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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Looking Backward — Mr. Frank Harris Reviews the Early Days. — the Old Settlers and their Ways

page 161

Looking Backward
Mr. Frank Harris Reviews the Early Days.
the Old Settlers and their Ways.

Son of Mr. E. F. Harris, and a grandson of Capt. J. W. Harris, the first pakeha trader to settle down in Gisborne, Mr. F. R. Harris is as well-known as the town clock and has attained an enviable reputation in respect of kind-heartedness, integrity and public spiritedness. None of the few survivors of the very early days of Poverty Bay is better acquainted with its history and none has a wider acquaintanceship amongst the old hands—Maori and pakeha alike. He is never happier than when enjoying a chat on the days that are past, on the trials and triumphs of the pioneers, on the wonderful record of progress that has been achieved, and on the great possibilities of the district in relation to the future. To-day, Mr. Harris is living in retirement, after a lengthy period of strenuous application to work of a variety of characters, which culminated in his highly successful control, for many years, of the Albion Club Hotel. But he has still numerous interests to occupy his critical attention, including participation in the direction of various companies, whilst, for recreation, he continues actively to associate himself with his favorite pastime, the game of bowls.

Mr. Harris was born in Napier on February 26, 1858, and his parents came to Gisborne in the following year. His father had a store a little way from Biggs' Corner, but, three years later, the lure of gold drew him to that famous Otago goldfield, Gabriel's Gully. Ere he left Mr. Harris senior sold sixty acres around the store to Capt. Read at the price of £2 per acre. Incidentally. Mrs. Pearson, now living at Te Karaka, who is a sister of the subject of this notice, was born at the home of the U'Rren family at Makaraka, near where the railway station now stands. The U'Rens' property was very large and had a very fine orchard and flower garden and was known as “Roseland.” Mr. Harris returned to Gisborne in 1873, five years after the Massacre.

Mr. Frank Harris, Third generation of the Harris family in New Zealand.

Mr. Frank Harris,
Third generation of the Harris family in New Zealand.

Settlement Creeps Out Back

Speaking of the early 70's Mr. Harris told his interviewer that, at that time, settlement was just creeping into the back country. Mr. W. S. Greene took up Okahutia, and was the most outlying settler in that direction. It was not until 1874 or 1875 that Gisborne was linked up with Napier by telegraph and wild rumors got into circulation rather too frequently for the comfort of the then small community. In fact, a very trivial incident was liable to create a very big scare. About that time, Te Kooti was sheltering in the page 162 King Country and, every now and again, it would be bruited abroad that he was about to make another descent on the district. The Johnson Bros. and Major Westrupp had a block of land extending from Te Arai to beyond Muriwai, taking in a large part of the flat and all the front of the hill country. There were no settlers behind them. Years after, William Teat and Duncan McKay took up that land which is now known as the Reay station. In turn, Mr. Parker, with his family, took up the Emerald Hills country, which was, then, practically all bush. Numerous herds of wild cattle at that time roamed that particular country. Messrs. Barker and MacDonald had stations at Kaiti and Pouawa, but there was no settlement behind them. Subsequently they also held the Whataupoko block. On the Coast, settlement was close to the sea and Whangara was held by Mr. Wallace, of Red Lion Castle, England. On his return to Gisborne, Mr. Harris went to Opou station, then held by his uncle, Mr. Henry Harris, and the late John Ferguson. He walked out to the property with the late Dougald Ferguson. En route they called in at the Royal Oak Hotel and this was his first introduction to a public house. The licensee was the late Alick Hird and little did he (Mr. Harris) then dream that he was personally destined to control, later on, one of the most important hotels in Poverty Bay—the Albion Club Hotel—for no less a period than 17 years. Of those who worked on Opou station in those days only two were, to-day, alive—Mr. W. H. Cooper and himself. He reached Opou in the month of October and preparations were being made for shearing which was to commence in the following month. With the rest of the staff, Mr. Harris was put into the yards next day to dag the sheep and his previous notion that station life was Paradise at once faded out. However, he worked on there for twelve years, part of the time for Mr. John Clark, who, later, took over the property.

Bushes in the Early Days.

Mr. Harris went on to say that, in the early 70's, there was a large Native population on the banks of Te Arai river. It started near the Arai bridge on the Opou side and was called Tapatahi. Pipiwhakau was a bush of some hundreds of acres. To-day, there remained, but a few scattered trees, principally kahikatea. A year or two before his return to Gisborne, a fire had gone through a large portion of the bush, and, for years afterwards, strong winds would play havoc with tottering giants and, as they fell, the noise would be heard for miles around. Not infrequently Natives had been lost in the bush. Later on it was cut out by the late Mr. William King. Kiekie thrived in great abundance and it produced a delicious fruit, with two crops. In olden days it was a case of woe betide anybody who touched the early crop. As a warning a rahui (embargo) was adopted. It took the form of a pole with some kiekie vine at the top and it was used there in 1873 for the last time. There was also a bush next to Kupenga where the Dunlops lived called Meremere. It was principally page 163 tawa and was felled for firewood and was burned mostly by the residents of Gisborne. The late Mr. Robert Knox had a large number of men carting and cutting. Whakawa was another fine white pine bush; it adjoined Glencoe, Whatatuna, Rakukaka and the flat on Papatu had large patches of bush. Okanga, too, had numerous clumps of kowhai, some 30 inches in diameter. This was all on Opou station. To-day nothing was to be seen of it. A great part of the flat on Opou station from Rakukaka to Papatu was a burnt forest. His father had told him that in his young days it was all standing bush. On his own part he had seen white pine trees close on five feet through. No puriri was to be seen, with the exception of two trees, south of the Big River. Old Makauri had a big forest of purin, remnants of which were to be seen today. These were only a few of the bushes—those known to himself. Well might Cook say, when he viewed Poverty Bay from Titirangi, that it was heavily timbered.

Late E. F. Harris, Second generation and father of Mr Frank Harris.

Late E. F. Harris, Second generation and father of Mr Frank Harris.

An Historic Station.

Continuing, Mr. Harris said that Opou station took its name from a small block of land containing about 60 acres. Opou was one of the most historical places in the Bay. It was taken up in the early days by his grandfather, Captain J. W. Harris. The first horses, cattle and sheep brought to the district were taken on to Opou, Such was also the case in respect of the first willow, oak and ash trees. Many of the first fruit trees were also planted there. An oak was said in 1876 to be the largest in New Zealand. Kupenga, part of Opou in the early days, was the home of the Dunlop family. Te Kooti destroyed this home in 1868, the family escaping, with others, through the bush to Mahia. Mr. Harris remembered seeing the remains of the home, as well as those of other settlers which had been burnt out by the rebels. The once fine orchards and gardens had now gone. A few hundred yards beyond Dunlop's, on the banks of the Te Arai river, the Forest Rangers were stationed and he understood that the embankments made by them were still in existence. They were disbanded about 1865. The pa at Tapatahi had left traditions of the great loyalty of its people. Assuredly, the timely warning given from the pa to the Harris family had robbed Te Kooti of many victims.

Why Tutere Was Tomahawked.

The Europeans of to-day should be reminded that many of the loyal Natives of Tapatahi made great sacrifices on behalf of their white sisters and brothers. Tutere, for instance, was tomahawked, after refusing for a second time, to tell the rebels which route the fugitives from the Massacre area had taken. On account of the loyalty of Henare Turanga, the British soldiers, after the fight at Paparatu, were saved. Henare Turanga was also known as Henare Kakapango. Te Kooti got between the soldiers and Gisborne. Henare summed up the position well and led the pakehas by an unexpected track. Henare Turanga's action was never fully recognised by the Government. Te Poti, his father, was killed by Te Kooti, because he refused to leave the pa. When threatened with death he said: “I am old; I will die on the land.” Many of the descendants of Henare Turanga are still alive. Those who were taken prisoner by the Hauhaus lost their lives. In the circumstances, it was hard to find fault with Major Ropata, when he took such stern measures with all the rebels who had taken part in the Massacre and fell into his hands.

Capt. Read's Lucky Presentiment.

According to Mr. Harris, he found it hard to understand how the awful Massacre of 1868 was allowed to come about. He had had many conversations with survivors and the general opinion was that it should have been realised, after the fight at Paparatu, that Te Kooti, in accordance with Maori custom, would seek revenge. Some of the settlers on the Flats knew that they were not safe and expected a raid. In conversation with him, the late Alick Robb, page 164 father of Robert Robb, of this town, had said that, on the Sunday previous to the Massacre, after church, he had expressed his fears to his (Mr. Harris') grandfather and others, but they had given him a poor hearing and he had not pressed his viewpoint, as he was afraid that he would be looked upon as an alarmist.

Late Mrs. E. F. Harris, Mother of Mr F. Harris.

Late Mrs. E. F. Harris,
Mother of Mr F. Harris.

“I Do Not Feel Safe Here.”

He (Mr Robb, senr.) went home, however, far from satisfied. On the morning of the Massacre, Mr. Robb was lucky to escape with his wife and family to Gisborne. At the time, he was living at Newstead, Makaraka, and, as they fled along the narrow track through the thick scrub, fearing that Hauhaus would emerge at any moment and destroy them, they could hear the rebels' guns going off and see the reflections in the sky from the burning homes at Matawhero. When at last they reached Gisborne and had placed his loved ones in safety no one could understand how relieved he was. Messrs. Dodd and Peppard who had Repongaere, but resided near Waeren-ga-a-hika Crossing, were, he had been told, planting potatoes when they fell out with a Native who said, in the heat of his passion: “You may plant the potatoes, but you will never eat them.” As far as he could gather, they were the first victims of the raid. Thus the Native's words came true. Captain Read went out to his place at Matawhero the night before the Massacre. When bed-time came, he said: “I do not feel safe here; I will return to Gisborne.” His luck was in. There were others who had their fears, but would not show them. The authorities must have had something in their minds when they placed Lieut. Gascoigne and others in the Te Arai Valley to keep watch.

What If Te Kooti Had Attacked Gisborne?

Mr. Harris went on to say that an impossible task was set Lieut. Gascoigne and a few men to protect such a large extent of rough country and give warning to such a large number of settlers. It was well-known that Te Kooti had his spies in and about Gisborne. Wherever Lieut. Gascoigne placed his men their position would be known to Te Kooti. In 1898 Mr. Harris slept on the place where Te Kooti camped five nights before he instituted the Massacre It was on a ridge above the Ruakituri river. There wree still a number of Natives living in that locality who could shed new light on the awful event. He knew that the late John Ferguson and others had thought that the then Government, that of Stafford, had been lax. If the State papers of that day could be brought from their pigeon-holes it would show who was really responsible for the protection of the settlers. After the Massacre it was said that Major Biggs had to get the sanction of the Government even to allow the settlers to build a redoubt and go into it. Joe Alexander hao told him that when he got into Gisborne the authorities had no arms to give him. It was hard to say what might or might not have happened if Te Kooti had also attacked Gisborne. A few of the followers of Te Kooti were still to be seen occasionally on the streets of Gisborne and the old incident was buried.

page 165

A Sportsman's Paradise.

According to Mr. Harris, Poverty Bay, in 1873, was an ideal spot for sportsmen. Pigeons and kakas were numerous. Like many others, he was able to shoot them off his horse on his rounds on Opou. If he fired to one side the old mare would simply throw her head to the other side. Twenty to thirty pigeons were easily obtainable. Ducks were to be found in large numbers in all the rivers and creeks on the Flats. Awapuni was a great home for them. There were thousands in that locality. On Repongaere Lake and Glencoe Lake it was very easy to get fifteen brace. From Harris' bend on the Waimata river right up to its source ducks were also plentiful. Right back for many miles from Long Bush was heavy bush. Many a good bag was taken from Glenroy. Pigs also were plentiful on the front ranges. He had killed many from Long Bush onwards. Parakeets used to come to the Flats in thousands. Their last visit was in 1875. Pukakos were plentiful in the Patutahi swamps (and on the adjoining lands) in those days probably 1000 acres in extent. To-day all this land is in grass. No wonder the Native game disappeared when it lost its feeding grounds!

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.

Vehicles of Past Days.

As to the mode of conveyance in the earliest days of settlement, Mr. Harris said that his mother told him that in 1859 she and his father were in the habit of making visits to neighbors on a sledge drawn by two horses. They had seats on the sledge and considered it a very gay turn out. Both his sister, Mrs. Pearson and himself would then be infants. In 1873 the spring cart was in use; it was a one-horse affair. Later on came the double-seated buggy—a four wheeled vehicle. Many of the old folks used to get into trouble with them by turning too short when the wheels would lock. They would have gone back to the old spring cart, but the young folks would not let them. Mr. Harris, with a smile, said he did not think he was ever in a pram. Today he was rushed about in a motor-car. Sometimes he thought he was safer on the sledge. The late Mr. Sievwright was the first man he ever saw on a velocipede. They were not favored; they had a high front wheel and a small one behind. He was sure, too, that the old gentleman never felt safe upon it. In his (Mr. Harris') young days he used a horse or had to foot it. In 1873 the use of bullocks was at its height. All the carting to and in the country was done by these patient animals. With a good driver it was hard to stick them. They would go practically page break page 167 anywhere. Mr. Ewen Cameron, of Toanga, had many fine teams; he was the Henry Ford of that day.

Late Mr. McRae, Donor of Bath Site (Sitting). Mr. E. Cameron (on left). Mr. T. Fraser (on right).

Late Mr. McRae, Donor of Bath Site (Sitting).
Mr. E. Cameron (on left). Mr. T. Fraser (on right).

The Maoris and the Oil Quest

Talking in respect of the explorations for oil in the district, Mr. Harris said that before 1868 some of the local explorers discovered the oil springs at Te Hau-o-Te-Atua (“The Wind of the Gods). The local Natives, however, wondered why they were making a fuss over them. The springs, they said, had been known to them for many generations. They were told that the pakehas would put down a pipe into the earth and from it thousands of barrels of oil would come forth. An old patriarchal Maori amongst the visitors shook his head and said: ‘Pake-has! Your work will fail. Listen to me and I will tell you why. In ancient times Rongokako stood on Mahia peninsula. When you are on the kaipuke (ship) you will notice how flat the hill is (we call it Table Cape or hill). After looking round, he stepped across the sea and placed his foot on Tapuwai (a flat hill on the Coast, this side of Whangara pa). As he moved across the Bay, a whale was spouting underneath him. He reached down and lifted him in his arms. On his next step the whale slipped out of his arms and fell on the land, where you see the oil.” If many of us had taken the advice of the old chap, we would have been freed from many disappointments. Perhaps, my friend Mr. Dalton could estimate Rongokako's height by the length of his stride!

Election of First Council.

The candidates for the first election for the Borough were: Stubbs, J. H.; Smith, Carlaw (elected); Nasmith, Matthew (elected): Adams, Thos. (elected); Crawford, W. F., who became Mayor; Kelly, Richard; Boylan, Hy.; Morgan; Ross; Brown, E. K. (elected); Warren, John; Teat (elected); Adair, William (elected); Tutchen, Josiah; Clayton (elected); Cooper, Robert; Taylor, Brooke; Townley, John (elected); Best. Alas, the majority of the above old townsmen are resting in their last sleep. Many of their descendants, are, however, still with us. I do not know if any of those old candidates are living. Some of them went to Australia, including Kelly, Brown and Stubbs. The “G.O.M.” Crawford rests in Auckland cemetery. I think there should be one more on the Council, but I cannot place him, as fifty years is a long time to test one's memory. There are some amongst us who worked for the first Council. Mr. Thomas Saddler is one of them.

Settlers Before 1860.

On my return to reside in Gisborne in October, 1873, the following are numbered among those whom I was closely in touch with: Richard Poul-grain, who had arrived in 1840, a son William at Te Karaka (Richard Poul-grain died after Captain Read); Tom U'Ren, who was living on the old family estate at Makaraka. (the railway station is on part of it, and it was called “Roseland”; Mr. and Mrs. Tarr (1845). Mrs. Tarr lived to a great age: John Harvey (1846); Mr and Mrs. Dunlop; Brown (grandfather of Mahaki Brown, now at Puha); Capt. Read: James Smith, who lived near Awapuni, near the wool works; James Mackey (father of Ra and Wi); and John U'Ren, who was farming at Taurika (John and Tom U'Rren were sons of the old pioneer). The above all came to Poverty Bay before 1860.

“The Financial King.”

Capt. Read was the financial king. He owned the “Willows” and also a large area in the Makauri block and 600 acres at the Big bridge. He grazed a large number of cattle. He was the biggest owner in cattle. He leased 1000 acres to De Moidry at £1 per acre and he sold many 10 and 20 acre sections around Matawhero and Makauri at £20 per acre he named it Mendlesham” after the place where he was born in the County of Suffolk. He was keen to get settlers on the land, as he said it was the only way to settle the Native troubles. He brought many workers from Auckland in the Tawera (Capt. page break page 169 Joe Kennedy). Capt. Read was of peculiar temperament. You could make money under him, but you could not cross his grain. When you ruffled him, he was very fiery. He had many good points. Many of his employees worked the best part of their lives for him and when he died he did not forget them. He was for many years the leading storekeeper.

Presented to the Gisborne Bowling Club at the Request of the Late Mrs. Edwd. Harris in Memory of her Husband, One of the Old Members of the Club. E. F. Harris, F. W. Skeet, A. R. Muir, W. S. Lunn, G. Matthewson, H.J. Finn, M. G. Nasmith, J. Coleman (at table); — Sisterson, —–, —–, J. P. Barr, J.W. Bright, — Loudin, W. King, J. East, Capt. Chrisp, H. Lewis, C. C. Lucas, J. W. Witty, W. Cooper.

Presented to the Gisborne Bowling Club at the Request of the Late Mrs. Edwd.
Harris in Memory of her Husband, One of the Old Members of the Club
E. F. Harris, F. W. Skeet, A. R. Muir, W. S. Lunn, G. Matthewson, H.J. Finn, M. G. Nasmith, J. Coleman
(at table); — Sisterson, —–, —–, J. P. Barr, J.W. Bright, — Loudin, W. King,
J. East, Capt. Chrisp, H. Lewis, C. C. Lucas, J. W. Witty, W. Cooper.

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.

Made Most of his Money After Massacre.

When Read retired from business, he was living in Lytton Road where Mr. Barker now lives. He went in for breeding high-class sheep on land owned by him from Lytton Road to Stanley Road, all facing Gladstone Road and Childers Road. It was in a page 170 very rough state and he cleared and ploughed it, and planted maize and trees, some of which may be seen today. Robt. McBretney was his foreman and he spent a heap of money on the property. He died there, his end being sudden, about 1876. His funeral was the biggest ever seen in the district up to that time. He is buried in the family vault at Te Arai, along with his brother Robert. His estate was valued at £130,000. That was the amount on which the probate was paid on, at any rate. The great portion of his money was made from 1868 (after the Massacre). One night Read was having a convivial evening with some friends, my grandfather amongst them, and he was supposed to have said: “You see all the armed forces coming into the place. The Government will have to spend a lot of money; now's our time to get it. I will stick to business.” He was the only one that did so.

Mrs. Norman Clayton & Son, of Mangapapa. (Fourth and fifth generations of Harris family in N.Z.)

Mrs. Norman Clayton & Son, of Mangapapa. (Fourth and fifth generations of Harris family in N.Z.)

The “Shin Plasters.”

When the Government paid out, the bulk of the money was taken by Joe Kennedy to Auckland. Capt. Read used to issue paper money of his own. His notes were called “shin plasters”—for why I do not know. I think they were used until the Bank of N.Z. started. He was supposed to have made money with them. A lot of them would be burned when Te Kooti made the raid. He had a small steamer named after his wife. He also had a store where the freezing works stand and vessels used to discharge into it. He also had another store where the band rotunda is situated. He used, both these places for many years. Then again he had another store between the Albion Hotel and the river; this one was where he did his business with the public. He had no country branches and he liked everything in that line under his own eye.

The Faithful Noko.

Captain Read was married to a Native woman named Noko. I was at Read's house on two or three occasions and Noko was always doing something. She was a fine type of woman. Capt. Read's apparel was always spotlessly clean, all due I page 171 should say, to his wife. When Read had had bad turns of health, he always found Noko in close attendance; others would give him a wide berth as they used to say he was very irritable. Noko was a good wife to him. Capt. Read was the “King Pin” of Gisborne as far as business was concerned. It would take the pen of a Charles Dickens to describe him. The history of Gisborne cannot be written without giving him a prominent place.

The late Mr. Henry Harris (of Opou)

The late Mr. Henry Harris (of Opou)

Mr. W. D. Lysnar, M.P.

Mr. W. D. Lysnar, M.P.

Founders of Empire.

James Mackey—one son was killed in the second Massacre—in the early days was pit-sawing for my grandfather at Rakukaka. He was fond of a joke and could tell many stories of the navy. He kept the ferry at Gisborne for many years and lived to a great age. The gaiety and lure of the city had no charms for those old chaps. Poverty Bay was good enough for them and you would get a dressing down if you said anything against the place. They took great exception to the changing of the name from “Turanga” to “Gisborne” and refused, for a long time, to say “Gisborne.' There were the founders of Poverty Bay. Their comrades murdered and homes burnt, and barely escaping with their own lives, within a few days or weeks they were back again with their wives and children. They helped to build the Empire and keep the old flag flying.

An Abundance of Fruit.

Fruit grew in abundance. Peaches and apples were found in many parts of the runs. There was a peach grove on Te Arai station, about half a mile long, on the bank of the river Te Arai in 1873. I don't suppose the trees had been pruned for we knew nothing about fruit pests. The trees simply grew and great was their yield. They had evidently started growing before the stock came into the country and delicious fruit it was, equal to the fruit one gets today. It was invaluable and anyone could help themselves. Although we were isolated, we enjoyed ourselves.

Dancing was all the go, but I could never manage it. Being too big, my feet got beyond control! The concertina was the principal musical instrument in those days and beautiful music it was. You would find some very fine players in those days on stations. The station boys would have their dances in the wool-shed and this was the style of one M.C.—“Hook your mutton!” “Turn to your partner, Tawhio! Now to Tommy's daughter! Now to the girl with the blue dress on!” and so on. This was all to the strains of a concertina. Later on, when the European mammas came to the back blocks of those days a different sort of M.C. was made use of. Our refreshments were very light—a bucket of water with a few pannikins and you helped yourself. There was no charge for admittance. The conduct was of the best; if otherwise one was put out and later on he would know all about it. The Natives have always been fond of dancing and the European modes of dancing appealed to them. The songs of those days seem to have had a swing which you do not have to-day. I still remember a few lines that moved us station rouseabouts: “The captain with his whiskers took a sly glance at me, etc.” We would bring our bluchers down with great force for an encore. The other one was sung by a gent dressed to the knocker with great force: “My heart was in a flutter when she tripped across the gutter,” etc. These songs would get a great hearing.

Escaped Through the Bush.

The following fugitives at the time of the Massacre escaped through the bush: Mr and Mrs Henry Harris (both dead) and daughter; John Ferguson, Finlay Ferguson, Dugald Ferguson, (all deceased); Isabella Ferguson (now Mrs. John Breingan, Bushmere); Bidgood (deceased; he married one of the Tarrs); Robert Read, brother of G. E. Read (buried at Te Arai), William Greene, son of W. S. Greene (died at Auckland); Major Westrupp, in command (dead); Pimia Arta (guide of the fugitives, dead); Mr. Dunlon, Senr. (dead); Mrs W. S. Greene, wife of W. S. Greene, nee Miss U'Ren (dead); John Williams Harris (dead); Woodbine Johnson (father of Lady Maui Pomare and Mrs. Randall Sherratt), dead; Harry Ellis, a partner of Bidgood, page 172 who had a small business at Tapatahi (dead); Mrs. A. F. Hardy (wife of Capt. Hardy), dead. There was a party ahead of these fugitives.

Victims of Second Massacre.

Liquor at Matawhero delayed Te Kooti. Tipuna, father of Lady Carroll, and Henare Turanga gave the alarm to my grandfather between 3 and 4 in the morning. Finlay Ferguson was on an out station beyond Kupenga. John Ferguson brought him in and gave the alarm to the Dunlop family. The Harris and Ferguson families crossed the Arai river by a boat owned by R. Read and walked to Tamihana's pa. John and Finlay Ferguson followed with the horses. Mrs. Wyllie's aunt warned my uncle to go on, as there were enemies in the pa. Finlay Ferguson, Mackey (brother of Ra Mackey), Hapi Kiniha's son and Gavvy Wyllie's brother were killed at Opou on 12th December, 1868. John Ferguson and others returned from Mahia to Gisborne. Major Westrupp and Mr. Wodbine Johnston were with the party. H. Harris and J. Ferguson followed later. H. Harris and J. Ferguson left F. Ferguson and party on the date he was killed. They rode through the Okaunga bush. Te Kooti and his followers saw them and some of them pointed their guns to shoot them but Te Kooti forbade them to fire. He did not want to disclose his position to Colonel Whitmore, who was leaving Gisborne with his troops on the steamer Start. Luckily for the settlers, she struck a rock and sprang a leak and had to return to the river. Colonel Whitmore followed Te Kooti and fought him at Ngatapa.

Buried Treasure Lost.

Finlay Ferguson, on the morning of the Massacre, buried in the old orchard a dressing case; the secret of the plant died with him. Many searches were made for it but it was never found. It was an oak case, mounted in silver. It was said that the late R. Read, before he left his home on the morning of the Massacre, buried a sum of money which he was never able to locate again. He was an old man.

The Late Captain Read.

The Late Captain Read.

The Late Mr. G. G. Mill. (Stores Manager for Captain Read). Father of Mr W. B. Mill, of Bexhaven, and grandfather of “Jimmy” Mill, the famous All Black.

The Late Mr. G. G. Mill.
(Stores Manager for Captain Read). Father of Mr W. B. Mill, of Bexhaven, and grandfather of “Jimmy” Mill, the famous All Black.