The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 8 (November 1939)
Historic Cape Foulwind — When Te Rauparaha Paddled Down From Kapiti
It was in 1642, when Tasman's stately ship was making its way across the ocean, that the famous Dutchman sighted in the distance what appeared to be a faint, dark line etched against the horizon. He set his course towards it, and in a few hours beheld the precipitous cliffs, jutting out defiantly to the sea which Captain Cook, more than a century later, was to name Cape Foulwind. Thus this historic spot has the distinction of being the first part of New Zealand to be seen by a white man, and also of having been named by Cook.
The wily old Te Rauparaha knew Cape Foulwind well, for his party sailed down in canoes from the stronghold on Kapiti. And his coming, feared and dreaded, was watched for by the local Maoris from the high point at Tauranga Bay, three miles to the south. This picturesque bay with its three great hills, guarding the entrance like sentinels, its lovely background of green paddocks, bush-covered hills, often resounded to fierce battle cries, while its smooth sands were often stained with the blood of Te Rauparaha's victims. Numerous weapons and relics found in the vicinity testify to the truth of the various tales concerning these tribal wars.
Cape Foulwind was well-known to the early sealing and whaling parties, and the Steeples, or Black Rocks, were visited as far back as 1836. Many hairraising stones are told of the adventures of some of these, in particular of Thoms and Green, who were among the first parties.
It was from the mouth of the Buller to the Cape and then down the beach, and across the Totara river, that the pioneers journeyed to Charleston in their sulkies, spring carts or drays, or leading their dejected pack-horses. The Totara was often in a treacherous mood and it required a skilled horseman to make the crossing. Mention of the Totara brings to mind the name of Nicholas Bebil, a pioneer of the locality, who lived near the mouth of the river for many years, and won the respect and admiration of all because of his upright character and warmhearted hospitality. After the death of his wife, Nicholas decided to return to his own land, Greece, but on arrival found that his relatives were dead, and that he had all but forgotten his native tongue, so after only a short absence, he came back to die in the country of his adoption. In the accompanying photograph “old Nich” as he was affectionately called, can be seen on the extreme right. It was his custom to go bare-footed.