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Life in Early Poverty Bay

An Unexpected Sequel

An Unexpected Sequel.

In 1884, The Gisborne Harbor Board Empowering Bill, drafted by Mr. Rees and commended by him to Sir G. Grey and other friends in the House, was presented by the member for the district and became law. It sanctioned the raising of £200,000 for the building of “a deep sea harbor,” “a harbor for ocean-going vessels.” That night there was rejoicing in this town. Its usually dark streets were illuminated, and the wish of the people to have an outer harbor seemed as good as fulfilled. But the Harbor Board used the money for improvements (!) to the river. Later, no fewer than seven Amending Acts had to be passed in about the same number of years to enable them to continue to use the money which had been granted for a different purpose. The unexpected sequel was a bitter blow to Mr. Rees, but he took it as a temporary check, not checkmate, and until he died continued his agitation for an outer harbor on the site chosen by Sir John Coode and approved by nearly every marine engineer since.

In 1883, on the invitation of Wahanui, Mr. Rees and Captain Tucker visited him in the jealously guarded King Country to discuss the position of the Native lands.