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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Hold-up of Produce

Hold-up of Produce.

On June 29 1858 it was found necessary to petition the Governor in respect of the Native movement in Poverty Bay.

“As yet, on account I presume of no mail having arived, we are,” wrote a correspondent, “ignorant of its fate, although privately we learn that the Governor has said that we must manage the best way we can, despite the fact that we have no adequate means of enforcing the law. So I suppose we must wait a little longer under the idea that there is a good time coming.

“We are still under tapu—the decision of the Runanga still being in force. The Natives demand 12/-per bushel for wheat, in consequence of which the Natives here are poorly clad. Most of them, indeed, are heartily sick of this stupid movement—a movement for which they will feel the ill-effects for some time. There will not this season be one-tenth of the land that there was brought under cultivation.

“You are doubtless aware of the Native character, quite a “follow my leader” impulse in almost everything they do. Far and near in this locality they have been carrying on a war of extermination against the wild pigeons by way of preparation for a grand feast to come off in Sept. next and at which I believe two matters regarding the terms on which we shall be allowed to trade are to be finally settled.

“One blessing is that the Natives are quiet just now. Would they only remain in such a state of coma as regards the pakehas they might for what we care continue that tapu till the end of time.”

“I am of opinion that much of this trouble has arisen from advice given the Natives here in 1851 by the Rev. Grace “to hold back their produce, by which they would raise prices in Auckland.” They in a measure acted upon this advice. Gold was discovered in page 74 page 75 California and subsequently in Australia. Prices in consequence ruled high and the Natives supposed that Mr. Grace's advice led to this state of things.

The New Bridge at Peel Street.

The New Bridge at Peel Street.

“There being no cargo there is of course no inducement for vessels to call. The Ann and Queen from Napier and the Emerald Isle from Wellington on their way to Auckland have been only once during the month. The Ann took a cargo of wheat and oil, the latter amounting to 2¼ tuns of sperm and the produce of a whale stranded near Nick's Head. The wheat had been purchased prior to the Runanga.”

Further evidence of the contempt in which British law was held in Poverty Bay is supplied by a correspondent under date October 20, 1858—