July 1903

Tuesday  Wednesday 1st   It was a fine day.   I received a wire from Noel Wallace telling me that the Steamer “Herald” was advertised to leave Auckland for the East Coast Bays on Saturday the 4th so I made up my mind to go in her to see the boys.

Thursday 2nd   I went to Auckland in the “Kawau” and on arrival went up to Mrs Simpsons to stay.  I found Willie there, Noel came in the evening and we had a game of cards.

Friday 3rd   It rained a little first thing in the morning, but it turned out a fine day.  Willie, Victor Simpson and I were down in the town all day showing the boys the various sights.  We all went to spend the evening at Mr Wallaces.

Saturday 4th   It was a fine day.  I went down town in the morning and found that the “Herald” had not arrived, so would not sail until Monday afternoon at 4 pm.  Sent a note to the boys telling them that the date of sailing had been put off.  In the afternoon Willie went to Wallaces for dinner and after went with Gordon to see a football match at Alexandria Park,  I took a long walk down to Cox’s Creek.
In the evening we all went to His Majestys Theatre to see the play of the Prodigal Parson, we all enjoyed it very much.

Sunday 5th   It was a dull morning.  I walked down to S.  Thomas’ Church to hear Bishop Neligan, whom I liked very much.  After service I went down to the wharf and found that the “Herald” had arrived and was lying alongside the Queen St Wharf.  It commenced to rain and I got wet before I got up to Simpsons, it rained heavily all afternoon & evening.

Monday 6th   It was a fine day.  I went down the town in the morning and got my ticket and in the afternoon I left Mrs Simpsons and went down to the wharf where I embarked on board the “Herald” bound for the East Coast Bays, Gisborne, Napier & Wellington.  Willie came to see me off, my destination was Te Araroa, to visit my Sons Jack and Henry who have taken up a small grazing run containing 2,258 acres about 16 miles distant from Te Araroa.  The “Herald” should have left the Queen St Wharf at 4 pm, but she had so much cargo to take in that it was getting on for 5 oclock when she left.  The sea was very smooth and there was a bright moon shining.
I found that before the “Herald” touched at Gisborne , she was advertised to call at the following bays
1     Oreti  Point
2     Whangaparoa
3     Hicks Bay
4     Te Araroa
5     Port Awanui
6     Tuperoa
7     Waipero
8     Tokomaru
9     Waipare
10  Tologo Bay

Tuesday 7th   At day break this morning we were out of sight of land, steaming across the Bay of Plenty.  About breakfast time we came in sight of White Island which we passed, it was smoking, about dinner time we arrived at Whangaparoa.  Two passengers wished to be landed here, but the sea was so rough that the Steamer put back to Oreti Point where the passengers were landed, the Steamer cast anchor for the night under the shelter of Oreti Point,  while we lay here several boats with Maoris in came off to the Steamer to get grog.

Wednesday 8th   At about 5 am we hove up anchor and steamed to Whangaparoa, the sea had gone down a lot, and a boat towed by the Steam Launch went ashore to land goods, after this we steamed direct for Te Araroa where we arrived about 11 am, the little settlement looked very pretty nestling at the foot of steep hills, when I landed on the beach I expected to see either Jack or Henry waiting for me, but I heard that they had not received either of my telegrams.  Mr Liddell, the Storekeeper very kindly rung up Biddles station, and a Mr Campbell who was at Biddles at the time promised to let the boys know I had arrived.  I put up at the Hotel kept by Mr McLachlan where I was made very comfortable.  In the afternoon I had a look round the settlement, and had a peep at the Maori Church, which is a very pretentious edifice, built on rising ground it has a steeple, and tho inside is very nicely fitted up, there is a stained glass window at the east end, a high pulpit and reading desk and plenty of seats with backs to them.  There is a high mountain stretching down to the sea plainly visible from the Hotel which Oliver McLachlan the landlord’s son told me was called Pukeamaru and is 3000 ft high, it is a small grazing run and the McLachlans leased it the same time as the boys took up theirs, this run contains 8,717 acres and the rent of £27 . 5 . 0  a  year.

Thursday 9th   It was a beautiful morning, and the surroundings were so new to me, the surf was breaking on the beach, making a loud noise.  Maoris were passing to and fro and some maori women were widing in the sea in search of mussels.  I wrote a letter to Jane, also to Fred Simpson, after which I took a stroll in the Village down to Liddell’s Store and the Blacksmiths (Mr Hansen), while down there a half cast woman came riding along leading a spare horse , also a pack horse, she turned out to be a Mrs Casey, housekeeper to Mr Campbell who very kindly sent a spare horse for me to ride up to the boys place, I was to return with Mrs Casey for her to show me the road, but as she was so long in getting her purchases together I started off by myself following the tracks of a maori bullock dray which had started up to Biddles station that morning,  the road follows up the bed of the Awatere river which it crosses several times.  The current is very rapid and pretty deep after which you come on to a pretty good road cleared through the bush, the telephone follows up the side of the road to Biddles station, when I arrived there Mrs Casey had not overtaken me.   Bob Carswell, Mr Biddles Manager,  came out and would have me come in and have a cup of tea and he told a young fellow named Bishop who works there to saddle a horse and show me up to the boys place where we arrived about 6 pm.  I could never have found my way up alone as the river had to be crossed so many times and narrow tracks in the bush.
The boys were very much surprised, but glad to see me as they had no idea I was coming, not having received my telegrams.  Bishop staid all night.  The boys have a paling shanty about 14 ft square, roofed with nikau.  They have a large open chimney about 7 ft square and there was a blazing fire of logs which was most cheering as my feet were wet and cold, they have three bunks erected and strings of large onions and hams and bacon hanging from the rafters.

Friday 10th   There was a frost this morning, and ice on the water outside, the atmosphere seemed brisk and sharp and the grass crackled under your feet.  It was dark when I came here last night and I did not know what sort of place I had come to, but this morning I found that I was in a bush clearing at a high elevation and nothing to be seen but high wooded hills all round, the grass seemed to be good for the winter season, growing between the logs & stumps.  A great many trees were left standing which the fire had killed.  All the taweras are cut,  the other trees all over 3 ft in diameter are left standing, they are principally ratas, rimus and puketeas.  The soil is very loose with a lot of stones intermixed which the boys described as papa marl.  They have a good garden at the back of the shanty, they have dug it very deep and picked out all the large stones, they grow good crops of potatoes, parsnips, carrots, onions, pumpkins, squashes, beet, cabbage &c.  They consume a lot of vegetables so as to reduce the flour bill , the boys had been out hunting the day before I arrived and had shot a young bull, a small pig and some pigeons, so I found I had come into a land of plenty.  In the afternoon Henry took the horse I had rode up on down to Mr Campbells who kindly lent it,  Mr Campbell is their nearest neighbour living 2½ or 3 miles distant.
Jack and I went over their last clearing to where he is fencing the boundary between their place and Mr Campbell, the clearing was sowed with grass, turnip and rape seed, and sheep had been put on it to eat the turnips & rape down.  The fences that they put up are 7 galvanized wires 3ft 10 in high 6 plain wires & 1 barbed on the top, 4 posts of Totara to the chain and rimu battens 3 ft 6 in apart, the posts have to be packed on horse back about a mile on a very rough track .  I took the gun and shoot 2 pigeons.

Saturday 11th   It was a fine day.  We got up early in the morning and had our breakfast by lamplight.  Jack rode down to Te Araroa on business, calling at Biddles station  on his way home, he brought my bag which had been left there by Mrs Casey the day I came up.

Sunday 12th   It was raining and blowing nearly all day. We did not go out anywhere.

Monday 13th   It was a fine day.  The rain has all sunk in, and the ground is dry and not squashy under foot like the clay land after rain.  The boys were fencing but they cannot get on very quick as the ground is full of stones and they have to use a crow bar in digging their post holes.  I went out with the gun, but shot nothing.  I climbed to the top of their clearing where you get a view of the sea.

Tuesday 14th   It was a fine day.  I went over with the boys where they are fencing in the morning.  In the afternoon Henry took me up to their top clearing up the river.  I rode and Henry walked the track is very rough on the bank of the river, in some places  there were nice flats with very tall trees each side of the track, very open of undergrowth , every thing looked so green and fresh.  Henry pointed out to me some very large Totara trees, one they were splitting into posts about 70 ft long to the first branch, their clearing here is about 100 acres in extent, about 60 being on at Forest Reserve which they cleared by mistake.  The greater portion is fenced in partly by bush fence & partly by wire, the grass is very good here, they have not much stock on , the first shanty that they built stands here, we got home just before dark.

Wednesday 15th   It was a fine day.  We got up early and Jack rode to Waiapu and Awanui to try to get some Maori bush fellers.  While Henry was fencing in the morning one of his dogs (Laddie) bailed up some pigs the other side of the creek, Henry had no knife with him so he came home to the shanty and got one and returned and stuck one of the pigs that the dog caught by the ear.  Henry returned for lunch and afterwards we went down and hauled the pig across the creek with a rope and singed all the hair off.  Henry carried it home, it was a sow and weighed 80 lbs.

Thursday 16th   It was a fine day.  Two Maoris came just before lunch time, they were riding & and were driving two pack horses ahead of them, they are working for Mr Cumming a Surveyor who is coming to survey a section for the boys, they had lunch with us and afterwards Henry and I went with them to the far end of the clearing to show them where to camp.  Jack returned from Awanui in the evening.

Friday 17th   It was a fine day.  In the morning Henry took me up the hill to show me a lake that is on their land.  It is about 2 acres in extent surrounded by bush, it is 900 ft from sea level , the water is supposed to be very deep, having a very black appearance , it is very pretty having Kaihakatea, pungus and other trees growing round it.  When we came down to the shanty Mr Cumming had arrived and Jack & Henry went with him to show him where they wished to have the bush surveyed.

Saturday 18th   It was a fine day.  We got up early in the morning and Henry and I rode down to Te Araroa where we had lunch at Mr McLachlan’s Hotel, and then proceeded to Matakawa Point.  The road leads along the Te Araroa flat which is very stony until we got to Mr Bentham‘s flax mill,   we were shown the machinery, but the mill had stopped working.
Mr Bentham is a friend of Mr Torkington, being a Lancashire man.  We then went by a graded road over a high point of land which took us to Hicks Bay, which is the best place for shelter on the East Coast.  Hicks Bay is entirely a native settlement, the only white person living here is the schoolmaster, there is a very nice Church here with a steeple, it is built in the form of a Cross and has a nice painted fence round it.  There are a number of native houses and a store kept by a half caste, there is a large extent of flat land here which seems very good.  We rode long the beach until we came to a river which we crossed and then had to climb a steep track which leads up to Matakawa Point , we came on a visit to Mr & Mrs Young who gave us a hearty welcome, they have a son at home named Vivian about 19 or 20 years of age, also a young lady staying there, a Miss Duncan.  There are several hundred acres of open level land on this point that have been cleared and cultivated but it had gone back a good deal when Mr Young bought the lease about 2 years ago.  You have a good view of Te Araroa, East Cape & East Island where the lighthouse is on.

Sunday 19th   It was a fine day, but rather dull.  After breakfast Mr Young and his son showed us over the land, it has been much neglected and the scrub allowed to get ahead.  The run is Maori land, being originally leased by Major Pitt and Major Porter, after that Mr Henderson occupied it and Mr Young has only been in possession about 2 years, there are 13 more years of the lease to run.
Mr Young has done a good deal in clearing, ploughing &c, the soil is very loose and most of the herbage is native grass.  After an excellent dinner we bade goodbye to our hospitable host and hostess who had shown us the greatest kindness and started on our way home, Vivian Young accompanied us as far as Hicks Bay, here we got off our horses and had a look into the Renunga House which is a large building and beautifully finished inside, we were unable to reach home this night so we called in at Biddles station where we arrived about 7 oclock , Bob Carswell the Manager made us very comfortable , Mr Robert Bartley and a young man working for Mr Cameron were also there, the former staid all night.

Monday 20th   It was a bright sunny morning.  Bob Carswell and Robert Bartley went out shooting.  Henry showed me round the homestead, the shearing shed, sheep dip &c.  This property is all freehold and carries about 3,000 Sheep besides Cattle and Horses, there is a great deal of level land round the house and the hills at the back are not very steep, the grass is very good and is the oldest in the district.  We arrived at home about 12 oclock.  Jack was out fencing.

Tuesday 21st   It was a fine day.  Jack and I started off first thing in the morning on horseback bound for Heald Bros station, we passed Biddles station and then took a short cut through the bush until we struck the Taurangakautuku River which is a branch of the Awatere, we followed this up passing through De Lautours station, there is a good deal of level land round the homestead in good grass and the hills at the back have been felled with the exception of the big trees and sown in grass.  Mr Healds land is seperated from De Lautours by a Maori block of 500 acres.  We arrived at Healds place about 12.15, we found the two Mr Healds at home and they gave us a hearty welcome, the eldest, George, is about 22 or 23 years of age and Harold about 20 and they are both grand young men.  After a hearty dinner they showed us round their clearing.  Their Turnips on the new burn were remarkably good, being as large as your head, there is a nice flat near the river where their shanty, sheep yards &c are built, but the land rises rather steep at the back, a good deal of their land is cleared and they are having 100 acres of bush felled by Maoris this season.  Heald Bros have sections, one 511 acres of first class land total 1777 acres at a rental of £71 . 1 . 8  a year on perpetual lease, they have a nice comfortable shanty and they keep it beautifully clean and everything in order.  We staid all night and they made us very comfortable.  It rained during the night.

Wednesday 22nd   It rained this morning so we did not get up very early, but after a while it cleared up and Jack & I started for home.  We called in at Biddles station Bob Carswell was not at home but Jack Ward, a genial Irishman would have us come in and have some lunch.  Jack rang up Mr Liddle and found out that the “Herald” was going to leave Gisborne tomorrow night.  As we were passing through Mr Campbell‘s clearing we met Mr Comming coming from the boys place having finished the surveying.

Thursday 23rd   It was a fine day.   Henry rode down to Mr Campbell‘s in the morning to borrow a horse to take me down to Te Araroa as the boys have just found out that they have lost one of their pack horses having found it hung up in the bush dead.
In the afternoon the boys and I went to the end of their new clearing and the boys cut down and sawed off a log of a rimu tree to make stakes to finish fence in their new grass with wire netting.

Friday 24th   We got up early, I said good bye to Jack and Henry and I started for Te Araroa.  We also had a pack horse carrying some hams and bacon that the boys gave me, also two hides.  We called in at Biddles and staid for lunch Mr Biddles was home on a visit having ridden up from Gisborne with Mr Archie De Lautour.  After lunch we continued our journey  to Te Araroa, Mr Biddle & Bob Carswell also rode down to Te Araroa and were joined on the road by Mr A. De Lautour.  We put our load in Mr Liddles store on the beach, and he invited Henry and I into his house where we found Mr Biddles & Mr De Lautoun imbibing whisky and were invited to partake, but Henry and I preferred something not quite so strong.  We went for our tea and put up at McLachlan‘s Hotel, there was plenty of company and we spent a merry evening, there was a Mr Kelly the Constable from Awanui staying the night, he sang several songs, Mr Bentham, Mr Torkington’s friend playing the accompaniments, Mr McLachlan also sang, Mr Cumming was also there, and I was introduced to a Mr Henderson representing Matakawa Riding in the Waiapu County Council.

Saturday 25th   It was a fine day.  Quantities of Maoris kept on coming into the village having come from the bushes round about where they are felling.  In the afternoon Henry took me to call on the Maori Clergyman, he showed us round his orchard which is the best I have seen about here.  There is to be a Hui or feast at Hicks Bay tomorrow and a lot of Maoris are riding over in that direction .

Sunday 26th   It was a beautiful morning.  A lot more Maoris kept riding by on their way to Hicks Bay  to the Hui.  In the morning Henry and I took a walk up the inland road which leads to Biddles station without crossing rivers from this hill you have a good view of the Te Araroa flat which is far more extensive than one would think.  When we got back to the Hotel they had commenced dinner and the visitors had been increased by the following persons, Mr Harry De Lautour, Mr & Mrs Wilson, Mrs Young and Miss Duncan.  After dinner the mail arrived overland from Awanui being carried by a Maori,  Mr McLachlan has a private bag, he had some Gisborne papers and in one of them I read that the Pope Leo XIII was dead.  I went a walk on the beach in the afternoon.  In the evening Henry & I went on invitation to spend the evening at Mr & Mrs Hansens.  Miss Culpan is staying there waiting to go to Auckland.  The two Mr Healds were also there.

Monday 27th   It was a fine day.  We heard by wire that the “Herald” was at Awanui so we expected her to arrive at Te Araroa in about 2 hours, so I settled our account at the Hotel and Henry got his stores from Mr Liddells thinking he could start for home in the pm after the Steamer had left, but when twelve oclock came another wire announced that the “Herald” had gone back to work Tuperoa & Waipero and she would not be in until tomorrow morning, so after dinner Henry & I got our horses and rode to Pukeamaru, McLachlans station, it is a level road all the way, but the river has to be crossed several times, you can take a dray up to this land , the land is very steep and rugged, being 3000 ft high, but where their clearing is , it is nice and level, they have a small weather board house and a garden round it, as we were coming away, Oliver McL and Robert Bartley came home and they wanted us to stop, but we were due at Mr Liddells at 3.30 pm for dinner, so we rode home fast and arrived at Mr Liddells up to time, he gave us a very good dinner and in the evening Harold Heald came and we had several games of whist and cribbage, Harold and I were partners and we won most of the games.
Mr Liddell is a bachelor, he has a very nice house and beautifully furnished, Miss Luke keeps house for him.  Mr Liddell is a remarkably nice man.
We spent a very pleasant evening.

Tuesday 28th   On waking at 7 this morning I went on to the verander and saw the “Herald” steaming in to the bay so I hurried and dressed and we were soon on the beach , but we had to wait a long time before we could get on board, they had to wait for some flax that was being carted down.  I bid goodbye to Henry and all the residents who were on the beach and with Miss Culpan & Mr George Heald as fellow passengers embarked on the ships boat that was laden with flax &c was towed out by the steam launch to the “Herald” who was at anchor in the Bay, arrived on board we had breakfast, and soon we were on our voyage leaving Te Araroa behind.  We called at Hicks Bay to land some machinery, after which we called at Matakawa Point and took on board Mr & Mrs Young and Miss Duncan who were going to Auckland.  Mr Young introduced me to a Mr Trimnell, Manager on Mr T. S. Williams’ station at Tuperoa, who seemed a very nice man, and we had several talks together.
When I got on board I found out that the “Herald” was going to Whangarei to load Lime, Coal & Timber before going to Auckland.  I was not sorry as I had never been to Whangarei and it seems as if we were going to have a smooth passage.
There were so many passemgers so that we could not all get state cabins, so beds were made up in the smoking room on deck for Mr Young, Mr Heald & myself.

Wednesday 29th   When we got up in the morning we were passing the Mercury Island and we were pointed out the Red Mercury named on account of the red colour of the cliffs of the Island,  soon after we passed Cuvier Island with the lighthouse on it, and after that the Great & Little Barriers, but we were a good distance from the main land and we could not see Omaha very distinctly.  Late in the afternoon we entered Whangarei Head and took the Pilot on board we proceeded up the harbour a short distance and then dropped anchor for the night.

Thursday 30th   Hove up anchor early in the morning and steamed up to Limestone Island where we berthed alongside of the wharf and took in 100 tons of Lime & Cement.  We all went ashore and the Manager showed us over the works and we walked to the top of the Island to get a view.  After dinner we proceeded up to the Railway wharf where they commenced to take in timber.  Most of the passengers went by train up to Whangarei township, all the shops were shut being half holiday.   Mr & Mrs Young, Miss Duncan and I walked out on the Kamo Road, there are nice villa residences and beautiful orange plantations and gardens along the road and everything has a thriving appearance,  Miss Culpan & Mr Heald stayed ashore all night at her Uncles.
When we returned to the station we heard that one of the sailors of the “Herald” was injured by a sling of timber falling out on to his foot and the train was kept waiting for the Doctor who had been summoned to attend to him.  We arrived on board in time for dinner, having spent a very pleasant time ashore.
In the evening Mr Young  3rd Officer amused us with his sailor yarns.

Friday 31st   It rained heavily last night, but it was fine today.  I walked on the railway line up to Whangarei in the morning, called on Mr Massey who at one time used to live with Mr Fordham, he told me that the Arthur Wrights lived at Vinelands, late the property of Mr Alderton and that if I got on the Kamo buss the driver would put me down at their gate, so I followed his advice and within a short time found myself at their residence.  Mr Arthur Wright and Fanny Wright were at home they have a very nice house and grounds and I had a look round.  After lunch Mrs Wright drove me in her sulky down to the Whangarei station and on the way down pointed out to me the residences of the leading residents.  As there was no train going to the railway wharf for some time, I walked or rather ran nearly all the way down the line but I found I was in plenty of time, as they had to take in some coal, the Steamer took in at this wharf  50,000 ft Kauri timber, 28 Tons of Coal which they are going to take to Wellington.
The “Herald” left the wharf about 3 oclock pm we quickly steamed down the river and were soon out at sea making the best of her way to Auckland, this will be our last night on board, I have enjoyed the trip very much and enjoyed the society of the passengers and officers.  We arrived alongside of Quay Street jetty at 11.30 pm.