Life in Early Poverty Bay
The “King George” and Other Floods
The “King George” and Other Floods.
There were, Mr. Harris continued, many Natives in 1873 between Tapatahi and Muriwai at Owheta pa, Pakirikiri and Muriwai. The Natives cultivated on both sides of the present road to Pakirikiri. Mr. Horsfall had a store at that place and did a big business. There was a ferry at the mouth of the Big River. The main traffic with Gisborne and the Muriwai district went that way. It was a short route, seeing that there were no bridges at Te Arai and Matawhero. There was an hotel at Muriwai which was burnt down one night when Mr. Tibbals was at Gisborne. His wife and daughter lost their lives. It was never satisfactorily explained how the fire originated and the fatalities caused a deep gloom over the district as the victims were very popular with the residents and the travelling public. In 1876 there was a flood which was probably the biggest known in the last 50 cr 60 years. Before then there was a flood which was higher. It occurred in his father's boyhood. Mr. Harris thought that flood was known to the Natives as “Victoria” as it happened early in her reign. One again prior to that was known as the “King George” flood. It was said to have been higher than any other. Tradition, indeed, had it that it covered the Te Karaka Flats and that the deposit raised them many feet. The old Natives, in this regard, used to call attention to the timber sticking out from the river banks. Let us hope that Poverty Bay will never see their likes again.