Life in Early Poverty Bay
Back to the Sixties — Taking Up Of Whataupoko Mr. W. Parker's Recollections
Back to the Sixties
Taking Up Of Whataupoko Mr. W. Parker's Recollections
“Early in 1860 my parents, with their family of three children, of whom I was the eldest, my Uncle Henry being another of the party, came to New Zealand in the clipper ship Red Jacket, commanded by one Reed,' remarked Mr Wm. Parker, of Mangapapa to a Times interviewer. “Amongst the passengers were Thomas Powdrell, his wife and three grown-up children, Mary Ann, Emma and Henry. They were friends of my parents and came from Cheshire where my father's people had resided for many generations. Other passengers included Mr John Eldon Gorst, who shortly after landing became a magistrate in Waikato and was very conspicuous in the early stages of the war there, and the Reverend Von Dadelszen, the latter bringing a large family with him, one of whom was Otto, afterwards manager of the Union Bank of Australia at Gisborne.
“Shortly after our arrival in Hawke's Bay, my father and uncle went into partnership with a Mr William Rich as stock dealers, shippers and butchers, and as their business employed many hands, most of whom came from Auckland, there were some characters amongst them, and it was a pretty hot shop out of which it was most difficult for my mother to keep me.
How Whataupoko Came to Be Occupied
“In 1864 some of the Poverty Bay Maoris awakened to the fact that far too much of the land in their district was lying idle. Three of them, representing most of the principal owners of Whataupoko, came to Napier in search of Europeans inclined to take up land in Poverty Bay. They were Henare Ruru, Pitau and another half-caste named Tom Jones. Pitau was the elder brother of Wi Pere, and Jones represented people who then lived on the southern side of the Bay, of whom old Raharuhi Rukupo (Lazarus) was the principal man. These men got into touch with my father and uncle, with the result that they were induced to occupy Whataupoko. My uncle came with sheep, which were brought by sea and landed at The Point—just where it is proproposed to have a swimming bath for Gisborne. The sheep had a very rough time within 24 hours after being put ashore, many being worried to death by Maoris dogs, which swam across from the Kaiti side and elsewhere. Kaiti was, so to speak, swarming with Maoris at that time. This unexpected knock annoyed my uncle, who sought satisfaction by poisoning as many dogs page 98 around Turanganui as he could, seventeen taking the bait and being stiffened outright. The Maoris were much upset at their loss and were inclined to vent their wrath on my uncle, who thought it best to leave the Bay and he never returned.
“In Dec., 1867, we left for Poverty Bay in the ‘Cleopatra,’ a small paddle steamer, and, as it was daylight most of the way, we passed between Portland Island and the mainland. The following morning the little craft went up the Waipaoa river, pulling into the bank near where Captain (afterwards Major) Charles Westrupp was living. From there we made our way across the Flats to Makaraka, the location of our new residence.
French Bob and His Wine.
“I used to ride to Turanganui about once a week for the mail, etc., and often brought little things for ‘French Bob.’ Sometimes on returning from ‘the top end’ I called in and had a chat with him and old Biddy, his wife. On one occasion he invited me to go down his garden to where he had a shed in which he kept a cask of wine, and, suggesting that I should have a drink from the cask, he handed a straw to me and told me to put it into the bung-hole and suck away. I followed his directions and did suck away until I didn't want any more. I then rode away home—about a mile off—and when I got there didn't get off but fell off all of a heap. I was dead to the world for the rest of the day. Bob had a large flock of goats and their principal run was from about where the junction of King's Road is with the main road for a mile or so towards Waerenga-a-hika. Bob would not flee on the morning of the Massacre and, as a result, he and his wife and an adopted European child were killed.
Shipping in the Taruheru.
“Excluding Turanganui, now the town of Gisborne, Poverty Bay was very sparsely settled in 1867. The U'Rens were at Makaraka. Two sons, Tom and John, lived there, their home being called Roseland. Robert had died shortly before and his widow resided on a small property adjoining Roseland. These three were sons of the original U'Ren, who settled very early—I think in the 40's, page 99 at Makaraka. The original Espie, father of J. E. Espie, was not in occupation of any of his property, which consisted of about 150 acres of very good land. It adjoined U'Ren's, which was smaller. Espie had two houses on his land, one of which we occupied on arrival. It had previously been occupied by Mr. H. S. Wardell, who, I believe, was the first Resident Magistrate in Poverty Bay. The other was in possession of Alexander Robb, a son-in-law of the original Espie. On Espie's property was a large store-house, which had, in earlier days, been used for storing grain and other produce and immediately in front was a wharf up to which small vessels used to come to load the produce. The storing and shipping had ceased before 1867.
Old Residents About Makaraka.
“Old Tarr had just come to Makaraka from some other part of the Bay. He had a large family, and many of his descendants are still living in the district. He was living in a slab whare just outside Espie's property. Pilbrow was another resident who occupied a house on land adjoining Espie's (this house after the Massacre was occupied by old James Dunlop, who had a large family. (They raised more in those days than they do now.) Mr. Dunlop, at the time of the Massacre, was living at Te Kohanga, on the bank of Te Arai and had a few acres there. Dick Poulgrain lived just to the westward of Espie's. He had a good house and orchard, and ‘French Bob’ (Robert Newnham) lived a bit further away on the edge of Makauri bush. The only two residences between those around Makaraka and Turanganui were—one in the occupation of Tom Goldsmith (who was head stockman for G. E. Read, and usually had one or more other stockmen living with him); and the other had just been placed in the flax a little eastward of where the Makaraka Hotel now stands. This was on a stedge and occupied by one Mann, who, with his wife, were murdered on that fateful morning—10th November 1868—before we got away. We lived within a mile of Mann.
Maori Woman Who Saw Cook.
“An old whaler named William Brown lived at Tahoka, on the Taruheru, within half a mile of our residence. He had several descendants living around him there, and a very old Maori woman was the only occupant of a whare close to Brown's. I saw the woman once; she was crouched in a dark corner of her whare. An interesting statement regarding her, and I believe it to be a fact, was that she had seen Captain Cook. It is quite likely that when I saw her she was over 110 years of age. She was mother of Brown's wife, who had died years before. Living within quarter of a mile of Brown's were George Williamson and Bill Ward; they had V huts about a chain apart on the bank of the Taruheru. Each had an aboriginal as a companion and cook, and each had a canoe, used between his abode and Turanganui. I think I've embraced all the Europeans living in 1868 between Turanganui and Makauri, except William King, who was a new arrival and lived in one of the U'Ren's houses.
Settlers Who Were Slain.
“At Matawhero the most conspicuous residence was that of Mr. Bloomfield, a brother or step-brother of G. E. Read. He died shortly before the Massacre. Near that residence. Major Biggs lived, and Captain Wilson's house was not far away. Walsh and Padbury, who were in partnership as butchers, had premises there, and Cadle and Blair were also in partnership there as storekeepers. These firms' premises were each within thirty chains of Major Biggs' residence. All those mentioned, with the exception of Blair, who did not live at Matawhero, were murdered on the morning of the Massacre. An old bullockdriver named Jim Garland, who lived on Bloomfield's property, escaped death. Captain Wilson's residence was further away from the centre of Matawhero than any of the others mentioned. Near him lived George Goldsmith and another settler named John McCulloch. Goldsmith escaped, but Maria, his daughter of about 16 years of age, who was out around Matawhero on the morning of the page break page 101 Massacre looking for their milking cows, was shot and killed off her horse. McCulloch was killed and his wife also was killed, but Sam Tarr, his brother-in-law, escaped. I saw Sam come into the redoubt on Kaiti later that morning. A family named James had been living near McCulloch's, but whether they had left before the Massacre I'm not sure. Anyhow their boy Charlie was in Major Biggs' employ and he escaped with his life. I also saw him in the redoubt that morning and as he had a spot of blood about the size of a fiveshilling piece on one leg of his trousers I asked him how he got it and he said that in running away he had fallen on Major Biggs, who was lying dead in the passage between the house and outhouse. Beyond Matawhero and what is now known as Bushmere, lived Jas. Wyllie and his family, and about half a mile from his residence James Hawthorne and Howard Strong had a small store on sledges.”
Just on 60 Years Ago. Poverty Bay's Runholders.
Among the run holders in Poverty Bay in 1868 (says Mr. W. Parker, of Mangapapa) were Randall and Woodbine Johnson, who occupied about 13,000 acres at Maraetaha (the homestead later was called Wairakaia).
Then there was Charles Westrupp, who had Te Arai—11,000 acres. Westrupp in 1863 was a Lieutenant in the Forest Rangers, and was a renowned officer of that famous body of fighting men. Evidence of that fact is to be found on a brass plate placed in the hall at the entrance to the public library in the City of Auckland, on which the names of two officers are mentioned—one being Captain Wm. Jackson and Westrupp the other who, with forty-seven men of their company whose names are also placed on the brass plate, captured a large flag carried on the 13th December, 1863, by the rebels in an engagement in Paparata. The flag is also deposited in the hall referred to, and attracts considerable attention on entering.
Harris and Ferguson occupied the Opou run and other lands adjoining. Their homestead was at Tapatahi, at the junction of Te Arai stream with the Waipaoa river.
Dodd and Peppard occupied Repongaere. They were both murdered on the 10th November, 1868. Their cook, Charlie Rathbone, escaped from the homestead, but was killed near the redoubt at Toanga, where he was overtaken, when probably making his way to Turanganui.
Arthur Kempthorne was in possession of Pukepapa, a block of 11,000 acres. He had previously been employed at the Mission Station at Waerenga-a-hika, and all the Maoris in the Bay called him Mita Aata (“Mr. Arthur”), no doubt owing to his position at the Mission Station.
George Scott was at Ruangarehu, a very nice block of about 3000 acres between Ormond and Te Karaka.
Poynter and Evans occupied Ngakoroa, a large block on the opposite side of the Waipaoa river to Scott's.
George Sisson Cooper occupied portion of the Pouawa block. His manager was W. H. Tucker, who was so very well-known in the Bay for many years. Cooper, at the time, was a Resident Magistrate in the southern part of Hawke's Bay, and afterwards became permanent Under Colonial Secretary.
Capt. G. E. Read occupied four or five thousand acres koown as Wainui, and my father (Mr Parker, senr.), had Whataupoko.
Living on the southern side of the Waipaoa was Frederick Green Skipworth, who had been in the Colonial Defence Force. He married one of the Miss U'Rens of Makaraka and resided at Te Rahue.
William Scott Greene lived on a very nice property on the northern side of the Waipaoa, but when that river changed its course that property was left on the southern side. Greene also married one of the Miss U'Rens.
Another settler on the southern side of the bay at that time (1868) was William W. Smith, who lived at Rakau Kaka—about three miles beyond page 102 Te Kohanga, the Dunlops' residence. He was a good all-round man, and nothing came amiss to him—he could spay a heifer or caponize a rooster. He sometime, after the Massacre, made his home at Waitaria. across the Waipaoa, near Bushmere.
The Mission Station farm, of about 400 acres, at Waerenga-a-hika in 1868 was in the occupation of one, Clarke, who came from the Bay of Islands. He used the farm for cattle-rearing and fattening and was a shipper of cattle to Auckland. Bob Atkins, now of Patutahi, was his head stockman, and, on the day preceding the Massacre, was engaged shipping cattle at Turanganui. He rode home to the farm that night late, it being nearly midnight when he rode through Matawhero, and the next morning, having to return to Turanganui, he took the track through Matawhero again, just about daylight, and, totally unaware of what had taken place there, reached Turanganui safely.