The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 45
Should you ask me of my travels,
Of my rambles in the North land,
Where the hot-springs bubble, bubble,
Underneath the belching craters,
Where the snorting steam-jets spouting,
Fringe the banks of Rotorua,
And the dusky chiefs assemble
In the war-dance of their people,
Putting on some fierce grimaces,
Kicking up some frightful antics,
Going through some queer contortions;
I should tell to you a story,
And a weird romantic legend
Of the lovely Erin-Nora,
" Was she from the Em'rald Island,
As her name was Erin-Nora?"
This, me thinks, I hear you ask me;
And I answer—No, she was not;
Though she dwelt beside the craythur,
I could find no green about her,
For her skin was dark and dusky,
Shining bright with fat of wild pig,
And her raven locks were hanging,
Like the mane of Shetland pony,
Down upon my tender bosom,
As she fondly stooped to kiss me,
Softly whispering "Tena Koi,
Kapai Pakeha, O Kapai,"
page 81 Rubbing noses as she pressed me
In her arms so thick and brawny;
Then she placed me on her shoulders,
Plunging through the frothy billows,
Clad in simple garb primeval,
Whilst the fierce sulphuric waters
Steamed around the charming creature,
Oozing forth a rich aroma,
Like the smell of bacon seething
In some mighty pot of cabbage.
Springing lightly on the bank side,
Laughed she loud with many "ha ha's."
Then she took me to her whare,
(Put the accent on the e please,)
And she rubbed me dry as tinder,
As she puffed her sable dhudeen,—
Filled, I thought, with vile tobaccy,
Judging by the frightful odour,—
Once again, she whispered "Kapai;
Come and live by Rotorua,
You shall be my Rangatira,
I shall be your own waihena."
Bursting from her fond embraces,
"Lovely chief tainess," I murmured,
"Maori angel, I adore thee,
Keep my memory in your bosom."
Sobbed she loudly as she listened,
Whilst her tender heart was breaking.
But I said "Delightful angel,
Take this present from thy true love,
Take this flask of Highland whisky;
Sup it early in the morning,
And remember me, my darling."
Fled I swiftly from the Hot Springs,
From that wild romantic region;
And the low wind from the mountain
Brought her wails upon the vapour;
Wafted forth her sighs and sobbing,
As she guzzled down the whisky,
Whilst she murmured "Kapai, Kapai"
And I never more shall see her,
Fare thee well, my Erin-Nora.
The following table, taken from the Southern Guide, will give the tourist a pretty accurate idea of the time which it will take to make a tour through the lake country by the route which we have indicated:page 82
|Wellington to Tauranga.||Days.|
|Wellington to Napier||1|
|Napier to Gisborne||1|
|Gisborne to Tauranga||1|
|Tauranga by coach to Ohinemutu||1|
|At Ohinemutu, say||2|
|Ohinemutu to Tapuwaeharuru (coach fare, 30s)||1|
|To Tokano, and back to Tapuwaeharuru||3|
|Tapuwaeharuru to Orakeikorako||1|
|Orakeikorako to Wairoa||1|
|Wairoa and to Ohinemutu||1|
|Ohinemutu to Tauranga||1|
But tourists who cannot spare so much time, and confine themselves to doing the neighbourhoods of Ohinemutu and Rotomahana, can easily curtail the above time by eight days.
The run across from Tauranga to Auckland occupies about 10 hours, and the passage is generally a smooth one. The scenery along the coast-line is in many places well worthy of inspection.