Port Nicholson District Wellington, 1st January, 1850.
Province of New Munster, Vol. III, no. 16 (1850).
"Ohariu" is situated about 6 miles from Wellington, and immediately in the rear of the Town. The road to the village is over a mountain, is difficult and only available as a footpath, principally through bush. The Pa is situated on a Reserve recently laid down by the Government under Col. McCleverty's directions, to which a considerable portion of suburban land is attached. The land comprised with the block on an average may be considered tolerably good, with a fair share of timber. All the Maori cultivations are included within the block, which are by no means extensive. In addition to this they have several head of cattle and their pigs, which are numerous, are also allowed to run at large within the boundaries. The Pa is in a state of decay, and very few of the huts are in a habitable state. Originally the Population of Ohariu was numerous, and was the principal landing place for all the canoes visiting Port Nicholson from Wanganui, Otaki, Queen Charlotte's Sound, Nelson, and the other Settlements in the Straits. It is still resorted to on these occasions. The inhabitants live principally by fishing. They cultivate little, but are frequently in the employ of Europeans at daily wages. For so small a place, and from the accounts given by the Natives themselves, the mortality for the last 8 or 10 years had been great. The Native Teacher informed me that he had buried above 100 persons within 10 years, and principally adults. The present inhabitants are principally "Ngatitamas", who originally came from Poutama, North of Taranaki; some are Whanganuis, and Ngatiawas, and have all intermarried. Several persons joined William King's party, and some few others are likely soon to follow. The North West wind is severely felt with a great sand drift. The best line of road from Wellington to Ohariu seems to be through the "Karore and Makara" district, a considerable portion of which has already been completed. The Natives on the whole appear to be healthy, but a scarcity of children. Mr Rhodes has a cattle stations here.
Total Native Population, 119.
"Ohaua" is situated on the coast, south of Ohariu, distant about 6 miles, over a rocky, dangerous road. The village is in a sheltered little valley with a N.E. aspect. The greater part of it is secured to the Natives as a reserve, but nearly deserted, there being only 5 individuals in the Pa, all the others having joined William King. The Pa and many of the huts are in a state of decay, and in a few months will probably be quite deserted. There is no cultivation; the soil is poor, and the country hilly and badly timbered. Mr Jenkins, of Wellington, has a cattle station adjoining.
Total native Population, 5.
"Oterongo", distant from "Ohaua" about five miles through bush, is situated in a small barren valley on the coast, exposed to the south-east. The population is small, and very badly off: the Pa is in a wretched state, and the owners of many of the houses having returned to Taranaki with William King, are uninhabited and falling to pieces. This also is a Reserve, but the cultivations are insignificant, and in bad order : the natives rear within the boundaries a considerable number of pigs, and are occasionally employed in collecting the Mutton Shell for sale. Mr Drummond has a cattle station here.
Total Population, 19.
"Waiariki" is situated on the coast, distant from Wellington about 15 miles in a south-easterly direction, is on a Reserve made for the Natives by the Government. In the small valley immediately in the read of the Pa are the Plantations belonging to the Waiariki Natives, and though limited, are in unusually good order; the maize and kumara plants promise well, and upon the whole the Natives of this village are much better off than those of the preceeding ones. The Pa and huts are also in tolerably good repair. This season they have collected a considerable quantity of Mutton Shell for exportation, which they convey to Wellington in large sealing boats and war canoes. They are a subdivision of the Ngatiawas, and I think are likely to remain - two or three only having returned recently to Taranaki. Mr Rhodes has a cattle station adjoining.
Total Native Population, 44.
His Excellency will observe that at each of these settlements there is a cattle station; if not within the boundaries of the Native Reserve, on a section immediately adjoining, so that it is a matter of difficulty with the natives to keep the cattle within their proper bounds. They are anxious that there should be some definite arrangements made with the Proprietors of stock in these localities, so as either to secure the use of the Reserves for their own cattle, or to prevent any one or more of the Chiefs leasing and appropriating to private purposes the rents of land which they have been told is public property. To prevent this latter proceeding, individuals of the Tribe are now beginning to receive cattle at so much per head, to graze on the particular lands they claim; these are properly speaking their old cultivations, and are generally of a very limited extent. If this system is attempted to be carried out to any extent, by each member of the Tribe, it must in the end be attended with great confusion and trouble to both Europeans and Natives.
Equally divided between two sub-divisions of the Ngati Ruanui and Taranaki natives, who are also connected with the Ngati Awas. Every encouragement was given to the resident natives to improve their dwellings, and a village laid out by a Government Surveyor to ensure regularity in the construction of their houses and paths, but as it seems that Te Aro has always been and is now held as a temporary residence for visitors from the interior, Taranaki and the country north of Whanganui, there is little hope of so desirable a change taking place. At present the huts with scarcely an exception, are in a state of dilapidation, and the general state of the natives far from being healthy. The Pa is a reserve under Captain Fitzroy's arrangement, and they hold also a considerable portion of land on the hills adjoining the Town, but their cultivations are principally on the Porirua Road, which also is a reserve. The flax is again engaging their attention, and a small quantity has already been prepared for exportation.
Total population : 186
Only one clay hut now remains of the old Kumutoto Settlement, within the Town of Wellington. The principal chief, E. Tako (Wi Tako), has substituted a good weatherboarded house, which is now occupied by the Police, and is rented by the Government for the sum of Â£30 per annum. In consequence of this E. Tako, with the other members of his tribe, are removing to Ngauranga, which he intends making his permanent abode. Kumutoto is a reserve, and to this is added a considerable portion of land on the hills immediately adjoining. This he is anxious to exchange for land on the Hutt, where the whole of his cultivations now are. To effect this exchange he is desirous to have the assistance of the Government, and to have it done with their consent, and under their direction. I need scarcely add that he is one of the few whose general conduct shows that he is anxious to improve, and from his general intelligence, is thought a good deal of among his own countrymen.
The population : 14.
Is a reserve with a fair share of plantation ground immediately in the rear of the Pa, which is also a reserve. At Pipitea there are several substantial weatherboarded houses, the property of natives, principally in the occupation of the Europeans, at very fair rents. There is also a neat little weatherboarded church in the course of erection to which the natives have contributed a portion of the material, but the huts and the Pa itself are much out of repair. Several of the natives belonging to Pipitea are collection material on the Hutt for the purpose of rebuilding their huts and constructing one good substantial fence round the Pa. The wood they have selected is dry totara, and if completed, will be very durable and add much to their own comfort, and give the settlement a eat and respectable appearance. They are all Ngati Awa natives, and their cultivations are principally on the Hutt. Last year they collected a considerable quantity of the mutton shells for exportation, and a small quantity will also be brought into the market this year. The mortality in the Pipitea pa within the last two or three years has been very great.
Total native population : 96.
Only a few huts remain, which are used temporarily by visitors coming to town from Ohariu and the other settlements on the coast and Cook's Strait.
In the outskirt of the Town of Wellington, belongs to the tribe called Ngati Tamas, who are distinct from the Ngati Awas. They originally came from Poutama, north of Taranaki, and were the first who commenced to drive out the Ngati Kahuhunus, who formerly inhabited the Port Nicholson District. They have intermarried with the Whanganui's, and, with the Ohariu natives, and form a party of themselves. Their Pa is a reserve, and a section on the hill adjoining was recently purchased for them by the Government, but they have this year confined their cultivations to the Hutt, upon lands rented from settlers there. The Pa is in a damp situation, being nearly surrounded with water, is small, unhealthy and out of order. The natives would gladly exchange it for a piece of land of equal value a little higher up. They sell a considerable quantity of firewood and are frequently employed by Europeans at daily wages.
Total native population, 44.
Distant about two miles from Wellington, on the Hutt road, was the residence of the celebrated chief Wharepori (Wharepouri). It is now inhabited by a few of his followers. The fences of the Pa are down, but the huts are in tolerably good order.
Ngauranga is a reserve with plantation ground immediately adjoining. The natives of Ngauranga and Pitone have always been on the most intimate terms of friendship, and they look even now to E. Puni (Te Puni) as the representative of their deceased parent Wharepori. They intermix very much with each other and are allowed by E. Puni to cultivate upon his land at the Hutt. They have also inter-married, but the population does not seem to be on the increase. They rear and sell a small quantity of poultry ; they also procure firewood and fish for the market.
Native population : 34.
Situated about seven miles from Wellington, is the largest and best fortified within the District of Wellington, is a reserve, with sections at the Hutt attached. Their cultivations of kumara and maize look well, and the residents, in point of comfort and wealth, are better off than any of the Port Nicholson natives. E. Puni was one of the last who left Taranaki for Cook's Straits. His principal reason for visiting Kapiti was to procure fire-arms, after "Pukerangiora" had been taken by the Waikato's prior to their leaving - his return to Taranaki was prolonged by the wars into which he became involved with the Ngati Kahuhunu's, and the Colonists, arriving shortly afterwards, he determined to remain.
Te Puni contemplates a visit to Taranaki this summer for the purpose of escorting their old and venerable chief, "Rauakitua", who, it appears, was contemporary with the late "Te Rauparaha" and shared with him in several engagements - this old man will have many followers, and the expedition is likely to be very interesting.
They propose to visit Rangihaeata and all the old Pas between Whanganui and Waitara, the scenes of many bloody conflicts, in which both these old men took very active parts.
The natives of Pitone have again commenced the cleaning of flax, and it is to be hoped that the merchants will offer remunerating prices as an encouragement to their going on with it. Hitherto they have found it unprofitable, and the consequence is, that a great prejudice prevails against it. I explained to them, and the other Natives, the necessity of turning the indigenous productions of the country to account, as a means of securing wealth and prosperity to the colony, and I believe that with a little trouble, and the promise of small sums as a reward, the whole Native population would, in a short time, engage with spirit in the Trade.
Total population : 136.
Pa is situated at the confluence of the two principal rivers of that name; is on a Reserve to which is appended one of the best sections on the Hutt, lately purchased for them by the Government. The natives of Waiwhetu, from information I gathered, have diminished within the last five or six years, to a very inconsiderable number, and since the murder of their principal chief, shortly after the arrival of the first immigrants, by a party of the Ngati Kahuhunus, they have dispersed, and some have joined the natives of Pipitea. The Pa and huts are in bad order, being greatly exposed to the wind and sand drift; the Natives are hardly ever free from disease. They are anxious to shift the Pa if the proprietor of the adjoining section would be willing to make an exchange for that part of it which lies nearest the river and is sheltered from the cold south-west winds by high land on either side. As a ship building yard, the site of the present Pa would, I am told, be very valuable, both on account of the depth of water and from its proximity to the tunber on the Hutt.
Total population : 48.
His Excellency will notice by the Returns herewith enclosed, that the Natives within the district of Wellington, are to some extent possessed of Houses, Cattle, Horses, Carts, and Mills, all of which they now begin to value, and are anxious to obtain, - carts in particular are articles much in request among them, and it is likely that within 12 months, the traffic by vehicles of this kind between Wellington and the Hutt among the Natives will be considerable.
The Natives of Wellington have no cultivations to speak of on the lands in the outskirts of the Town - all have hired land from Settlers upon the Hutt. Some for the period of two or three years at a nominal rent - others have chosen cleared land and are paying so much per acre, according to the locality and quality of the soil. The quantity of land newly cleared by the Natives on the Waiwhetu Rivers, within the last two or three years is large, and the whole of the crops promise a plentiful harvest. The Natives in the Town, I think, would be willing or lease the whole of their lands on the outskirts, or would be glad to exchange it for land on the Hutt of equal value, and they seem anxious that the Government should undertake this for them. The soil on the Hutt is better, and much more productive, while, from their habit and mode of culture, it is better fitted as a field for the Native agriculturists, and there is no doubt that in the course of a very few years, if they are allowed to go on, the whole of that valley will be cleared by them of its bush, and afterwards laid down to pasture by the settlers.
Without exciting any suspicion on the part of the Natives, I was enabled to ascertain that they have no fire-arms or ammunition of any account within the district. What few fowling pieces they have are out of order and seldom used. The whole of the fire-arms belonging to the Port Nicholson Natives are, I believe, in the charge of their relatives at Taranaki, and were sent there five of six years ago, when a hostile descent upon Taranaki was contemplated by the Waikato Tribes.
The Native population within the district of Wellington, fluctuates very much. Many of their friends come in from Taranaki on long visits, and generally return accompanied by some of their relatives. Some of those at the villages on the coast will in all probability join William King, in the course of the ensuing year, and make a final move to their Native place. The whole of the "Ngati Awas" entertain to this day the strongest attachment for their Native soil, and a desire once more to mingle with their relatives and friends. If they ever leave Port Nicholson it is not improbable that they will collect together, and settle down within the "Mokau", "Taranaki", and "Ngati Ruanui" districts, ad become what they once were, one of the most powerful Tribes in New Zealand.
I have the honour to be, Sir
Your most obedient humble servant,
H. Tacy Kemp,
Korero o te Wa I Raraunga I Rauemi I Te Whanganui a Tara I Whakapapa