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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Sets Up As Storekeeper

Sets Up As Storekeeper.

It has been suggested in some quarters that Wm. Brown, when he ran away from his ship, managed to get ashore a chest of tools. This, however, is not well established. What is certain, however, is that when he landed he had with him an old-style large English Bible, which he greatly treasured and which, much to his sorrow, was burnt in a fire at Makaraka many years afterwards.

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William Brown, strange as it may appear, never became a master of the Native language. However, he quickly gained a sufficient smattering to enable him to converse and even to teach English to Natives with whom he came into contact. He conducted family prayers every morning and taught the Scriptures to his wife and family on Sundays, and to Natives who cared to join in his religious observances. Being an industrious man and of a quiet disposition he got on remarkably well with the Maoris, who showed him every consideration.

In due course, William Brown set up shop at Ngawaierua, which was on the side towards the sea between Awapuni and Opou, his stock-in-trade consisting for the most part of clothing, blankets, etc. Barter was, in those days, the only means of exchange and with the produce which he obtained from the Natives in return for goods he was abJe to enlarge his stocks in the course of trading with vessels calling in to Poverty Bay. William Brown was also given in return for goods the right to use certain lands.

Prior to the Hauhau trouble oreaking out in 1865 Wm. Brown had established himself as a flour miller on the Flats near Makaraka. Where he got the plant does not seem clear, but it was probably obtained from Sydney. The Natives as well as the few white settlers thereabouts brought their wheat to the mill to be ground. A pakeha named Neri (Ned) Paranohi was his chief assistant. Oftentimes, helpers came from the Waerenga-a-hika mission station to assist, and, not infrequently, the growers of the wheat lent a hand. The mill had, however, to close down when the rebellion started and Wm. Brown and his family came in to the Kaiti redoubt. After the Hauhau trouble had subsided he opened a store in the Makaraka district. It was destroyed by fire in 1878.