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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Goods Dumped Into Sea

Goods Dumped Into Sea.

Mr. Horsfall started in opposition to Capt. Read at what is now Williams and Kettle's corner, but Horstall sold out to Graham and Kinross. This was the first hard opposition the old man ever had to face. Some of his right hand men later went into business on their own account. But Read was cute enough to see that he was too old to carry on and he sold out to William Adair. Many of his old clients were sorry to see him retire. I never knew the old chap to advertise cheap sales. Fashions did not change much those days! You must remember that steam communication with Wellington was once a fortnight and with Auckland only occasionally. The Tawera, a schooner (Joe Kennedy, capt.) carried most of the trade that way in 1873. Two or three years later, the business system had changed considerably. I was told that goods Capt. Read could not sell were put into the wool bales, placed in the Tawera, and thrown into the sea between here and Auckland.

Read was a jolly old chap in his own way. One time he bought some flour in Auckland, where he principally did his business. It was a bad spec. He sold a 1001b bag to a Maori Later on, the Native told Read the flour was no good and wanted to return it. Read's answer was, “I had to stick to it and so will you.” Later on, when the rye grass was coming in, one bag proved very heavy and it was emptied and out came the 1001b bag of flour! When Read was told, he asked if the Maori had been paid. The answer was “Yes.” Some days afterwards, Read met the Maori and told him that he would have to refund the money. The answer was: “You tell me I buy the flour (prower) and I have to keep it. I talk the same to you!” This conversation would be in Maori and English. The old man took it as a good joke, but John Harvey got a lecture for taking delivery of heavy bags.

There was another old chap that Read did business with for big amounts. They would settle accounts once a year, and a great day it was. You could hear them a good distance off. High words were used on both sides but no blows were ever struck. At last, the client would come out, closely followed by the old man. The client's parting words would be, “You will never get any more of my money” and Read's: “You will never get any more credit from me.” And thus they parted. This way of settling accounts had been going on for many years.