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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Toi Describes Poverty Bay

Toi Describes Poverty Bay.

Despite the absence of definite traces of settlement on the East Coast by an earlier people than the Maoris Toi is the authority for the contention that, even at the time of his advent, this district was not altogether unpeopled. This, at any rate, may be gathered from his speech of farewell to Mahutonga and Popoto, who visited him at Whakatane and were in search of a new home:—

“Farewell!” said Toi. “When you see a bay trending inward to the north-west, wherein are two rivers, one at the southern end of the sandy beach and the other at the other end of the beach where it trends westward, a bald cliff south of the southern river, a ridge on the eastern side of the other river, the outspread (hora) land lying between the two rivers, a range to the south west and one to the eastward—when you see this lay of the land, then that is the place where I stopped (halted) out at sea and inspected the place from my vessel. Now do you make your home there, for human occupation is scattered, as it also is further south. When you enter the bay turn your face to the south, and you will see the point of land I spoke of projecting outward; this is the place I speak of. Now do you name it Turanga for me, in memory of my turanga (halting, stopping his progress) out on the ocean.”

Popoto consented to this request of Toi and, on reaching here, no doubt, found, as Toi had advised him, that this district was already sparsely settled. The fate of the pre-Toi Natives of Poverty Bay must, however, now ever remain a mystery.