Life in Early Poverty Bay
Gisborne in Embryo
Gisborne in Embryo.
When he arrived in Gisborne, Mr. deLautour remarked, the town area consisted of a thousand acres, bounded by the Taruheru river, the Turanganui river, the Waikanae stream and what is now called Lytton Road. In those days, the last was merely a line on the survey maps, but the Natives who ownea the adjacent land were quite familiar with the boundary and were always ready to assert their rights. A great willow tree formerly marked the termination of this line and was one of the land-marks of the district. This area had been purchased from the Natives, Ripirata Kahutia, a famous chieftainess being the one most interested. “Whataupoke was practically unsettled, the only two houses there being one on the Point, owned by the late Mr. W. Dean Lysnar, and another, further to the north, belonging to Mr Wyllie. North Gisborne was described by Mr. deLautour as “hefty scrub,” the only clear spot being what is now termed the Park, in Russell Street. Kaiti was much the same, only more swampy, and the only habitation there was a Maori pa near the present Kaiti freezing works. There were, then, of course, no bridges, but a ferry, worked by a wire rope, crossed the Turanganui for the convenience of Coast travellers. To reach Whataupoko, small boats were available, but when on horseback, one had to swim the animal behind the boat.
“There were strong expectations in the south, then,” said Mr. deLautour, “that good things were to be made out of the East Coast of this island. The south was then the dominant portion of N.Z. and the north had only been opened up on the coasts, little being known or the interior. Southern farmers were then looking to page 159 wards the north for estates on which to settle their sons and there was, consequently, keen inquiry in this direction.”