THE manuscript from which
these pages have been printed was not written with any intention that it
should ever be published. It was meant merely as a narrative for the perusal
of the writer's own children, depicting as it does his own early life. This
could never have been known to them unless it had been set down in some such
succinct form as the writer has made his manuscript assume..
Chapters from it having been
at various times read to friends who desired to hear some "plain unvarnished
tales" of the early days of Poenamo, and the result being invariably an
urgent request that time whole should be put in print, an assent has been
somewhat reluctantly given. For, in fact, it is putting a private life
before the public which the owners of the manuscript would have preferred
should remain' known to themselves only.
Written currente calamo,
as it was, and without any pretension at artistic composition, it is hoped
that, after this explanation, critics will be lenient.
POLYNESIA, March, 1880.
To My Children
I DO not sit down to pen
these memoirs under the vain delusion that the small events of my small life
are worthy of record.
But I think when I have
passed away you ought not to be in ignorance of your father's life, nor' be
placed in the position of having to ask some stranger about those days and
myself when allusion is made to events of a long-ago past in which it fell
to my lot to act a somewhat prominent part.
A simple narrative of my own
writing seems to me the most natural and fitting source from which you
should become acquainted with all I have passed through in the early days of
the first colonisation of the country which has become the land of my
adoption and will be your own future home.
To that far-distant land you
are as yet strangers. Born in the sunny clinic of fair Italy, you have yet
to learn that there is a far-away land even more fair, with a still more
sunny sky, and a still more genial climate.
After many, many years spent
in that land, and having reaped the reward of my early struggles there, I am
now taking a long decade of holidays and wandering with you o'er many lands,
amongst the fairest cities and finest scenery of the old world, before we
finally take our rest in our own home in the new world of the Great South
I commence these my
reminiscences, strange to say, in the "land of the mountain and the flood,"
in my "ain kintrie," whilst sitting on banks of the Dee, the Braemar
moorlands around me. In all likelihood, ere the last page is written I shall
be once again in the far-away land where the scenes I am about to depict
took place—scenes which can never occur there again, for civilisation has
replaced the reign of savagedom which prevailed in the days of the pioneer
And life then was of a
primitive simplicity which call me again, for now the iron road commences to
span the land, and its very aborigines of the present day can no longer speak
correctly their own language as spoken by their fathers two score years ago,
so rapidly has that short epoch in history of the colony changed all
I intend to divide these
memoirs into two periods. The first period will refer almost entirely to
myself and the native people amongst whom I was thrown after leaving the
parental roof and starting for myself in the race of life. It will bring the
period of it to the point when I changed the whole current of my life,
making its stream thereafter flow in a new channel, when I joined the
pioneer band who saw the birth and earliest years of the infant capital of a
new colony born to the Crown of England.
The second period will deal
more historically of the colony when my own individuality will have become
merged in the increased population and advancement of the young settlement.
When I have brought my
memoirs down to a date that you yourselves can take up the thread of my life
and your own from your own memories—then I shall lay aside my pen.
It may be that you will not
read what I intend to set down here until I shall have passed away and been
gathered alongside of my brother pioneers, who have now almost all paid the
last debt of Nature, leaving me in marked solitude, to be almost the only
remaining link that binds the long ago past with the present time, and who
can tell you...
THE TALE OF THE EARLY DAYS OF
BOOK THE FIRST.
My Advent on this Sublunary Scene.—Six Years' Despotic Nursery Reign.—My
The Kind of Boy I Was.—Why and How I Became a Doctor
I Weigh in the Balance the Chances of Life, and Determine to Forsake my
Portraying the Depth of a Sister's Love
"Ho! for the Great South Land"
I Forswear the Great Convict Land
BOOK THE SECOND.
THE TOWN THAT NEVER WAS.
The King of Waiou
We Start on the Exploring Expedition
We Sing and Row Ourselves over the Hauraki
Timber-Draggers.—A Pull for Dear Life
The Night Camp.—The Morning's Vision
The Isthmus of Corinth of the Antipodes
The Mess of Pottage which floored the King of Waiou's Grand Scheme
BOOK THE THIRD.
WITH THE MAORIES ON TE HAURAKI SHORE.
BOOK THE FOURTH.
HOW A NEW COLONY IS BORN TO AN OLD NATION.
The Two Pioneer Pakehas of the Waitemata
Monarchs of all they Surveyed.—The Monarchs Turn Well-Sinkers
I Present our Credentials to the Ngatitais.—The Early Missionary
I Learn what Taihoa Means
Waiting in Expectancy
My Maiden Venture in the Field of Commerce
The Capital is Born to Us.—The Flagstaff that never was Erected
We Change the Current of our Lives.—We Visit our Newly-born Child
How we Shave a Pig
We Adopt our Child
The Capital of Poenamo in 1811.—how we Lived then
An Episode.—Our First Maori Scare. — Conclusion