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Life in Early Poverty Bay

One of the Very Earliest Settlers

One of the Very Earliest Settlers.

As to the date of William Brown's advent, even as to the name of the vessel from which he ran away, history is silent. In the past, it has been supposed in some quarters that he came here about the same time as Capt. Harris, if not before. Enquiries, however, go to show, conclusively, that the vessel by which he came out to New Zealand was an English boat and that her object in calling was to pick up oil, whale-bone and provisions. It is also known by his descendants that he landed on the Kaiti beach and that, at the time of his arrival, Capt. Harris was not the only pakeha resident here. As Captain Harris did not commence whale hunting at Papawhiriki, near Tuamotu Island, until about 1837, it would seem, therefore, that that would be about the date of Wm. Brown's advent.

Late Wi Brown, Son of William Brown, the Runaway Sailor.

Late Wi Brown,
Son of William Brown, the Runaway Sailor.

Even so, it requires to be set down that William Brown was one of Poverty Bay's very earliest settlers. Unfortunately, the names are not known of all the pakehas who assistted Captain Harris in his trading and whaling activities. Some, it would seem, moved about a great deal and would be only temporary residents. Tom Ralph was, of course, one. Barnet Burns, it was, in the early days, thought was another, but Burns' account of his strange exploits on the East Coast indicates that he visited here a year or two earlier, prior to settling at Tolaga Bay. Maybe, Mr. Thos. Halbert, father of Pitau, Wi Pere and Thos. Halbert, Junior, of Makaraka, was, like Capt. Harris, also established here before Wm. Brown's day. That Mr. R. Poulgrain, Mr. Espie, senr., or the U'Rens preceded him is not supportable.