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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Mistook Ship for Floating Island

Mistook Ship for Floating Island.

The party of natives thus encountered was not the same as that which had been seen the evening before. According to the Maori tradition, the ship had been seen coming into the bay the day before, and was thought to be a floating island; and this was a party of the Rongowhaka-ata tribe, who had come from Orakaiapu, a pa just below the junction of the Arai and Waipaoa rivers for the express purpose to take possession of the ship, and hence their hostile attitude. The man who seized Mr. Green's hanger and lost his life in consequence was Te Rakau. The landing was effected, as before, at the boat-harbor, and the place where the marines were posted could easily be identified before the whole aspect of the place was changed by the harbor-works which are now in progress. It was a level piece of ground, about one acre in extent, from four feet to eight feet above the level of high-water mark, and immediately adjoining the spot where the river was crossed on the preceding evening. A part of it may still be recognised between the outer end of the blockyard of the harbor-works and the base of the hill. The rock in the middle of the river which the natives used as a resting-place is known by the natives as Toka-a-Taiau, and, from the way in which it is spoken of by Cook, would seem to have stood higher, at that time, than it has done now for many years past, and perhaps to have been awash, if not dry at low water. Till within the last few years its position was always indicated at low water by the rippling of the current, but since it has been partially blasted away with dynamite it has not been so easy to detect it.