works up the West Coast from the South making its mark for many miles in the dunes ashore, but that the strong flow of water through Kaipara Heads keeps the sand well out to sea.

Racing in on these great rollers, the Matai found quiet anchorage just around the northern headland, at the Maori village of Poutu, and work commenced at once on buoys and beacons, so essential in this area of sand-banks and strong currents. It had been a quick run into harbour, helped by the following sea, but getting out again would be a problem unless the southerly died down. So, as the journalistic jobs ashore began to call, and there were coming appointments to consider, the journalist somewhat reluctantly forsook the uncertainties of sea travel for the train, an all-night run on the river steamer enabling an early morning connection to be made with the rail for Auckland at Helensville, and so to join the fast and comfortable Limited to Wellington, with the assurance that deep depressions crossing the Tasman would introduce no uncertainties about arriving at 9.30 a.m.

“Farthest North” in New Zealand—Cape Maria Van Diemen.

“Farthest North” in New Zealand—Cape Maria Van Diemen.